|Date submitted: October 6, 2011|
|Gift: General Gift|
|Location on plaza map: A2|
|Areas of Achievement:
Arts, Education, Politics, Religion, First Woman Chieftess|
|Honored on the Native American Women's Arch by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe.|
“She was endowed with a calmness of the sunrises she loved.”
Senator Barry Goldwater
Viola Jimulla, Chieftess of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, was born during the strife and turmoil of her tribe at the close of Indian troubles in 1878. Called “Viola of the Shining Face,” she maintained her strong Christian teachings and became everything from a “mother confessor” to a “financial and medical advisor” to her people. She enlisted the aid of non-Indian friends, including Senator Carl Hayden, in setting aside the tiny reservation on Prescott’s doorstep as a permanent home for the Yavapai Indians.
Viola was a master basket weaver and one of her designs has since been adopted as the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribal Seal. During the depression Viola taught the Yavapai women at Camp Yavapai the art of basket weaving. The Yavapai women made hundreds of baskets, which are found throughout the country and around the world. Some of the early baskets are part of the collections of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
In 1945, at Viola’s request, the first annual Southwest Indian Bible Conference was held in Prescott, Arizona. Members of the original Yavapai Indian mission were responsible for the naming of the present Trinity Presbyterian Church of Prescott, Arizona. This church remains today one of the very few churches in the United States brought into a city by Native Americans.
In 1948 the Yavapai Indians filed a land claims action for 9.2 million acres taken from the tribe in 1873 and Viola served as interpreter in court actions and at the Indian Church School. She was much sought after as a public speaker and she was able to pass on considerable information about Yavapai tribal history and customs. In the 1950s Viola was elected to an Honorary Life Membership in the Yavapai Archaeological Society and was an active member, giving talks to the group. She was also a Life Member of the Yavapai Gem and Mineral Society.
As leader of her tribe, she urged her people to withdraw their claim to land from the Fort Whipple military reservation with stipulations that it be used for development of a college and a city park. The results are Yavapai College and Roughrider Park.
Viola was elected to the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame, which was established to honor Arizona Women who have contributed substantially throughout their lives to the state’s development and progress. In a testimonial to her given by Taylor T. Hicks, D.D.S.: “Viola Jimulla, in the finest possible manner, bridged the historical span from the early frontier days in Prescott to the present modern day.”
As members of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe we are forever grateful for the efforts of this tiny woman with an enormous heart and proudly continue to progressively build on what Viola and her husband Sam started so many years ago. The goals of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe are to educate our people academically, culturally and spiritually in a positive direction in an ever-changing world.
Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe Research Archives.
1968 Viola Jimulla: The Indian Chieftess. Prescott Yavapai Indians, Prescott, Arizona