Robert M. Zingg; Edited by Jay C. Fikes, Phil C. Weigand, and Acelia García de Weigand University of Arizona Press, 2004 Library of Congress F1221.H9Z48 2004 | Dewey Decimal 299.784544013
Best known for their ritual use of peyote, the Huichol people of west-central Mexico carried much of their original belief system into the twentieth century unadulterated by the influence of Christian missionaries. Among the Huichol, reciting myths and performing rituals pleases the ancestors and helps maintain a world in which abundant subsistence and good health are assured.
This volume is a collection of myths recorded by Robert Zingg in 1934 in the village of Tuxpan and is the most comprehensive record of Huichol mythology ever published. Zingg was the first professional anthropologist to study the Huichol, and his generosity toward them and political advocacy on their behalf allowed him to overcome tribal sanctions against divulging secrets to outsiders. He is fondly remembered today by some Huichols who were children when he lived among them. Zingg recognized that the alternation between dry and wet seasons pervades Huichol myth and ritual as it does their subsistence activities, and his arrangement of the texts sheds much light on Huichol tradition. The volume contains both aboriginal myths that attest to the abiding Huichol obligation to serve ancestors who control nature and its processes, and Christian-inspired myths that document the traumatic effect that silver mining and Franciscan missions had on Huichol society.
First published in 1998 in a Spanish-language edition, Huichol Mythology is presented here for the first time in English, with more than 40 original photographs by Zingg accompanying the text. For this volume, the editors provide a meticulous historical account of Huichol society from about 200 A.D. through the colonial era, enabling readers to fully grasp the significance of the myths free of the sensationalized interpretations found in popular accounts of the Huichol. Zingg’s compilation is a landmark work, indispensable to the study of mythology, Mexican Indians, and comparative religion.
The Huichol (Wixarika) people claim a vast expanse of Mexico’s western Sierra Madre and northern highlands as a territory called kiekari, which includes parts of the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Durango, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí. This territory forms the heart of their economic and spiritual lives. But indigenous land struggle is a central fact of Mexican history, and in this fascinating new work Paul Liffman expands our understanding of it. Drawing on contemporary anthropological theory, he explains how Huichols assert their sovereign rights to collectively own the 1,500 square miles they inhabit and to practice rituals across the 35,000 square miles where their access is challenged. Liffman places current access claims in historical perspective, tracing Huichol communities’ long-term efforts to redress the inequitable access to land and other resources that their neighbors and the state have imposed on them.
Liffman writes that “the cultural grounds for territorial claims were what the people I wanted to study wanted me to work on.” Based on six years of collaboration with a land-rights organization, interviews, and participant observation in meetings, ceremonies, and extended stays on remote rancherías, Huichol Territory and the Mexican Nation analyzes the sites where people define Huichol territory. The book’s innovative structure echoes Huichols’ own approach to knowledge and examines the nation and state, not just the community. Liffman’s local, regional, and national perspective informs every chapter and expands the toolkit for researchers working with indigenous communities. By describing Huichols’ ceremonially based placemaking to build a theory of “historical territoriality,” he raises provocative questions about what “place” means for native peoples worldwide.
While the population of Indigenous peoples living in Mexico’s cities has steadily increased over the past four decades, both the state and broader society have failed to recognize this geographic heterogeneity by continuing to expect Indigenous peoples to live in rural landscapes that are anathema to a modern Mexico.
This book examines the legacy of the racial imaginary in Mexico with a focus on the Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous peoples of the western Sierra Madre from the colonial period to the present. Through an examination of the politics of identity, space, and activism among Wixarika university students living and working in the western Mexican cities of Tepic and Guadalajara, geographer Diana Negrín analyzes the production of racialized urban geographies and reveals how Wixarika youth are making claims to a more heterogeneous citizenship that challenges these deep-seated discourses and practices. Through the weaving together of historical material, critical interdisciplinary scholarship, and rich ethnography, this book sheds light on the racialized history, urban transformation, and contemporary Indigenous activism of a region of Mexico that has remained at the margins of scholarship.
The Huichol people live in west Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental. The most authentically 'traditional' of all Mexican Indians, they have recently become famous for their vivid yarn paintings, their sacramental use of hallucinogenic cactus, and the well-documented peyote pilgrimages that take them three hundred miles east from their present homeland into the north-central desert.
In the mid-1960s, Peter T. Furst began a lifelong encounter with their intellectual culture, facilitated by a growing relationship of mutual trust with Ramón Medina, an aspiring Huichol shaman, storyteller, and artist, and his wife Guadalupe de la Cruz Ríos. Ramón, who became a full-fledged shaman with his fifth peyote pilgrimage, also had a Huichol name: 'Uru Temay, Young Arrow Person.' Over the years Furst published a number of articles on various facets of Huichol life, many of them centered on what he learned and observed during his growing relationship with Ramón and his people.
Bound together by personal reminiscences and background explanations, Furst here brings many of those articles together and updates them. It includes transcriptions of myths that function as charters for 'being Huichols,' descriptions of deities, rituals, beliefs, as well as discussion of the place of hallucinogens in Huichol culture. Furst skillfully weaves current reflections with memories and older material in a manner that makes for a highly readable, contemporary presentation.
The Mexican Revolution gave rise to the Mexican nation-state as we know it today. Rural revolutionaries took up arms against the Díaz dictatorship in support of agrarian reform, in defense of their political autonomy, or inspired by a nationalist desire to forge a new Mexico. However, in the Gran Nayar, a rugged expanse of mountains and canyons, the story was more complex, as the region’s four Indigenous peoples fought both for and against the revolution and the radical changes it bought to their homeland.
To make sense of this complex history, Nathaniel Morris offers the first systematic understanding of the participation of the Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, and Mexicanero peoples in the Mexican Revolution. They are known for being among the least “assimilated” of all Mexico’s Indigenous peoples. It’s often been assumed that they were stuck up in their mountain homeland—“the Gran Nayar”—with no knowledge of the uprisings, civil wars, military coups, and political upheaval that convulsed the rest of Mexico between 1910 and 1940.
Based on extensive archival research and years of fieldwork in the rugged and remote Gran Nayar, Morris shows that the Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, and Mexicanero peoples were actively involved in the armed phase of the revolution. This participation led to serious clashes between an expansionist, “rationalist” revolutionary state and the highly autonomous communities and heterodox cultural and religious practices of the Gran Nayar’s inhabitants. Morris documents confrontations between practitioners of subsistence agriculture and promoters of capitalist development, between rival Indian generations and political factions, and between opposing visions of the world, of religion, and of daily life. These clashes produced some of the most severe defeats that the government’s state-building programs suffered during the entire revolutionary era, with significant and often counterintuitive consequences both for local people and for the Mexican nation as a whole.