June 17, 2018 / Modified jun 18, 2018 8:57 a.m.

Tohono O'odham Leaders See Chance for Improved Ties With Federal Law Enforcement

The tribe's land spans both Arizona and Mexico, adding complexity to its relationship with the political border.

Fencing and infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border divide the Tohono O'odham Nation, whose lands span both countries. It puts some of the problems around border enforcement on the tribe's doorstep. Leaders there refer to it as a "tri-national" issue.

A tour of the reservation offered Arizona 360 a look at the Nation's relationship with federal law enforcement.

"People often ask, 'What is your relationship with the Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security?' I believe we have an OK relationship. I wouldn't call it great," Tohono O'odham Vice Chairman Verlon Jose said. "I believe there has been some opportunity for the Nation to be at the table."

The tribe's executive director of public safety Richard Saunders emphasized how more communication between Tohono O'odham police and agents has improved their partnership over the years.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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