Pascua Yaqui Tribe


Culture is an important element with all Yaqui communities and bonds both Christianity and Yaqui spirituality in the hope for a better view of the world and morality. An example of Yaqui spirituality is the iconic symbol of the deer and the deer dancer whom mimics the connection to which Yaqui people have the nature. There is such a rich cultural identity, spiritual values with the merging of two faiths and traditional practices both ceremonial and modern for the adaptation of preserving what make a Yaqui, Hiaki.

Yaqui Cultural Societies
Teopo Yoemia (Church & Altar Society): As Jesuit missionaries entered Yaqui territories in the early 1600’s they establish Yaqui Lay Priests (Maehtom) to ensure the livelihood of the newly adopted Catholic religion. In addition, they also included roles such as singers, alter keepers, flag bearers and allowed the merging of both the Yaqui ancestral beliefs and Christianity.

Matachinim Society (Soldiers of the Virgin Mary): This group once was an elite warrior detachment of the Traditional Yaqui army. As Jesuit missionaries entered Yaqui Country the use of this group to aid in the process of conversion to Christianity was vital and the Matachinim Society became Soldiers of God and the Virgin Mary.

Kohtumbre Ya’ura (Lenten Society): A society comprised of men both young and old who devote themselves to carrying out the Yaqui rituals of the 40 days of Lent. A great example of both indigenous customs merged with Catholicism to create a unique portrayal of the “Passion of Christ”.

Wo’i Wiko’o Ya’ura (Coyote Bow Authority): Traditionally the Yaqui Warrior Society were utilized as security for Ceremonies and is used still today in Rio Yaqui as protection for Tribal Leaders. This ritual dance is solely carried by men during Cultural Ceremonies. Women also serve as leaders and soldiers.

Oficio Achalim (Deer Dancer and Pascola): This society is responsible for helping Yaqui people staying connected to our Ancestral beliefs, this society re-enacts stories of the deer, animals and events in nature. We as Yaqui people believe the Deer will guide us as we leave this earth and journey to our Heavens.

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