Who were these ancestral Sonoran Desert people?
The text on this panel reads, "No one alive now knows what name the people who built the Casa Grande called themselves centuries ago. Archeologists today use the term HOHOKAM to label the culture that flourished here from 1,500 years ago to 550 years ago. At archeological sites, like Casa Grande Ruins, you can see similar platform mounds, ball courts, irrigation networks, and homes placed around plazas inside walled compounds. These ancient sites also share adistinctive red-on-buff pottery and carved shell jewelry.Six tribes in today's Southwest still have histories that linkthemselves to the people who once lived here. For thesetribes, Casa Grande Ruins is a sacred place."
The panel background has painted scenes of these peoples by M. Chiago, a Tohono O'odham artist. Across the top of the image is a line of ten people, walking in a procession to the left. The first four figures are dressed in long white robes with colorful sashes over their shoulders. Each holds a pole in front with a totem figure on its top. The next three figures wear long sleeved shirts and long skirts. Each holds a basket or pot above their heads. The last three carry musical instruments—a flute, a rattle and sticks.
Underneath this scene is a desert panorama with three small houses. The houses have flat roofs and a stovepipe projecting from one wall. Purple and blue mountains rise in the background.
Along the bottom of the panel is a desert scene with three women harvesting the red fruits of saguaro cactus. One uses a long pole to reach the top of the cactus. Two others carry large baskets full of the fruit on their heads.
At the left side of the panel is an image of a round woven basket design, dark brown lines on a lighter tan. From a circle in the middle, four geometrical patterns radiate. Around the image are the names of six tribes: Gila River, Hopi, Zuni, Ak-Chin, Tohono O'Odham, and Salt River –Pima Maricopa.
As you face this panel, the visitor center is behind you and the Great House is ahead to your left. In front of you are two tall saguaros and smaller creosote bushes. The ground is beige with a slight pinkish tint. In the distance are low mountains. Behind the sign is a large rock with petroglyphs on one side of the dark surface.
To reach the next sign, step to the right of this sign and move straight ahead about 70 feet down the sidewalk.