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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 principle 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

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 Verlon Jose and Vice Chairwoman is Carla Johnson. The GuVo Chairwoman is Cynthia Saavedra and Vice Chairman is Gary Ortega.



NAAF’s Board President Susan Warmack was born in GuVo District and grew up living on the Tohono O’odham Nation. In 2010, her nine-year-old son David, recognizing a need for literacy in his village, challenged his mother to help him organize a program to assist the community. As a young child, David enjoyed visiting his mother’s childhood home in the village of GuVo and learning about his heritage from his grandmother in her native language. Realizing that the children in his village had access to very few books, David was inspired to develop a way to share his love of learning with his community. 
With the involvement and support of the people of GuVo, and the counsel of Dr. Tim Finan from The University of Arizona, David and Susan incorporated the Native American Advancement Foundation as a nonprofit organization in April of 2011 and obtained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on September 19, 2011.  

Our History
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