Mazahuas

Introduction

Mujer Mazahua en la feria de Tepotzotlán - Vendor at Tepotzotlan's Fair; Tepotzotlán, MexicoThe Mazahua are an indigenous people of Mexico, inhabiting the northwestern portion of the State of Mexico and northeastern area of Michoacán, with a presence also in the Federal District owing to recent migration. The largest concentration of Mazahua is found in the municipalities of San Felipe del Progreso and San José del Rincón, both in Mexico state (Estado de México), near Toluca. According to the 1990 Mexican census Mazahua speakers numbered 127,826; the Ethnologue counts some 350,000 Mazahua.

The word Mazahua is of Nahuatl origin meaning “the owners of deer”, probably referring to the rich fauna of the mountainous region inhabited by the Mazahua. However they refer to themselves as Hñatho.

The Mazahua subsist mainly on the extensive agriculture of maize, squash and beans, and they also produce wool and wooden handicrafts.

Recently the Mazahua were affected adversely by the Cutzamala dam operation, which caused many Mazahua, mainly women, to take up arms and form civil rights movements to protect their land claims and human rights.

Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Mazahua Peoples

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