Out of the Sierra: A Story of Rarámuri Resistance

Regular price $ 19.95

by Victoria Blanco

Coffee House Press

6/11/2024, paperback

SKU: 9781566896535


A displaced family charts a path forward in this testament to the power of perseverance and the many forms resistance can take.

The Rarámuri people of Chihuahua, Mexico, make up one of the largest Indigenous tribes of North America. Renowned for maintaining their language and cultural traditions in the face of colonization, they have weathered numerous hardships--climate disaster, poverty, cultural erasure--that have only worsened during the twenty-first century.

Based on more than a decade of oral history and participatory field work, Out of the Sierra paints a vivid and vital portrait of Rarámuri displacement. When drought leaves the Gutiérrez family with nothing to eat, they are faced with the choice many Rarámuris must make: remain and hope for rain and aid, or leave their sacred homeland behind. Luis, Martina, and their children choose to journey from their home in the Sierra Madre mountains toward a new and uncertain future in a government-funded Indigenous settlement.

Victoria Blanco considers Indigenous identity with tenderness and intelligence, demanding recognition and justice for the Rarámuri people as they resist assimilation and uphold traditional knowledge in the face of broken systems. In a narrative of unprecedented access and intimacy, Out of the Sierra offers a groundbreaking testimony to human resilience and the power of community.


"At once painfully intimate and staunchly unsentimental, Out of the Sierra welcomes readers into the Rarámuri world and invites us to count the human costs of climate change, capitalism, and anti-Indigenous prejudice." -- Booklist starred review

"Forged in more than a decade of participatory research and accompaniment, Out of the Sierra offers readers a rare glimpse of how one indigenous Rarámuri family has battled sublimation and subjugation at the dizzying edge of a modern borderland metropolis. Encapsulating a broad spectrum of beauty, joy, fury, and loss, Blanco details quotidian acts of injustice and resistance, piercing through old narratives of erasure and cultural disappearance to offer up a proud and vivid antidote." -- Francisco Cantú

"Victoria Blanco's Out of the Sierra stands alongside Andrea Elliott's Invisible Child and Matthew Desmond's Evicted as a triumph of reporting and storytelling. Its narrative of an uprooted family pushed to their limits is wrenching, enthralling, and revelatory. It reoriented me to the world." -- Megha Majumdar

"Out of the Sierra should not only be considered a book but also an historical document. Dynamic, compassionate, and heartbreaking, Victoria Blanco has a gift for blending reportage, cultural commentary, and socioeconomic issues through an Indigenous community that demands our attention from the first page and doesn't let up." -- Morgan Jerkins

About the Author:

Victoria Blanco's writing has been published in the New York TimesCatapultGuernica, and others. She holds her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She is from El Paso, Texas, and now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three sons.