Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation is in southern Arizona, 15 miles southwest of Tucson. The tribe descends from the ancient Uto-Aztecan people. Upon the arrival of the

Spanish in 1533 until the late 1870s, the Yaquis fought the Spanish

and then the Mexicans in intermittent warfare.

 

The first modern settlements of the Yaquis were near Nogales and

South Tucson. Gradually, the Yaquis spread out, settling north of

Tucson in a village they named Pascua Village and in Guadalupe

close to Tempe and Scottsdale. By 1920, there were probably more

than 2,000 Yaquis in Arizona.

 

During the development of Pascua Village and the struggle for self-determination,

cultural traditions thrived. Though based on

Christian teachings, the Yaqui culture has remained rich in native

Indian elements. The Yaquis, now calling themselves the Pascua

Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, accepted political integration into American

society but retained their old religious and cultural way of life.

In 1952, Pascua Village was annexed into the City of Tucson, where

Yaquis still live. In 1964, Congressman Morris K. Udall introduced a

bill in Congress for the transfer of 202 acres of desert land south-west

of Tucson to the Yaquis who were looking for a home where

they could keep their tribal identity. The bill was approved in

August 1964 and the Pascua Yaqui Association, a nonprofit Arizona

corporation, was formed to receive the deed for the land from the

federal government.

 

Tribal government is the largest employer on the reservation. The

tribe operates a gaming facility, Casino of the Sun, which includes

slot machines, keno, and card games. The tribe also operates a

landscape nursery business, a bingo hall, and manufactures adobe

blocks.