Tonto Apache Scout


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William H. Willicraft, Photographer Unknown ina0148p.jpg IN-A-0148 B&W 1500.0148.0000 ina0148p Stereograph Print 3.5x7.5 Historic Photographs 1880s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives

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Tonto Apache Scout with a musket.


The Tonto Apaches are the direct descendants of the Tontos who lived in the Payson vicinity long before the advent of the Anglo. The large Rio Verde Reserve, near Camp Verde, was established in 1871 for the Tonto and Yavapai Indians. The Reserve was dissolved in 1875 when they were forcibly moved to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Some Tontos gradually returned to Payson after 20 years of exile to find white settlers had taken much of their land. 
The Yavapai and the Tonto Apaches are closely connected. In the 1800s, American settlers and soldiers often confused the two. The Yavapai and the Western Apaches lived similar ways of life, as nomadic hunters and gathers, but they represented completely different linguistic groups and might have different ancestry. Yet both groups have creation stories which trace their origins to the first humans who emerged from Montezuma Well. Tonto Apache and Yavapai history intermingled as they shared many struggles together. (Source: Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, https://itcaonline.com/member-tribes/tonto-apache-tribe/)

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