Fiesta of Santa Isobel

Santa Isobel, Fiesta of

July 4
Santa Isobel is the great fiesta of the Yaqui Indians of southern Arizona and Mexico, observed on July 4. It features the coyote dance—a ceremonial dance performed for soldiers, chiefs, and pueblo officials who have died, as well as at certain specific fiestas. Three men, each wearing the head and hide of a coyote and holding a bow which they strike with a piece of cane, perform a slow step in a crouching position, stamping the ground with the flat of their feet to the accompaniment of a water drum. All night long the dancers advance toward and retreat from the drum, their motions mimicking those of a coyote. Just before dawn, a plate of meat is placed in front of each of the dancers. Each man picks the meat up in his teeth, just as a coyote would, and delivers it to the drum.
CONTACTS:
Pascua Yaqui Tribe
7474 S. Camino de Oeste
Tucson, AZ 85757
520-883-5000; fax: 520-883-5014
www.pascuayaqui-nsn.gov
SOURCES:
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 258