SACATON — The Girl Scouts’ Arizona Cactus-Pine Council has created a special cabin and mural at its camp to honor the late Mary V. Thomas, first female governor of the Gila River Indian Community.

The cabin, at the Bob and Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain in Phoenix, is among a three-cabin pod at the council’s recently renovated camp and year-round program facility, according to a press release from the Gila River Community.

The pod is a special leadership-themed set of cabins where Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and astronaut Sally Ride are also honored.

In each of the named cabins, artist Paige Poppe was commissioned to paint a mural to honor and portray the life of each woman.

“It is with great pleasure that our organization honors the late Governor Mary V. Thomas of the Gila River Indian Community,” said council CEO Tamara Woodbury in the press release. “Her legacy as an inspiring female trailblazer is something girls can look up to and emulate as they’re developing skills in leadership and civic engagement.”

The cabin and mural honoring Thomas was revealed on April 25 during a special program that included words from Woodbury and Gila River Lt. Gov. Robert Stone, tribal leaders and Thomas’s family members.

Thomas died in 2014 at age 70.

She was elected Gila River tribal governor in 1994 and also served two terms as lieutenant governor. She also served as a Tribal Council representative for District 3 for one term.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at