Once upon a time, those who lived in the Sonoran Desert, between 200 BC- 1400 AD, were called Hohokam. This term, like so many that were used to refer to the ancient Americans, was derogatory. It is now being gradually cast aside, and in its place, the far more accurate term “Ancient Sonorans” is being used, along with the rather unwieldy “Ancient Sonoran Desert People”.
Last Sunday, I spent about 90 minutes or so walking about Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, on the north side of Coolidge, AZ. These Ancient Sonoran ruins represent a village and community gathering place, the latter called Casa Grande (“Great House”) by Father Eusebio Kino, when he first saw the place in 1694. President Benjamin Harrison extended Federal protection to this area in 1892, and President Woodrow Wilson set it aside as a national monument, in 1918. Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect of Boston Common, built a ramada to protect Casa Grande ruin, in 1932.
Here are some views of the Great House and its surroundings.
The Ancient Sonorans were the ancestors of today’s Akimel O’odham (“Pima”), Tohono O’odham (“Papago”), Hopi and Zuni peoples. These nations consider this area, and other preserved ruin sites, as sacred. If visiting, please approach the sites in that frame of mind.