Where We Belong
Chemehuevi and Caxcan Preservation of Sacred Mountains
The author brings together the history and experiences of the Chemehuevi people and their ties with Mamapukaib, or the Old Woman Mountains in the East Mojave Desert, and the Caxcan people and their relationship with Tlachialoyantepec, or Cerro de las Ventanas, in Zacatecas, Mexico. Through a trans-Indigenous approach, Daisy Ocampo weaves historical methodologies (oral histories, archival research, ethnography) with Native studies and historic preservation to reveal why Native communities are the most knowledgeable and transformational caretakers of their sacred places.
This work transcends national borders to reveal how settler structures are sustained through time and space in the Americas. Challenging these structures, traditions such as the Chemehuevi Salt Songs and Caxcan Xuchitl Dance provide both an old and a fresh look at how Indigenous people are reimagining worlds that promote Indigenous-to-Indigenous futures through preservation.
Ultimately, the stories of these two peoples and places in North America illuminate Indigenous sovereignty within the field of public history, which is closely tied to governmental policies, museums, archives, and agencies involved in historic preservation.
“Where We Belong is an innovative and compelling book that centers Indigenous perspectives and practices across borders to argue for more holistic approaches to historic preservation and public history.”
—Sam Holley-Kline, Florida State University