Yaqui – Calling themselves Yoeme (“people”), the more widely known term Yaqui derives from “Hiakim,” the Yaqui term for their land, encompassing the southern coastal Mexican region of Sonora and part of southern Arizona. Forming a remote northern outpost of prehistoric Mesoamerica, the Yaqui’s ancestors remained independent of the Toltec and Aztec empires and fought successfully against the Spanish conquistadors until Christian conversion conducted by Jesuits, when they settled in the eight towns of Pótam, Vícam, Tórim, Bácum, Cóorit, Huirivis, Belem, and Rahum. Carlos Castaneda’s “informant” Don Juan was described by him as a Yaqui sorcerer, but there is little correspondence between Castaneda’s entheogenic and New Age shamanism pitched at a Euro-American psychedelic audience, and the Yaqui religion, a creative fusion of Catholicism and indigenous practices. Amore useful insight into Yaqui religion can be gained from Larry Evers and Felipe Molina’s Yaqui Deer Songs (1987).
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