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).

The obligation to denounce young people whom one has found talking together, under penalty of being punished one’s self for the omission, does not create the animosity that might be expected.  Besides, the law on this point is none too strictly obeyed or enforced.

According to Crescencio, the census taken in 1894 enumerated 900 souls belonging to Lajas, and there may probably be altogether 3,000 Tepehuanes here in the South.  As far as I was able to ascertain, the following Tepehuane pueblos are still in existence: 

1.  San Francisco de Lajas.

2.  Tasquaringa, about fifteen leagues from the city of Durango.  The people here are little affected by civilisation, though a few Mexicans live among them.

3.  Santiago Teneraca, situated in a deep gorge.  The inhabitants are as non-communicative as at Lajas, and no Mexicans are allowed to settle within their precinct.  This, as well as the preceding village, belongs to Mezquital, and the padre from there visits them.

4.  Milpillas Chico, where the Indians are much mixed with Mexicans.

5.  Milpillas Grande.  Here the population is composed of Tepehuanes, Aztecs, and Mexicans.

6.  Santa Maria Ocotan, and

7.  San Francisco, both little affected by civilisation.

8.  Quiviquinta, about fifteen leagues southwest of Lajas.

The latter three villages belong to the State of Jalisco.

On the road from Durango to Mazatlan, passing Ventanas, there are no
Tepehuane pueblos.

Chapter XXVI

Pueblo Viejo—­Three Languages Spoken Here—­The Aztecs—­The Musical Bow—­Theories of Its Origin—­Dancing Mitote—­Fasting and Abstinence—­Helping President Diaz—­The Importance of Tribal Restrictions—­Principles of Monogamy—­Disposition of the Dead.

There are two days journey over rough country to Pueblo Viejo, my next objective point.  Again I had great difficulty in finding a guide, as the two villages were at loggerheads about some lands.  The guide furnished me by the authorities hid himself when we were about to start.  All the other Indians had gone back to their ranches, except one, whom I finally persuaded to show me the way at least as far as the ranch of the shaman with whom I had made friends, where I hoped that through him I might get another guide.  On our way, we passed Los Retablos ("Pictures drawn on a Board"), the rather fantastic name of a magnificent declivity of reddish rock, across which the track led.  At this place, tradition says, the Tepehuanes of Lajas, in the war of independence, vanquished 300 Spanish soldiers, who were trying to reach the city of Durango from Acaponeta.  The Indians had hidden themselves all around and above the steep slope, and from their ambuscades rolled stones down on the Spaniards, every one of whom was killed.

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