Opinion

Column: Statue marks encounter with Tohono O'odham in 1692






La Primera Vista statue in Tucson, Arizona. Photo from Regina Romero - Tucson City Council

Statue that honors Tohono O'odham Nation will be dedicated in Tucson, Arizona, next week:
About 15 years ago several Tucsonans came up with an idea to honor our region’s indigenous ancestors. It would be a statue, somewhere at the foot of Sentinel Peak, where a Pima village existed when the first Europeans arrived in the late 17th century.

The proposed statue went nowhere. The idea, however, persisted and its dreamers refused to give up.

That perseverance resulted in a monument to the Tohono O’odham, a bronze statue called “La Primera Vista.” The statue, created by Tucsonense Luis Mena, recognizes our region’s original inhabitants. The name and the statue itself, a man, woman and child, reflect the sighting of the 1692 arrival of Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, who was likely the first European to arrive in Chuk Son, the “spring at the base of the black mountain.”

“It is a fulfillment of a long-held desire,” said Greg Hart, one of the individuals who initiated the project along with Josefina Cárdenas, a resident from nearby Barrio Kroger Lane, and the late Daniel Preston, a former vice chairman of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

On June 14 the statue will be dedicated in a public ceremony at 9 a.m. The statue is at South Mission and Grande roads, just north of Starr Pass Boulevard, across the way from where the original Spanish convento was built, marking Tucson’s colonial birthplace.

Get the Story:
Ernesto Portillo Jr. Neto's Tucson: New statue honors region's indigenous people (The Arizona Daily Star 6/1)