Energetic and self-determined, the Yaqui people have a long history rich in cultural traditions. Their traditional and spiritual value systems are based on the integration of Christian teaching with longstanding Yaqui ceremonies and beliefs. They are descendants of the ancient Uto-Aztecan people with homelands in Sonora, Mexico where 30,000 of them still reside. For nearly 200 years, they fought the Spaniards and Mexicans to preserve the Yaqui way of life. In the 1800s, many of the Yaqui escaped persecution by traveling northward and settling in current-day Southern Arizona. In 1978, the Tribe received federal recognition as a sovereign nation and created their reservation community southwest of Tucson at New Pascua. Today there are 17,000 enrolled members—and they’re still growing!
The Tribe meets the needs of their people by providing critical programs and services focused on health, housing, education and public safety. Facilities include a senior center, clinic, recreation center and Head Start program for younger children. Tribal services also provide police and fire protection and services to the reservation and surrounding community. Future expansion plans call for a wellness center, library, education center and a park.