Santa Marta, Chiapas a Tzotzil village.
Web gallery by Bob Freund
with particiaption of Karen Elwell and Tom Aleto, Narratives by Karen Elwell 9/2005


santa marta embroidery
tzotzil_santa marta1
tzotzil_santa marta12
tzotzil_santa marta1close up
tzotzil_santa marta1detail
tzotzil_santa marta2 deatil
Santa Marta is a small Tzotzil town that is near Aldama (Magdalenas), but is legally part of Chenalho Municipio. We didn’t visit Santa Marta when we were in Aldama because the unpaved road was in bad shape and because friends in San Andres told us that people in Santa Marta were very suspicious of outsiders. Since Aldama was not especially welcoming, we didn’t want to press our luck in Santa Marta. We have since learned that the Santa Marta area has been the location of paramilitary training camps since the EZLN uprising. Another reason to stay away.

The religious life on Santa Marta is closely connected to Aldama and San Andres. The image of Santa Marta is carried to Aldama and to San Andres several times a year in very colorful processions. We were lucky enough to be in San Andres in 2005 when Santa Marta arrived. Many men and women from Santa Marta accompanied Santa Marta’s statue as it was carried through San Andres. Santa Marta was covered in hundreds of woven cloths and huipiles. The weaving seemed similar to that of Aldama. It seemed to us that the men and women of Santa Marta were dressed the same as the people from Aldama.

Bob has a blouse or huipil that is white with embroidery around the neckline and a vertical line of embroidered dots or flowers. This may come from Santa Marta. Some of these garments are displayed at Sna Jolobil next to the sign that reads “Chenalho.” Women in Chenalho wear one-web huipiles with vertical stripes, which have dense red embroidery near the neck and on the shoulders. We never saw any woman in Chenalho wearing the simple, white blouse. Maybe that means they are made in Santa Marta. We have heard that there are several women’s coops producing clothing in Chenalho Municipio.