Land, History, and Traditional Knowledge in Northwest Mexico
Publication Year: 2002
This book contains a comprehensive description of northwest Mexico's tropical deciduous forests and thornscrub on the traditional Mayo lands reaching from the Sea of Cortés to the foothills of the Sierra Madre. The first half of the book is a highly readable account of the climate, geology, and vegetation of the region. The authors also provide a valuable history of the people, their language, culture, festival traditions, and plant use. The second half of the book is an annotated list of plants presenting the authors' detailed findings on plant use in Mayo culture.
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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Tom and I happened into the Río Mayo region independently and exploredthe land for several years unbeknownst to each other. We became caught inthe same intellectual maelstrom, undertook this project, and have emergeddeeply changed by the work we can never fully complete. This study occupiedus for six years, and our studies continue. During that time we developed strong...
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Many individuals and organizations provided assistance in the preparationof this manuscript. Agnese Nelms Haury, Native & Nature, the University ofArizona–University of Sonora Collaborative Grants, and the Jacobs ResearchFunds gave major financial support. The Southwest Center of the Universityof Arizona also provided funding, and the director, Joseph Wilder, o¤ered on-...
1. The People and the Land
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In 1980 one of the most popular major league baseball players was a Mexicannamed Fernando Valenzuela. On the nights he pitched his legendary screw-ball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, management could count on as many as tenthousand additional admissions. For five years bleacher seats were sold out forevery home game in which Valenzuela pitched. He is a Mayo Indian from...
2. A Brief Ethnography of the Mayos
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Mayos have inhabited the region since well before the Conquest, though forhow long before is unknown. According to Almada (1937:19), a prestigious re-gional historian, Cáhitas (Mayos and Yaquis) penetrated well into the SierraMadre. Describing their presence in the region, Almada (1952) wrote:The Cáhita civilization ruled in what is now the state of Sonora until the...
3. Historical and Contemporary Mayos
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While the focus of this work is primarily ethnobotanical—the plants used byMayos—we present the following history in an attempt to clarify the historicand present land tenure in the region in a way that is sympathetic to the Mayos.The fact that most Mayos live today in scattered small villages over a large re-gion and are familiar with a variety of habitats can be attributed to historical...
4. Plant and Animal Life
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The plant communities found in the lands inhabited by Mayos are varied andcomplex, more so than in the lands of any other groups indigenous to north-west Mexico. In keeping with Martin et al. (1998) we have adopted the followingcategories for classifying vegetation: coastal vegetation, coastal thornscrub,foothills thornscrub, tropical deciduous forest, and oak woodland. The last cat-...
5. Eight Plants That Make Mayos Mayos
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The plants described below have key roles in the life of Mayos, so much so thatwe suppose that without them the Mayo way of life would be quite di¤erent.We selected these species because of their variety of uses and the Mayos’ gen-eral familiarity with them. They are presented in no particular order. Whilenone of them is endemic to Mayo lands (the jito is endemic to the Cáhita re-...
6. Plant Uses
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A traditional Mayo house constitutes a remarkable primer for initiating an eth-nobotanical study. As the annotated plant list in chapter 7 indicates, a host ofnative plants are to be found in every such Mayo house, used for everythingfrom building materials and home implements to foods and livestock man-agement materials. Medicinal plants are stored between the vigas (beams) and...
7. An Annotated List of Plants
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...In gathering the following data on the Mayos’ knowledge and use of plants, we visited the region and consulted with Mayos for nearly ten years, beginning in the early 1990s and concluding in 2000. We also familiarized ourselves to the maximum possible extent with Mayo history, the geography and geology of the region, the region’s fauna and flora, and the state of contemporary Mayo culture. We have doubtless omitted important data and considerations, but we hope that others will complement...
Appendix A. Mayo Region Place Names and Their Meanings
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Appendix B. Yoreme Consultants
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Appendix C. Gazetteer of the Mayo Region
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Appendix D. Mayo Plants Listed by Spanish Name
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Appendix E. Mayo Plants Listed by Mayo Name
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Appendix F. Glossary of Mayo and Spanish Terms
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Page Count: 372
Publication Year: 2002