Pascua Yaqui Tribe

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Yaqui Native Americans in southern Arizona.

Descended from the Yaqui people of Mexico, the ancestors of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe first settled in the United States near Nogales and south Tucson in the early 1800s. In the early 20th century, the tribe began to expand into settlements north of Tucson in an area they named Pascua Village, and in Guadalupe, near Tempe. They gained recognition by the United States government on September 18, 1978.


In 552 AD, Yaquis were living in family groups along the Yaqui River (Yoem Vatwe) north to the Gila River, where they gathered wild desert foods, hunted game and cultivated corn, beans, and squash. Yaquis traded native foods, furs, shells, salt, and other goods with many indigenous groups of central North America. Among these groups are the Shoshone, the Comanche, the Pueblos, the Pimas, the Aztecs, and the Toltec. Yaquis roamed extensively in pre-Columbian times and sometimes settled among other native groups like the Zunis. After contact with non-Natives, the Yaquis came into an almost constant 400 year conflict with Spanish colonists and the later Mexican republic, a period known as the Yaqui Wars, which ended in 1929. The wars drove many Yaquis north from Mexico and into Arizona.


Pima County Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Pascua Yaqui highlighted
This image shows the location of the Pascua Yaqui Reservation in Pima County, Arizona.

In 1964, Congressman Morris K. Udall introduced a bill in Congress for the transfer to the Tribe of 202 acres (0.82 km2) southwest of Tucson. The bill was approved in August 1964 and the Pascua Yaqui Association, a nonprofit Arizona corporation, was formed to receive the deed for the land from the federal government. In early 1977, Mr. Raymond Yberra and Mr. Anselmo Valencia, representing the Pascua Yaqui Association, met with US Senator Dennis DeConcini (D -AZ) to urge him to introduce legislation to provide complete Federal Recognition of the Yaqui people living on the property conveyed to the Pascua Yaqui Association by the United States through the Act of October 8, 1964. (78 Stat. 1197). Senator DeConcini introduced S.1633 on June 7, 1977. After extensive hearings and consideration, it was passed by the senate on April 5, 1978. It was accepted by the Conference Committee with the House of Representatives and the Conference Report was passed by the Senate. It became public law, PL 95-375, on September 18, 1978.The law provides for all federal services and benefits including those provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service. It gives the tribe powers of self-government, with Reservation status for Yaqui lands. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona received designation as a historical tribe in 1994. In 1988 the Tribe's first constitution was approved. The Pascua Pueblo Yaqui Reservation (32°06′56″N 10°04′48″W / 32.11556°N 10.08000°W) is located in Pima County, in the southwestern part of the Tucson metropolitan area, amidst the suburban communities of Drexel Heights and Valencia West, and adjacent to the eastern section of the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation, known as the San Xavier Indian Reservation. It has a land area of 4.832 km² (1.8657 sq mi, or 1,194 acres), and a 2000 census resident population of 3,315 persons, over 90 percent of whom are Native Americans. The community is governed by a chairman, a vice chairman and nine tribal council members. Police protection is provided by the Tribal Police Department, and fire protection is provided by six full-time firefighters and four reserves.


Though now based in Christian teachings, dominantly Catholicism, the culture of the Pascua Yaqui has remained rich in native Indian elements. The Tribe has accepted political integration into American society, but has retained their former religious and cultural way of life.

The Yaqui people have used oral traditions to pass their history from one generation to the next.


The Tribal government is the largest employer on the reservation. In addition to a smoke shop and artisan shop, the Tribe operates the Casino of the Sun gaming facility, which includes slot machines, bingo, restaurants, games and employs more than 600 staff. Casino Del Sol, the Tribe's second gaming property, opened October 2001[1] and has provided an additional 550+ jobs on the reservation and in the Tucson Community. The expansion of Casino Del Sol opened November 11, 2011.[2] An additional 700 jobs was provided to the community with the expansion.


A tribal council is made up of eleven elected officials, dedicated to the well being and advancement of their tribe as a whole.

The Yaqui Tribal Council 2016-2020::[3] Robert Valencia, Chairman; Peter Yucupicio, Vice-Chairman; Mary Jane Buenamea, Secretary; Raymundo Baltazar, Treasurer; Antonia Campoy, Council Member; Francisco Munoz, Council Member; Francisco Valencia Council Member; Herminia Frias, Council Member; David Ramirez, Council Member; Rosa Soto Alvarez, Council Member; Cruzita Armenta, Council Member

The list of Council members from 2012-2016 was:

Peter Yucupicio Chairman, Catalina Alvarez Vice Chairwoman, Francisco Munoz Treasurer, John Escalante Council Member, Marcelino Flores Council Member, Robert Valencia Council Member, Raymond Buelna Council Member, David Ramirez Council Member, Mary Jane Buenamea Council Member, Rosa Soto Alvarez Council Member, Cruzita Armenta Council Member.

The Pascua Yaquis have a status similar to other Native American tribes of the United States. This status makes the Yaqui eligible for specific services due to trust responsibility that the United States offers Native American peoples who have suffered land loss.

A U.S. government assisted news letter, Yaqui Times, also helps in keeping the people of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe informed.

Blood quantum for membership in the Pascua Yaqui Tribe is at least one quarter Yaqui blood. The Pascua Yaqui legal system gives no allowance in quantum for other tribal blood (for instance, a person with one-eighth Yaqui blood, one-eighth Tohono O'odham blood, and one-eighth Maricopa blood can not be accepted for membership in the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.)


The Pascua Yaqui Tribe operates a Judicial Department with both trial courts and an appellate court. Criminal cases are prosecuted by a Prosecutor's Office.[4] Representation for indigent individuals is available through the Public Defender's Office.[5] The Tribe is represented by the Attorney General's Office.[6] All of these functions and a tribal police department are located in a modern Multi-Purpose Justice Center, which was opened in 2012.[7]

2013 Violence Against Women Act Pilot Project

Since the Supreme Court's majority opinion in Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, the tribal courts were prevented to trial a non-Indian person, unless specifically authorized by the Congress. This body allowed the right for the tribal courts to consider a lawsuit where a non-Indian man commits domestic violence towards a Native American woman on the territory of a Native American Tribe, through the passage of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) signed into law on March 7, 2013 by President Barack Obama. This was motivated by the high percentage of Native American women being assaulted by non-Indian men, feeling immune by the lack of jurisdiction of Tribal Courts upon them. This new law generally takes effect on March 7, 2015, but also authorizes a voluntary "Pilot Project" to allow certain tribes to begin exercising special jurisdiction sooner.[8] On February 6, 2014, three tribes were selected for this Pilot Project:[9] the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (Arizona), the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Oregon).[10]

Notable tribal members


  1. ^ "Pascua Yaqui Tribe - ITCA". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Casino Del Sol - Tucson's Premiere Luxury Resort & Casino". Casino Del Sol. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2014-06-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-06-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-06-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2014-06-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ User, Super. "Pascua Yaqui Tribe". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  8. ^ Department of Justice, Tribal Justice and Safety
  9. ^ Department of Justice, "Justice Department Announces Three Tribes to Implement Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction Under VAWA 2013"
  10. ^ Horwitz, Sari (18 April 2014). "Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law". Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via
  11. ^ "Mario Martinez: Contemporary Native Painting - Press". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Marcos Moreno Pascua Yaqui Tribe". Retrieved 17 April 2016.


External links

Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater

Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater (commonly AVA Amphitheater) is the first amphitheater concert facility, in Tucson, Arizona, with a capacity of about 4,500-5,000.

It officially opened on October 14, 2001, as part of the new Casino Del Sol, located on the Arizona Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

It is named after Anselmo Valencia Tori, a World War II veteran and former chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Association.

Arizona's 7th congressional district

Arizona's 7th congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of Arizona.

It includes much of inner Phoenix, as well as the eastern portion of Glendale. It is currently represented by Democrat Ruben Gallego.

Central Arizona Correctional Facility

The Central Arizona Correctional Facility is a medium-security privately managed state prison for men located in Florence, Pinal County, Arizona, owned and operated by the GEO Group under contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections.GEO Group's predecessor firm, Correctional Services Corporation, designed and built the facility. It opened in December 2006 and has the maximum capacity of 1280 prisoners held at a medium security level.CACF should not be confused with the nearby Central Arizona Detention Center, run by Corrections Corporation of America, which houses prisoners for the United States Marshals Service, TransCor America LLC, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Pascua Yaqui Tribe government, and the United States Air Force, but does not house Arizona state prisoners.

Central Arizona Detention Center

The Central Arizona Detention Center is a privately owned and operated managed prison for men located in Florence, Pinal County, Arizona, run by the Corrections Corporation of America housing prisoners for the United States Marshals Service, TransCor America LLC, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Pascua Yaqui Tribe government, and the United States Air Force. CADC does not house Arizona state prisoners.The 434,000 square foot facility opened in 1994 and is located on 73 acres with nine housing units. Eight of the housing units are used for U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and one housing unit designated for 78 male ICE detainees. The average population of inmates and detainees is 3,555.CADC should not be confused with the nearby Central Arizona Correctional Facility, run by GEO Group under contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections, also in Florence.

Florence, Arizona

Florence (O'odham: S-auppag) is a town, 61 miles (98 km) southeast of Phoenix, in Pinal County, Arizona, United States. Florence, which is the county seat of Pinal County, is one of the oldest towns in that county and is regarded as a National Historic District with over 25 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The population of Florence was 30,770 at the 2015 census.

Hiaki High School

Hiaki High School is a public charter high school on the Pascua Yaqui Native American reservation in Tucson, Arizona. It is operated by CPLC Community Schools.


KPYT-LP (100.3 FM, "Yoeme Radio") is a radio station licensed to serve Tucson, Arizona. The station is owned by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. It airs a Variety format and serves the Pascua Yaqui Reservation. The station is an affiliate of Native Public Media. Hector Youtsey is the manager and director of KPYT-LP.The station was assigned the KPYT-LP call letters by the Federal Communications Commission on September 12, 2005, after beginning operations of June 12 of that year.

List of first minority male lawyers and judges in Arizona

This is a list of the first minority male lawyer(s) and judge(s) in Arizona. It includes the year in which the men were admitted to practice law (in parentheses). Also included are other distinctions such as the first minority men in their state to obtain a law degree or become a political figure.

List of historic properties in Superior, Arizona

This is a list which includes a photographic gallery, of some of the structures of historic significance in Superior, a mining town in Arizona. The establishment of the Silver Queen and the later Magma mines was the main factor of the founding if the town. Superior is located approximately 70 miles (110 km) east of Phoenix and the same distance north of Tucson.

List of radio stations in Arizona

The following is a list of FCC-licensed radio stations in the U.S. state of Arizona, which can be sorted by their call signs, frequencies, cities of license, licensees, and programming formats.

Marcos A. Moreno

Marcos Anthony Moreno is a public health advocate and medical research scholar. He is of mixed ancestry but is recognized as a Native American who is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe from the Pascua Yaqui Reservation in southern Arizona just outside of Tucson. In May 2017, Marcos graduated with honors from Cornell University, receiving a Bachelor's of Science degree in Neuroscience, and a minor in American Indian Studies. He is the first person from the Pascua Yaqui Reservation to graduate from an Ivy League University.While at Cornell Marcos spent time working as a researcher in the cognitive development laboratory of Dr. Gary Evans, and Dr. Alexander Ophir's Brain and Behavior laboratory. In addition to research at Cornell University, Marcos spent time as a researcher at the University of Arizona, where he worked in the neuro-pharmacology laboratory of Dr. Todd Vanderah, publishing a study on Neurokinin Receptor -1 (NK₁R) antagonists and Substance-P (SP) implications in neurological addiction reward pathways.

Outside of work in research, Marcos has been involved with public health work with his tribe and abroad. In 2013, Marcos was a part of the St. John's University founding chapter of the Global Medical Brigades that began taking trips to west Africa to administer medical care to rural villages. In 2014 Marcos was a part of a public health project on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation aimed at assessing the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's health department, in addition to improving standards of care and standards of living on the tribe's reservation.In 2016, Marcos was awarded the Morris K. Udall Award that recognizes undergraduate scholars in the United States for their work in the fields of Environmental Activism, Public Policy, or Healthcare. In 2017 Marcos received the Henry Ricciuti Award recognizing his outstanding "distinction in research, excellence in leadership, and to exceptional community and public service". Also in 2017, Marcos received the Solomon Cook Award for Engaged Research and Scholarship, an honor awarded to one Cornell undergraduate per year.

In the fall of 2016, the Cornell Daily Sun reported that Marcos was inducted as a member of the 125th tapping class of Quill and Dagger, one of the oldest secret societies in the Ivy League. With membership now being too difficult to conceal, the names of all newly tapped Quill and Dagger members are published in Cornell's newspaper, however there is still much speculation as to what the privileges and benefits of these 'secret' organizations actually entail, as much of their practices remain unknown.

Mario Martinez (painter)

Mario Martinez (born 1953) is a Native American contemporary abstract painter. He is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe from New Penjamo (in Scottsdale), the smallest of six Yaqui settlements, in Arizona. He currently lives in New York City.

Martinez received his bachelor's degree from School of Art, Arizona State University in Tempe and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been exhibited in 2005 in a one-person retrospective at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Notable group exhibitions include: "Who Stole the Tee Pee?" at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York; "AlieNation" at the American Indian Community House Gallery. His work was recently shown at "IN/SIGHT 2010" at Chelsea Art Museum, New York and "The Importance of IN/VISIBILITY" at Abrazo Interno Gallery, New York, 2009. In 2002 Martinez was one of the first non-Japanese artists to be invited to exhibit at the Contemporary Artists Federation Group Show at the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan. In 2000, he was a visiting professor of art at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and in 2001 he received the Native Artist in Residence Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian. In 2005, Martinez completed a commission for the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; a 22-foot mural called Sonoran Desert: Yaqui Home as part of "Home: Desert Peoples in the Southwest" exhibition. Martinez will be featured in a solo exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts in Mesa, Arizona opening September 10, 2010.

Pilar Thomas

Pilar M. Thomas is an American lawyer and a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, for which she has served as attorney. She has worked on water rights, treaty rights, gaming law, and coordinated federal agency policies and efforts in tribal energy development. In addition to working in the U.S. Departments of Justice and Energy, she has served as the Deputy Solicitor of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior. Thomas participated in negotiations for the U.S. adoption of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the Department of Interior’s tribal lands leasing reform.

Same-sex marriage under United States tribal jurisdictions

The Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage in the states and most territories did not legalize same-sex marriage on Indian reservations. In the United States, Congress (not the federal courts) has legal authority over tribal reservations. Thus, unless Congress passes a law regarding same-sex marriage that is applicable to tribal governments, federally recognized American Indian tribes have the legal right to form their own marriage laws. As such, the individual laws of the various United States federally recognized Native American tribes may set limits on same-sex marriage under their jurisdictions.

Many federally recognized tribal jurisdictions do not have their own courts, relying instead on CFR courts under the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In such cases, same-sex marriage is legal under federal law. Others do have their own courts and legal codes but do not have separate marriage laws or licensing, relying instead on state law. Of those that do have their own legislation, most have no special regulation for marriages between people of the same sex or gender, and many accept as valid marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Many Native American belief systems include the two-spirit descriptor for gender variant individuals and accept two-spirited individuals as valid members of their tribes, though such traditional values are seldom reflected explicitly in the legal code. Same-sex marriage is possible in at least forty-two tribes, beginning with the Coquille Indian Tribe (Oregon) in 2009. Marriages performed in these tribes were first recognized by the Federal Government in 2013 after section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor.

At least a dozen Tribes specifically prohibit same-sex marriage and do not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Travis Edmonson

Travis Edmonson (September 23, 1932 – May 9, 2009) was an American folk singer, who performed both as a soloist and in the group Bud & Travis.


The Yaqui or Yoeme are an Uto-Aztecan speaking indigenous people of Mexico who inhabit the valley of the Río Yaqui in the Mexican state of Sonora and the Southwestern United States. They also have communities in Chihuahua, Durango and Sinaloa. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is based in Tucson, Arizona. Yaqui people live elsewhere in the United States, especially California, Texas and Nevada.

Yaqui language

Yaqui (or Hiaki), locally known as Yoeme or Yoem Noki, is a Native American language of the Uto-Aztecan family. It is spoken by about 20,000 Yaqui people, in the Mexican state of Sonora and across the border in Arizona in the United States.

Yaqui music

Yaqui music is the music of the Yaqui tribe and people of Arizona and Sonora. Their most famous music are the deer songs (Yaqui: maso bwikam) which accompany the deer dance. They are often noted for their mixture of American Indian and Catholic religious thought.

Their deer song rituals resemble those of other Uto-Aztecan groups (Yaqui is an Uto-Aztecan language) though is more central to their culture. Native and Spanish instruments are used including the harp, violin or fiddle, rasp (hirukiam, also kuta), drum, and rattles. Singing forms include the deer songs as well as messenger songs (suru bwikam), corn wine songs (vachi vino bwikam), fly songs (nahi bwikam), and coyote songs (wo'i bwikam).The first recordings of Yaqui music, including thirteen deer songs, where made by Frances Densmore in 1922.A display at the Arizona State Museum depicts the deer dance and provides a rendition of a deer song.

Because the melody spans a modest range, it is ideally suited to instruments that have a limited pitch range, and has been transcribed for the Native American flute.The deer dance, usually held all night, thanks and honors the deer, little brother (maso, little brother deer: saila maso), for coming from its home, the flower world (seyewailo), and letting itself be killed so that people may live. Deer dancers, pahkolam (ritual clowns), wear rattles around their ankles made from butterfly cacoons, honoring the insect world, and rattles from the hooves of deer around their waist, honoring the many deer who have died. The dance is also accompanied by singing and instruments including water drum (representing the deer's heartbeat) and frame drum, rasp (representing the deer's breathing), gourd rattles held by the dancers (honoring the plant world), as well as the flute, fiddle, and frame harp. The pahkolam dance, give sermons, host (providing water, etc.), joke, and put on comedic skits, such as pretending to be coyotes.

The deer singers (masobwikamem) sing lyrics describing things from nature and which may be seen by the deer. The song lyrics use a way of talking which differs slightly from casual Yaqui and resembles Yaqui elders' speech in some ways, for example syllable repetition (reduplication) such as the use of yeyewe rather than yewe ("play"), or substituting /l/ for another phoneme. Deer songs also contain important terms, such as seyewailo, which may be considered archaic. Fairly conventionalized, deer songs consist of two sections, comparable to stanzas, the first (u vat weeme) and the concluding (u tonua) parts: "the first part is sung many times and then the concluding part will fall down there." The conclusion often uses antithesis.

Municipalities and communities of Pima County, Arizona, United States
Indian reservations
Ghost towns

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