Pasqua Yaqui Connection

visit the website

Grade Level: 6-12

Arizona State Standards Grades 6-8:

1SS-E8. Demonstrate and apply the basic tools of historical research, including how to construct timelines, frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research, and analyze and evaluate historical materials offering varied perspectives, with emphasis on:

PO 1. constructing and interpreting graphs and charts using historical data

PO 2. constructing various timelines of key events, people, and periods of the historical era being studied

PO 3. framing questions that can be answered by historical study and research

PO 4. describing the difference between a primary source document and a secondary source document and the relationships between them

PO 5. assessing the credibility of primary and secondary sources and drawing sound conclusions from them

PO 6. analyzing a historical source and identifying the author's main points, purpose, opinions versus facts, and what other authors say about the same topic

PO 7. examining different points of view on the same historical events and determining the context in which the statements were made, including the questions asked, the sources used, and the author's perspectives

PO 8. recognizing the difference between cause and effect and a mere sequence of historical events

Arizona State Standards Grades 9-12:

1SS-P1. Apply chronological and spatial thinking to understanding the meaning, implications, and import of historical and current events.

1SS-P2. Demonstrate knowledge of research sources and apply appropriate research methods, including framing open-ended questions, gathering pertinent information, and evaluating the evidence and point of view contained within primary and secondary sources.

1SS-P3. Develop historical interpretations in terms of the complexity of cause and effect and in the context in which ideas and past events unfolded

from: Arizona Department of Education Standards-Based Teaching and Learning


Website Summary: This website covers various aspects of the fascinating cultural and historical experience of the Yaqui peoples, mostly through photographs and video. Students will have the opportunity to explore the website and expand on the information through engaging exercises. Emphasis is on drawing connections with other community histories as well as the experiences and lives of the students.

  1. Do a lesson on Yaqui history first. The history section from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe website is useful.
  2. Have students write reflections on the readings in essay form or as journal entries. As a guide, use the statement: "Even now, Yaquis say that morally, they are still undefeated." Instruct students to explain the historical background of the statement, what it means today, and how it inspires or teaches them.
  3. As a class, create an illustrated timeline of Yaqui history. Pick another community that has also faced adversity in their history and create a parallel timeline. Individual students could pick a community to do a history on. Look for similar times of difficulty and discuss how broader historical forces affect many communities at once.
  4. If in Southern Arizona, invite a Yaqui elder, community member, or Tribal Council Member into your classroom. They may (especially Council Members) serve as a speaker for a school assembly. In other communities, invite members of a local native nation. Ask them to give an inspirational, educational, and/or reality grounding talk. Make sure your students have a good background in their nation's history and give utmost respect to the speakers.

The People

Summary: The multimedia sources of this lesson portray Yaqui Old Pascua mid 20th Century in writing, photos, and video. Students will explore the material and contextualize it in Yaqui history. They will process the material by writing a narrative based on it and reflecting their writings.

Do a brief lesson on Yaqui history first, focusing on where Yaqui settled around Tucson. The history section from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe website is useful either as reference for the instructor or for students to read:

Have students go through the pictures and text on Old Pascua, ca. 1938.

They should also watch the video of Old Pascua in 1941.

  1. As a class or in small groups, list characteristics of Old Pascua as portrayed on the website. List how it is similar or different from their own communities (similarities may prove a challenge, so focus on positive cultural ones).
  2. Ask students to muse on how their own grandparents lived at the time. Pick a few students to talk to their parents or grandparents. They can bring the information back to the class for a more complete and accurate list in a follow up lesson.
  3. Talk about the meaning of the similarities and differences. Bring race, class, and colonialism into the discussion.
  4. To bring the readings and video together, have students write a narrative imagining themselves walking into Old Pascua around 1941. Have them describe what they see, what people they meet, what conditions the people live in, how Yaqui history and culture is reflected. Instruct them to initially focus on being true to history (and the pictures/video) rather than a plot.
  5. For more advanced students: Combine/time this assignment with reading texts such as Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier, colonial period travel writing, or another text that has a European entering an exotic land. Otherwise, a brief overview will do. Explore how they represent more the ideas of the West rather than the reality of the land, end up justifying colonialism and racism, and should be regarded with suspicion. Clips from a news source could also be used and analyzed.
  6. Have students read each other's rough drafts, if comfortable with sharing them, pointing out where they may have been influenced by stereotypes. Have students go over their writing again to pick out where information came from or may have been interpreted with bias. Make sure to make it fun and challenging, rather than something that makes students feel bad.
  7. Plan a trip to Old Pascua; contact the Old Pascua Neighborhood Center. Arrange for students to meet with elders from the community.
  8. Finish the project by asking students to write reflections on what they have learned from it.

Movie of Dolores Flores, Yaqui Natural Healer

Have students write responses to the video as essays or journal entries with the following questions:

  1. What is your impression of her ideas on medicine? What experiences that you've had color this impression?
  2. What do you think of natural healing, such as using herbs to cure a headache?
  3. Does anyone in your family use natural healing methods?
  4. Compile a list of natural healing methods and medicines from your classmates and families. Take pictures of the people who use them and close-ups of the herbs (or whatever they might use). Make an exhibit or book out of the pictures.

Publications and Resources

Stories from: The South Corner of Time

  1. Students can pick a story to read. Each should write a reflection on it as a journal entry.
  2. Volunteers (or the whole class) can do a dramatic reading of their story. Many may even be appropriate for theatrical reenactments. Such reenactments would be great alternatives to standard class/school plays.
  3. Have students make illustrated books out of the stories. Allow plenty of time to paint pictures to match the text. Lessons about making children’s books may be helpful. They can go to elementary classrooms and read them to the kids.

This module was developed by Roberto de Roock, Summer 2006.