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Ancestral Homeland: Sourthern Arizona

Various Names / Spellings: also known as Tohono O'odham


Tribal Headquarters

Tohono O'odham Nation
P. O. Box 837
Sells, AZ 85634
Phone: 1.520.383.2028
Fax: 1.520.383.3379
Reservation Population 2010:
Tohono O'odham 10,201
Gila River 11,712
Maricopa (Akchin) 1,001
Total is 22,914


Before the arrival of the whites, the Pima were civilized and fighting on and off against the Apache (they were really Chippewa's) who lived to their east. After the white invasion, the Apache forced their way further west and south. Apaches may have lived as far south as the northern part of the Mexican State of Sinaloa.

By the mid 18th century, the Apache were living in southeastern Arizona and sending their soldiers as far west as the Colorado River (the Yuma region or land of the Yuma Apache), to combat the white invaders.

After the revolver was invented, the United States quickened their westward expansion and by the 1840s were causing trouble in Arizona. The Pima could not avoid that trouble. Nor could the Apache. A Reservation was created for the Pima in 1859. However, as more whites invaded, more Pima joined the Apache.

In 1872, the United States created the Chiricahua Apache Reservation which borders the eastern lands of the Pima. It was located in southeastern Arizona and eradicated soon after by the United States. After the Chiricahua Reservation was eradicated, many of the Apache and Pima were relocated to the San Carlos Reservation.

Not all Apache and Pima relocated to San Carlos however. Many continued to live throughout the Chiricahua Reservation and fight the invading whites. After Geronimos fight in 1886, the fighting stopped. For the next 30 years, the Tohono O'odham (they were really Chippewa's) continued to live in southern central Arizona and southeastern Arizona (where the old Chiricahua Reservation was located) and northern Sonora.

The Papago Reservation includes the first Papago Reservation created for the Pima at San Xavier on July 1, 1874. The Gila Bend Reservations were created on December 12, 1882 and modified (supposedly reduced in size) on June 17, 1909 (more about that is below) and in 1987 was transferred to the United States. Replacement lands were put into trust in 2004. In 1916, negotiations supposedly led to the creation (reduction) of the largest part of the Papago Reservation or the Sells Papago Reservation.

Today, these five Reservations which include Gila Bend, Gila River, Maricopa or Akchin, Papago (Tohono O'odham or Sells), and San Xavier are known as the Tohono O'odham Reservation. They prefer Tohono O'odham Nation. It was originally known as the Papago Reservation. Most of the citizens of the Tohono O'odham Reservation are Chippewa.

In 1902, the population of Gila Bend Reservation was 693, while San Xavier had a population of 531. It was also reported in 1902, that the Nomadic Papago of Arizona (they had no Reservation and supposedly were Pima but were really the Kickapoo Saginaw Chippewa's) had a population of 2,046. So the total Papago population in 1902 was 3,270.

By the time of the Indian Reorganization Act's 1930s population estimates, Gila Bend had a population of 228, San Xavier had a population of 525, and Papago had a population of 5,146. An increase in the Papago population can be attributed to the population decline at Gila Bend and the relocation of the Montana Chippewa's, to Arizona.

The Kickapoo

They are Algonquin as are the Apache and Navajo. The Kickapoo originally lived in southeastern Michigan and northern Ohio or the land of the Saginaw Chippewa's who are also known as the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa's. They (the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa's) probably originally lived in Montana. Ojibway authors from the 19th century, wrote about the Chippewa's forcing their way east, from a westerly location. The 1832 Edinburgh Encyclopedia recorded that the Leni Lenape, who are also known as the Delaware, forced their way east from a location along the Missouri River. The Delaware speak Chippewa according to the 19th century Ojibway author Peter Jones.

The Kickapoo Chippewa's have lived in Arizona for an extremely long time. Their territory probably extended as far south as northern Sinaloa, if not much further south. Today, the Saginaw Kickapoo Chippewa's are continuing to cling to their Anishinabe identity in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. In Arizona, they are living in southeastern Arizona, just west of their old Chiricahua Reservation. They are trying to gain State and Federal Recognition in Arizona. To better their chances of gaining State or Federal Recognition, they know they can't claim to be Chippewa. Read the Seven Fires Prophecy. Click this link to read about the Kickapoo of Arizona.

The 1909 Montana Chippewa Deportations

In 1909, the United States again refused to honor treaty. They commenced to round up the Chippewa's who continued to live throughout the Reservations they created for them, before or after the 1896 Deportations. Chief Rocky Boy had no choice but to act on behalf of the Montana Chippewa's. If he didn't he possibly faced jail time.

In 1908, chief Rocky Boy commenced to gather the Little Shell Chippewa's who lived in the mountains north, east, and southeast of Helena. They were sent to a location near Helena to await Deportations. Chief Rocky Boy was obviously ordered to also gather the Little Shell Chippewa's who lived around Great Falls, Montana. Indian Agent Frank Churchill was sent to Montana in 1908-1909, to find chief Rocky Boy to negotiate with him about the Deportations.

Churchill found chief Rocky Boy at a Chippewa village near Garrison, Montana (it was located very near the St. Peters Mission near Ulm, Montana which is 4 miles northeast of Garrison) and both commenced to negotiate about locations which would be suitable for relocating the Montana Chippewa's To.

One location was Blackfeet Reservation. In November of 1909, several hundred Chippewa's were deported to the 4th Blackfeet Reservation. The Land Acts were likely the main reason for the Deportations. Churchill had to request that all of Valley County, Montana (it was really Fort Peck Reservation) be withdrawn from white settlement and a new 2,592 sq. mi. Chippewa Reservation be created. Both requests were granted. William R. Logan, who was the Superintendent of Fort Belknap Reservation, was put in charge of finding land for the new Chippewa Reservation from the Fort Peck Reservation.

He had the land south and west of Fort Belknap Reservation added on to Fot Belknap Reservation. Chief Rocky Boy was instrumental in having that new Reservation created. It didn't just up and disappear. It's still there. Chief Rocky was also probably responsible for the creation of the Sells Papago Reservation. It was not created in 19165-1917. In 1909, the United States was very aware of the coming Mexican Civil War and knew they had to keep the Arizona Indians out of that coming conflict.

The Sells Papago Reservation's Creation

While chief Rocky Boy was negotiating with Frank Churchill, both probably negotiated about having new Chippewa Reservations created in southern Arizona. In 1909, there were yet around 2,000 Kickapoo Chippewa's living in southeastern Arizona. They were landless like the Montana Chippewa's. The United States did not want them getting involved in the coming Mexican Civil War.

Chief Rocky Boy acted on their behalf. He also requested that those Chippewa's in Montana who did not want to move to the 4th Blakfeet Reservation and Fort Belknap Reservation, or were not allowed to move to those Montana Reservations, be relocated to Arizona.

On June 17, 1909, the Sells Papago Reservation was created. It is an extension of the Gila Bend Reservation. Gila Bend Reservation was not reduced in size in 1909. American leaders knew better. The Mexican Civil War was on the horizon. After the Gila Bend Reservation was enlarged it may have covered close to 6,000 sq. mi. After it was enlarged, the Kickapoo Chippewa's who lived in southeastern Arizona, commenced to move to the Gila Bend Reservation which is now known as the Sells Papago Reservation.

And many Montana Chippewa's were boarded onto trains and relocated to the new large Reservation in southern Arizona, adjacent to Mexico. That happened in the 1909-1910 time period. What the United States did actually kept the Arizona Indians out of the Mexican Civil War. They did keep their promise. However, they did force Chippewa children to attend white boarding schools where they were not allowed to speak in their native language. They eventually lost their Chippewa Tribal identity.

In 1916-1917, the United States reduced the size of the Gila Bend Reservation. The Sells Papago Reservation now covers 4,453 sq. mi. It is no longer connected to the Gila Bend Reservation, Gila River Reservation, and Maricopa or Akchin Reservation. Reservation leaders do know their Reservation was larger. They don't know, however, that it has a corrupted history. We were told to look along the trail for evidence. I'm referring to the Seven Fires Prophecy of course. The events in Montana and Arizona in 1909, are connected. That is very obvious. You have to deal with this. A rebirth of the Chippewa Nation is involved. If you refuse to cooperate, you will lose everything.

Brief Timeline

1687: Father Eusebio Kino teaches the Papago to grow wheat, chickpeas, onions, and melons

1853: The Gadsden Purchase brings Papago lands to the United States

1876: The tribe makes peace with the Apache

1917: Sells Reservation established

1986: Tribe changes name from Papago to Tohono O' odham

Additional References to the History of the Tribe


Sells Resrvation

Tohono O'odham Reservation


Pima Agency


New Mexico Superintendency

Arizona Superintendency


Correspondence and Census Records

Tribe Agence Location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 75 Rolls 962

Roll Number




Post-1885 Census

M595 RG 75 Rolls 595

Roll Number




Papago Pima Agency, 1901-51

Washington D.C.

and Los Angeles

- - 347-61, 478, 480-85 FHL Films: 579757-579770, and FHL 580740

Vital Records

Important Web Sites



  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published


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  • This page was last modified on 14 January 2015, at 16:05.
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