Numerous studies have explored ceremonial traditions that include the use of peyote, including author Stacy B. Schaefer’s previous research on peyote traditions among the Huichol communities of central Mexico. In Amada’s Blessings from the Peyote Gardens of South Texas, Schaefer, professor emerita at California State University, Chico, offers a distinct contribution to scholarly literature on ceremonial peyote use and the Native American Church by examining the life and legacy of the first federally licensed peyote dealer in the United States, Amada Cardenas (1904–2005). In the United States, peyote use has been at the center of legal battles, most notably the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith court case. While it addresses legal issues, Amada’s Blessings is unique in its focus on Cardenas’s life; we might thus consider the book something of a “micro-ethnohistory.” Through its focus on a significant central subject, the...

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