Salt River, AZ. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), located near Scottsdale, Arizona, is proud to announce the public opening of the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River on February 22, 2020.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona that sank on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It pays tribute to and recognizes the individuals aboard the ship that day; sharing their stories, their efforts, and their sacrifice. The Salt River Indian Community became the recipient of a large part of the superstructure of the USS Arizona (BB-39), identified as the original Boat House, and built the Gardens around it. The Boat House relic was part of the original memorial built at Pearl Harbor in 1951 and is the largest and only piece ever given to a tribal community.
“It is a great honor that the land of the O’odham (Pima) and Piipaash (Maricopa) will be the final resting place and home to the Boat House relic of the USS Arizona,” said Martin Harvier, President, SRPMIC. “The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River as a whole will honor the brave soldiers who were aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and all military veterans who have served our great country.“
In 2007, an American flag flown over the USS Arizona Memorial was awarded to the SRPMIC and the American Legion Bushmaster Post 114. Today, it is kept at the American Legion Bushmaster post with an annual “Breathing of the Flag Ceremony” that takes place during the SRPMIC Pearl Harbor Day event as a fine tribute to all soldiers. The honor of receiving a retired flag started a journey that will forever change the landscape of SRPMIC and Arizona.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River spans the exact length and width of the USS Arizona with over 1,500 commemorative columns, outlining the actual perimeter of the USS Arizona. The project extends across the entry drive of Salt River Fields to the north and juts into the lake on the south. Each column is representative of a life aboard the ship that day. In addition, there are gaps within the column outline representing an individual who survived the attack.
As the day ends, each column will subtly glow with light, transforming the memorial at night representing each individual as a light and that their light will continue to go on and stand through the test of time.
The Gardens will be open daily from dawn until dusk and is open to the public. The Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community is proud to honor all Veterans and takes pride in sharing the stories of some of those aboard the USS Arizona at the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River.
The public opening of the Gardens will coincide with Spring Training Opening Day at Salt River Fields, which will also be Veterans Appreciation Day at the Fields.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. This memorial pays tribute and recognizes the individuals; their unique stories, and the efforts and attributes of these individuals.
The monument and gardens span the exact length and width of the USS Arizona with over 1,500 commemorative columns outlining the actual perimeter of the USS Arizona whose hull extends across the entry drive of Salt River Fields to the north and juts into the lake on the south. Each column is representative of a life aboard the ship that day. In addition, there are gaps within the column outline representing individuals who survived the attack. As the day ends, each column will subtly glow with light, transforming the memorial at night representing each individual as a light and that their light will continue to go on and stand through the test of time.
Prominently displayed at the center of the Gardens, adjacent to the lake’s edge is the “Boat House” relic of the USS Arizona. The position of the relic gives visitors the ability to look across the water, and see the relic in its relationship to how it once stood on Pearl Harbor.
The contemplative Memorial Gardens sit to the north of the Memorial Building with a layout based off a ship’s vertical mast to commemorate the highly decorated USS Arizona. Additional commemorative columns line pathways in the garden with each path ending at a flagpole representing each branch of the United States military. Along the pathways are benches engraved with quotations from individuals who experienced firsthand the events of December 7, 1941, and the days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River is located in the Talking Stick Entertainment District at 7455 North Pima Rd, located between Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Great Wolf Lodge Arizona, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
For more information visit www.memorialgardensatsaltriver.com.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens is open daily from dawn to dusk. Those interested in learning more can also come by the Discover Salt River Visitor Center located at 9120 East Talking Stick Way, Suite E-10, Scottsdale, AZ 85250; in the Pavilions at Talking Stick shopping center. The visitor center is open Monday-Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, please contact Discover Salt River at 888-979-5010 or visit www.discoversaltriver.com.
O’odham and Piipaash Military History
The Pima (O’odham) and Maricopa (Piipaash) come from a long history of being warriors. Salt River history tells of assisting the United States Government in the mid-1800s by joining a force of Union volunteers during the American Civil war and in campaigns known as the Apache wars around 1865.
The Pima and Maricopa soldiers served as the first Arizona Volunteer Infantry designated as Company B & C that by 1866 there were 103 men in Company B with more Pima’s serving as “Scouts” to protect and escort wagon trains and American civilians passing through the Arizona Territory.
In 1912, Arizona formed Company F in its State National Guard, the first all-Indian unit in the nation, composed of students and former students from the Phoenix Indian School that members of the O’odham and Piipaash tribes attended. Despite not being citizens, many students and alumni volunteered to fight in World War I. Within four months of President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war on Germany in April 1917, 64 Phoenix Indian School students and alumni volunteered to serve in the army and navy. Company F became part of the 158th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division.
In 1918, the 158th Infantry of the 40th Division had the opportunity to serve as the “guard of honor” to President Woodrow Wilson during his visit to France that same year. This event established the first connection to the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona joined nine battleships and twenty-eight destroyers to escort President Woodrow Wilson on the ocean liner, the George Washington, to the Paris Peace Conference.
Company F, 1st AZ Infantry was deactivated shortly after the war and reactivated in WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.
Members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Native Americans have never failed to answer the call to service with many of its citizens serving in all Branches of the Armed forces in every era. Their distinguished combat helped to change attitudes in Washington DC about Native Americans, leading eventually to the Indian Citizenship Act signed into law on June 2, 1924.
About the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) is represented by two distinct Native American tribes; the Akimel O’odham (River People), more commonly known as the Pima and the Xalychidom Piipaash (People Who Live Toward the Water) known to many as the Maricopa; both share the same cultural values, but maintain their own unique traditions. Today, more than 10,000 individuals are enrolled Salt River tribal members.
Easily accessible off the Pima 101 Freeway, the SRPMIC is bordered by Tempe, Fountain Hills, and Mesa shares a Scottsdale address and is just 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The Community owns and operates several successful enterprises including Salt River Materials Group and Saddleback Communication and hospitality enterprises: Talking Stick Resort, Talking Stick Golf Club and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, all within the Talking Stick Entertainment District (TSED), on the northern part of the Community. The culture and the history of the people is an important story to tell and have been interwoven at many of the destination amenities through interior art, building design, and landscape.