Ceremony Celebrates Blackwater Trading Post Returning to GRIC Control
February 3, 2023
The Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2022. That Act provides the mechanism for the Secretary of the Interior to take the Blackwater parcel located in District 1 into trust.
To commemorate the Law, on Jan. 20 Daron Carreiro, Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council, presented commemorative signed copies of H.R. 478, the Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act, to Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Lt. Gov. Monica Antone, and Community Councilmember Joey Whitman District 1 Blackwater. The measure instructs the Secretary to take the 55-acre trading post parcel near State Route 87 into trust, and work with the Community to initiate the mandatory acquisition process.
Carreiro, who came to the Community on behalf of Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of President Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, called his visit “a learning lesson” for the White House.
“We know how much you all have worked on this and how your team has worked on it,” said Carreiro. “We know it took 10 years to take this land into trust. … You guys did all the hard work.”
Established nearly 100 years ago, the Blackwater Trading Post operated until 2010, when the Ellis family, which owned the property for more than 60 years, sold it to the Community. After the sale, the Community recovered more than 1,000 items that had been traded at the Post and stored in its on-site museum. These culturally significant items were then relocated to the Community’s Huhugam Heritage Center.
Having the trading post taken into trust will allow the Community to conduct land-use plans for the site and for other properties nearby. The Congressional act, introduced by Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and by then-Rep. Tom O’Halleran, had faced difficulties in Congress for several years before finally passing with bipartisan support last year.
Gov. Lewis applauded the passage of the Act and expressed his appreciation to Councilman Arzie Hogg and Councilman Joey Whitman of District 1, and the entire Community Council for their tenacity in working to secure this parcel for the Community.
“The Blackwater Trading Post has deep cultural significance to District 1 and to the Community,” said Gov. Lewis. “As a matter of tribal sovereignty, it’s only right that this land – our land – be controlled by the Community and that the land remain in trust to benefit the residents of District 1 and our people.”