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Papago Indian news. : (Sells, Ariz.) 1954-19??
Place of publication:
Sells, Ariz.
Geographic coverage:
  • Sells, Pima, Arizona  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Editorial Board of the Papago Indians
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 1954)-
  • English
  • Arizona--Pima County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205717
  • Arizona--Tohono O'odham Reservation.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01692445
  • Arizona.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204820
  • Indians of North America--Arizona--Newspapers.
  • Indians of North America.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00969633
  • Pima County (Ariz.)--Newspapers.
  • Sells (Ariz.)--Newspapers.
  • Tohono O'odham Indians--Arizona--Newspapers.
  • Tohono O'odham Indians.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01152101
  • Tohono O'odham Reservation (Ariz.)
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 94050960
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Papago Indian news. June 1, 1954 , Image 1


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Papago Indian news

Published in Sells, Arizona, the Papago Indian News covered all corners of the Tohono O'odham Reservation. The newspaper's title refers to the name that Spanish explorers gave the Native American tribe, a designation used until 1986, when the tribe officially changed its name to Tohono O'odham, as they called themselves in their own language. The nation is located in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico, with Sells as its capital.

The first issue of the monthly publication debuted in May 1954 under the direction of the Papago Indian Editorial Board, led by Chairman Louis Harvey, as a project of the Papago Self-Help Program of the American Friends Service Committee. It expressed the publication's purpose: "Let the general public know what goes on here and off the reservation that is of importance to Papagos." The newspaper carried community news about visitors, job changes, health, births, marriages, and deaths. It also incorporated news from such nearby towns as Ajo and Tucson. In its tenth-anniversary issue, the editorial board noted that "although it is not a tribal enterprise the paper is considered the voice of the Papago tribe." Frank Stein was listed as editor until August 1955, but the anniversary issue stated that "an editorial board…has been chosen over the usual editor-and-staff set-up."

In October 1956, a "Special Rodeo Issue" was published for the twentieth annual Papago Indian Rodeo. It contained several pages about the history of the tribe and the newspaper, noting that the latter's "printing press is a mimeograph machine." There was also occasional "Agency Relocation News" about where some tribal members had moved under the federal Urban Indian Relocation Program. Launched in 1952, that program urged Native Americans to go to cities to assimilate into a better life—one that too often did not materialize. The paper also frequently covered educational topics; the editors hoped to "encourage the younger generation of today to become interested and take part in some of its own affairs and to help plan their future." Student accomplishments such as making the honor roll or earning a scholarship were regularly announced.

The Papago Indian News also had a strong focus on public health education, frequently publishing advice on how to prevent sickness. Early issues printed schedules of the mobile health unit that visited the reservation. A front-page article in 1954 advocated for a new hospital in Sells. In 1959, the newspaper referred to the groundbreaking for the hospital as a "medical high point of the year."

The paper also included news about tribal elections and the Tribal Council. Issues affecting the community were featured on the front page, including a bill in Congress to restore mineral rights, the decision to locate a new observatory on the reservation's Kitt Peak, and details of the Indian Civil Rights Act and what it meant for the community.

The newspaper's staff were all volunteers. Circulation peaked at around 1,200 in 1964, with copies being sent directly to subscribers' homes or available for sale at trading posts. The Papago Indian News ceased publication in 1968.

Provided by: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records; Phoenix, AZ