Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

Carl Sofus Lumholtz
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 450 pages of information about Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2).

Future generations will not find any other record of the Tarahumares than what scientists of the present age can elicit from the lips of the people and from the study of their implements and customs.  They stand out to-day as an interesting relic of a time long gone by; as a representative of one of the most important stages in the development of the human race; as one of those wonderful primitive tribes that were the founders and makers of the history of mankind.

Chapter XXIII

Cerro de Muinora, the Highest Mountain in Chihuahua—­The Northern Tepehuanes—­Troubles Cropping Out of the Camera—­Sinister Designs on Mexico Attributed to the Author—­Maizillo—­Foot-races Among the Tepehuanes—­Influence of the Mexicans Upon the Tepehunaes, and Vice Versa—­Profitable Liquor Traffic—­Medicine Lodges—­Cucuduri, the Master of the Woods—­Myth of the Pleiades.

On my return from an excursion southward from Guadalupe y Calvo as far as Mesa de San Rafael, I ascended on January 12, 1895, Cerro de Muinora, probably the highest elevation in northern Mexico.  I say probably, because I had no opportunity of measuring Cerro de Candelaria.  Approached from the north it looked like a long-stretched mountain, covered with pines, and falling off abruptly toward the west.  It is conspicuous in the songs and beliefs of the Tepehuane Indians.

We made a camp about 1,000 feet below the top, among the pines, with snow lying all around us, and in the night a flock of parrots flew screeching past the tents.  I was surprised to find the temperature so mild; there was no ice on the water, not even at night.  The aneroid showed the height of the top to be 10,266 feet (20.60 in. at a temperature of 40 deg.  F., at 5.15 P.M.).  I noticed more birds between our camping-place and the top than I had ever seen before in pine forests.  Blackbirds, the brown creepers (certhia), and red crossbills were seen on the very top.

From Guadalupe y Calvo I continued my journey to the northwest in order to visit the Tepehuanes, about fifteen hundred of whom still exist here in the northernmost outpost of the tribe’s former domain.  Only seventeen miles north of Guadalupe y Calvo is the Tepehuane village Nabogame (in Tepehuane, Navogeri, “where nopals [navo] grow").

The Tepehuane region includes some fine agricultural land.  There are fields there which have been planted for forty and fifty years in succession, as for instance in Mesa de Milpillas; but here, too, the whites have appropriated a considerable portion of the country, though the Tepehuanes are largely in possession of their land, because they are more valiant than the Tarahumares, and can only be deprived of their property through the agency of mescal, for which they have an unfortunate weakness.

Project Gutenberg
Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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