Museum Summer Hours: 9AM to 4PM • Open all days

Free Lecture: Defeating the Orme Dam Proposal

Raphael Bear

Raphael Bear, Past President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Indian Foundation, will present a talk on how the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Arizona won their 1981 victory over the federal government, who proposed to construct the Orme Dam at the confluence of the Verde and Salt Rivers. The project would have flooded the reservation and relocated the Yavapai people. With limited financial resources, individuals from the community spearheaded an opposition movement that rallied the support of fellow tribal members, other Indian tribes and non-Indian groups.

By referendum in 1976, the community members voted 144 to 57 against selling their land to the federal government for the dam site. Then on November 12, 1981, after consulting with the Fort McDowell Tribal Council and the Governor’s Advisory Committee, Interior Secretary James Watt announced that Orme Dam would not be built.

Raphael Bear was born and raised on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and is a Past President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Indian Foundation. He is also the Acting General Manager for the Eagle View RV Resort, an FMYN Enterprise.
He began working for his community in 1974 when he was chosen as one of three community planners for the Tribal Nation. He oversaw and managed major infrastructure planning projects, design coordination and implementation on the reservation. Through that experience he has learned the importance of hard work through dedications and the teachings of his Grandparents and Great Grandparents. He also learned to always be ready for situations that he may be called upon. Raphael served in the United States Marine Corps for six years, with an honorable discharge.
He served as the Tribal General Manager for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation for three years and was Tribal President from 2004-2008. Raphael is also involved with Arizona American Indian Tourism Association. His service also includes serving as the Chairman of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona and member of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.

  • January 26, 2023 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


  • Bring your own lawn chair;
  • Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen;
  • Please, no smoking;
  • Please don’t leave your dog in vehicle;
  • Coffee and cookies will be available for purchase with all of the proceeds going to the museum for continuing educational programs;
  • Come early and have lunch on the grounds. Food will be available for purchase.

Fundraising raffles

As a self-supporting organization, we rely on revenue generated by our gift shops, events, and fundraisers. At each week’s lecture we hold a 50/50 raffle, with half the cash collected going to the lucky winner. Second prize is a lecture-related item from our gift shop. Raffle tickets are priced at 1 for $1, or 6 for $5. Winning tickets are drawn from tickets sold that day. Winner must be present to win.

The season-long raffle prize is a solid gold coin minted with gold from the Old Wasp Mine, just up Apache Trail, and includes a certificate of authenticity. Tickets are $5 each. At the last lecture on March 30, the holder of the winning ticket will be announced. The winner need not be present to win.

Buy a VIP Card

The Museum’s popular Free Lecture Series is actually an expensive endeavor. Many staff hours go into reserving speakers and some scholars have fees attached to their appearance. We have created a special Lecture Series VIP card for those who would like to support these events. On Thursdays only, from January 5 through March 30, VIP card holders are entitled to 50¢ coffee. Also included is a one-time-only free hot dog. But wait, there’s more... VIP Cardholders get a 10% discount in the Gift Shop on Thursdays and special shaded seating in the Amphitheater. The cost is $30 per card and it’s available in the Gift Shop.


The amphitheater and other outdoor locations on the Museum's property are available for outdoor events including small catered receptions. It is truly magnificent at twilight.

Imagine an intimate romantic wedding, candle-lit banquet or musical presentation with the Superstition Mountain at sunset as your backdrop!

Learn more