Stella Tucker, Foodways

Stella Tucker, Saguaro Fruit Harvester, Tucson, AZ | 2018

Stella Tucker was a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and has been harvesting, processing, and preparing saguaro fruit into syrup, jam, and wine for traditional O’odham ceremony for over 65 years. The tradition has been passed down verbally and manually through songs, stories, and practice from generation to generation with no precise recipe or measurements. Stella was the guardian of the annual bahidaj (saguaro fruit harvest) camp in Saguaro National Park West for 25 years, after inheriting the responsibility from her great aunt, Juanita Ahil. She worked to pass the tradition on to her daughter Tanisha Tucker. Stella died in January 2019.

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