The Yakama Nation is a Native American reservation in Eastern Washington that is home to about 11,000 Yakama people and almost three times as many Latinos. Over recent decades, the reservation’s rich agricultural lands have attracted Mexican farmworkers and their families who have made the valley their home. Despite shared indigenous roots and frequent intermarriage, living side by side hasn’t been easy, and tensions between the two groups are high. The Yakama people worry about their ability to maintain their identity and culture as outsiders settle on their land. Meanwhile, some in the Mexican community believe they are treated unfairly by the tribal government. In spite of much dislike and mistrust between the groups, a new hybrid society (Yakama, Mexican, and American all at once) is taking shape on the Yakama Nation.
On this special collaboration with Northwest Public Radio, Latino USA takes a deep dive into the dynamics of the reservation, exploring how two communities try to learn to get along.
Featured image: Marlon Bishop, Latino USA
For more photos from this episode, see Latinos on the Reservation: In Pictures.
9 thoughts on “#1547 – Reservations”
The youth will create the change needed in this divided system. We are more the same than different.
Just finished listening to this story on KUAZ in Tucson. My mother grew up in Toppenish, I grew up in neighboring Yakima, and I taught for 9 yrs on the Navajo reservation. Thorough and well-done, this story discussed well the difficulties of the Native and Mexican populations in the Lower Valley. I thought the history of the reservation and influx of Mexican people was explained well. The interviews were particularly interesting. People were honest about their thoughts. Matt Tomaskin’s comments were helpful. As I former HS teacher, I enjoyed listening to the students.
What was the music at minute 36? It was fantastic. Well really, this whole show is.
Interesting,my father is Mexican and my mother is Dine(Navajo).I was born & raised in north eastern Arizona and I self identify only as Native.I can relate to many of the views of the Native & non Native people.At powwows I have on occasion been discriminated when they question the orgins of my name & surname ,I feel I often have to prove my Nativeness to them when they start asking me random questions regarding the extent of my tribal affiliation and Native cultural knowledge.Non has ever called me a “halfbreed” though.My father is Mexican but of Native Mexican orgins so my physical appearance leans primarily to Native phenotype and I easily blend in with all the Natives at Pow wows & other diverse important Native social gatherings.