One group of Pima are called the Tohono O'odam. They live in Northwest Mexico and in the state of Arizona, specifically in the Sonoran desert. There are around 20,000 in total and they speak O'odham, English, and Spanish. They follow Christianity and their traditional religion.

Representatives from the Tohono O'odam Nation (and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe)
Representatives from the Tohono O'odam Nation (and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe)


The Tohono O'odam are having problems on the borderland because people are dying on their land. They have a large reservation (the size of Connecticut!) right on the border and these people cross the reservation because they need to cross without papers. People choose to cross through the reservation because there is no border patrol there. Some are innocent immigrants who just want to have a better life in the US, but some are drug dealers.

It is bad for the Tohono O'Odam when people cross their land illegally because of two reasons. First, there is a lot of drug dealing that goes on illegally on their land. For example, 100,000 pounds of marijuana, 144 grams of cocaine, and 6,500 grams of methamphetamines were seized by the police on the reservation in just 2003. The second reason is that tons of trash and human waste is left behind by people who are crossing the border. This is bad because the wildlife, vegetation, and water quality are affected. Also, smugglers leave old and rusty vehicles behind, and it is hard to tow the cars because it will be expensive and it hurts the environment when the vehicles are left in the desert.


Old rusty car in the desert
Old rusty car in the desert


Because of all of this, they don't want people crossing on their land. They don't put out food and water, and they don't let other people help the immigrants either. Because they don't have water, many immigrants crossing the Tohono O'odam land die. In fact, more people die on the reservation each year than in any other place in Arizona. This situation is bad for the Tohono O'odam, the environment, and the immigrants.

Tohono O'odam chairman Ned Norris Jr. said, "We didn't ask for this situation. The fact that the US government increased security to the east and the west of the nation... really created a funnel effect of illegal migrant activity and drug activity on tribal land."

To find out everything about the Tohono O'odam and their problem with the border and immigration, look at these links right now:

http:/// reports/Tohono.shtm
http://www.desertinvasion.us/ invasion_pictures/invasion_ tohono.html
http://64.38.12.138/News/2006/ 015992.asp
http://tucsoncitizen.com/view- from-baja-arizona/2010/09/01/ tohono-oodham-deadly-place- for-migrants/.