In 1800s Sonora, Mexico, the Yaquis are in constant struggle to keep their homelands from first the Spaniards and later the Mexicans. The battle between Yaquis and the Mexicans is personal for the Falcon family of Mateo, Petra, Luz, Angel and Cheve, as they fight to survive in the dangerous and violent world, they live in. 



Deer Dancer blends both the mystical culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and historical events from this dark period in Mexico’s history to fascinate and educate older young adults and adults alike. Further, Deer Dancer is an exciting historical fiction novel about the Yaqui-Mexican conflict over traditional homeland, culture, language, religious beliefs, and life styles set in the 1880s in Sonora, Mexico. t takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure story as told through the eyes of the Falcon family: Mateo, Petra, Luz, Angel, and Cheve. Through descriptive narration and authentic dialogue, the reader learns intimate details about this family and how the greater interethnic conflict impacts their peace and unity. The novel is not an anthropological study, but instead, a fictional accounting based on the writer’s understanding of the facts and people of this time. The book is tailored for lovers of Native American and Mexican adventure, history, culture, mysticism, and good story telling. 

            Book is recommended for: The reader should be at least 16 years old to understand the culture, history, conflict, and violence. The Yaquis and Spaniards and later the Mexicans waged continuous warfare since the 1600s into the 20th century over the land, water, and rule. The book reflects in a realistic manner the fighting, salty language, and oppression of the indigenous and women. Yaqui and Mexican religious beliefs are referenced throughout the book. An older student and adults will understand their role in the culture and conflict. How did the author research the book?

            The author did extensive library research of scholarly books writ- ten about Yaqui culture, history, and conflict with the Mexican government. He visited the traditional Yaqui villages in Sonora, Mexico, to gain a first-hand understanding of the people, culture, religion, geography, fauna, and lore. He also traveled to Obregon and Guaymas, Mexico, for an understanding of the Mexican point of view. The writer stayed in the Yaqui villages during the Passion Week and witnessed Deer Dancers and other religious performers. 


About the writer: Richard J. Gonzales wrote for six years about Chicanos as a Fort Worth Star-Telegram weekly guest columnist. He has published short stories in The Americas Review, a Hispanic literary journal of the University of Houston, and has worked in, observed, and researched the Chicano community from the 1970s to the present. Richard has previously published a book of non-fiction, Raza Rising: Chicanos in North Texas, with University of North Texas Press in 2016.

To follow his writing, visit Richard’s website at


You may contact the Author at his website for book presentations and book signings



Book is available online at, Sleeping Panther or directly from the Author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content