|Several excellent female leaders have led the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe. The Prescott Resort and Conference Center, located on reservation land, features a statue representing Viola Jimulla, Chieftess of the tribe from 1940 to 1966, and her granddaughter, Patricia McGee, Tribal President from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Viola Jimulla succeeded her husband, Sam Jimulla as tribal leader, after his untimely death. "I had to help my people in whatever way they needed," she explained. Her dedication influenced her daughters, Grace Jimulla Mitchell, Chieftess from 1966 to 1976 and Lucy Jimulla Miller who assumed that role from 1976 to 1984.
Born in 1878 on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Viola attended the Phoenix Indian School for several years before relocating to the Prescott area. She married Sam Jimulla, raised a family, and became an active part of the tribe, as well as the Prescott community. Her ability to care for and work with both the Indian and Anglo cultures had a long lasting benefit for her people and for the greater Prescott area. During the 1930s, the Jimullas worked with local and national officials to set aside 75 acres of land for the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Reservation. Through the leadership of Sam and Viola Jimulla, the only reservation solely for the Yavapai was established. In the 1950s, the reservation was enlarged to 1,395 acres.
Viola Jimulla strived to ensure continuation of tribal traditions by teaching basket weaving, preparing traditional foods and wearing traditional dress. The Yavapai-Prescott tribal logo comes from one of Viola's many baskets. Through her efforts, the Prescott Yavapais achieved better living conditions and stronger relations with the surrounding non-Indian community, which helped her people to adapt during years of changing conditions for tribes on reservations. During her leadership, the Yavapai tribe withdrew its claim to land grants to the old Fort Whipple military reservation, with the stipulation that the land be used for a community college and park. The Prescott campus of the Yavapai College is now at that site. Viola Jimulla agreed to this use of the land because she knew education was her people's future. Jimulla also crossed cultural bridges in relation to religion, becoming the first Yavapai to be baptized into the Presbyterian Church in a mission established near the reservation. She and other members of her tribe revitalized the Yavapai Indian Mission to become the Presbyterian Mission in 1922. Later in 1957, the mission became the Trinity Presbyterian Church with a mixed congregation of Indians and Anglos.
Viola Jimulla formed the Prescott Yavapai Tribal Council to better ensure the people's voice in their government. Jimulla's descendents continued in tribal leadership, including granddaughter Patricia McGee who served on the tribal Board of Directors and as President, securing economic development and cultural revitalization during her tenure. Visit the Prescott Conference Center at 1500 E State Route 69 to see the statue representing Viola Jimulla and Patricia McGee, two visionary leaders of the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe.
Viola Jimulla - Courtesy of YPIT Culture Research, Lang/Arts/Media Office
Patricia McGee - Courtesy of YPIT Culture Research, Lang/Arts/Media Office
Chieftess Viola Jimulla teaches her granddaughter, Patricia McGee, basket weaving - Courtesy of Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Cultural Resources Department.