Synopses & Reviews
In this illuminating book, anthropologist Kirstin Erickson explains howmembers of the Yaqui tribe, an indigenous group in northern Mexico, construct, negotiate, and continually reimagine their ethnic identity. She examines twointerconnected dimensions of the Yaqui ethnic imagination: the simultaneousprocesses of place making and identification, and the inseparability of ethnicityfrom female-identified spaces, roles, and practices.Yaquis live in a portion of their ancestral homeland in Sonora, about 250 milessouth of the Arizona border. A long history of displacement and ethnic strugglecontinues to shape the Yaqui sense of self, as Erickson discovered during thesixteen months that she lived in Potam, one of the eight historic Yaqui pueblos.She found that themes of identity frequently arise in the stories that Yaquis telland that geography and locationaspace and placeafigure prominently in theirnarratives.Revisiting Edward Spiceras groundbreaking anthropological study of theYaquis of Potam pueblo undertaken more than sixty years ago, Erickson paysparticular attention to the acultural worka performed by Yaqui women today. Sheshows that by reaffirming their gendered identities and creating and occupyingfemale-gendered spaces such as kitchens, household altars, and domestic ceremonialspaces, women constitute Yaqui ethnicity in ways that are as significantas actions taken by males in tribal leadership and public ceremony.This absorbing study contributes new empirical knowledge about a NativeAmerican community as it adds to the growing anthropology of space/placeand gender. By inviting readers into the homes and patios where Yaqui womendiscuss their lives, it offers a highly personalizedaccount of how they constructaand reconstructatheir identity.
"A readable, fascinating account of the O'odham people, cultivators of the Sonoran Desert."—The News (Austin, TX)"Erikson's study represents a style of Native American historical narrative that reflects more fully the interests and priorities of native peoples themselves."—Choice
Southern Arizona's Tohono O'odham Indians (long known as the Papago) inhabited the Sonoran Desert centuries before the coming of Europeans. Now living on one of the largest reservations in the United States, the Tohono O'odham have nevertheless been largely overlooked by historians. "Sharing the Desert offers a balanced treatment of O'odham history, considering the primary political, social, and economic events of the South west as they affected the tribe. It traces the development of relations between the tribe and other peoples--Apaches, Spaniards, Mexicans, Anglo-Americans--and shows how the Tohono O'odham adapted to successive incursions, confronted challenges to their land, and sometimes had to make difficult choices about their society. The O'odham learned that adapting to a broader economy through cotton farming and cattle raising entailed suffering the consequences of crises like the Great Depression, and that an effective tribal government was necessary for asserting the tribe's rights in the Anglo world. Commissioned as a textbook for use in Tohono O'odham schools, "Sharing the Desert is an authoritative introduction for anyone seeking to learn about the history of this enduring people. Fully endorsed by the Tohono O'odham Tribal Council, it traces the evolution of a distinctive community facing recurring challenges.
This book marks the culmination of fifteen years of collaboration between the University of Utah's American West Center and the Tohono O'oodham Nation's Education Department to collect documents and create curricular materials for use in their tribal school system. . . . Erickson has done an admirable job compiling this narrative.—Pacific Historical Review
sharing the Desert offers a balanced treatment of Tohono O'odham history, considering the primary political, social, and economic events of the Southwest as they affected the tribe. Commissioned as a textbook for use in Tohono O'odham schools, it will serve as an authoritative introduction for anyone seeking to learn about the history of these native people of the Sonoran Desert. Fully endorsed by the Tohono O'odham Tribal Council, it traces the evolution of a distinctive community facing recurring challenges.