Vaka Teeve

The Hiaki phrase vaka teeve literally means “tall/long bamboo” (vaaka is “bamboo” and teeve is “tall” or “long”), though vaka teeve is also the name of a historically significant mountain range in Sonora, known in English and Spanish as Bacatete. In the Hiaki people’s struggles against the Mexican government, Vaka Teeve was a place where many Hiakis sought refuge, and they say you can still find tetakoram scattered throughout the mountains. Tetakoram are rock fences with small holes that Hiaki warriors would shoot their guns through.

The name of Vaka Teeve isn’t a coincidence; long ago, when there was still lots of rain in that area, wild bamboo grew very tall all around the mountains. If you needed bamboo for something like patching up a house or making a fence but you didn’t know where to find it, someone might look toward Vaka Teeve and say Amani vaaka si tetteve, which means “over there the bamboo is very tall”.

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