The Pascua Yaqui Nation

This post is not about Loni’s surgery. It is about the friendly hospitality of this tribe. We have been staying at the Casino of the Sun for the past few weeks waiting for various medical appointments for Loni’s upcoming implantation of a bionic knee.

We will typically visit casino since many offer free parking for several nights,  usually limiting the stay to 3-7 days, and occasionally they only offer one overnight stay.

For those who want a great parking lot camping experience, this casino is located in the Drexel Heights area South of Tucson proper. There is the tribal office, the motor pool, many schools, and desert cacti, desert, and more desert.

When we first got to this casino I spoke to several security officers and other casino employees. One employee told us that there were several RVers who had been at the casino for months and that we could stay as long as we liked.  well, that was three weeks ago and our interactions with the casino security has been nothing but pleasant.

In a conversation with one officer, Patricia S., we were directed to the tribal office. We walked to the tribal office and met with Mary Ann Buenamea, a Council Member.

Ms. Buenamea greeted us with a bit of apprehension and a lot of grace. We were ushered into her office and given candy and water. Water is a cherished gift in this area of the state, and she offered it freely. We talked with her for quite some time relating how generous her tribe was in granting virtually unlimited parking lot camping at the casino and invited us back after the casino closes for four days for the Easter Holiday  Celebration. She said the the tribe loses a lot of money during the four day closure, but felt it was more important to celebrate Easter rather than make money during this holiday.

Now, to me, that is a change in the attitude from what we have seen at other tribal casinos.

We also let her know the names of the personnel who were most hospitable, informative, and friendly.



Gary “Speedy” Doe is a landscaper for the casino, a medicine man for the tribe and others wanting a cleansing ceremony, and a parishioner at the local Catholic church. A Great guy with lots of connections and stories to tell.


Looking across the parking lot towards the sign at the street.

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Top left to right: spider webs and dew early morning in the desert, Deer Dancer image on Speedy’s truck window.

Bottom left to right: Entrance to the casino and one of many Saguaro cacti surrounding the casino entrance and driveway.

Here is some additional information from the better blogger.

Loni said:

This morning, Tuesday, March 31,2015, Jim and I walked over to the Yaqui Tribal administration building where we spoke with tribal Councilwoman Mary Jane Buenamea. We explained to her that we wanted to thank the Yaqui Tribe for the generosity of their hospitality for the last 4 weeks and to bring to their attention the courtesy and attention paid to us by the employees of Casino Of The Sun.
When I asked about the tribal flag and its meaning Councilwoman Buenamea gifted us with Yaqui flags, lapel pins, a packet of information and water. Tucson may be a very bustling city with major freeways, congested hiways, paved streets, dirt roads and dusty paths but this area is still a desert. Water is a precious gift
The packet contained information on Yaqui language skills, Yaqui Communities of Arizona, a calendar of the Lenten Ceremonies and the official description of the significance of their flag. The official significance is far different when compared to the personal interpretation given to us by a tribal member.
At least 2 other tribal members described all Pascua Yaqui as Catholics but this tribal Councilwoman smiled and gently stated, ‘No, we do have some other denominations but the majority of us are Catholic.’11015272_10202729066786970_988533777_n 11072642_10202729068147004_1112335461_n 11087116_10202729258311758_1071423123_n 11103871_10202729065426936_1791022019_n




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