As Tohono O’odham, we walk in two worlds. The world of our ancestors, and the world of today. Our goal is to walk through these worlds while holding fast to our himdag (a guiding life principal that all is connected, all is sacred). Himdag certainly applies to humankind as interconnected individuals, but it also extends to all that is, has been, and will be. Himdag is our ancestors, still with us. When applied, this O’odham principal has universal benefits.
Our Elders impress upon us the duty of maintaining our himdag, and our inherent rights as O’odham. We remain today because of our ancestors’ perseverance, because they protected our traditional ceremonies and traditional ways of life. This includes our relationship with the land. One Elder wisely cautioned, “if we don't return to these ways, our ways, we will be lost...” The revitalization of our lifeways cannot be achieved by one person, it must be done in community, the way we were designed.
Many know that Tohono O’odham Nation is expansive. Lesser understood is the sacredness of the Nation’s land and the oneness of the land and the O’odham. Part of our himdag, part of our inherent rights, is working with the land as taught by our ancestors. We honor the land, and in turn, the land provides. For thousands of years, we have lived in harmony with the land. We pray for the land, we sing to the land, we listen to the land. The younger generation needs to learn the value of these practices and their relationship to the land. They need leaders to show them that their himdag is as relevant today as ever. These teachings bring us together, they unify and strengthen. These teachings ensure that tomorrow comes.
All is connected.
NAAF and contributing members of GuVo District
Tohono O’odham Nation
The Tohono O’odham Nation is a federally-recognized tribe that includes approximately 28,000 members occupying tribal lands in Southwestern Arizona. The Nation is the second-largest reservation in Arizona in both population and geographical size, with a land base of 2.8 million acres and 4,460 square miles, approximately the size of the State of Connecticut. Its four non-contiguous segments total more than 2.8 million acres at an elevation of 2,674 feet.
GuVo District is one of eleven Districts located on the Western side of the Tohono O’odham Nation and located in Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert bordering Sonora Mexico. GuVo District is comprised of four Communities: GuVo, Ku:Kaj, Pia Oik, and Ali Chugk, and home to several ancient ancestral villages and sites.
The total enrollment on the reservation is 739 and 1808 off-reservation. This adds up to a total of 2547 enrollments.
The Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman is Ned Norris, Sr. and Vice Chairwoman is Wavalene Saunders-Romero. The GuVo Chairwoman is Marcia Ortega and Vice Chairwoman is Emilio Lewis.