By Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, LD9 PC Precinct 134

Pima County Democrats were present and abundant at the 81st Annual Tohono O’odham Nation Rodeo and Fair in Sells, AZ! The Rodeo and Fair is usually held over the first weekend in February and is the largest social event for the Tohono O’odham Nation. This three-day event draws nearly 10,000 people every year!

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel; State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman; Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias; and PCDP Chair Alison Jones take a group photo prior to the parade.

The big weekend begins with an early Saturday morning parade through Sells, and ends Sunday at midnight with a concert on the fairgrounds. There is an all-Indian rodeo, traditional games, singing and dancing, a Battle of the Bands featuring waila music, powwow, a basketball tournament, an exhibit hall, concerts, a carnival, and food, food, and more food.  

This year, riding or walking alongside the parade float of Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel, Vice-Chairman Verlon Jose and other tribal dignitaries, were PCDP Chair Alison Jones, LD 3 Sen. Sally Ann Gonzalez, Pima Community College Board Member Luis Gonzales, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias, and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.

LD3 Senator Sally Ann Gonzales (member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe) walks alongside the Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Officers’ Parade Float

LD4 PCs teamed up with a local community organization, Indivisible Tohono, to table at the fairgrounds. Community members had the opportunity to play a Plinko game to win stickers, buttons or candy by naming their federal, state or tribal representatives. Visitors enjoyed the game and prizes, and many enthusiastically shared their frustrations with the current political climate.

Marietta Martin, LD4-Pima PC, chats with a community member

Issues that constituents brought to the table included the border wall, the increased militarization of Tohono O’odham lands, the federal-government shutdown’s impact in Indian Country, the concern for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), and voting rights for rural communities.

Mark it in your calendar for next year! Everyone is welcome!

We had a lot of young visitors! Future voters!
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