Material specific to the Tohono O’odham nation:

The Tohono O’odham nation is located in south central Arizona; see the map. The population in 1990 was 24,000. Sells, located about 60 miles west of Tucson, is the capital and center of the nation's government. The reservation is divided into 9 districts, each with an elected Chair. The Legislative Council is headquarted in Sells: information about members is available from Tohono O'odham Legislative Council, P.O. Box 837, Sells AZ 85634, (520)383-2470. There is an elected Chair of the entire reservation but the districts function autonomously to a high degree. A community profile of the reservation [pdf], prepared by the Arizona Department of Commerce, provides data on the reservation's economy in 2002.

The information on the Tohono O’odham from the Heard Museum  provides an introduction to the tribe's history. Written Tohono O'odham is relatively new. Tribal members stress that their culture is based on verbal communication, and traditionally decisions were made through prolonged discussion until everyone agreed on a course of action. The concept of holding elections as a decision making path is not part of this tradition.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory telescopes (Kitt Peak National Observatory) are located on Kitt Peak, on the eastern edge of the reservation. The history of the lease of the land on Kitt Peak is discussed here; more details can be found in the book by Frank Edmondson, “AURA and its National Observatories”, Cambridge University Press, 1997. It is worth noting that the telescopes at Kitt Peak are a dominant feature on the horizon from much of the reservation. This picture was taken at the annual rodeo in Sells.

Kitt Peak as seen from the annual rodeo in Sells

In 1998 the Nation started Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) in Sells. In February 2005, Tohono O’odham Community College received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

The schools on the reservation include  public schools (Indian Oasis-Baboquivari Unified School district No. 40), Catholic schools and  those run by the Bureau of Indian affairs (Santa Rosa Ranch School, San Simon Elementary School, Tohono O'odham HS). In addition, there is a young charter school in Tucson, Ha:sañ Preparatory & Leadership School which focusses on native students: the majority of students are Tohono O'odham.

TOCAonline is an organization whose mission is to bring about cultural revitalization and sustainable community development for the Tohono O’odham Nation. TOCA has four program concentration areas: basket-weavers, community arts and culture, youth/elder outreach, and a community food system.

Books and resources specific to the Tohono O’odham

Site with links to Tohono O’odham literature

Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians,
Bernard L. Fontana, John P. Schaefer (Photographer), Univ. Arizona Press.
Beliefs and Holy Places: A Spiritual Geography of the Pimeria Alta,
James S. Griffith, Univ. Arizona Press.
Gathering the Desert, Gary Paul Nabhan, Paul Mirocha (Illustrator),
Univ. Arizona Press. (reprint, 1987)
The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country,
Gary Paul Nabhan, North Point Press, 1987
Singing for Power: The Song Magic of the Papago Indians of Southern Arizona,
Ruth Murray Underhill, Univ. Arizona Press.
Rainhouse & Ocean: Speeches for the Papago Year,
Ruth Murray Underhill, Donald M. Bahr, Baptisto Lopez, Jose Pancho (Contributors), Univ. Arizona Press.
Papago Woman,
Ruth Murray Underhill, Waveland Press.
O’odham Creation and Related Events, (The Southwest Center Series)
As told to Ruth Benedict, Univ. Arizona Press.
Earth Movements/Jewed I-Hoi,
Ofelia Zepeda, Kore Press.
Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert,
Ofelia Zepeda, Univ. Arizona Press.
(Ofelia Zepeda is a critically acclaimed author who grew up on the Tohono O’odham nation)
Legends and Lore of the Papago and Pima Indians,
D. Saxton & L. Saxton, 1973, U of Arizona Press (out of print)
(This is presented both in O’odham and with English translation. Various chapters cover creation, animals etc. Some related to astronomy.)

Sing Down the Rain

Judi Moreillon, author of the book Sing Down the Rain about the Tohono O'odham saguaro wine-making tradition, has created an educational website to accompany the teaching of the book. Intended for young school-aged children, the book includes reference to desert ecology and weather. The site includes pages for teachers and for students.