Michele McArdle Stephens's slim volume explores the complex intertwining of land, religion, and ethnic identity among the Huichol peoples of northwestern Mexico, arguing that over the course of more than two centuries of contact with state authorities they “successfully defended their culture and communities through . . . an ongoing process of selective appropriation and contestation” (p. xxii). McArdle Stephens presents a people (or, given her emphasis on Huichols' disunity, “peoples”) who engaged external authority—Franciscans, the Spanish colonial state, the modernizing Porfirian state—on their own terms. Key to their autonomy was retention of land, not simply community lands but lands spanning a wide swath of the Sierra Madre Occidental. That territory, incorporating parts of the present-day states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Durango, was foundational to Huichol identity; within this area were to be found not only Huichol towns but Huichol sacred...

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