WHITERIVER — The White Mountain Apache Tribe announced a collaboration with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to develop a community heritage baseball and softball field on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
The collaboration with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation was facilitated through the Tribe’s work with Resolution Copper in Superior, who has been a tribal community partner with the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The field is a charitable gift from the Foundation and Resolution Copper, with field improvements facilitated by the Foundation.
“Resolution Copper is proud to partner with several communities in Arizona. It has been an honor to be involved in developing this collaboration between the Diamondbacks Foundation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. While we recognize it has taken years of collaborative discussion with the Tribe, we feel that the partnership and field development will be a sustainable project that enhances the tribal community and supports the vision of tribal leadership,” stated Hesston Klenk, Manager of Communities and Social Performance at Resolution Copper.
The collaboration symbolizes a milestone for the Tribe, who began discussion on community development project in 2014 with Resolution Copper. Tribal Leaders identified the need for a multi-use sports field that would accommodate the Tribe’s Little League programs, tribal sports programs and community initiatives. Additionally, Tribal Leaders recognized that the development of a new field would also enhance the Tribe’s economy and ability to host events, tournaments and regional Little League games.
“We are proud to celebrate this milestone with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Resolution Copper. This community project began several years ago when myself and Councilwoman Alvena Bush and Councilman Jerold Altaha initiated conversations and kept the conversation moving forward with our external partners. Today we have reached the milestone of a collaboration that will move this project forward for the betterment of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. I am honored to have been able to work to help make this dream a reality,” said Vice Chairman Jerome Kasey III.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe, Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Resolution Copper conduced a ground breaking ceremony during the opening community event of the 94th annual White Mountain Apache Fair and Rodeo.
Councilwoman Alvena Bush said, “On behalf of the Tribal Council, I want to thank our external partners for making this project happen. Many years ago I felt there was a need for this in District IV, and there have been many challenges getting to this point, but together as Tribal Leaders, we have persevered through the challenges and together we can proudly see this project come to reality.”
Since its inaugural year in 1997, the D-backs and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation have given back more than $65 million to the community, including the construction of 42 fields in Arizona. In addition to the Foundation’s field development initiatives, the Foundation also supports local Little League programs with equipment and grants. The Foundation has initiated tribal initiatives to honor the cultural heritage of Arizona Tribes, including Major League Baseball’s only Inter-Tribal Tournament and the annual Native American Recognition Day at Chase Field.
Derrick Hall, D-backs President & CEO stated, “Our first project in a tribal community was with the Gila River Indian Community many years ago and we have also worked very closely with the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. We are excited to partner with Resolution Copper and the White Mountain Apache Tribe to develop this rural tribal field. We look forward to working with the Tribal Council, the community and the tribal youth to help make a lasting impact for future generations.”
After the ground breaking event during the WMAT Fair and Rodeo, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will work with the Tribal Council to develop a project delivery timeline and field design to ensure that the community heritage field reflects the needs and heritage of the White Mountain Apache tribal community.