Ak-Chin in the O’odham language means “place where the wash loses itself in the sand” or “mouth of the wash,” and refers to this fertile area some 35 miles south of Phoenix where seasonal snowmelt and summer rains absorb into Sonoran desert. The Ak-Chin Indian Community includes the ancestors of the Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham and Hia-Ced O’odham peoples who were living in the area when the federal government restored some of their lands when the reservation was created in 1912.
The new Ak-Chin Indian Community continued to farm, and in the 1960s successfully sued the federal government for water rights to the Colorado River. Today, Ak-Chin Farms commercially grows cotton, barley, potatoes, alfalfa and corn on 15,000 acres of irrigated land.
Learn more about this nation at the Ak-Chin Him Dak Eco-Museum, the Tribe’s heritage museum that displays artifacts and art that document the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s history and culture, including basketry and other art–both historic and current. The museum is curated by Tribal members and hosts the Him-Dak (“Way of Life) Community Celebration in April that includes a Fun Walk & Run, traditional dancing, face painting, artist demonstrations, kids’ activities and community information booths (www.ak-chin.nsn.us/index.php/events/him-dak-celebration). On the last Saturday in September the museum celebrates Native American Recognition Day with traditional dance, singing, food and art. Ak-Chin Indian Community also has a language program to teach the O’odham language to its citizens, and is the first Arizona Native nation to have state-certified O'odham language teachers.