PYTCO grant helps purchase sports equipment

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization provided funding to the Phoenix Sports Academy in Phoenix, Arizona for their youth and adult programs.  The grant was used to purchase new boxing gloves, new sparring gloves, new head protection, and new wraps.  The owner, Ray Martinez, Jr. spoke about the project, and about how the funding has positively impacted their outreach efforts, as well as their ability to meet existing and ongoing needs for the participants at their gym.  

Ray Martinez, Jr. is a Pascua Yaqui tribally-enrolled member, whose family is from Old Pascua.  He has been involved in a lot of cultural activities throughout his life.  As a young child, his grandmother told him that he should never forget who he is, and where he came from.  At the age of 7 years old, he started boxing, and by 8 years old, Ray fought in his first boxing match.  He is now 40 years old, and continues to go to the gym, and to mentor and train youth and adults in the sport.  Boxing has been a big part of Ray’s life, and he has had a long involvement with the sport.  In 1998, Ray Martinez, Jr. made the USA boxing team.  Between the ages of 18 and 19 years old, he traveled to Cuba, Canada, London, Germany, Poland, and Finnland, to name a few places.  He made it to the U.S. Nationals and fought in 14 professional fights.  He even sparred with Floyd Mayweather for a month!  

Ray retired from professional fighting at 24 years old, but is still always in the gym.  Four years ago, he started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the most diverse area code of the state.  Ray is big on youth and culture, and celebrates his heritage through travel and cultural activities.  He has traveled throughout many parts of Mexico, and feels that traveling and knowing who you are helps to feed the soul.  

We are so proud of Ray’s accomplishments and his commitment to youth sports and mentorship.  Thank you, Ray, for your enduring hard work!  

Arizona Complete Health donates $7,000 in gift cards to Pascua Yaqui community

Arizona Complete Health donated $7,000 in gift cards to the Pascua Yaqui tribal community. The $35 Walmart gift cards will be distributed to community members in need, as determined by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Social Services Department, through the Tu’l Bwa’ame (Good Food) Pantry.

“Like many tribal communities across Arizona and the country, the Pascua Yaqui community has been hit especially hard during this pandemic,” said Izetta Morris, executive director of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization.

“This generous gift will be distributed throughout the community to assist people that are struggling during this time of crisis, filling the gaps in household needs – such as toilet paper, baby wipes, diapers and formula.”

For more information regarding Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization, visit www.yaquicharity.org.

Julia Chavez from Arizona Complete Health presents Anselmo Frias, the Pascua Yaqui’s food pantry assistant, the gift cards to be distributed to families in need.

Project Update: Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts 2020

Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts was one of the recently-funded grant recipients of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization. The funding was used to provide an audio engineer to ensure high quality sound for the local musicians at the event, held on Saturday, February 1st, 2020. The new set up for the festival was much appreciated, and the vendors and performers alike were very happy with the turnout.


This year’s festival was the 8th annual festival, and was one of the best yet! There were an estimated 1,100 participants in attendance and all of the vendors were very happy with the turnout. The Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts benefits artists in the community by providing a platform to display and sell their work, as well as providing entertainment and a venue for live music. The main stage hosts performances by upcoming and established artists that consist of Yaqui youth, as well as experienced musicians and performers. Having a professional audio engineer hired for this event built confidence in the musicians, and enhanced the quality of the sound for the audience, as well as the performers. Through better sound, we are confident that more participants, particularly younger musicians, will be empowered to continue in the arts and music.

Some of the musical artists presenting were: Demons of South Tucson, Communal, and Gertie N The Boyz. The variety of music ranged from hip hop to rock to more traditional Waila music.

Thank you to Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts Committee (Angel Valencia, David Morneo, Gabriel ‘The Snake’ Otero) for their tireless fundraising and support of this amazing festival. We appreciate you!

Project Update: Native Music Coalition

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization recently awarded a grant to the Native Music Coalition.  Coalition leader Vincent Flores applied for and was approved for a grant to be used for conducting workshops to educate tribal members and families on the traditional craft of making and using gourd rattles.  The Coalition will be conducting workshops in June on the construction and use of the gourd rattles. Vincent has already started purchasing items for the workshop, including over 100 gourds for the construction of the rattles.  The funding will also purchase tools and supplies for the workshop, as well as refreshments for the 30 attendees anticipated at the workshops.

During the workshops, the participants will clean, cut and ready the gourds for assembly into rattles.  Native Music Coalition is committed to working with clients obtaining services through the Centered Spirit Department.  Working with over 1200 adults and youth in recovery, Centered Spirit focuses on bringing these traditions back to the community in a way that integrates the many generations of members in a way to promote native wellness and community cohesion.  Promoting recovery and wellness through traditional crafts, The Native Music Coalition promotes living a sober life, enhancing youth self-confidence and giving back to communities in economic crisis.

The workshops will be held in New Pascua and in Old Pascua, and will be open to youth age 12-21 and any adult community member interested in learning this traditional craft.   

If you would like more information on the upcoming workshops or on how to donate to the Native Music Coalition, please contact Vincent Flores at nativemusiccoalition@gmail.com.  You can also contribute to Native Music Coalition online at https://bit.ly/2xa9Cmh. Please consider donating to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Charitable Organization online at: yaquicharity.org.  Your donations provide funding for a myriad of deserving projects, with 90% of donations going directly to support these important endeavors.