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White Mountain Apache Tribe hails settlement for water rights

White Mountain Apache Tribe Chairman Ronnie Lupe. Photo: Tami A. Heilemann - Office of Communications / US Department of the Interior

The White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona signed a water rights agreement at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Chairman Ronnie Lupe sang a sacred water song to honor the Interior Department and members of Congress for pushing for the settlement. The agreement quantifies the tribe's rights to two rivers in Arizona and authorizes more than $200 million in water projects on and off the reservation.

"This water rights agreement is as important to the future survival of the White Mountain Apache Tribe as the peace we negotiated with the United States Army in 1871 to remain on our aboriginal land," Lupe said at the ceremony, which was held in the office of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“Today we are taking a key step in fulfilling the Administration’s commitment to resolving water rights in a manner that benefits Indian tribes and provides certainty to water users,” Jewell said in a press release. “Perhaps most importantly, the agreement paves the way to ensuring that the White Mountain Apache Tribe will have clean drinking water in communities across the reservation for the next 100 years.”

The agreement will provide funding for the design and construction of a water system. The system will benefit residents of the reservation and the city of Phoenix.

Audio from the ceremony can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

Get the Story:
Agreement quantifies Arizona tribe's water rights (AP 7/30)
Government, White Mountain Apaches sign ‘historic’ water-rights agreement (Cronkite News 7/30)
Interior Secretary Signs Water Rights Deal (KJZZ 7/30)

Related Stories:
White Mountain Apache Tribe in DC for water rights agreement (7/30)

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