Raramuri

Introduction

VHGU Hombre rarámuri 2The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are an Indigenous people of northwestern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability. In their language, the term rarámuri refers specifically to the males, females are referred to as mukí (individually) and as omugí or igómale (collectively).

Originally inhabitants of much of the state of Chihuahua, the Rarámuri retreated to the high sierras and canyons such as the Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental on the arrival of Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century. The area of the Sierra Madre Occidental which they now inhabit is often called the Sierra Tarahumara because of their presence.

Current estimates put the population of the Rarámuri in 2006 at between 50,000 and 70,000 people. Most still practice a traditional lifestyle, inhabiting natural shelters such as caves or cliff overhangs, as well as small cabins of wood or stone. Staple crops are corn and beans; however, many of the Rarámuri still practice transhumance, raising cattle, sheep, and goats. Almost all Rarámuri migrate in some form or another in the course of the year.

The Tarahumara language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family. Although it is in decline under pressure from Spanish, it is still widely spoken.

Text adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Tarahumara peoples

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