The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

names of the ranchos and pueblos he visited in order to protect the
Indians from both curiosity-seekers and exploiters.
Although this volume is oversized and heavily illustrated, it provides
much more substance than the usual coffee-table edition. Indeed, Fon-
tana and Schaefer have succeeded masterfully in bringing the con-
temporary Tarahumara to life.
Smithsonian Institution MICHAEL L. LAWSON
Rardmuri: A Tarahumara Colonial Chronical, 1607-1791. Edited by
Thomas E. Sheridan and Thomas H. Naylor. (Flagstaff, Arizona:
Northland Press, 1979. Pp. xvi+ 144. Foreword, introduction,
document facsimiles, glossary, bibliography, index. Paperback
Fifty-five thousand Tarahumara Indians inhabit the Sierra Madre of
southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. After the Navajo, they comprise the
largest group of native Americans north of the Valley of Mexico. Although
Tarahumara contact with Europeans stretches back to the sixteenth cen-
tury, they have remained one of the most isolated and culturally conserva-
tive tribes in North America. (p. 1)
In such terms the editors introduce this first published work of the
Arizona State Museum's project, "Documentary Relations of the
Southwest." Rardmuri-the book title uses the name the Tarahumara
apply to themselves: "fast runner"--comprises translations from four-
teen Spanish documents, most of them previously unpublished. Drawn
from accounts by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, soldiers, and or-
dinary citizens, they have appeal to a wide range of scholarly disci-
plines, from anthropology and the natural sciences to philosophy and
Anyone who crosses the Sierra Madre on the Chihuahua al Pacifico
Railroad is apt to observe the Tarahumara selling souvenirs in way-
side stations; or he may stop off at Creel and journey, as this reviewer
has done, into the mountain recesses and see these Indians living much
as they have for centuries. Yet, like other relict groups whose ancient
cultures have been spared by "civilization," the Tarahumara are being
assaulted. In the early 196os, the railroad that had penetrated the Tara-
humara heartland in 190o6 was extended through the mountains to the
Pacific. It brought an influx of timber cutters and tourists. Paved high-
ways, now in the offing, are aimed at stimulating economic develop-
ment by facilitating logging operations and "opening the scenic and


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 21, 2014.