Native American Nations in Mexico
Indigenous Peoples of Mexico
When speaking about ethnic peoples in anthropological terms, the indigenous tribes and nations from Canada through America and southward to Mexico are called Native North Americans. Each country's indigenous populations can be called First Nations, Native Americans, and Native or Indigenous Mexican Americans.
At least 60 separate native Mexican American nations (or "Mexicas", in their own language) have existed.
Indigenous populations found from Mexico northward to the North Pole in the Western Hemisphere are known as Native North American Nations.
Evidence of Indigenous Origins
Archeological evidence supports that the forbears of the Mexican people came across the Bering Strait on foot, but also across the Pacific Ocean by dugout and other watercraft. Once in North America, waves of immigrants seemed to have intermixed with each other, and later with Europeans, according to in-depth DNA analyses by National Geographic via the The Genographic Project.
The indigenous peoples of Mexico still living today are called:
The Huichol are a very interesting people. Huichol Indians live in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Mexico and are well known for wonderfully intricate yarn paintings and for their beautiful bead work.
Before doing one of their yarn paintings, they take peyote, a drug made naturally in a cactus-type plant. This hallucinogen is so powerful that it allows them to have an alternate experience in which they travel with spirits and speak with them about their art.
Population Origins: Huichol Reindeer Visions
When using peyote for visions, the goal of the Huichol people is to have a vision of a reindeer as it travels to the spirit world. This is unusual, since there currently are no reindeer in Mexico.
To envision a reindeer indicates that they have made contact with their gods and that their communications are sacred. Australian aborigines call such experiences, "The Dreamtime." Indigenous Russians call it, "The Other World."
Scientists have discovered a DNA link between most tribes and nations of North America with ancient Siberians, Northern Eurpoeans (Laplanders), and Northern Asians. The cultural icon of the reindeer seems to have followed their migration to the Western Hemisphere.
According to legend, the reindeer pulls up the sun each morning near the People of the North in Russia. Then, the reindeer becomes a Blue Dragon in parts of Asia. Finally, the animal becomes a reindeer again in Mexico.
Such stories may contain hints pertaining to the genetic heritage of these peoples, supporting the belief that the People of the North migrated through Northeast Asia into Alaska, Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and southward all the way to the tip of south America–and probably back up into the Ohio Valley.
According to a 1996 research study, at least one member of the Iroquois Confederation was found to be related to the Zulu Nation of Africa. Another piece of evidence that supports this relationship is that they have the same word for "cousin" in both languages.
Blue Deer Historical Fiction
This book is based on the true story of the Huichol Indian's 600 mile pilgrimage to save the Earth. Native North American histories are perhaps not promoted as fully as are those of other ethnic groups on our continent, but this book gives a compelling portrayal of the culture and beliefs of the Huichol and their desire to re-populate their forests with native animals.
Re-population of Endangered Species
The Huichol Indians wanted to populate their forests with deer, believing the reindeer once roamed free in those areas. They traveled 600 miles to find the deer they needed.
The Mexico City Zoo gave 20 blue deer to the Huichol People in 1986, and the people started a wild herd on their own lands in the forests.
Two years after the project began, in 1988, the Mexican government recognized the Indians' re-population of forests with deer by giving them the National Ecology Prize.
The government of the state of Nayarit, Mexico, where the Huichol live, signed an agreement with the Cousteau Society to preserve their area for ecologically safe tourism. The blue deer is the intuition that speaks to their heart, if they just listen.
Purepecha and Tarascan Peoples
Purepecha and Tarascan Indigenous Mexicans
The Purepecha live in the Sierra Madres in the State of Michoacan. They still speak their native language and keep many ancient customs, like making sculptures from local clay and paint.
They combine Catholicism with their native beliefs in surreal and imaginative folk art. Purépecha are also called "Tarascans" or "Tarscos", and "Porhé." Their ancient empire rivaled the Aztec Empire during the 15th and early 16th centuries (1400 - 1500 AD).
Their language is classified as an isolated language, spoken along southern fringes of south Jalisco.
These folks make colorful cars studded with skeletons and devils in order to warn about the dangers inherent in reckless driving.
Additional Mayan Cities
Archaeologists found the ruins of another large Mayan city that was lost for centuries on the Yucatan Peninsula. The ruins were located near the Mayan Museum of Mexico.
The uncovered city includes 54 acres of pyramids, plazas, Mayan ball courts, and stone slabs engraved with various inscriptions. Among the 15 pyramids found, one stands 75 feet tall.
The city is 75 miles west of Chetumal in the southeastern region of the State of Campeche on the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, and is named Chactun, meaning "Red Stone" or "Great Stone."
In addition to this historic site, another 60,000 Mayan structures were discovered underground near Guatemala in early 2018. Indigenous Mexican peoples may have been more prolific than previously thought, at lest in architectural accomplishments and population sizes.
Mayan Wall SculptureClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Berke, J. Archaeologists found thousands of hidden structures in the Guatemalan jungle — and it could re-write human history. Business Insider. www.businessinsider.com/60000-lost-mayan-structures-found-beneath-guatemalan-jungle-2018-2 Retrieved February 3, 2018.
- Cohen, Luc. Archaeologists discover lost Maya city in Mexican jungle. Reuters. June 30, 2013.
- Russell, Steve. "Restoring Deer to the Huichol: Sacred Animals Return to Jalisco, Mexico" in Indian Country Today Magazine. May 25, 2016.
Questions & Answers
Does any people group in Mexico speak the Zuni language today?
No such group is recorded, but the possibility exists because extensive preservation work and tape recordings of the Zuni language were submitted to and accepted by the US Library of Congress in 2006. Those records could be accessed so that other groups of people might learn the language. In fact, Google has an ongoing language preservation project as well. Otherwise, the Zuni language is not related to the languages of the other indigenous groups and ancestor groups that have long been found in northwestern New Mexico. To my knowledge, Zuni is not spoken in the country of Mexico.
© 2007 Patty Inglish MS