The community traces its roots to the Hohokam, prehistoric Indians who lived and farmed along the Gila River Basin centuries ago. Composed of two members of tribes, the Pima and Maricopas, GRIC is located in south-central Arizona. The 372,000 acre reservation, which lies south of Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler, was established by an act of Congress in 1859. Tribal administrative offices and departments are located in Sacaton. The Gila River Indian Community has steadily increased its industrial, retail and recreational economic base. The Community has opened three industrial parks housing 36 operations. One park, Lone Butte Industrial Park, is nationally acclaimed as one of the most successful Indian industrial parks in the U.S.
In addition to emphasizing industry, business and recreational opportunities, the Community continues to depend upon agriculture to grow its economy. Twelve thousand acres of Community farms on the GRIC support a variety of crops such as cotton, wheat, millet, alfalfa, barley, melons, pistachios, olives, citrus, and vegetables on 12,000 acres. Independent farming operations cultivate an additional 22,000 acres of similar crops, bringing the total agricultural product value to an excess of $25 million.
The Gila River Police Department is a service-oriented organization, established in August 1998. This was as a result of an agreement between the Community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage its own tribal law enforcement agency. The department, which began with less than 15 police officers, has grown into a modern, progressive organization of 92 employees (71 sworn officers and 21 civilian personnel).