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The Yaqui Language is part of the Uto-Aztecan Language family, however, many have lost their original language and speak Spanish as a first language. The Yaqui were first colonized by Spanish Catholics in 1533, nearly 400 years ago. Many Yaqui customs have survived because they fought the Spaniards so much and the unique merging of the Catholic religion into their own, creating a new form of Catholicism. Acculturation between the two has left no evidence of unilineal descent, but the kinship system at present is bilateral between the mother's and father's sides of the family. The Spanish did introduce godparents into Yaqui customs. The merging between the Yaqui's original religion and Catholicism seems to be one based on animal/solstices/moons. For example, the well-known Yaqui Easter ceremony consists of a deer dance. It is believed that the Yaqui originally had a spring solstice ceremony about the same time as the Catholic Easter holiday and the two ceremonies merged into one. As punishment to the Yaqui, after the Mexican independence war, Yaquis were taken from their original land in Mexico and forced off the land into communes throughout Southern Arizona.
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Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation
Readings for Yaqui History & Culture
Southwest Indian People: Yaqui
Uto-Aztecan Language Family
Yaqui & Mayo Indian Easter Ceremonies
Yaqui Indian Study: Brain Abnormalities & Pesticides
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