Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona

By Eric V. Meeks | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
CROSSING BORDERS

Rosalio Moisés Valenzuela and his older sister, Antonia, both of them Yaquis, were born in Colorada, Sonora, where their father worked as a miner in the mid-1890s. Their parents and grandparents had fled the Yaqui River to escape the ongoing war with the Mexican army. In his memoirs Rosalio recalled how “many friends and relatives from the Rio Yaqui worked in the Colorada and Suviete mines or at the Minas Prietas five miles away where they dug for graphite.” Most of the boys and men over the age of ten worked for eight pesos a day for eight-hour shifts, which was substantially more than they might earn working on the haciendas. Men and women with land, livestock, or special skills contributed to the family income in other ways. Some of Rosalio and Antonia's relatives owned cattle, and their grandfather, Abelardo, was a full-time shoemaker. María, their grandmother, was a curandera, tending to the spiritual and physical health of the community. The Valenzuelas supported themselves in this way until 1900, when war between the Yaquis and the Mexican military erupted once again. Many men left the mine, returning to the Yaqui River to help defend the villages. “From this time on,” Rosalio recalled, “our lives changed.”1

The events of 1900 propelled Rosalio and Antonia toward a series of moves that would eventually take them across the border into Arizona. That year they moved with their grandparents and several other family members to an orchard in Hermosillo. Their mother, Cecilia, left their father, Miguel, during this tumultuous period, and both children lost contact with her. Miguel obtained a new job at the Sierrita mine, while Rosalio began to work in the orchard, and Antonia helped to support the family

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Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Desert Empire 15
  • Chapter 2 - From Noble Savage to Second-Class Citizen 44
  • Chapter 3 - Crossing Borders 71
  • Chapter 4 - Defining the White Citizen-Worker 98
  • Chapter 5 - The Indian New Deal and the Politics of the Tribe 127
  • Chapter 6 - Shadows in the Sun Belt 155
  • Chapter 7 - The Chicano Movement and Cultural Citizenship 180
  • Chapter 8 - Villages, Tribes, and Nations 211
  • Conclusion - Borders Old and New 241
  • Notes 249
  • Selected Bibliography 301
  • Index 313
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