Journal No. 4, Tanner Smith – Feeling Some Level of Competence 5/7/19

Going into our talks at the Tohono O’odham museum, I felt like I had bits of pieces of knowledge about the O’odham culture that I had learned in class, along with what I learned the rest of the trip, but I had a feeling like something was missing. The readings were incredibly helpful in laying a foundation, but the talks, even though they were long, were incredibly helpful. I reached a point where I started to feel comfortable with my base of knowledge about the Tohono O’odham, with the obvious caveat that I could study the O’odham for years and still not completely understand all of the intricacies of their culture. One piece that I especially felt uncomfortable with going into today was the border situation, which the Tohono O’odham chief of public safety really helped to clarify for me today. The fact that the O’odham police have jurisdiction over their land and their courts with the exception of immigration and the drug trade was slightly surprising to me, but both makes sense and is encouraging in terms of O’odham autonomy. The programs described by several of the speakers, such as the environmental preservation programs, archeological conservation programs, and economic development plans were all impressive to me. The O’odham are obviously not completely where they want to be in all of these areas right now, but they seem to have clear goals as well as nuanced plans to get where they want to go.

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