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A tribe of Cahita stock, formerly dwelling near the Rio Yaqui, and now dispersed throughout Sonora in Mexico. It is the only Indian tribe that has been in constant contact with the white race and has not been entirely subdued. They are first mentioned by Guzmán in his description of the expedition in 1531. In 1610 they made a treaty with the Spaniards and Catholic missions were at once started among them. They were then expert agriculturists, and manufactured cotton goods. They attacked the Spaniards in 1740, owing to the settlers interfering with their missionaries, and since then have frequently rebelled, the latest rising being in 1901. In 1907 the Mexican Government made an attempt to weaken the power of the hostile element by deporting several thousand Yaqui to Yucatán and Tehuantepec. The tribe now numbers about 23,000.
The native dwellings, some of which are still used, were generally constructed of adobe and reeds, with flat roof of grass and clay. Many of the Yaqui now labour in the Sonora mines; others manufacture palm leaf hats and mats and reed baskets. There are no secret societies and little organization in the tribe. Formerly they were accustomed to exchange wives, but now most of the Yaqui have been converted to Catholicism.
BANCROFT, North Mexican States (1883); HODGE in Handbook of American Indians, II (Washington, 1910), s. v.; ALEGRE, Hist. de Compañia de la Jesús, II, III (1842); TOWNSEND, El Yaqui in Journal of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, XXXIX (Cleveland, Ohio, 1905), 649-53.
A. A. MacErlean.