Narrative Nonfiction by Victoria Blanco
June 11, 2024 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 336 pages • 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.
About the Author
Victoria Blanco’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Catapult, Guernica, 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.
Praise for Out of the Sierra
An ABA Indies Introduce Title
“In this compassionate witnessing of the Rarámuri’s living history, Blanco has intentionally reframed a long history of colonized literary poaching from Indigenous people. By centering their origin story and portraying their daily lives as resistance against cultural subjugation, Blanco's eloquent prose reminds us of the wisdom of the Rarámuri's teaching of korima, that gifts from the land are meant to be shared with loving generosity.” —Diane Wilson
“In Out of the Sierra, Victoria Blanco writes with delicacy and clarity about the Rarámuri’s refusal to assimilate even as they struggle with forced relocation, extortion, and poverty. It is a story that demands recognition of the climate crisis in progress and the human rights abuses it causes and exacerbates.” —Claire Boyles
“Lyric, wise, and urgent, Out of the Sierra keeps company with Valeria Luiselli, Elizabeth Rush, and Robin Wall Kimmerer. Blanco's investigative journalism deserves more than a flattering comparison: she is a powerful new voice in ecological nonfiction and her book is not to be missed.” —Kathryn Savage