Leadership

Ned Norris Jr., Chairman
Wavalene M. Saunders, Vice Chairwoman
Legislative Council

(updated May 2022)

Contact Information

Address: PO Box 837

Sells, AZ 85634

Phone: 520-383-2028

Health and Human Services Executive Director:

Veronic Geronimo veronica.geronimo@tonation-nsn.gov

Education Executive Director:

Jeffers Choyguha jeffers.choyguha@tonation-nsn.gov

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer:

Peter Steere peter.steere@tonation-nsn.gov

Tohono O'odham Institutional Review Board:

irb@tonation-nsn.gov

Website

GOVERNANCE: Three independent branches of government include; Executive (Chairman and Vice-Chairwoman), Legislative (Tribal Council with two representatives from each of the 11 Tohono O'odham districts), and Judicial (Courts and Judges).

The Chairman and Vice-Chairwoman (Executive Branch), and Tribal Council representatives are elected for staggered 4-year terms. Elections are held in odd years. The Tribal Council elects from its own membership a Legislative Chairman and Legislative Vice-Chairman to serve 2 years. The Tribal Council representatives each serve on three of the Legislative Councils 12 standing committees.

Each of the eleven districts has its own governing district council with at least five representatives, including a chairman and vice-chairman. Each district governs itself in matters of local concern.

The Tribal Council meets monthly for 5-day general sessions.

The Tohono O'odham Nation resides in Congressional District 3, Legislative District 4. 


CONSTITUTION AND RESEARCH GUIDELINES: 

Tohono O'odham Constitution (Adopted March 1986)

Tohono O'odham Constitution (Adopted March 1986)
view | download 1.27 MB

Tohono O'odham Research Code

Tohono O'odham Research Code
view | download 373.85 KB

Tohono O'odham Code

If you are interested in doing research with Tohono O'odham Nation, visit the Institutional Review Board website for more information.


COMMUNITY PROFILE: The Tohono O'odham Nation, "People of the Desert," have lived in the region for more than 10,000 years. The federally-recognized sovereign nation was greatly affected by the legacy of the 1853 Gadsden Purchase, which split their lands between the United States and Mexico. Twentieth-century federal policies of forced relocation moved numerous Tohono O'odham families outside of Arizona, yet many continue to live in the Sonoran desert of their ancestral lands. Prior to the 1980s, the Tohono O'odham were known as the Papago Tribe.

The Nation is comprised of four distinct segments. The largest of these (the Tohono O'odham Reservation) is located 63 miles west of Tucson, Arizona, and is more than 2.8 million acres. San Xavier, the second largest land base, is 71,095 acres. Smaller areas are the San Lucy District (near Gila Bend, AZ), and Florence Village (near Florence, AZ). The Tohono O'odham Nation is organized into 11 districts with Sells, Arizona, functioning as the Nation's capital. 

The Tohono O'odham Nation operates a two-year accredited community college in Sells, Arizona, offering numerous degrees, certificates, and other credentials. Principal economic activities include tourism - most notably the Mission San Xavier del Bac - and three casinos. The casinos employ more than 1,200 Native American and non-Native people.  The Nation also operates other facilities, such as the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority, Tohono O'odham Economic Development Authority, and the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise. 

 

Tohono O'odham Nation Reservation or Off Reservation Trust Land

Arizona

United States

Total Population*  10,826 7,174,064 326,509,328
Number of Households 2,909 2,643,430 122,354,219
Average Household Size 3.64 2.65 2.6
Median Age 30.9 37.9 38.2
Population Under Age 18 30.9% 22.9% 22.4%
Population Over Age 65 13.3% 17.7% 16.1%
Speaks a Language Other Than English in Household 36.8% 26.7% 21.5%
Married-Couple Households 23.0% 57.0% 58.6%
Owner-Occupied Housing Units 66.2% 65.3% 64.4%
Age 25+ with High School Degree or Higher 74.2% 87.9% 88.5%
Median Household Income $35,952 $61,529 $64,994
Below Federal Poverty Threshold 43.4% 14.1% 12.8%
Households with at Least One Computing Device 72.1% 93.3% 91.9%
Households with a Desktop/Laptop 43.8% 80.6% 78.3%

*All statistics are from the 2016-2020 American Community Survey, 5-year estimates.