Annual District 7 Mustering-In celebration is right around the corner

Kyle Knox
Gila River Indian News



On Sept. 7, the Gila River Indian Community will once again recognize the significant event we know as Mustering-In Day. The event takes place at the District 7 Multipurpose Building and will feature familiar activities and a few new ones as well. The event honors those who volunteered for what’s become known as, “The First National Guard.”


The story of Mustering-In Day is not as well known throughout Arizona’s history. The 1860s America was stricken with conflict, political strife, and territorial disputes, and Arizona was not exempt. 


The American Civil War left little military presence for defense in other areas. The need for action to counteract the onslaught of Apache conflict resulted in the innovative idea of mustering in local Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh men for volunteer military service. Akimel O’otham Chief Antonio Azule led Company C with 88 volunteer soldiers and Pee Posh Chief Juan Chavaria lead Company B with 94 volunteer soldiers. Their efforts provided stability in the area.  


Today, and for the last 50 years, District 7 hosts a celebration honoring their service.  The festival has a robust military presence and pays tribute to veterans and current serving active duty military. The event will also feature several GRIC tribal leaders and is open to visiting dignitaries as well. 


District 7 will continue to host a parade. In 2018 there were 15 floats, and it’s anticipated to increase this year.  Food will be served and expect to hear traditional bird songs and entertainment throughout the day. There will be bounce houses and a splash pad for children. There will be sporting events and tournaments for dominoes, billiards, and horseshoes. Additionally, this year a skate competition will be included as part of the activities. 


The event will be an all-day affair with most of the activities outdoor so plan accordingly as the temperatures will remain high in September. For more information on the event, how to apply for a vendor booth, or enter the parade, please visit