The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941

Book Reviews

Pascua, A Yaqui Indian Village in Arizona. By Edward H.
Spicer.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1940. Pp. xxxi, 319.
Tables, figures, and plates. $3.50.
This study of a Yaqui Indian village in the Southwest is
another contribution to the rapidly growing field of social an-
thropology. It illustrates the recent trend toward the intensive
study of folk communities, the main objective being to gather
data upon which to base broad generalizations concerning the
nature of human society. Emphasis is placed upon the study
of social structure and the functioning of its various parts.
That such an approach can be fruitful is shown by Spicer's
report on Pascua.
When first encountered by Europeans, the Yaqui Indians
lived along the lower Yaqui River in southern Sonora. They
resisted white encroachment from the beginning, and repeated
uprisings occurred, first against the Spaniards and later against
the Mexicans. After the uprising of 1895, Diaz instituted a
campaign of Yaqui extermination. In the years that followed
many Yaqui families fled to the north, some of them entering
the United States, where they eventually congregated in seven
settlements scattered over southern Arizona. One of these set-
tlements is Pascua, a community of 429 souls (1937), located
on the northern outskirts of the modern city of Tucson.
Pascua attracted the attention of Spicer because it promised
to throw light on certain theoretical problems in social anthro-
pology. Pascuans are laborers on ranches and railroads, make
and sell adobe bricks, and do various odd jobs; some are even
on W. P. A. The pattern of their economic life is much the
same as that of the surrounding American community; yet
Pascuan religion and ceremonialism has changed little since
these Yaquis lived in northern Mexico and made their living
by hunting and farming. Despite this apparent functional dis-
harmony, Pascuan society seems to be fairly well integrated
at present. This problem of the adjustment of social organiza-
tion and religion to the new type of economic pursuit faced
Spicer when he began his study of Pascua. Assisted by his wife,
Spicer spent a year in Pascua and eventually became a partially
functioning member of the community. The results of his inves-
tigations are presented in this book.
A preface describes the method of attack and makes quite
clear the relationships entered into by the anthropologists with

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/. Accessed November 24, 2014.