Tohono O'odham Nation

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 837
Sells, AZ 85634

Contact Information




Cultural History

Tohono O'odham, which is also known as Papago, is a group of Native Americans that are located in southwest part of the United States and Northern parts of Mexico.  

The Tohono O'odham has had evidence of existing in the southern United States and Northern Mexico since the 1400's. Also remember, that another large group of Native Americans also lived in the area, and that was the Apaches. Tohono O'odham and the Apaches never actually got along. They were fighting for about 300 years, until the 20th century when the white settlers made the two tribes put down their swords and work together. 

Tohono O'odham is mostly known for their music and dance traditions. These are performed quite regularly at ceremonies, as they are tradition and as well rituals. Some of the places that they performed are making very popular tourist attractions today, like the San Xavier District. The tribe still performs their rituals and traditions, despite being told by the White Settlers that they had to stop or change their ways.  

Today the Tohono O'odham Nation is broken up into 11 districts across the United States and Mexico. These reservations make up the second largest Indian Reservation in the United States, with about 4.5 million square miles. 

The tribe to this day consist of about 25,000 members, which are being leaded by Chairman Ned Norris Jr. Just like most Native American tribes, the Tohono O'odham Nation gets most of their income from running a local casino. This casino pays for some of their needs, but unfortunately does not produce enough income to pay for their own things, like healthcare, transportation, and other major needs. 

Remember how it was said that the Tohono O'odham Nation was in the United States and Mexico? Well this is a little bit of a problem because citizens that are born in Mexico have a larger problem of becoming apart of the tribe in the United States. This is one reason the tribe is split up into two. Although this all changed in 2001, where congress signed a bill. Which made it extremely easy for citizens that were not born in the United States could become US citizens. Any members that were part of Tohono O'odham could become a US citizen if they were born in Mexico. 

One attraction and money maker that the Tohono O'odham Nation has is Kitt Peak. For those that do not know what Kitt Peak is, it is a National Observatory and telescope. There are not many observatories and telescopes in the United States, and the Tohono O'odham Nation is lucky enough to be one of the organizations to have one. 

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