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Tohono O'odham Nation Delegation Visits the AMNH

Tohono O'odham Nation
Tohono O'odham Nation representatives visit the AMNH's anthropology collections. Left to right: Anthony Garcia, Mary Lucy Zazueta, Timothy Antone, Marlakay Henry, Tommy Carlos, and Samuel Fayuant.
M. Shanley/©AMNH

In November 2019, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Division of Anthropology, welcomed six representatives from the Tohono O'odham Nation (formerly known as "Papago"). The delegation members included: Timothy Antone, Medicine Man and traditional healer; Tommy Carlos, council representative for the Gu Achi District; Samuel Fayuant, Cultural Affairs Specialist; Anthony Garcia; Marlakay Henry, Cukut Kuk District Legislative Representative and Preservation Committee member; and Mary Lucy Zazueta, Medicine Woman and traditional healer.

The Tohono O'odham Nation is one of four federally recognized Tohono O'odham bands that trace their history to life in the Sonoran Desert, situated in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. All of the groups speak varying dialects of the O'odham language, also spoken by the Akimel O'odham (formerly "Pima") and Hia C-ed O'odham (formerly "Sand Papagos"). Today, the Tohono O’odham Nation in the United States includes approximately 28,000 members occupying 2.8 million acres of tribal lands in southwestern Arizona.

This visit was funded by a National Park Service Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act consultation grant. The group reviewed Tohono O'odham ethnographic material, identified objects for potential repatriation, discussed the history of the collection, and ritually cleansed ceremonial pieces. This consultation marks the second visit from a Tohono O'odham delegation to AMNH and continues the ongoing relationship between the Museum and the O'odham people.