Saturday, April 8, 2017

The O'Odham: A Tribe Divided

         Though it should not surprise anyone, there exist significant distinctions between the O’Odham who live in the United States and those who live in Mexico. These differences stem mainly from the length and intensity of interactions between the O’Odham and the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain (later the sovereign state of Mexico). The O’Odham to the north of the border retain many of the qualities Hispanic scholars observed in indigenous tribes during the process of Iberian assimilation, mainly a significant population outside of the Catholic Church, a relatively rudimentary infrastructure, and a wholesale lack of an Iberian upper class. While those in the South have been assimilated to a much greater degree. These differences present an interesting case study for anthropologist but presents real issues for the tribe itself.
            With the more complete assimilation in the south, the tribe has become noticeably weaker there. This leads to a poor allocation of resources to these people along with the loss of significant cultural traditions specific to these areas. This will continue to pose an issue until such a point that there is some normalization of the governmental status of tribal members both north and south of the border. As such it is imperative that the tribe leverage its newfound legal strength to mount cases to secure the rights of tribal members in the south such that the tribe will be able to provide adequate care for all its members regardless of their citizenship.

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