Tohono O'OdhamThe Angea Tohono family were the first O’Odham potters to make white polychrome pottery popular with tourists. The Friendship Vase has become a collector’s piece.
Traditional Name: Tohono O’Odham meaning “Desert People”, live in the Sonoran Desert bordering Mexico in Southeastern Arizona. They have been making pottery a long time – pottery had already been in the area for a thousand years. This was historically Hohokam land. Today, their reservation area is among the third largest and is home to more than 10,000 people.
Tohono O’Odham pottery was purely utilitarian up into the late part of the nineteenth century. During the 1880’s the look and use of O’Odham pottery shifted to polished black-on-red tourist ware that was also being made by neighboring Maricopa and Pima pueblos. White ware with black and red designs became prevalent during the 1930’s, looking more refined than the grey and tan ware Maricopa was producing. By the 1950’s, O’Odham potters experimented by mixing white and red clay together which resulted in tan ware.
Since the past decades, only a few Tohono O’Odham families continue to make pottery. They are better known today for their basket weaving.