An educational project of the
Houston Institute for Culture

John P. Schmal

Durango is a landlocked state of northwestern Mexico. As the fourth largest state of the Mexican Republic, Durango covers an area of 121,776 square kilometers and takes up 6.2% of the national territory. The state is surrounded by the States of Chihuahua and Coahuila de Zaragoza on the north, Zacatecas on the east and southeast, Nayarit on the southwest, and Sinaloa on the west. Politically, Durango is divided into 39 municipalities. The capital of the State is the City of Durango, which had a population of 491,436 in 2000. With a population of 1,445, 900 in the 2000 census, the State of Durango was ranked twenty-third in terms of population.

During the early centuries of Spanish colonial Mexico, Durango was part of the province of Nueva Vizcaya, which took up a great deal of territory, much of which now corresponds with four Mexican states. This large chunk of northwestern Mexico, which consists of 610,000 square kilometers (372,200 square miles), witnessed almost four hundred years of indigenous resistance against the Spanish Empire and the Mexican Federal Government.

From the First Contact in 1531 up until the Twentieth Century, the indigenous people of Nueva Vizcaya waged many wars of resistance against the federal authorities in Mexico City. The insurrections and conflagrations that raged on endlessly for so long can be classified into four main categories:

1) Confrontation at first contact. Some indigenous tribes decided to attack or oppose the Spaniards as soon as they arrived in their territory. These rebellions were an attempt to maintain pre-Hispanic cultural elements and to reject the introduction of a new culture and religion.

2) First-Generation Indian rebellions. Indigenous groups that had come under Spanish rule and embraced Christianity fall in this category. Such rebellions took place within the first generation of contact and usually represented an attempt to restore pre-Hispanic social and religious elements.

3) Second-Generation Indian rebellions. These rebellions took place in populations that had already been under Spanish rule for decades or even centuries. However, the two likely goals for such insurgencies were sharply divergent from one another. In the case of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, for example, the Indians sought to completely obliterate all traces of Spanish culture and Christian symbolism from Pueblo society. However, other second-generation revolts, such as the Yaqui Rebellion of 1740, sought to make changes within the Spanish system. Usually the goal of such insurgencies was to gain autonomy, address grievances, or maintain land ownership.

4) Indian attacks on other indigenous groups. Indigenous groups who attacked other indigenous groups may have done so for a number of reasons. Some attacks were the manifestation of traditional enmity between indigenous neighbors. Other attacks may have been designed to seek revenge on indigenous groups who had become Christian or cooperated with the Spaniards. Raids on Spanish and Amerindian settlements were usually carried out in order to seize materials such as food, clothing, horses, cattle, and arms.

The following history highlights the story of Indigenous resistance in Durango through the centuries:

Francisco de Ibarra. From 1563 to 1565, Francisco de Ibarra traveled through parts of Nueva Vizcaya, constructing settlements of a permanent nature. It was Ibarra who gave this area its name, after his home province of Vizcaya in Spain. The first capital of the province, Durango, founded in July 1563, was similarly named for his birthplace. Francisco de Ibarra's expedition was responsible for some of the first European observations on the Acaxee, Xixime, and Tepehuán groups of Durango.

By the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, Spanish authorities had organized many of the Indians in Durango and Sinaloa into encomiendas. Although encomienda Indians were supposed to provide labor "for a few weeks per year," the historian Ms. Susan M. Deeds explains that "they often served much longer and some apparently became virtual chattels of Spanish estates." She goes on to say that the Jesuits' "systematic congregation of Indians into villages" starting in the 1590s encouraged the development of encomiendas by making Indians more accessible to their encomenderos." In practice, Mrs. Deeds concludes, encomiendas usually resulted in the "tacit enslavement of Indians."

As the Spaniards moved northward they found an amazing diversity of indigenous groups. Unlike the more concentrated Amerindian groups of central Mexico, the Indians of the north were referred to as "ranchería people" by the Spaniards. Their fixed points of settlements (rancherías) were usually scattered over an area of several miles and one dwelling may be separated from the next by up to half a mile. The renowned anthropologist, Professor Edward H. Spicer (1906-1983), writing in Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960, stated that most ranchería people were agriculturalists and farming was their primary activity.

Acaxee Revolt - Northwestern Durango and East Central Sinaloa (1601). The Acaxee Indians lived in dispersed rancherías in the gorges and canyons of the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Durango and eastern Sinaloa. Once the Jesuit missionaries started to work among the Acaxees, they forced them to cut their very long hair and to wear clothing. The Jesuits also initiated a program of forced resettlement so that they could concentrate the Acaxees in one area.

In December 1601, the Acaxees, under the direction of an elder named Perico, began an uprising against Spanish rule. The author Susan Deeds, writing in "Indigenous Rebellions on the Northern Mexican Mission Frontier from First-Generation to Later Colonial Responses," states that the Acaxee Revolt "was characterized by messianic leadership and promises of millennial redemption during a period of violent disruption and catastrophic demographic decline due to disease." Claiming to have come from heaven to save his people from the false doctrines of the Jesuits, Perico planned to exterminate all the Spaniards. Although he promised to save his people from the Catholic missionaries and their way of life, his messianic activity included saying Mass, and performing baptisms and marriages.

Ms. Deeds observes that the Acaxee and other so-called first generation revolts represented "attempts to restore pre-Columbian social and religious elements that had been destroyed by the Spanish conquest." In the following weeks, the Acaxees attacked the Spaniards in the mining camps and along mountain roads, killing fifty people. After the failure of negotiations, Francisco de Urdiñola led a militia of Spaniards and Tepehuán and Concho allies into the Sierra Madre. Susan Deeds writes that "the campaign was particularly brutal, marked by summary trials and executions of hundreds of captured rebels." Perico and 48 other rebel leaders were executed, while other rebels were sold into slavery.

Xiximes Revolt - Northwestern and western Durango (1610). The Xixime Indians, referred to as "wild mountain people," inhabited the mountain country of western Durango, inland from Mazatlán. The Xiximes were the traditional enemies of the Acaxees and, according to Jesuit accounts, the "the most bellicose of all Nueva Vizcayan Indians." When Guzmán's scouts entered these foothills in 1531, Mr. Gerhard writes that they had "found the natives and the terrain so inhospitable that they soon retreated." However, in 1565, Francisco de Ibarra marched against the Xiximes and subdued them.

The first Xixime rebellion was a short-lived outbreak in 1601. A second uprising in 1610 coincided with the outbreak of a smallpox epidemic in an Acaxee village near the Acaxee-Xixime border. Seeing the Spaniards as the likely source of the disease, the Xiximes had begun to stockpile stores of arrows in stones fortifications. Seeking an alliance with the Tepehuanes and Acaxees, the Xixime leaders promised immortality to all warriors who died in battle.

After the summer rains subsided, Governor Urdiñola led a large force of 200 armed Spaniards and 1,100 Indian warriors into Xixime territory. Utilizing "scorched-earth tactics," Urdiñola's "relentless pursuit resulted in the surrender of principal insurgent leaders, ten of whom were hanged." After the revolt was completely suppressed, the authorities brought in Jesuit missionaries, bearing gifts of tools, seed and livestock. With the help of Spanish soldiers, the missionaries congregated the Xiximes from 65 settlements into five new missions.

Tepehuanes Revolt - Western and Northwestern Durango, Southern Chihuahua (1616-1620). The Tepehuanes occupied an extensive area of the Sierra Madre Mountains from the southern headwaters of the Rio Fuerte to the Rio Grande de Santiago in Jalisco. Much of their territory lay in present-day Durango and Chihuahua. The first Jesuits, bearing gifts of seeds, tools, clothing and livestock, went to work among the Tepehuanes in 1596. Between 1596 and 1616, eight Jesuit priests had converted the majority of the Tepehuanes.

It is likely that the epidemics that struck the Tepehuanes population in 1594, 1601-02, 1606-07, and 1612-1615 became a catalyst for this rebellion. This apparent failure of the Jesuit God to save their people from famine and disease, writes Charlotte M. Gradie, the author of The Tepehuán Revolt of 1616: Militarism, Evangelism, and Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Nueva Vizcaya, caused the Tepehuanes culture to undergo "enormous stress from various factors associated with Spanish conquest and colonization." This stress convinced the Tepehuanes to embrace a return to their traditional way of life before the arrival of the Spaniards.

This "reinstatement of traditional religious beliefs and deities," writes Ms. Gradie, would ensure that the Spaniards would never again enter Tepehuán territory. One of the leaders of the revolt, Quautlatas, spoke a message of hope, telling his listeners that they should not accept the Christian God, but instead return to worshipping their former gods.

On the night of November 16, 1616, the Tepehuán rose in rebellion, taking the Spaniards completely by surprise. Entering Atotonilco, the Indians killed ten missionaries and 200 civilians. That same night they surrounded to Santiago Papasquiaro, where the Christians resisted 17 days. The Tepehuanes Indians had limited success in trying to enlist the aid of the Conchos Indians who lived around the Parras mission, on the northern edge of the Tepehuán territory. On the other hand, they had considerable success in getting the Acaxees and Xiximes to attack Spanish mines and settlements in western Nueva Vizcaya. However, when the Tepehuanes advanced on the recently converted Acaxee pueblos of Tecucuoapa and Carantapa, the 130 Acaxee warriors decided to side with the Spaniards and decisively defeated their Tepehuán neighbors. Because the loyalties of the Acaxees and Xiximes were divided, the Spaniards were able to extinguish their uprising more rapidly.

Ms. Charlotte M. Gradie writes that "native allies [of the Spaniards] were crucial in mounting an effective defense against the Tepehuanes and in putting down the revolt." On December 19, Captain Gáspar de Alvear led a force of sixty-seven armed cavalry and 120 Concho allies into the war zone to confront the insurgents. The hostilities continued until 1620 and laid waste to a large area. When Mateo de Vesga became Governor of Nueva Vizcaya in 1618, he described the province as "destroyed and devastated, almost depopulated of Spaniards." By the end of the revolt, at least a thousand allied Indians had died, while the Tepehuanes may have lost as many as 4,000 warriors. Professor Spicer regards the Tepehuán revolt as "one of the three bloodiest and most destructive Indian attempts to throw off Spanish control in northwestern New Spain." Following the revolt, the Tepehuanes fled to mountain retreats to escape Spanish vengeance. Not until 1723 would the Jesuits return to work among them.

Tarahumares - Western and Eastern Durango; Southern Chihuahua (1621-1622). Occupying an extensive stretch of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Tarahumara Indians were ranchería people who planted corn along the ridges of hills and in valleys. During the winters, they retreated to the lowlands or the deep gorges to seek shelter. Some of them lived in cave excavations along cliffs or in stone masonry houses. The Tarahumara received their first visit from a Jesuit missionary in 1607. But the ranchería settlement pattern of both the Tepehuanes and Tarahumara represented a serious obstacle to the efforts of the missionaries who sought to concentrate the Amerindian settlements into compact communities close to the missions.

In January 1621, the Tepehuanes from the Valle de San Pablo y San Ignacio, with some Tarahumara Indians, attacked estancias in the Santa Bárbara region. They looted and burned buildings and killed Spaniards and friendly Indians. Three separate Spanish expeditions from Durango were sent after the Indian rebels. With the death of their military and religious leaders, however, the Tarahumara rebels could no longer carry on an organized resistance.

Revolt of the Tobosos, Salineros and Conchos - Eastern and Northwestern Durango; Southern Chihuahua (1644-1652). In Indian Assimilation in the Franciscan Area of Nueva Vizcaya, the anthropologist Professor William B. Griffen, commenting on the establishment of the silver mines at Parral in 1631, notes that the "influx of new people and the resulting development of Spanish society no doubt placed increased pressure upon the native population in the region." Griffen also cites "a five-year period of drought, accompanied by a plague," which had occurred immediately preceding the uprising as a contributing factor. The large area of southern Chihuahua inhabited by the Conchos Indians included the highway between the mining districts of Parral, Cusihuiriachic, and Chihuahua.

Very abruptly, in 1644, nearly all of the general area north and east of the Parral district of Chihuahua was aflame with Indian rebellion as the Tobosos, Cabezas, and Salineros rose in revolt. In the spring of 1645, the Conchos - long-time allies of the Spaniards - also took up arms against the Europeans. Professor Griffen wrote that the Conchos had "rather easily become incorporated into the Spanish empire. In the 1600s they labored and fought for the Spaniards, who at this time often lauded them for their industry and constancy." But now, the Conchos established a confederation of rebellious tribes that included the Julimes, Xiximoles, Tocones, and Cholomes. On June 16, 1645, Governor Montaño de la Cueva, with a force of 90 Spanish cavalry and 286 Indian infantry auxiliaries, defeated a force of Conchos. By August 1645, most of the Conchos and their allies had surrendered and return to their work.

Revolt of the Tarahumara (1648-1652). The 1648 rebellion began with an organized insurgency in the little Tarahumara community of Fariagic, southwest of Parral. Under the leadership of four caciques (chiefs), several hundred Tarahumara Indians moved northward, attacking missions along the way. The mission of San Francisco de Borja was destroyed before a Spanish expedition from Durango met the Indians in battle and captured two of their leaders.

The short-lived rebellion of 1648 was followed by more outbreaks in 1650 and 1652. According to Professor Spicer, relations between the Tarahumara and the Spanish settlers had grown tense in recent years as "the Spaniards appropriated farming sites, assumed domineering attitudes over the Indians, and attempted to force the Indians to work for them." The Villa de Aguilar and its associated mission of Papigochic became the targets of Tarahumara attacks in both 1650 and 1652. A contingent of Tarahumara under Tepórame attacked and laid waste to seven Franciscan establishments in Concho territory. Eventually, the Spanish forces defeated the insurgents and executed Tepórame.

Revolt of the Salineros, Conchos, Tobosos, and Tarahumares - Northeastern Durango; Southern and Western Chihuahua (1666-1680). In 1666, some of the western Conchos rose in rebellion following a drought, famine and epidemic. But in the following year, the rebellion spread to the Tobosos, Cabezas, and Salineros. Although Spanish forces were sent to contain the rebellion, the turmoil continued for a decade. Professor Jack D. Forbes, the author of Apache, Navaho, and Spaniard, writes that "the Nueva Vizcaya region was a land of continual war in the early 1670's." By 1677, in fact, Nueva Vizcaya was in great danger of being lost. However, in a series of campaigns, the Spaniards killed many of the enemy and captured up to 400 Indians. But even after these battles, the Conchos, Tobosos, Julimes and Chisos continued to wage war against the European establishment.

The Great Northern Revolt of the Pueblos, Salineros, Conchos, Tobosos and Tarahumares - New Mexico, Northeastern Durango, Southern and Western Chihuahua (1680 - 1689). In 1680, Pope, a Pueblo Indian medicine man, having assembled a unified Pueblo nation, led a successful revolt against Spanish colonists in New Mexico. Beginning at dawn on August 11, 1680, the insurgents killed twenty-one Franciscan missionaries serving in the various pueblos. At least 400 Spanish colonists were murdered in the first days of the rebellion. On August 15, Indian warriors converged on Santa Fe. They cut off the water supply to the 2,000 men, women and children there, and they sang, "The Christian god is dead, but our sun god will never die." The Spaniards counterattacked, causing the Pueblos to pull back momentarily. Then, on August 21 the Spaniards and mestizos trapped inside of Santa Fe fled, making their way southward down the Rio Grande to El Paso al Norte Mission, which had been built in 1659.

Once the Spaniards had been expelled, Pope initiated a campaign to eradicate Spanish cultural elements, disallowing the use of the Spanish language, and insisting that Indians baptized as Christians be bathed in water to negate their baptisms. Religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church were banned and the Indians were stopped from verbally using the names of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints.

The Pope Revolt, in addition to driving the Spaniards from the Santa Fe-Albuquerque region for more than a decade, also provided the Pueblo Indians with three to five thousand horses. Almost immediately, they started breeding larger herds, with the intention of selling horses to the Apache and Comanche Indians. As a result, the widespread use of the horse revolutionized Indian life. While mounted Indians found that buffalo were much easier to kill, some tribes - such as the Comanche - met with great success when they used the horse for warfare.

The revolt in New Mexico jostled many of the indigenous tribes of Nueva Vizcaya into action. As the rebellion spread, hundreds were killed but the Spanish military, caught woefully off-guard, could only muster small squads for the defense of the settlements in Chihuahua and Sonora. During the power vacuum in New Mexico and Nueva Vizcaya following the 1680 revolt, the Apache Indians started to push far to the southwest, arriving at the gates of Sonora to attack Spanish and Opata settlements. Then, in 1684, as the Spaniards nursed their wounds at their new headquarters in El Paso, more rebellions popped up across all of northern Chihuahua. From Casas Grandes to El Paso, Conchos, Sumas, Chinarras, Mansos, Janos, and Apachean Jócomes all took up arms.

Comanche Raids into Chihuahua and Durango (Second Half of the Eighteenth Century). The Comanche Indians had begun raiding Spanish settlements in Texas as early as the 1760s. Soon after, the Comanche warriors began raiding Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, Durango and Nuevo León. T. R. Fehrenbach, the author of Comanches: The Destruction of a People, writes that "a long terror descended over the entire frontier, because Spanish organization and institutions were totally unable to cope with war parties of long-striking, swiftly moving Comanches." Mounting extended campaigns into Spanish territory, the Comanches avoided forts and armies. T. R. Fehrenbach states that these Amerindians were "eternally poised for war." They traveled across great distances and struck their victims with great speed. "They rampaged across mountains and deserts," writes Mr. Fehrenbach, "scattering to avoid detection surrounding peaceful villages of peasants for dawn raids. They waylaid travelers, ravaged isolated ranches, destroyed whole villages along with their inhabitants."

War with the Comanche Indians - 1820s. In the 1820s, the newly independent Mexican Republic was so preoccupied with political problems that it failed to maintain an adequate defense in its northern territories. Comanches ended the peace that they had made with the Spaniards and resumed warfare against the Mexican Federal Government. By 1825, they were making raids deep in Texas, New Mexico, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Chihuahua and Durango.

"Such conditions were permitted to continue in the north," writes Mr. Fehrenbach, "because independent Mexico was not a homogeneous or cohesive, nation it never possessed a government stable or powerful enough to mount sustained campaigns against the Amerindians." As a result, Comanche raiders killed thousands of Mexican soldiers, ranchers and peasants south of the Rio Grande.

Confrontations with Comanches - Sonora, Chihuahua and Durango (1834-1853). In 1834, Mexico signed its third peace treaty with the Comanches of Texas. However, almost immediately Mexico violated the peace treaty and the Comanches resumed their raids in Texas and Chihuahua. In the following year, Sonora, Chihuahua and Durango reestablished bounties for Comanche scalps. Between 1848 and 1853, Mexico filed 366 separate claims for Comanche and Apache raids originating from north of the American border.

A government report from 1849 claimed that twenty-six mines, thirty haciendas, and ninety ranches in Sonora had been abandoned or depopulated between 1831 and 1849 because of Apache depredations. In 1852, the Comanches made daring raids into Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, and Durango and even Tepic in Jalisco (now in Nayarit), some 700 miles south of the United States-Mexican border.

Indigenous Durango in the Twentieth Century

By the late Nineteenth Century, most of the indigenous groups of pre-Hispanic Durango had disappeared. In the 1895 census, only 1,661 individuals five years of age or over claimed to speak an indigenous language. This number increased significantly to 3,847 in 1900 and to 4,023 in 1910.

In the unique 1921 Mexican census, residents of each state were asked to classify themselves in several categories, including ³indígena pura² (pure indigenous), ³indígena mezclada con blanca² (indigenous mixed with white) and ³blanca² (white). Out of a total state population of 336,766, 33,354 individuals (or 9.9%) claimed to be of pure indigenous background. A much larger number ­ 300,055, or 89.1% ­ classified themselves as being mixed, while only 33 individuals classified themselves as white. While it is likely that most of the 44,779 persons claiming to be of indigenous descent probably did not speak an Indian language, both the pure and mixed classifications are a testament to Durango¹s undeniable indigenous past.

Indigenous Groups Today

According to the 2000 census, the population of persons five years and more who spoke indigenous languages in Durango amounted to 24,934 individuals, or 1.97% of the population. These individuals spoke a wide range of languages, many of which are transplants from other parts of the Mexican Republic. The largest indigenous groups represented in the state were: Tepehuán (17,051), Huichol (1,435), Náhuatl (872), Tarahumara (451), Cora (218), and Mazahua (176).

In the 2000 census, the Tepehuán ­ numbering 17,051 persons five years of age and older ­ were the most common indigenous speakers in Durango, making up 68.38% of the total indigenous speaking population. The Tepehuanes Indians speak an Uto-Aztecan language and are believed to be closely related to the Pima Indians. There are two distinct groups, the Northern and the Southern. The Northern Tepehuanes inhabit the northern part of the state and small parts of southern Chihuahua.

Tepehuán is most common in the southern municipio of Mezquital where 16,630 residents were classified in the 2000 census as indigenous speakers. Of this number, the vast majority ­ 14,138 ­ was listed as Tepehuán, while 1,397 were Huichol, 592 were Náhuatl, and 192 were Cora. Another 1,639 Tepehuanes lived in the southwestern municipio of Pueblo Nuevo, as well as 389 more in the municipio of Súchil, and 721 in the Durango municipio.

Although the Huicholes primarily live in northern Jalisco and Nayarit, a small number inhabit parts of the state of Durango. Individuals speaking the Huichol language in Durango only numbered 1,435 in 2000, accounting for 5.76% of the total indigenous-speaking population five years of age and older. (For the sake of comparison, a total of 30,686 persons were tallied as speaking Huichol in the entire Mexican Republic during the 2000 census.)

The present indigenous population of Durango is but a small remnant of the vast array of indigenous peoples who inhabited Durango and neighboring areas of Nueva Vizcaya five centuries ago. Their struggle against Spanish occupation was a long running battle that crossed several centuries and was fought with great vigor.

Copyright © 2004 by John P. Schmal. All Rights Reserved. Read more articles by John Schmal.


Susan M. Deeds, "Indigenous Rebellions on the Northern Mexican Mission Frontier: From First-Generation to Later Colonial Responses," in Susan Schroeder, Native Resistance and the Pax Colonial in New Spain. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1998, pp. 1-29.

Departamento de la Estadísticas Nacional. Annuario de 1930. Tacubaya, D.F., 1932.

T. R. Fehrenbach, Comanches: The Destruction of a People. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994.

Jack D. Forbes, Apache, Navajo, and Spaniard. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994 (2nd ed.).

Charlotte M. Gradie, The Tepehuan Revolt of 1616: Militarism, Evangelism, and Colonialism in Seventeenth-Century Nueva Vizcaya. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2000.

William B. Griffen, Apaches at War and Peace: The Janos Presidio, 1750-1858. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.

William B. Griffen, Indian Assimilation in the Franciscan Area of Nueva Vizcaya. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1979.

Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI). Estadísticas Históricas de Mexico, Tomo I. Aguascalientes: INEGI, 1994.

Jesus F. Lazalde, Durango Indígena Panorámica Cultural de un Pueblo Prehispánico en el Noroeste de Méxicio. Durango: Impresiones Graficas México, 1987.

Cynthia Radding, "The Colonial Pact and Changing Ethnic Frontiers in Highland Sonora, 1740-1840," in Donna J. Guy and Thomas E. Sheridan (eds.), Contested Ground: Comparative Frontiers on the Northern and Southern Edges of the Spanish Empire, pp. 52-66. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1998.

Daniel T. Reff, Disease, Depopulation and Culture Change in Northwestern New Spain, 1518-1764. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1991.

Robert Mario Salmon, Indian Revolts in Northern New Spain: A Synthesis of Resistance (1680-1786). Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1991.

Edward H. Spicer, Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1997.

John Schmal is an historian, genealogist, and lecturer. With his friend Donna Morales, he coauthored "Mexican-American Genealogical Research: Following the Paper Trail to Mexico" (Heritage Books, 2002) and "The Dominguez Family: A Mexican-American Journey" (Heritage Books, 2004). He has degrees in History (Loyola-Marymount University) and Geography (St. Cloud State University) and is a board member of the Society of Hispanic Historical Ancestral Research (SHHAR). He is an associate editor of SHHAR's online monthly newsletter, www.somosprimos.com. John is presently collaborating with illustrator Eddie Martinez on a manuscript entitled "Indigenous Mexico: Past and Present."