Amada's Blessings
UNM Press book, 'Amada's Blessings from the Peyote Gardens of South Texas,' won the 2016 Peter C. Rollins Book Award in the category of Popular Culture.

Amada's Blessings from the Peyote Gardens of South Texas by Stacy B. Schaefer won the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) 2016 Peter C. Rollins Book Award in the category of Popular Culture. The SWPACA will present the award at a ceremony during the 38th Annual SWPACA Conference Feb. 15–18, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque.

The Rollins Book Award is named after Peter C. Rollins, a co-founder of the SWPACA, and it annually recognizes outstanding scholarship published within the two preceding calendar years on topics of film/television and popular culture studies. Each year the Rollins Book Award Committee recognizes outstanding scholarly volumes in the categories of Film/Television and Popular Culture. For more information about the Rollins Book Award, visit

Amada’s Blessings from the Peyote Gardens of South Texas reveals the life of Amada Cardenas, a Mexican American woman from the borderlands of South Texas who played a pivotal role in the little-known history of the peyote trade. She and her husband were the first federally licensed peyote dealers. They began harvesting and selling the sacramental plant to followers of the Native American Church (NAC) in the 1930s, and after her husband’s death in the late 1960s, Mrs. Cardenas continued to befriend and help generations of NAC members until her death in 2005, just short of her 101st birthday.

Author Stacy B. Schaefer, a close friend of Amada’s, spent thirteen years doing fieldwork with this remarkable woman. Her book weaves together the geography, biology, history, cultures, and religions that created the unique life of Mrs. Cardenas and the people she knew. Schaefer includes their words to help tell the story of how Mexican Americans, Tejanos, gringos, Native Americans, and others were touched and inspired by Amada Cardenas’s embodiment of the core NAC values: faith, hope, love, and charity.

Stacy B. Schaefer, professor emerita of anthropology at California State University, Chico (CSUC), and former codirector of the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology (CSUC), has worked in research, curatorial, and educational capacities at a number of California museums. Her most recent book is Huichol Women, Weavers, and Shamans (UNM Press). Currently her research includes ethnographic fieldwork among the indigenous peoples of Chile and Bolivia.

For more information, visit