Perhaps you know them for their deer dances or for their rich Easter ceremonies, or perhaps only from the writings of anthropologists or of Carlos Castaneda. But now you can come to know the Yaqui Indians in a whole new way. Anita Endrezze, born in California of a Yaqui father and a European mother, has written a multilayered work that interweaves personal, mythical, and historical views of the Yaqui people. Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon is a blend of ancient myths, poetry, journal extracts, short stories, and essays that tell her people's story from the early 1500s to the present, and her family's story over the past five generations. Reproductions of Endrezze's paintings add an additional dimension to her story and illuminate it with striking visual imagery. Endrezze has combed history and legend to gather stories of her immediate family and her mythical ancient family, the two converging in the spirit of storytelling. She tells Aztec and Yaqui creation stories, tales of witches and seductresses, with recurring motifs from both Yaqui and Chicano culture.
She shows how Christianity has deeply infused Yaqui beliefs, sharing poems about the Flood and stories of a Yaqui Jesus. She re-creates the coming of the Spaniards through the works of such historical personages as Andres Perez de Ribas. And finally she tells of those individuals who carry the Yaqui spirit into the present day. People like the Esperanza sisters, her grandmothers, and others balance characters like Coyote Woman and the Virgin of Guadalupe to show that Yaqui women are especially important as carriers of their culture. Greater than the sum of its parts, Endrezze's work is a new kind of family history that features a startling use of language to invoke a people and their past--a time capsule with a female soul. Written to enable her to understand more about her ancestors and to pass this understanding on to her own children, Throwing Fire at the Sun, Water at the Moon helps us gain insight not only into Yaqui culture but into ourselves as well.
Anita Endrezze's other books include At the Helm of Twilight, winner of the Washington State Governor's Writers Award and the Bumbershoot/Weyerhaeuser Award. Her work has been widely anthologized and has been translated into five languages. She lives near Seattle, Washington.