You can hear people talk about the traditions, culture, or even problems regarding their nation, but you never fully grasp the extent of their life until you are placed directly in it. The US society is focused on connection to one another through internet and political society. But on the Tohono O’odham nation, they are more focused on the presentation and continuation of their traditional ways placed in a world of 21stcentury problems. They are forced to reconcile their traditions with the pressure of a developing society. Joe Joaquin described his full belief in the success of his traditions and the skepticism of the outside world. As a class, we had the opportunity to understand the life of these people through conversation. We were directly placed into their lives and learned about the issues they face. We heard their voices and the passion that fuels it.
We were also given the opportunity to stay directly on the reservation in the San Solano Mission. From the outside, the church appears to be abandoned and run down. There are collapsed buildings and run down playgrounds. But inside, it is a home to migrants and friars. This is the connection they have to the reservation, providing a home for those passing through. It makes me thankful to have an opportunity to spend time on such an integral part of the reservation. While there, Grayson and I explored the area around and found the beauty in the land, especially with Baboquivari standing tall in the distance. We also had a unique opportunity to see the carpet shoes used by migrants to cross into the United States without leaving footprints. There are the memories you cannot experience elsewhere.