Finding Resilience in Hiaki Ritual Knowledge: An Interpretation of Waehma

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The interpretive lens commonly employed in the study of the Hiaki that sees their religious expression as Roman Catholic, or as a native version of Roman Catholicism, is too ethnocentric to be useful. It assumes that before the coming of Europeans, the Hiaki had no intrinsic symbolic and ritual life of lasting value, and they found one only through the introduction of Christianity. Looking anew at the Hiaki celebration of Waehma, which is the conclusion of the Hiaki ritual calendar that coincides with the Roman Catholic celebration of Easter, I argue that Hiaki religious expression remains thoroughly Hiaki. I look at the use of sacred space during Waehma, and ground my reinterpretation of Hiaki practice in the examination of the unique and prominent place that many sacred Hiaki symbols and figures have throughout the ritual of Waehma that are clearly not part of the narratives of the Passion of Christ that the Jesuits introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Hiaki
  • Yaqui beliefs and practices
  • Yaqui Lenten rituals
  • Yoeme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Archaeology


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