With a rite that acknowledges them as heroes, Yaqui community received osseous rests of their forefathers who fought the historic battle of Mazocoba, in 1900, to defend their territory and costumes from Porfirio Diaz army.

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) located in New York City, returned Mexico through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) the goods that they safeguarded; INAH handed them to Yaqui People authorities.

Parting from a solicitude made by the community in January 2009, INAH asked the New York museum for the repatriation of a heap integrated by 12 skulls, a set of long bones, as well as objects used during that battle, such as arches, arrows and textiles.

This week, after a long negotiation between INAH, National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, Foreign Affairs Ministry and Sonora State Government, Yaquis received their ancestors’ rests and conducted a traditional funeral rite at the museum with chants, prayers and incense, as homage to their warriors.  

Jose Antonio Pompa, INAH Physical Anthropology director, representative of the Institute in this negotiation, declared that the osseous rests arrived to the American Museum of Natural History a century ago, brought by American anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka after an expedition to Sonora.

The museum acknowledged INAH as the proper Mexican Government institution to conduct the Yaqui rests’ repatriation, and general director Alfonso de Maria y Campos addressed the formal petition to the museum’s authorities.

The delivery and reception formal ceremony that took place in October 27th 2009 was attended by 15 persons of the Yaqui people, headed by Victor Nocamea Valencia, Joaquin Muñoz and Roberto Valencia, who signed the act, Nell Murphy, director of Cultural Resources of the museum, Jose Antonio Pompa, representing INAH, and Maria Cortina, Mexican consul in New York.

After the ceremony, the Yaqui delegation traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where a pilgrimage through several towns began, which continues all the way back to Sonora, receiving the rests homage as they pass through.