Studies of the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, Mexico

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Author: Holden, William Curry (1896-1993), William Garrett McMillan, Charles John Wagner, Carl Coleman Seltzer and Richard Arthur Studhalter

Year: 1936

Publisher: Texas Technological College

Place: Lubbock


142 pages with illustrations, plates, tables, appendices, bibliography and index. Octavo (9" x 5 3/4") bound in original publisher's stapled wrappers. Texas Technological College Bulletin, Volume XII, number 1. First edition.

This collection of short papers, resulting from an expedition organized and directed by William Curry Holden of Texas Technological College, is an excellent example of what can and cannot be accomplished without adequate ethnological training. The parts by Holden on society and some phases of religious rituals are meticulous in the account of things observed, superficial and full of misinterpretations in the explanatory passages. In this respect the sections on “Yaqui Architecture’’ by McMillan, “Medical Practices of the Yaqui” by Wagner, and “Yaqui Agriculture” by Studhalter are superior; they confine themselves almost entirely to concrete description and do not attempt any interpretation. Even so they are occasionally marred by flights of na’ive romanticism. The contribution by Seltzer on the “Physical Characteristics of the Yaqui Indians” alone conforms to professional standards, although, as Seltzer points out, a larger series of measurements will be required to settle some of the problems he encountered. Points of primary importance are the high degree of heterogeneity in the Yaqui population and the presence of an important percentage of negroid characteristicswhich are ascribed to a racial basis, The author does not commit himself to the view that the negroid element is either pre-Columbian or post-Columbian, suggesting, however, a thorough study of the historical literature. So far as the better known literature is concerned, the reviewer is confident no evidence of post Columbian negroid mixture of significance will be found anywhere in northwest Mexico. It would be interesting to know if similar negroid characters occur among the closely related Mayo or the Pima. (RALPH L. BEALS)


Lacking spine, corners bumped and rubbed edge wear else a better than good copy.

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