CRIT-ical endeavors

Colorado River Indian Tribes

Colorado River Indian Tribes appreciate relationship with NB|AZ

The Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) reservation, located in La Paz County in western Arizona, is unique in that it’s home to four distinct tribes: the indigenous Mohave and Chemehuevi, and people of the Hopi and Navajo tribes, some of whom relocated to the CRIT reservation after its establishment in 1865. Today, about 4,000 tribal members are enrolled.

The CRIT reservation integrates into the larger community with highly successful economic endeavors while celebrating and showcasing the most important aspects of its heritage and culture.
Since 1999, the tribes have operated the 200-room BlueWater Resort and Casino next to the Colorado River in the town of Parker. “Tourists enjoy boat racing, off-road racing, fishing and hunting,” said Valerie Welsh-Tahbo, the tribal council treasurer.

The tribes have other economic interests, too. About five miles southwest of the resort, they grow wheat, cotton and alfalfa. In June, they’ll open two fuel stations—one intended as a truck stop on State Route 95 and the other geared to tourist traffic in the town of Parker.

The tribes have been banking with National Bank of Arizona for more than a decade and especially appreciate the personal attention from their banker, Melissa Newton. “She demonstrates astounding professionalism and we have great communication with her,” Welsh-Tahbo said. “We look to Melissa for guidance on our revenue-generating projects. She is more than willing to advise us.”

As the largest employer in La Paz County with 1,300 employees, CRIT gives back to the community of Parker and other municipalities. “We donate 12 percent of our net profits to various nonprofit programs in La Paz County,” said Amelia Flores, a tribal councilwoman.

The tribes also give the community an opportunity to enjoy their culture. Every October, the tribes sponsor Native American Days in Parker, attracting 30,000 attendees to watch tribal dances and a tribal pageant, play games, view exhibits and enjoy authentic Native American foods.