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Abstract

The Tohono O'odham are fostering strength and wellness in their community by translating increased economic self-sufficiency and resources derived from gaming into social, health, and educational services which maintain their tribal traditions, thereby providing an effective path toward the maintenance of cultural identity, or O'odham Himdag. Cultural identity serves as a source of client strength and as a protective factor contributing to client wellness. O'odham Himdag describes a way of life, encompassing Tohono O'odham culture. This article is a theoretical exploration of O'odham Himdag as a path toward cultural identity among the Tohono O'odham of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico. It addresses the importance of tribes developing their own services within tribal values and describes O'odham Himdag as a path to health and wellness, with practice examples drawn from the literature and interviews with mental health, health, and lay practitioners belonging to and serving the Tohono O'odham.

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