In November of 1981, an assortment of academics gathered in Tucson, Arizona for the 89th Wenner-Gren International Symposium. Organized in collaboration with the newly federally recognized Pascua Yaqui Tribe and local anthropologists, the symposium promised a public reenactment and interdisciplinary examination Yaqui rituals and performances. A relatively forgotten event in a seemingly out-of-the-way place, the gathering served as an installment in a longstanding and mutually constructive history of Indigenous recognition and anthropological authority in the Southwest.
About the speaker:
Nicholas Barron is the 2020 William Y. and Nettie K. Adams Summer Scholar. Barron is associate faculty of anthropology at Mission College and managing editor at the History of Anthropology Review, illustrates how the International Symposium became a consequential participant in the ongoing efforts to re-present the Yaqui as a newly recognized American Indian tribe. Yaqui intellectuals and activists strategically embraced and challenged anthropological institutions and authority in order to affirm their newfound political status—even in unexpected places such as an academic conference.