Ajo, Arizona & Tohono O’odham Nation, March 14-18, 2016
Our 2016 Field School was based in the old mining community of Ajo, AZ, celebrated for its desert environs and rich cultural history. Our fieldwork included the following activities:
- Tohono O’odham Basketry: A visit with basket weavers in Covered Wells for a demonstration and discussion. Led by Regina Siquieros, herself a basket weaver.
- Tohono O’odham Pottery: A visit to the Tohono O’odham Cultural Center in Sells, AZ to learn about traditional pottery from Master Traditional Artist Reuben Naranjo.
- Cooking Demonstrations and Meals: Sampling traditional recipes from the Desert Rain Cafe and local Ajo Home Cooks.
- Ajo Memory Project: A lesson in the tri-cultural history of Ajo with former residents of Indian Village and Mexican Town documented in oral histories and ethnographies conducted with Dr. Maribel Alvarez, Lorraine Eiler, and ISDA.
- Ethnobotany Workshop: Drive/hikes around the Ajo Scenic Loop with Lorraine Eiler to identify and understand all the edible desert plants.
- Writing & Photography: Basic skills workshops in ethnographic and creative writing styles with Kimi Eisele and documentary photography with Josh Schachter.
Here are some of the participants’ written and visual accounts of the experience:
The 2016 Field School was co-presented by the University of Arizona, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and The Southwest Center, and supported by a grant from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, which supports university and community partnerships to find solutions to social and environmental challenges. A special thank you also to the Marshall Foundation, who seeks to enhance the lives of the citizens of Tucson and Pima County through its support of charitable and educational institutions.
Also big thanks to the Sonoran Desert Conference Center in the heart of Ajo, AZ for hosting our stay and making our experience an authentic one!