Yaquis lynched my Mexicans
Yaqui in the military
Jesusa and her family
she was left under "care" of Spanish Catholic nuns
she was left under "care" of Spanish Catholic nuns
who tortured and beat her for being Native
There are no secret societies and little organization in the tribe. Formerly they were accustomed to exchange wives, but now most of the Yaqui have been converted to Catholicism.
The "Yoeme" or Yaqui are a border Native American people who originally lived in the valley of the Río Yaqui in the northern Mexican state of Sonora and throughout the Sonoran Desert region into the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona. A tribe of Cahita stock, formerly dwelling near the Rio Yaqui, and now dispersed throughout Sonora in Mexico. It is the only Indian tribe that has been in constant contact with the white race and has not been entirely subdued. They are first mentioned by Guzmán in his description of the expedition in 1531.
In 1610 they made a treaty with the Spaniards and Catholic missions were at once started among them. They were then expert agriculturists, and manufactured cotton goods. They attacked the Spaniards in 1740, owing to the settlers interfering with their missionaries, and since then have frequently rebelled, the latest rising being in 1901. In 1907 the Mexican Government made an attempt to weaken the power of the hostile element by deporting several thousand Yaqui to Yucatán and Tehuantepec. The tribe now numbers about 23,000.
The peace established by the cooperative efforts of some Jesuit priests and the Yaquis began to disintegrate in the 1730s. In 1733, a governor was appointed to Northwest New Spain and announced he would take full political control of all Spaniards, mestizos and Indians whether they were in missions or other types of communities. By this time, all surplus agricultural products were disposed entirely by the missionaries and fields claimed by the Yaquis were regularly appropriated for church use. The Yaquis employed on those lands were not being paid consistently. The right of the labor levy of mine owners to obtain laborers in Indian communities was also thwarted by the Jesuits. The new governor felt that the lack of tribute to the king by the missionaries as well as their rigging of local elections was not in the best interest of the Spanish Empire. Jesuit leaders contested the new policies, insisting that Yaqui sorcerers would influence free elections and that the governor’s proposal for common farmlands was unnecessary because Indians had access to church land produce.
The response of the Jesuit authorities was to have Muni and Bernabé arrested with the aid of a corrupt Yaqui magistrate. This action caused a spontaneous outcry and two thousand armed men gathered to demand and get the release of Muni and others. Instead of attending to the grievances, the Jesuits simply installed an even tougher Father. He promptly removed Muni and Bernabé from their offices. The governor, who after hearing the complaints of both sides, recommended that the Yaqui leaders go to Mexico City to testify personally before the viceroy and Archbishop Vizrón. In February 1740, the Archbishop approved all of the Yaqui demands for free elections, respect for land boundaries, that Yaquis be paid for work, and that they not be required to work in mines among a host of other demands intended to grant the Yaquis more independence from Jesuit control.
(ABOVE; Yaqui resistance)Unfortunately, while Muni and his colleagues were negotiating benefits in Mexico City, outbreaks were spreading through the Yaqui territory as floods reduced the population to famine. This desperation led to the raiding of missionary granaries because the Jesuits decided to send the surplus to California as usual. When grain was sold, it was at an exorbitant price which few could afford. Rumors fueled by the Jesuit Father ran rampant that Muni was either dead or insane. The rebel bands were led by various short-lived Yaqui chieftains, most notably Calixto from the eastern section of the Yaqui country. Most of the violence occurred while Muni and Bernabé were in Mexico City. Upon their return, they helped consolidate the peace process, but were executed when a new governor was installed. The fear of their political power by the Jesuits was a prime reason for their execution.
"Happy Independence Day, Victor," the father says to his son with more than a hint of sarcasm. "Are you feeling independent?" ~ from the film Smoke Signals"Kill the Indian to save the man" -- that oppressive motto led to restrictions on tribe's native language and native customs. The federal government forced Indian children to go to churches and boarding schools where they were re-named, re-educated and stripped of their cultural traditions.
So it makes sense that, growing up, the Fourth of July would be a dark day for Natives, a sad tribute to the country that tried and tried again to exterminate its native people and their culture. But it wasn't -- for many, the Fourth meant "summertime, family, fireworks. You can't wait for the fireworks. As a kid you look forward to that celebration." For example, across the Fort Berthold Reservation-- what was left of it-- people partied on the Fourth of July. Sno Cones and barbecues, weaved together with older, indigenous traditions like powwows that would last deep into the night.
At one point, reservation's white superintendents issued a declaration that read like this: "Dancing, exchanging of presents, traveling from one dance to another, and dancing feasts are not to be carried to excess." !!!!!!!???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????
The superintendent decreed that permission for all traditional dances must be obtained in writing -- but, there was a kicker: He didn't object to gatherings that were on the Fourth of July. WOW
The Fourth of July, after all, was the time to teach Indians how to become “good Americans”. Some Indian children were even reassigned new birthdays to coincide with the Fourth. Eventually they never knew what day was their actual date of birth, but they celebrated it on the Fourth of July.
"It is those who have struggled the most, and who've been forced to be the most creative, that have the most to teach us," Dennis says. "Forgiveness without forgetting, incredible creativity and resilience."
I remember and continue to learn about my tribe, Yoeme: which means "The People" in our native language, or “Yaqui” as most call it today, a tribe of Cahita stock, formerly dwelling near the Rio Yaqui, and now dispersed throughout Sonora in Mexico. It is the only Indian tribe that has been in constant contact with the white race and has not been entirely subdued.
I WILL DANCE IN THE NAME OF MY ANCESTORS. NOT FORGETTING WHAT “INDEPENDENCE” REALLY MEANS TO US.
THE BEAT OF THE DRUM WILL MATCH THE BEAT OF MY HEART
NO ONE OR NO THING WILL STOP US.