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Schermerhorn on Christianity and the Tohono O’odham


Walking to Magdalena: Personhood and Place in Tohono O'odham Songs, Sticks, and Stories, by Associate Professor of Religious Studies Seth Schermerhorn, was recently published by University of Nebraska Press. The book is part of the New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies Series.

Schermerhorn, who has studied the Tohono O’odham extensively, examines the Tohono O’odham annual pilgrimage to Magdalena in Sonora, Mexico, to explore how these indigenous people of southern Arizona have made Christianity their own. He uses his own experience of walking along with a group to add to his descriptions and analysis of this important Tohono O’odham event.

In a review on the publisher’s website, Andrae Marak of Governors State University said “Walking to Magdalena makes a vitally important contribution to borderland studies, tracing the making and remaking of place and personhood of the now-transnational Tohono O’odham,” noting that the book “provides us with a unique set of Tohono O’odham voices.”

Calling Schermerhorn’s work “insightful,” Native American poet Ofelia Zepeda said the book is “a wonderful piece of ethnographic research offering a poignant window on O’odham Catholic beliefs and practices.”

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