The word Arizona comes from the Tohono O’odham ali and shonak, which translates as place of the small spring.

As a state agency which works in service to the people of Arizona, the Arts Commission acknowledges present-day Arizona as the traditional and ancestral homelands of Indigenous peoples: the Ancient Puebloans, Huhugam, Mogollon and Salado, their descendants who live currently in Arizona and the Southwest, and future generations to come. Through this acknowledgement we recognize the systemic inequities created by the negative impacts of colonization, past and present, and commit to respecting and reconciling this long history of injustice.

Further, we acknowledge the sovereignty of the 22 contemporary Tribal Nations who continue to steward the lands that make up the state of Arizona, which are:

Banner Image: The lands now called Oak Creek and Sedona have long been home to indigenous peoples, including Hopi (who called this region Palatkwapi, “the place of red rocks”), Huhugam, Pueblo, Yavapai Apache, and Ndee/Nnēē: (Western Apache). In 1857, the US Government took the land from its indigenous occupants, forcibly removing them to the San Carlos Indian Reservation, 180 miles to the Southeast.

Photo by Cathy Cobbin. Copyright 2012, U.S. Department of the Interior.