| In Mexico there are over 60 ethnic or indigenous groups, the list on this page is not intended to be a complete list. The groups on this page represent those groups that have textiles in the collection or have been documented.
Some groups are very wide spread such as the Nahua and Otomi, while others are very concentrated such as the Trique or Huaves.
On this page you can find all of the documented groups withlink to the vilages. They are shown as underlined hyper links that will take you directly to the group page. When you click on the group, you will enter a page where the villages are listed. If you click on a village button you will go directly to the village gallery.
There are groups that are pending now, these have costumes in the collection and are in line to be added to the site.
As the project develops additional groups and villages will be added and photos of their textiles and village life will be included. There are groups that have completly lost thier traditional dress such as the Popolucas, the project will try to develop a histoical record of the dress and present that information along with current information about the villages.
This is an explanation of the terms indigenous / Indian / ethnic and traditional groups. Inside Mexico there exists racism directed at the indigenous peoples, while I consider it to be a perverse auto racism the word "indio" translated into English "Indian" has a marked negative connotation, or sometimes these peoples are only identified as "ellos" or them. Since the Zapatista movement there is a growing understanding that this enormous segment of the population can no longer be marginalized and victimized by the modern Mexican society. The word "traditional" is a code word for indigenous and the word "indigina" or indigenous in English has been adopted as a respectable way to identify these ethnic groups. The word "ethnico" or ethnic is seldom used in Mexico to identify these groups, however in the American context the word could easily apply, due to a distinct language, dress and customs and food. The word "tribo" or tribe is never used except by Americans who bring their own dictionary to the discussion. I do not use this word at all.
In the context of this web site I often use the word Indian, this is directed to the English speakers and not intended to be a racist slur as used in Mexico.
Travel in Mexico
The development of this web site requires extensive travel throughout Mexico. The indigenous groups included in this study are dispersed around the central part of Mexico. Most are located in areas that are just now getting paved roads and other modern conveniences. To reach most of these towns there is a drive of up to 9 hours and some are actually more depending on the conditions of the roads.
Travel in Mexico is some times difficult due to the lack of road signs or even worse conflicting signs. In most rural areas there are often unmark roads that can confound the driver, as you arrive at a cross roads there are inevitably no one to ask. My general rule is to ask everyone I see.
Recently while exploring the Sierra Chichinautzin I was using a new topo map purchased from the Mexican government mapping center. The trip started out ok but soon we were crossing fields, according to the map we had found a marked road and began following. Two hours latter we saw a village and were convinced that according to the map that we had come out the other side of the park. Low and behold it was the town where we went in, we had traveled in an enormous circle around the “volcan pelado” , a extinct volcano.
Link offer I offer as a link my study of Mexican Indigenous costume and textiles. Please include this site on in your portal or web site. The more links the more these forgotten peoples can be seen and appreciated by the world.
The three visit rule.
As a collector and documenter of these indigenous groups in Mexico I have found that it takes at least three visits to the village to develop a relationship with the people, the indigenous peoples in many villages are xenophobic about strangers. This stems from a long history of abuse and exploitation, in many pueblos it is difficult to find people that will participate in this project. Lately I have been going to the village leader and explaining the objective and purpose and this has been a great help in speeding up the process. Usually, I take some photos around town and then with the help of the village leader or a teacher find a subjects that wants to participate. It is very common that visitors come, take a picture, promise to return with one you’re the individual and then never do. It is important that I make it clear that I don’t know when I will return, but promise that I will return. Now the most important part in al this is to RETURN with the pictures. Keeping your word is a rare thing in Mexico and this return trip goes a long way to developing trust. Usually during the second trip people step forward and offer to be photographed because you have proved yourself. On the third trip the participants are very co-operate and often invite me to their festival and give lots of interesting information not normally shared.