Valuing the Tohono O'odham Himdag
As a community college closely associated with the Tohono O’odham Nation, TOCC encourages growth of students’ cultural knowledge and takes steps to transmit learning in a way that respects the Tohono O’odham Himdag.
The TOCC Himdag Requirement
In addition to program requirements, TOCC has a Tohono O’odham Himdag requirement for graduation from any program of study. All students need to take two classes in Tohono O’odham culture: HIS 122 and THO 101 or THO 106. A Tohono O’odham language instructor may be the best person to assess whether the introductory class (THO 101) or the conversational class (THO 106) is appropriate for you.
Depending upon the program of study, it may make sense to complete the TOCC Culture requirement with THO 101 or THO 106. In general, AAS degree-seeking students can fulfill requirements more quickly by taking THO 106, while a degree for transfer may fulfill different Gen. Ed. requirements with THO 101 than with THO 106.
A student at TOCC will take HIS 122 to fulfill the TOCC Culture requirement, but the class can also meet one of the Arizona General Education categorical requirements. For example, HIS 122 is listed in the Humanities list, the Social and Behavioral Sciences list, as well as the International and Multicultural Studies part of the Other Requirements list. HIS 122 also meets all three Special Gen. Ed. requirements, and can be taken once to fulfill all three (I, G, C).
What is Himdag?
The Tohono O’odham Himdag consists of the culture, way of life, and values that are uniquely held and displayed by the Tohono O’odham. Himdag incorporates everything in life that makes us unique as individuals and as a people. It is a lifelong journey. The following are elements of Himdag:
- Arts (basketry, contemporary and traditional music etc.)
- Community (Tohono O’odham Community College, Tohono O’odham Nation, Family)
- Harvesting, traditional foods and hunting
- Language (incorporates songs and ceremonies)
- Land, environment, seasons (Winter, spring, summer, fall) and elements (Earth, air, fire, wind)
- Medicinal plants
- Mobility (Walking, running, horses, and wagons)
- Past, future, a journey in life
- Relatives (Ak-Chin, Akimel, and Hia Ced O’odham, Kinship)
- Spirituality/Religion (Healing, curing and traditional songs)
- Values (respect)
O'odham Seasonal Calendar
Himdag events at the college are a representation of O’odham lifestyle that follows the seasons. Various classes (both existing and in development) will revolve around instruction based on the time of season as well as materials available. Such an example would be the harvesting of certain desert foods only during the right seasons. This seasonal calendar is best exemplified by the diagram to the right:
Left to Right: Ron Geronimo, Juana Jose, Sylvia Hendricks, Pauline Nasewytewa and George Miguel.
The Tohono O’odham Himdag Committee is a college-wide committee comprised of O’odham staff, faculty, students, and community members who meet to discuss various concerns, activities, and college policies. The committee works to incorporate Himdag into every aspect of college life and strives to make the college more O’odham culturally sensitive. The meetings are open to all members of the community
Current members of the Himdag Committee (as of the 2021-2022 school year):
- Juana Jose – Chair
- Frances Benavidez
- Ron Geronimo
- Sylvia Hendricks
- Camillus Lopez
- Leslie Luna
- Pauline Nasewytewa
- Anselmo Ramon
- Ingrid Felix RainCloud
- Ofelia “Liz” Zepeda
- Student Representative