Latin - Mexican Folk Art Craft

              About the Culture of the Tepehuanos !


                                        Culture of the Tepehuanos !

  Tepehuano means ''Gente De Las Montañas''- (People from the Mountans). The Tepehuanos are separated in two groups, the Tepehuanos of the north which inhabit in the southern region of the state of Chihuahua and the Tepehuanes of the South which live in the State of Durango, Nayarit and Jalisco; the biggest part of them are located in Mezquital in Durango. Currently, there are  around 26.000 living Tepehuanes in Mexico.

70% of the Tepehuanes speaks Spanish besides their native language Odami (Náhuatl and Tepehua). The language of the Odami belongs to the linguistic tree Yuto-Azteca o Yuto-Náhuatl. Just in Chihuahua this language presents at least 3 different dialects. In this time the Odami Language just like the rest of native languages in Mexico is used less every day because of the competition with the Spanish language.

The Tepehuanos are usually dressed in a white manta, a hat, red rags around their neck and a blue rag around their waist. The women usually wear the traditional suit which consists of a very colorful blouse and skirt.

The Tepehuanes share since ages territory with the Coras and Huicholes and it has been very usual in the last century that they had marriages between Huicholes, Coras and Tepehuanes. The Huicholes, Tepehuanes and Coras believe that the marriage between native people is important, marriage to foreigners is badly seen. These 3 Ethnic groups also have ritual interactivity. In some areas there have been conflicts among these groups because of territorial conflicts.

For the Tepehuanos the cattle raising is the most reverent activity where most of the community participates. They have cattle, goats and different types of birds which they commercialize in the bigger cities.They don't do much farming, not even enough corn for self-consumption. Since years the Tepehuanos go down to the coast of Nayarit to work at the Tobacco and banana ranches. The economic conditions have the Tepehuanos obligated to work at the valleys of Culiacán and Canatlán, Durango.

What you could consider as typical Tepehuano art are domestic and daily objects. These products are elaborated from materials which they have in their environment, like different squash and gourd types. For example they use a long type of fruit similar to the zucchini to make little containers to transport liquids. From the wood of their native trees they make kitchen supplies, out of clay they elaborate a big variety of pots and plates and the women are usually the ones who make the ceramics work.They also make wood figurines and their own musical instruments like violins, flutes and shakers.

In the last few years the Tepehuanes have also adopted some of the Huichol and Cora cultures and also their art. The Tepehuanos are also famous for their Yarn Paintings, Huichol style, the only difference is that they use much brighter colors and they use several colors to fill up the empty spaces between their ceremonial images.