Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tohono O'odham Reservation

This image shows an example of the Gate that cuts across the Tohono O'odham reservation separating the United State side from Mexico’s. Although this piece of land is not technically in Maricopa County its existence on this land creates and interesting problem for some of the Tohono O'odham. Image Rights to Mark Potter, NBC News -

This Image Represents the Tohono O'odham building where the most of their government officials keep offices and conduct many meetings throughout the year. It is also a center for all of the men and women to meet for a number of occasions. Image Rights belong to Justin Doom, Cronkite News Service -

The Tohono O'odham Reservation is a site where only a piece of the land extends into Maricopa County, but it is especially important because of the events and actions that take place elsewhere on the Indian Reservation. The Tohono O'odham Reservation’s land sits on the southwest region of the Maricopa County map, but then also runs all the way down to the southernmost part of the state sharing a side of the border to Mexico. The interesting part about the shared border with Mexico, is that both nations have acknowledged that the Tohono O'odham have claim to tribal lands which extends from the US into Mexico and that they should be granted easy access to all of that land. Currently standing in the middle of the reservation is a gate which is often unguarded by United States and Mexican officers and that allows the Tohono O'odham people to cross the line between the US and Mexico at will. The concern of US Immigration and Drug Enforcement officers is that where there is unguarded traffic through an Indian reservation it will serve as a welcome sign for drug and human smugglers as well as immigrants trying to access the United States illegally. Over the last ten years in the height of immigration arguments there has been more of a push to control the traffic to only official events. That goal would seek to discontinue what’s now seen as an “open door policy” for people passing through the land.

Federal immigration concerns are low on the totem pole of importance for the Tohono O'odham people; they are experiencing a far greater issue with the split of their people living on different pieces of their land. There are O’odham people living in what is referred to as “Sonora O’odham” and “Arizona O’odham” and this split has rendered a different type of interaction between what was once one group of tribesmen and women (Cadava, 379). The Sonoran O’odham became concerned with the distant relationships with their brothers and sisters because those who lived in Arizona in Maricopa County land were much closer to tourism and other jobs that generated money for personal growth, health care, and other events. The O’odham that chose to live on their land in Mexico did not have these same opportunities, and thus created a rift in the solidarity of its membership.

- Bill Harden, Allie Desrochers, and Jake Powell


Cadava, Geraldo L. "Borderlands of Modernity and Abandonment: The Lines within Ambos Nogales and the Tohono O’odham Nation."Journal of American History 98.2 (2011): 362-383. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.

Woods, Teri Knutson, Karen Blaine, and Lauri Francisco. "O'odham Himdag as a Source of Strength and Wellness Among the Tohono O'odham of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico." Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 29.1 (2002): 35. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.

Lawson, Angelica. "Resistance and Resilience in Ofelia Zepeda's "Ocean Power.." Kenyon Review 32.1 (2010): 180-198. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.

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