Tohono O'odham

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O'odham, English, Spanish

Christianity, Traditional

other Piman peoples

The Tohono O'odham are a group of aboriginal Americans who reside primarily in the Sonoran Desert of the southeastern Arizona and northwest Mexico. "Tohono O'odham" means "People of the Desert." Although they were previously known as the Papago, they have largely rejected this name (meaning literally "tepary-bean eater"), which was applied to them by conquistadores, who had heard them called this by other Piman bands unfriendly to the Tohono O'odham. The term Papago derives from Papawi O'odham, that with time became Papago. Pawi is the word for tepary bean in the O'odham language, Papawi the plural.



A United States reservation residing on a portion of its people's original Sonoran desert lands, the Tohono O'odham Nation within the United States is organized into 11 districts. The land lies in three counties of the state of Arizona: Pima County, Pinal County, and Maricopa County. The main reservation is located between Tucson and Ajo, Arizona, with its administrative center in the town of Sells. A few of the districts are not contiguous with the main reservation: The San Xavier District southwest of Tucson, the San Lucy District near the city of Gila Bend, and the Florence Village near the city of Florence. The reservation's land area is 11,534.012 square kilometres (4,453.307 sq mi), the third-largest Indian reservation area in the United States (after the Navajo and the Uintah and Ouray). The 2000 census reported 10,787 people living on reservation land. The tribe's enrollment office tallies a population of 25,000, with 20,000 living on its Arizona reservation lands.

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