The Mixtec (or Mixteca) are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples inhabiting the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla in a region known as La Mixteca. The Mixtecan languages form an important branch of the Otomanguean language family.
The term Mixtec (Mixteco in Spanish) comes from the Nahuatl word mixtecah, “cloud people” . The area in which Mixtec is spoken is known as the Mixteca. The Mixtecs call themselves ne’ivi davi; they call their region Ñuu Savi, Ñuu Djau, Ñuu Davi, etc., depending on the local variant of their language; they call their language sa’an davi, da’an davi or tu’un savi.
The Mixtec area, both historically and currently, corresponds roughly to the western half of the state of Oaxaca, with some Mixtec communities extending into the neighboring state of Puebla to the north-west and also the state of Guerrero. The Mixtec people and their homelands are often subdivided into three geographic areas: The Mixteca Alta or Highland Mixtec living in the mountains in, around, and to the west of the Valley of Oaxaca; the Mixteca Baja or Lowland Mixtec living to the north and west of these highlands, and the Mixteca de la Costa or Coastal Mixtec living in the southern plains and the coast of the Pacific Ocean. For most of Mixtec history the Mixteca Alta was the dominant political force, with the capitals of the Mixtec nation located in the central highlands. The valley of Oaxaca itself was often a disputed border region, sometimes dominated by the Mixtec and sometimes by their neighbors to the east, the Zapotec.
Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Mixtec Peoples