- The Tarahumara
Mexican Indians -
They live high up in the Mother Mountain Sierra
Madre Occidental whose peaks reach thirteen to fourteen thousand
feet. Irelands highest mountain, Carrauntouhil is three and a half
thousand feet in height.
For centuries the Tarahumara have survived wars with the Spanish,
French, Americans and today the problem is that the Mexican people
themselves are taking possession of indian land.
The tribe lives off a deserted mountain terrain. They also make
their living by exchanging their arts and crafts for American goods.
Their Religion is Catholic, but many still practice their pagan
customs which are centuries old. They continue to depend on their
Tesguinada custom which encourages social interaction. The railroad
Chihuahua al Pacifico
has served to open up the existence of the Tarahumara to the rest
of the word. The tribe has its own unique dialect called Raramuri.
They live on beans and maize. The women are industrious making colourful
garments for the tribe to use. Neither men nor women use any footwear,
socks, or trousers. Their garments are like a dress to the knees
in white and blue with a red head band. They have always lived in
natural caves as houses. They never use our custom of shaking hands,
they only touch finger tips. They show no grief or tears at funerals
only fear of the dead person returning in spirit form. They are
known as the fleet-footed Indians' of Sierra Madre mountains. They
are born in a blanket, live in a blanket and when dead their bodies
are wrapped in a blanket and then are placed in rock tombs. They
are nervous of cameras as they believe this will take their spirit
away from them. My first sight of this tribe was in 1984. I've spent
4 months annually since then living among the Tarahumara. Much of
what I knew about life I've learned from them. Their examples of
charity, patience, generosity, understanding etc. to their fellowmen
have opened my eyes as to how much more I need to learn and practice
these basic virtues. I will return to my friends the Tarahumara
soon. Thank you for your support. Perhaps one day you also will
visit the Tarahumara tribe high in the sun-baked valleys and peaks
of the Sierra Madre.