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Yaqui Deer Songs/Maso Bwikam
A Native American Poetry
By Larry Evers; Felipe S. Molina
239 pp. / 7.00 in x 8.75 in / 1987
Paper (978-0-8165-0995-9)
  - Sun Tracks

Related Interest
  - Yaqui
  - Indigenous and Native American Studies

Winner of the Chicago Folklore Prize

Yaqui regard song as a kind of lingua franca of the intelligent universe. It is through song that experience with other living things is
Ranks among the finest works of its kind.

—American Indian Quarterly

In both form and content, Yaqui Deer Songs is one of the most beautiful anthropological books of recent years. It stands as part of the great tradition of collaborative work flowing from Boas and Teit, in which oral literature is presented, preserved, and sensitively translated.

—Journal of Anthropological Research

A model for others interested in studying across languages and culture. . . . [Readers] will find this book of stories, songs, and photographs a credible account of Yaqui history and ritual.


The interweaving of ethnological material, personal anecdote and visual imagery gives a reader the sense of witnessing, even participating in, both a ceremony and the life it sanctifies.

—San Francisco Chronicle

An important and beautifully produced book, a labor of love as well as of scholarship.

—Western Folklore

A book for scholars, aficionados of Yaqui culture, and people who just want a good read.

—Journal of the Southwest

As a study of a Native American poetic genre, it is outstanding. The collaboration of Evers, a non-Yaqui specialist in American Indian traditional literature, with Molina, a young Yaqui who speaks his people's language and performs as a deer singer in his own right, makes this a very model of what such studies can and should be.

—William Bright in SAIL

This work provides an outstanding break-through . . . a real tour-de-force, extremely well done.

—Barre Toelken

Evers and Molina illuminate the subtle mystery of the Deer Songs and provide translations that set a standard for this genre. . . . Clearly this volume makes a permanent contribution to American Indian Literature.

—John Bierhorst

made intelligible and accessible to the human community. Deer songs often take the form of dialogues in which the deer and others in the wilderness world speak with one another or with the deer singers themselves. It is in this way, according to one deer singer, that "the wilderness world listens to itself even today."

In this book authentic ceremonial songs, transcribed in both Yaqui and English, are the center of a fascinating discussion of the Deer Song tradition in Yaqui culture. Yaqui Deer Songs/Maso Bwikam thus enables non-Yaquis to hear these dialogues with the wilderness world for the first time.

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