The Tohono O’odham Nation encompases spectacular southern Arizona landscapes and fascinating history within its vast traditional homeland. With Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to its west, Tucson and Saguaro National Monument to its east and Mexico bordering it to the south, the Tohono O’odham Nation is the third largest tribal nation in the United States at 4,453 square miles.
Since time immemorial, southern Arizona has been the homeland of the O’odham–a resilient, resourceful People whose expertly crafted baskets are sought worldwide. Tohono O’odham means “People of the Desert” in the O’odham language. The Tohono O’odham call their homeland Papgueria. For centuries the Tohono O’odham were called the Papago, an ancient Castilian Spanish word meaning “tepary bean eaters,” but in the 1980s they re-established themselves in their own language as Tohono O’odham (“Desert People”).
Many place names throughout Arizona are derived from O’odham words including Tucson, which is O’odham for Sentinel Mountain, meaning “black base.” Tucson International Airport (TUS) serves as the primary gateway to the Tohono O'odham Nation. A journey from the airport to tribal lands allows travelers to witness the gradual transition from the bustling city to the tranquil expanse of the Sonoran Desert.