Tohono Oodham Nation

Kitt Peak is located on the Schuk Toak District of the Tohono O'odham Reservation, and is under perpetual lease to AURA for "as long as the property is used for astronomical study and research and related scientific purposes."

Situated in the Quinlan Mountains, Kitt Peak is one of several nearby mountains sacred to the Tohono O'odham people. The Tribe's consent was necessary prior to the construction of telescopes and support facilities. Preliminary talks between astronomers and tribal elders led to a demonstration of what was being proposed for construction on Kitt Peak. After the Tohonos' viewed the moon and stars from the 36-inch telescope at Steward Observatory in Tucson, they dubbed the astronomers "people with the long eyes" and gave consent for the mountain's use.

After Congress enabled the leasing of reservation land through special legislation, and a resolution passed by the tribal council, a lease was signed in October 1958 by Mark Manuel, chairman of the Papago Tribal Council, and by Dr. A. T. Waterman, director of the National Science Foundation. Annual access rights compensation was $25 000 per year, with additional payment for land developed under the lease.

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