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Tohono O’odham Nation

 

Just a few miles from Tucson is the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation, a local indigenous tribe with a rich culture and history—as well as its own governance. The federally recognized tribe has 28,000 members, largely in southwestern Arizona, and is the second biggest reservation in the state in both geographical size and population. With 2.8 million acres totally 4,460 square miles, the reservation is about the same size as Connecticut.

Thousands of years ago, the Hohokam settled in the Sonoran Desert and were experts at desert dwelling. Crops including corn, squash, cotton and tobacco were farmed here, and huge ceremonial mounts and ball courts were built along the red rocks. The tribe still uses meteorological principles to guide harvesting, planting and water delivery systems.

Visiting the Reservation

Guests are welcomed to many parts of the reservation, but if you’d prefer to stick to Tucson and still want a taste of this rich culture, check out Café Santa Rosa! The Native-owned restaurants brings tribal flavors and dishes to the city, such as “Indian tacos,” popovers, and special tortillas.

On the reservation, you’ll find a variety of administrative offices, a welcome center, restaurants, shops and more. When visiting Tucson, take a peek into the history of the region and visit the reservation for a unique perspective on desert life.

 

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