Detached from their homeland: the Latter-day Saints of Chihuahua, Mexico



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Over the past few decades, the homeland concept has received an ever-increasing amount of attention by cultural geographers. While the debate surrounding the necessity and applicability of the concept continues, it is more than apparent that no other geographic term (including culture areas or culture regions) captures the essence of peoples’ attachment to place better than homeland. The literature, however, provides few examples of the deep-seated loyalty people have for a homeland despite being physically detached from that space. Employing land use mapping and informal interviews, this paper seeks to help fill that gap by exemplifying how the daily lives of Mormons living in Chihuahua, Mexico reflect their connection to the United States and the Mormon Homeland. Our research revealed that, among other things, the Anglo residents perpetuate their cultural identity through their unique self-reference, exhibit territoriality links reflected in their built environment, and demonstrate unconditional bonding to their homeland through certain holiday celebrations. It is clear to us, as the Anglo-Mormon experience illustrates, that the homeland concept deserves a place within the geographic lexicon.



Latter-day Saints, Chihuahua, Mexico, Homeland, Mormons