Molly (Saraficio) Garcia

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building
Higher Education
Traditional O'odham arts and crafts

Honored By

Honored by: Native American Women of Arizona Arch, UA
Date submitted: February 09, 2012
Gift: General Gift

Honored on the Native American Women's Arch by the Tohono O'odham Nation.

Molly (Saraficio) Garcia
1910 ̱ 1990

In the late 1950's, Molly was the first woman to be elected to the traditionally all male Papago Tribal Council.

Molly (Saraficio) Garcia was born as the only daughter to Pedro Saraficio and Marie (Geronimo) Saraficio in Ge Oidag (Big Field) Village located on the Tohono O'odham Nation. She had four brothers, David, Roswell, Juan, and Brahia Saraficio. Molly grew up with the practices of traditional O'odham beliefs and ceremonies. She had a deep respect for the O'odham Himdag (Way of Life) and lived her life accordingly. Her Catholic upbringing also had a strong impact on how she conducted her daily life. Molly Saraficio married Victor Garcia and they had one child, Edward Garcia (deceased).

Molly left her community at an early age to pursue her education. Moving to Laveen, Arizona, she lived with Franciscan Sisters (Nuns) while she attended school. She did small odd jobs to earn a few dollars to buy her clothing for school but also volunteered her services as needed. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and left Laveen to attend college in Needles, CA, majoring in Education and Political Science.

Her teaching career began in the late 1920's. She worked in Beverly Hills, California, as a teacher. She also helped with needs and wants of other Native Americans who lived in California. She was known for her generosity in helping people.

In the late 1940's Molly returned home to help her family and community with the agricultural responsibilities of planting and harvesting foods which were necessary to sustaining life. The family-owned livestock also kept Molly busy with ranching responsibilities. Molly enjoyed the arts and crafts of the O'odham and as such she carried on the family's basket weaving tradition. She loved to sew and she made her own clothing. She also participated in the traditional Toka (stick game played much like hockey) games held in her village and other communities throughout the Tohono O'odham Nation.

In the 1950's Molly began volunteering and working in her community to help build a community building. She also helped with other needs and wants for the village of Ge Oidag.

During this same period, Molly was elected to represent the community of Ge Oidag on the Sells District Council. She agreed to represent her community because of her love for the people who believed she had a tough heart. Molly had always believed that if one puts their mind to something they want, it will happen. This was her thought when she embarked on the educational journey she successfully completed.

Following her election to the Papago Tribal Council her love for people and her interest in the Himdag grew stronger and she would strongly voice her concerns at the Tribal Council meetings. One of these concerns was regarding the sacred sites of the O'odham and the need to protect these sites. Molly always had a great concern for the O'odham land. As a small statured woman, she would always talk in Council with a strong voice to get her point across to her colleagues. Molly served on many committees within the Tribal Council, such as the Constitution Revision Committee that brought about the revised 1986 Constitution of the Tohono O'odham Nation. She was known for her caring and dedication that began with her community and carried over to the Sells District then to people she served throughout the Tohono O'odham Nation. Molly faithfully carried out her duties until her death in 1990.