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Friday, 03 July 2009

The Proud Tarahumara: Mexico's most Authentic Indigenous People - Page 3

Written by Habeeb Salloum
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The railway station at Divisadero, one of Copper Canyon's most popular stopovers in the southwest region of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, was a riot of activity. It was a shopper's delight and gave us a chance to buy Tarahumara handicrafts and gain a brief glimpse of Tarahumara women weaving baskets, indifferent to the clamor around them.

The men's favorite sport is foot races, known as rarjiparo. It consists of kicking a wooden ball, then running to the place it lands and kicking it again without touching it by hand until they get to their goal. During the races, which can last up to 125 hours nonstop, people gather and bet on their favorite runner.

 

The Proud Tarahumara: Mexico's most Authentic Indigenous People, Divisadero, Copper Canyon, Mexican state of Chihuahua, Creel, Tarahumara Indians, Semana Santa, Fiesta Guadalpana, Habeeb Salloum Scientific studies have determined that the reason the Tarahumaras are able run such great distances, at times outrunning a deer until it is exhausted, was that their heartbeat is slower than normal. Tarahumara runners in events such as the 'Leadville 100 Mile' in Colorado surprised many by running in their tire-soled sandals and winning some of the long distance races.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Proud Tarahumara: Mexico's most Authentic Indigenous People, Divisadero, Copper Canyon, Mexican state of Chihuahua, Creel, Tarahumara Indians, Semana Santa, Fiesta Guadalpana, Habeeb Salloum The Tarahumaras have inherited a rich variety of arts and crafts that they hand-manufacture and sell to tourists. Women are highly skilled at weaving their own multi-colored clothing and knitting heavy woolen blankets. They also make finely decorated purses, ties and hats as well as attractive baskets. The men are skilled wood carvers, always adapting to what tourists might want in souvenirs.

 

 

 

Creel, the main town, is the heart of the Tarahumara Indian's territory. Its shops overflow with artisan’s products, from necklaces to woven belts. The streets are filled with colorfully dressed Indian women and young girls offering their handicrafts for sale. The Proud Tarahumara: Mexico's most Authentic Indigenous People, Divisadero, Copper Canyon, Mexican state of Chihuahua, Creel, Tarahumara Indians, Semana Santa, Fiesta Guadalpana, Habeeb Salloum Humble and considerate, the older women never push their products on visitors.

 

 

 

The story of the Tarahumara's survival and adaptation during the colonial years and later under the Mexican Republic is a fascinating saga. Even though the majority still live as their ancestors did, a good number have become skilled workers, employed in construction and the railroad industries.

 

The government has built them boarding schools where they are taught both Spanish and their own language. Many are quickly joining the Mexican mainstream but, at the same time they retain pride in their unique history, culture and folklore.

 

©Habeeb Salloum

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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