Ena R. Lopez was born, raised and continues to reside in Santa Rosa, Arizona. Her deep respect for her parents dictated a traditional form of education, including the customs and ways of self-sustaining, low-impact survival in the desert. She has successfully shared her knowledge of the Tohono O’dham and the environment with both O’odham and non-O’odham speakers.
As an O’odham woman speaking only her Native language, Mrs. Lopez played the women’s game of Toka and remains well versed in its cultural importance. Many young women seek her advice on the proper conventions, the importance of this game and its place in O’odham history and life.
Mrs. Lopez’s cultural knowledge base is extensive and she exemplifies her commitment to preserve the O’odham Himdag (Way of Life) by living and teaching it to others. She is dedicated to sharing her knowledge of O’odham songs and stories, basket weaving, and traditional food harvesting and preparation with others. She is devoted to carrying this important knowledge on to future generations in her community. In her unassuming way, she empowers her people through her teachings.
The 2014 AILTA Event to honor Ms. Lopez was on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona