Five Tribes Treaty of Peace Celebration Returns
April 21, 2023
The Gila River Indian Community celebrated the 160th annual Five Tribes Treaty of Peace on Saturday, April 15, in District 7 — Maricopa Colony.
“Remembering the Footsteps of Our Leaders of Peace” was this year’s theme for the event, which recognizes the 1863 treaty between the Akimel O’otham, Pee-Posh, Hualapai, Yuman, and Chemehuevi.
The five tribes came together as sovereign nations, signing a peace treaty to promote peace among the tribes and help protect their people and American settlers from other hostile tribes in the region.
After three years of being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration returned to the public, where Community members and visiting tribes reunited once again.
This year hundreds of Community members from across GRIC, visiting tribal members and veterans from the Tohono O’odham Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Quechan Indian Tribe, traveled to District 7 for the day’s events.
“It was a really powerful feeling to see everyone back after three years,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, “From our elders to our children, I think it’s important to teach them this rich history that we have here, the historical meaning behind the Five Tribes Treaty of Peace because it needs to be passed down.”
The celebration began with an early morning walk/run, where members from the Community and other tribes gathered at a field across the District 7 Multipurpose Building for the two-mile remembrance walk.
“It’s so beautiful to have this day out here, so peaceful, you can pray on your way out there. It’s all just really nice,” said Sandra Miller, Tohono O’odham, after her run.
Later that morning, cars began to line up alongside 83rd Ave in preparation to view the parade. Judges were present for the parade and designated the following winners this year: first place; Gila River Royalty, second place; Tohono O’odham Nation Veterans, and third place; Pee Posh Veterans Association.
“I’ve been attending this event since 2010, been marching in the parade for a long time,” said Michael Smith, a member of the Pee Posh Veterans Association, “It’s always an honor to help out wherever I can.”
“This is American history, if not our own history as well, that we need to continue to honor,” said Gov. Lewis, “With everything in the world, I think it still has a lot of significance.”
Community arts & crafts vendors and informational booths from GRIC departments were also present throughout the day. The event also included a horseshoe tournament and plenty of outdoor activities for the youth.
Throughout the morning, live vaila music poured out from the District 7 ramada performed by Two Rivers. Then the night concluded with a dance and performance by Gertie & the T.O. Boyz.
And like past years, a Bird Dance competition was also held for men and women of all ages. This year’s winners of the contest are:
First place male, Chris Emerson
First place female, Valerie Welsh-Tohbo
First place male, Darwin Welsh III
First place female, Joyce Paya
First place male, Tyrone Harper
First place female, Mariela Sanchez
First place male, Da’Trae French
First place female, Candace Foulke
First place male, Rylee Carlyle
First place female, Eimyah Ameelynah