Tzeltal

Introduction

Couple From TenejapaThe Tzeltal people are located in the highlands or Los Altos region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. They are one of many Mayan ethnic groups and they speak a language which belongs to the Tzeltalan subgroup of Mayan languages. Most Tzeltals live in communities in about twenty municipalities, under a Mexican system called “usos y costumbres” (usage and customs) which seeks to respect traditional indigenous authority and politics. Women are often seen wearing traditional huipils and black skirts, but men generally do not wear traditional attire. Tzeltal religion syncretically integrates traits from Catholic and native belief systems. Shamanism and traditional medicine is still practiced. Many make a living through agriculture and/or handcrafts, mostly textiles; and many also work for wages to meet family needs.

The Tzeltal call themselves Winik atel, which means “Working Men” in their language, or as the “batzil’op” or “those of the original word” referring to the Mayan oral tradition. They are largest indigenous ethnicity with 278,577 people aged five years of age or more in the state of Chiapas who speak the language according to the 2000 census and an estimated 500,000 total, representing 34.41% of the total indigenous population of Chiapas.

Adapted from Wikipedia’s article on the Tzeltal peoples

Get Rid of Ads. Support us on Patreon!

Convocation for the “Two Weeks of Worldwide Action: Juan Vázquez Guzmán lives! The Bachajón struggle continues!”

Ten of the worst REDD-type projects that affect Indigenous Peoples and local communities

Underreported Struggles #48, March 2011

We're fighting for our lives

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.

independent uncompromising indigenous
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License
IC is a publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (cwis.org), a 501C(3) based in the United States