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Tohono O'Odham(tōhō`nō ō-ō`dəm) or
Papago(păp`əgō', pä`–), Native North Americans speaking a language that belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and that is closely related to that of their neighbors, the PimaPima
, Native North American tribe of S Arizona. They speak the Pima language of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic family (see Native American languages). There are two divisions, the Lower Pima and the Upper Pima.
..... Click the link for more information. . The probable ancestors of both the Pima and the Tohono O'Odham were the HohokamHohokam
, term denoting the culture of the ancient agricultural populations inhabiting the Salt and Gila river valleys of S Arizona (A.D. 300–1200). They are noted for their extensive irrigation systems, with canals over 10 mi (16 km) long that channeled water to
..... Click the link for more information. people. They were a semisedentary tribe who farmed corn, beans, and cotton and gathered wild vegetable products (e.g., the beans of the mesquite and the fruit of the giant cactus). Although farming remains the major economic activity of the Tohono O'Odham, many now are engaged in cattle raising. The women are known as excellent basket makers. The Tohono O'Odham formerly suffered dreadful depredations from their enemy, the Apache. They were early visited by Spanish missionaries, including Father Eusebio KinoKino, Eusebio Francisco
, c.1644–1711, missionary explorer in the American Southwest, b. Segno, in the Tyrol. He was in 1669 admitted to the Jesuit order. A distinguished mathematician, he observed the comet of 1680–81 at Cádiz, publishing his results in his
..... Click the link for more information. in 1694. In the 1860s they joined with the Pima and Maricopa in helping the United States to force a peace with the Apache. By an executive act of 1874 the United States created a reservation for the Tohono O'Odham in S Arizona; another was created in 1917. Today they live on these and on Pima and Maricopa reservations as well, all in Arizona. In 1990 there were close to 17,000 Tohono O'Odham in the United States; many others live in Sonora, Mexico.
See R. M. Underhill, Social Organization of the Papago Indians (1939, repr. 1969); J. Waddell, Papago Indians at Work (1969); B. Fontanta, Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians (1989).