Tohono O'odham Nation reservations are in extreme south-central Arizona.

The Tohono O'odham lands lie in the arid Sonoran Desert, which is characterized by wide valleys, plains and jutting mountain ranges rising to nearly 8,000 feet. The

reservation consists of four separated reservation lands in the

Sonoran Desert and covers a total area of 2,854,881 acres, about

the same size as the state of Connecticut. The largest, known as the

Tohono O'odham Reservation, stretches 90 miles across Pima

County, contains 2,773,357 acres and also extends across the

Mexican border. Northwest of the Tohono O'odham Reservation lies

the 10,409-acre Gila Bend Reservation. To the east, near Tucson, is

the 71,095-acre San Xavier Reservation. And just east of the Gila

River Reservation and west of the city of Florence, is the 20-acre

Florence Village.

 

Federal, state and tribal agencies are the largest employers on the

Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. Cattle raising and related

activities form the second major economic sector. The agricultural,

retail-tourism, and utilities sectors of the reservation economy are

expected to grow as tribal development plans are implemented.

Additional jobs will result from construction activities such as the new

Indian housing units at Sells, a new shopping center with Bashas’

Supermarket, three mining and chemical concerns, ASARCO, Inc.,

MINEREC Mining Chemical, Inc., and AURA, Inc., as well as several

tourism facility projects.

 

The Tohono O'odham welcome economic growth and have

developed an industrial park on the San Xavier Reservation near

Tucson. Caterpillar, the maker of heavy-duty equipment, is currently

a tenant. Also within the Industrial Park is an active 23-acre Foreign

Trade Zone.

 

Tohono O'odham contains many areas of tourist interest. The

ruggedness of the mountains and the vast undeveloped landscape

inspire great admiration. Kitt Peak National Observatory has 18 telescopes

in operation, including one of the largest optical telescopes

in North America. A paved highway runs to the summit of the peak

with a large picnic area near the top.

 

Nine miles south of Tucson is the most beautiful mission structure

in the Southwest, San Xavier Del Bac Mission. Registered as a

National Historic Landmark, it has been used continuously by the

Papago for more than two centuries. Fifteen miles southeast of the

Nation's capital, Sells, on the Tohono O'odham Reservation,

Baboquivari Peak is the legendary home of I'itoi, the Papago

Creator. It also has a picnic area.

 

The annual Tohono O'odham All-Indian Rodeo and Fair, held in

October, has become one of the outstanding rodeo attractions in

the Southwest. With the Rodeo comes an opportunity for the public

to see and buy Tohono O'odham basketry and pottery and to enjoy

local food.