Doka, Robert

Robert Doka, 2016 Inductee

Former Tribal chairman Robert Doka is this year’s Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation selection for induction into the Lower Verde Valley Hall of Fame.Mr. Doka is considered the first Orme Dam fighter.  Even though Congress had passed a law in 1968 authorizing construction of the Orme Dam as part the Central Arizona Project. Four years later under his leadership, a big change started unrolling.

On December 26, 1972, tribal chairman Doka took a brave warrior’s stand and told Washington, “NO!”  Fate would time this to exactly 100 years from the December 1872 Skeleton massacre when so many brave Yavapai warriors had died losing their land. Chairman Doka held a press conference with his people present so they could be heard.  One by one they all spoke the same words, “We don’t want the dam.”He then announced, “We have sent a telegram this day to the Secretary of the Interior, notifying him that the Indians of Fort McDowell are not willing to give up their land.”

Nine years of tremendous pressure was placed on the people of Fort McDowell in fighting to relocate the tribe.  The government’s plans were to relocate them and to take the land. In November 1981, the Fort McDowell Yavapais were victorious when then-Interior Secretary James Watt was flown by helicopter into Fountain Park where he held a press conference in which he announced Orme Dam had been dropped from the overall Central Arizona Project plan.The tribe kept its land, its people stayed in their homes and they kept their community together.  Mr. Doka serves his country as a U.S. Marine during the Korean War.