TOCA works to revitalize the cultural traditions of the Tohono O'odham - the O'odham Himdag. Keeping these traditions vital and alive is an essential part of cultural survival. All of TOCA's work is based in Tohono O'odham culture. However, TOCA always seeks specific ways of supporting cultural revitalization.
Because many forms of cultural expression (storytelling, songs, language, traditional artforms, ceremonies, etc.) grow out of a community’s material foundation, TOCA’s Arts and Culture Program is uniquely situated to contribute to the revitalization of Tohono O’odham culture. By connecting our efforts to rejuvenate cultural practices to the material reality out of which they originally emerged (such as farming), we are able to provide a stronger foundation for cultural survival. For example, one woman who participates in all of TOCA’ programs recently said: “Every year, I sang the songs that called down the summer rains. But this year, I had a garden filled with devil’s claw and corn, melons and squash. This year, I sang for them. This year, I sang like I really meant it.”
TOCA strives to augment its other programs with activities such as summer and after school arts and culture programs, artist residencies in villages, storytelling events and oral history projects provide youth in particular with many opportunities to develop cultural pride and to express themselves creatively. Teaching culture is an effective way of helping youth resist the local pressures to join gangs. Additionally, it helps preserve and rejuvenate Tohono O’odham cultural traditions that are in danger of being permanently lost, traditions necessary to developing effective and sustainable community institutions.