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Ethno-nationalist politics and cultural preservation : education and bordered identities among the Wixaritari (Huichol) of Tateikita, Jalisco, Mexico

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Title:
Ethno-nationalist politics and cultural preservation : education and bordered identities among the Wixaritari (Huichol) of Tateikita, Jalisco, Mexico
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Education and bordered identities among the Wixaritari (Huichol) of Tateikita, Jalisco, Mexico
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Biglow, Brad Morris
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English
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xiv, 313 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Academic communities ( jstor )
Anthropology ( jstor )
Applied anthropology ( jstor )
Cultural anthropology ( jstor )
Cultural identity ( jstor )
Indigenous peoples ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Secondary schools ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Anthropology thesis, Ph. D ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF ( lcsh )
Huichol Indians -- Mexico -- Jalisco ( lcsh )
Huichol Indians -- Education ( lcsh )
Huichol Indians -- Ethnic identity ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2001.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 293-312).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Printout.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Brad Morris Biglow.

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0027668610 ( ALEPH )
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ETHNO-NATIONALIST POLITICS AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION:
EDUCATION AND BORDERED IDENTITIES AMONG THE
WIXARITARI (HUICHOL) OF TATEIKITA, JALISCO, MEXICO
















By

BRAD MORRIS BIGLOW












A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2001


























Copyright 2001 by

Brad Morris Biglow


























Dedicated to the Wixaritari of Tateikita and the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK): For teaching me the true meaning of what it is to follow in the footsteps of Tatutsi, and for allowing this teiwari to experience what you call tame tep+xeinuiwari. My heart will forever remain with you.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my committee members-Dr. John Moore for being eversupportive of my work with native peoples; Dr. Allan Burns for instilling in me the interest and drive to engage in Latin American anthropology, and helping me to discover the Huichol; Dr. Gerald Murray for our shared interests in language, culture, and education; Dr. Paul Magnarella for guidance and support in human rights activism, law, and intellectual property; and Dr. Robert Sherman for our mutual love of educational philosophy. Without you, this dissertation would be a mere dream.

My life in the Sierra has been filled with countless names and memories. I would like to thank all of my "friends and family" at the CETMK, especially Carlos and Ciela, Marina and Angel, Agustin, Pablo, Feliciano, Everardo, Amalia, Rodolfo, and Armando, for opening your families and lives to me. In addition, I thank my former students, including los chavos (Benjamin, Salvador, Miguel, and Catarino), las chicas (Sofia, Miguelina, Viviana, and Angblica), and los misicos (Guadalupe and Magdaleno). From the community, I thank the autoridades tradicionales/kawiteros and mara'akates--Don Ricardo, Samuel, Faustino, Gerardo and family, Chalio, Manuel, and Lucio. Professionally, I thank Rocio de Aguinaga, Sarah Corona, Carlos Chavez and Angeles Arcos of Asociaci6n Jalisciense de Apoyo a Grupos Indigenas (AJAGI), Mike Finerty, Oscar Hagerman, H6ctor Hernandez, Dago and Karen, and lospilotos. Lastly, I wish to thank my family and fiends for helping me through the critical stages of this research--the



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Biglows around the world, Mike and Sandy Iski, Steve Mizrach, James Bosworth, Ken Sturrock, Sebastian Romero, and Gordon Weaver.


















































V















TABLE OF CONTENTS

pne

ACKN OW LED GM EN TS .............................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... x

LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ xi

ABSTRA CT .................................................................................................. .............. xiii

CHAPTERS

1. INTRODU CTION ....................................................................................................... 1

Research Questions and H ypotheses ............................................................................ I
Research Site ............................................................................................................... 4
The Huichol H om eland Com munities ...................................................................... 4
T a te ik ita .................................................... ........................................................... 1 1
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi M axa Kwaxi (CETM[K) ........................................... 15
D issertation Outline and Layout ................................................................................ 18

2. H UICH OL HISTORY AND IDEN TITY STUDIES .................................................. 22

H istorical Setting of the Huichol ......................... ...................................................... 22
Prehistory and General H istory .............................................................................. 22
Contemporary Huichol H istory .................................................. ........................... 29
Social and Political Organization ........................................................................... 31
Contemporary Religious Organization ................................................................... 36
Tateikita: A Community Profile ................................................................................ 41
Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy ..................................................................... 41
The M aterial Life of Tateikita ................................................................................ 46
Tateikita Geography .............................................................................................. 47
Gender Roles in Tateikita ...................................................................................... 49
N ationalism and Ethnic Identity... .............................................................................. 50
Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples ...................... 50
Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Form ation ............................................. 58
Autonomy, Self-D eterm ination, and Resistance ...................................... .............. 61
Questions of Ethnicity and N ationalism ................................................................. 65




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3. EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION ............................................... 70


Indigenous E ducational H istory ................................................................................. 70
A General History of U.S. Indian Education and Policy ......................................... 71
A Brief History of Indigenous Education in Mexico .............................................. 79
Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation ......................................................... 86
Border Pedagogy and Cultural Diversity ................................................................ 86
Cultural Preservation vs. Cultural Revitalization .................................................... 87
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A U. S. Perspective ........... 88
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A Latin American
P ersp ectiv e ............................................................................................... ............ 9 1
Educational Research and the Huichol ....................................................................... 97


4- THEORY AND METHODS ................................................................................... 103

T heoretical P erspectives .......................................................................................... 103
E thnicity and Identity .......................................................................................... 106
Pan-Indianism and Regional Cultures .............................................................. 106
Native Epistemology and Cosmology .............................................................. 109
Political Theory and the Aims of Indigenous Movements .................................... 112
Dialectical Materialism and Anomie ................................................................ 112
Power-Knowledge Relations in Historical Materialism .................................... 115
Educational Theory: Developing a Philosophy of Education for the Huichol ...... 118
C ritical T heory in E ducation ............................................................................ 119
D em ocratic Socialism ...................................................................................... 123
R esearch M ethods ................................................................................................... 127
Formal Interviewing of Key Personnel ................................................................. 127
Population Demographics and Sampling .............................................................. 129
Student Questionnaires and Huichol Cultural Values ........................................... 130
Informal Interviewing and Oral History Reconstruction ....................................... 131
P articipant O bservation ........................................................................................ 133


5. DOING APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AMONG THE HUICHOL ........................ 137

Applied Anthropology and the Question of Researcher Roles .................................. 137
Doing Anthropology in a Huichol Community ..................................................... 144
Living W ixarika--B eing Teiw ari ......................................................................... 147
Working in a Closed Corporate Community ............................................................ 151
The Concept of the Teiwari (other) in Huichol External Relations ....................... 152
Huichol Distrust: Reporters, Franciscans and Ethical Conduct ............................ 153






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6. HUICHOL FORMAL EDUCATION AM) THE CETMK ........................... 161

Building the Dream: The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMI1K) ....... 161
Personnel and Organization............................................................ 161
External Relations...................................................................... 181
Life at the CETNiK: Living the Dream ................................................. 187
A Day in the Life of.................................................................... 187
We are All Nunutsi..................................................................... 200
Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk.................................................. 204


7. QUANTITATIVE DATA AND OBSERVATIONS ................................... 207

Introduction............................................................................... 207
Survey Results............................................................................. 207
Demographic Data.. .................................................................. 209
Indigenous Controlled Schooling and Educational Attitudes....................... 211
Student Beliefs of Cultural Identity and Change ..................................... 211
The Politics of Traditionality and Modernity in Tateikita ............................. 220
What Does It Mean to be Huichol7 ................................................... 220
Observations in Language and Culture Preservation ................................ 226
Confronting Alcohol and Foreign Values............................................. 232
Culture and Knowledge Preservation .................................................... 238
Socialist Education and Identity Preservation ........................................ 240
Schooling and Acculturation Reversal................................................ 241
Politics and School-Community Relations .............................................. 242
The Case Against Educaci6n Teiwaritsie and Telesecundarias.................... 244
Community-Centered Schooling and Community (Dis)articulation ............... 247
The CETMK and the Intellectual Movement......................................... 250


8. CONCLUSION AND FINAL DISCUSSION ..... ................................... 252

Renegotiating Huichol Identity........................................................... 252
Indigenous Control and Community Schooling ......................................... 257
Living Rural and Being Modern: Some Recommendations for Huichol Education.. 262 Suggestions for Future Research......................................................... 267


APPENDICES

A. NOTES ON THE USE OF HUICHOL AND SPANISH ORTHOGRAPHY ....... 269

B. HISTORIA CRONOLOGICA DE TATEIKITA....................................... 271

C. EZLN DECLARATION OF WAR...................................................... 273

D. RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE....................................................... 276


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E. COURSE SCHEDULES OF THE CETMK ............................................................ 287

F. GLOSSARY OF TERM S AND ACRONYM S ........................................................ 291

R E F E R E N C E S ............................................................................................................ 2 93

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....................................................................................... 313













































ix














LIST OF TABLES



Table Page

Table 4. 1. The Comparison of Theoretical Positions to Macro and Micro Levels of
A n aly sis .......... ................................................................................................. 12 6

Table 7. 1. R-Scores (Pearson's Correlation Coefficients) of Traditional Practices ............ 212

Table 7.2. Factor Analysis of Variables--Language, Dress, Religion, Family, and
Traditions, Irrespective of Sex .......................................................................... 214

Table 7.3. Percent of Variance Explained for Males by Principle Components Analysis..... 215 Table 7.4. Percent of Variance Explained for Females by Principle Components Analysis.. 215 Table 7.5. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Males ............................. 216

Table 7.6. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Females .......................... 217

Table 7.7. Descriptive Statistical Comparison of Alcohol and Tehuino .............................. 237






















x















LIST OF FIGURES



Figure Page

Figure 1. 1. The Huichol Homeland............................................................. 5

Figure 1.2. The Huichol Communities.......................................................... 6

Figure 1.3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixtita..................................................... 8

Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita ............................................. 8

Figure 1.5. Student Banner Promoting the UCTH.............................................. 10

Figure 1.6. Plane of the Franciscan MVissionaries............................................... 12

Figure 1. 7. View of Airstrip and Surrounding Mesas from Tateikita ........................ 12

Figure 1.8. The almacen at Completion in November 1999................................... 13

Figure 1. 9. The Local Agency of Tateikita .................................................... 15

Figure 1. 10. CETMK Classrooms.............................................................18 I

Figure 2. 1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background................... 30

Figure 2.2. Child in Tateikita at the Fiesta del Tambor, December 1999 ................... 33

Figure 2.3. Huichol Political Organization ................ ................................. 35

Figure 2.4. The Peyote Cactus.................................................................. 37

Figure 2.5. Mara'akame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo............................... 39

Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings ................................................ 40

Figure 5. 1. Huichol Cancer Advisory ......................................................... 148

Figure 5.2. Philip True Murderers as Portrayed by the American Media .................... 156

Figure 6. 1. Construction Meeting of padres defamilia........................................ 172


xi









Figure 6.2. Esculta (Honoring the Flag) ........................................................ 191

Figure 6.3. CETMK Teacher Addressing Students ............................................ 193

Figure 6.4. COP USI Dining Facility of the CETMK........................................... 196

Figure 6.5. Derechos Indigenas Debate at the CETMIK Clausura,, July 1999............... 198

Figure 6.6. Carpentry at the CETMK........................................................... 199

Figure 7. 1. Percentages of Third Year CETMiK Students by Age ........................... 210

Figure 7.2. Pie Chart Indicating Student Home Residences ................................... 210

Figure 7.3. Histogram of Family Importance ................................................... 213

Figure 7.4. Histogram of Tehuino Value ....................................................... 213

Figure 7.5. Overlaid Plot of Factor Components for Ethnicity and Technology ............ 218

Figure 7.6. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Males ............... 219

Figure 7.7. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Females............. 220

Figure 7.8. Student Career Aspirations ......................................................... 224

Figure 7.9. Male Rankings of Native Language Importance.................................. 228

Figure 7. 10. Female Rankings of Native Language Importance ............................. 229

Figure 7.11. Male Ranking of Spanish Importance............................................. 230

Figure 7.12. Female Ranking of Spanish Importance .......................................... 231

Figure 7.13. Male Rankings of the Importance of English..................................... 231

Figure 7.14. Female Rankings of the Importance of English .................................. 232

Figure 7.15. Overlaid Graph of Students' Rankings of Alcohol Types by Importance..... 238 Figure 7.16. Model of School-Community Relations and the CETMK..................... 249

Figure 8. 1. Student Notice for End-of-Year Banquet.......................................... 259

Figure 8.2. "Los Viejitos," Regional Dance at the Clausura, June 1999 .................... 268







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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ETHNO-NATIONALIST POLITICS AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION:
EDUCATION AND BORDERED IDENTITIES AMONG THE WIXARITARI (HUICHOL) OF TATEIKITA, JALISCO, MEXICO

By

Brad Morris Biglow

August 2001


Chairman: John H. Moore, Ph.D.
Major Department: Anthropology

This dissertation examines the relationship between "indigenously controlled"

education and cultural preservation among the Wixaritari, or Huichol, of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Jalisco, Mexico. Studies of indigenous identity and schooling are still lacking in anthropological fieldwork. While such studies have, in the past, focused on native education in the United States, there has been little research done on the impacts of indigenous-controlled education on the enculturation process of Indian youth, particularly in Latin America, and whether such educational environments really serve to fortify indigenous identity, and if so, how it is done. Recently, there has been resurgence in ethno-nationalism or self-determination among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America. This study examines the role of so-called indigenous-controlled community schooling in light of these larger pan-Indian movement goals, showing that



xiii








indigenous people are themselves divided over the process of cultural preservation due to their own changing sense of ethnic identity. Conflict results, creating a reliance on notions of an "imagined community" to unify social actors in a drama of powerknowledge relationships in which intellectuals, not traditionalists, control the educational process, channeling knowledge to meet the goals of the "imagined community" which may or may not be shared by all social actors.






































xiv













CHAPTER
INTRODUCTION




Research Questions and Hypotheses

This dissertation research is an addition to the existing literature on indigenous language and culture preservation. It is also an analysis of community-school relations and the politics of ethnic identity transmission and transformation within the context of formal education in an indigenous community in Mexico. The results of this research help to explain the social and ideological processes of ethnic culture change, and, in so doing, may be used to improve indigenous-directed education, and language and culture preservation programs worldwide.

The principal research question is: What happens when indigenous people create their own school, define its role, and teach according to their own agenda? And, subsequently, does indigenous-controlled education lead to preservation of ethnic identity, or is there little to no difference between this kind of education and that of schools that are not run by indigenous people? Moreover, Is there a unified concept of cultural identity among indigenous peoples, or are they really composed of ethnic factions with varying degrees of what it means to be "traditional" or "modem."

In examining the central question, a number of secondary questions arise: 1)

What are Huichol attitudes toward formal education, especially at the secondary level (a recent government mandate), when it is indigenously (locally) controlled? Do these



I






2


attitudes differ from the attitudes of those attending telesecundarias (video schools) or non-indigenously controlled schooling? 2) Is there any internal conflict that results from indigenously controlled education? If so, how are opposing definitions of cultural identity accommodated (or not) by indigenous schooling? 3) What role does Huichol formal education play in the enculturation process of Indian youth? 4) Do the Huichol have a uniform sense of cultural identity? 5) Lastly, what exactly does indigenously controlled education mean?

The case of Huichol education first interested me, when prior to beginning field research I learned that there was little to no record of anthropological research dealing with education and culture change among the Huichol. Dr. Salom6n Nahmad conducted research in the late 1960's and early 1970's while he was the regional director of the National Indigenous Institute's development projects for the Cora, a neighboring indigenous group, and Huichol. In subsequent articles, he called for a need for further educational research among the Huichol (Nahmad 1981, 1996). Because of the problems involved in Huichol integration into the national infrastructure of a collective Mexican identity, the choice to work among the Huichol appeared ideal, as there were significant gaps in Huichol ethnography other than research pertaining to archaeology or religion.

The scope of applied anthropology today comprises issues of local control of indigenous affairs, from development projects (Mathur 1989, Sodusta 1993), to environmental management (Hornborg 1998) and education (Bernard 1985, Cleary and Peacock 1998, Szasz 1999). It is generally thought by those working in native education that indigenous control will lead to higher retention rates for students, better student performance, and greater community involvement (Cleary and Peacock 1998; De





3


Aguinaga 1996; Freedson and P6rez 1998). But is this really the case, especially in situations of rapid culture change? Do indigenous peoples in their homelands possess enough of a unified sense of their own cultural identity to be able to determine their own direction without outside assistance and/or intervention?

The sorts of questions mentioned above become particularly important when

discussing a people who have traditionally lived in an isolated environment, in so-called cc closed corporate communities" (Wolf 1957). As a result of such an environment, the indigenous people were able to practice their religious traditions, speak their native language exclusively, and in general, live with little or no outside influences upon them.

Recent development projects under proposed aims of improving accessibility to remote areas in Mexico are, however, quickly putting an isolationist lifestyle in jeopardy, leading to a state of confusion, distrust, and fear among some native inhabitants of previously undeveloped regions, such as the Huichol (Chdvez and Arcos 1998; Nahmad 1996; Rojas 1993; Schaefer and Furst 1996). The Huichol believe the nationalist Mexican agenda is to create a collective national identity with a language, values, and traditions foreign to the indigenous peoples it ostensibly wishes to unify (Ramirez de la Cruz 1995; Stavenhagen 1994; Von Groll 1997).

The research conducted for this dissertation shows that there are in actuality many factors that determine the success or failure of indigenous education programs. It will be shown that some factors, such as the boarding of students in ethnically indigenous areas, can have a positive influence on the educational attainment and attitudes of Indian youth within threatened cultures, and also serve as a mechanism for creating a sense of community continuity among students, teachers, and local community members. Other





4


factors, such as identity fragmentation and conflict in the local community, can inhibit programs in cultural preservation. How the culture of the school community is directed and advised become crucial for understanding the effectiveness of the school culture in meeting the goals set forth in its mission. Power and the control of information flow, principally knowledge, determine the school's path and, ultimately, its success or failure in language and culture preservation.


Research Site

The Huichol Homeland Communities


The Huichol homeland encompasses roughly 4,000 "officially recognized"

kilometers (of some natively claimed 90,000 square kilometers) located in the Sierra Madre Mountains of what are the modem day Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango (see Figure 1.1). Within this area, or kiekari, live approximately 18-20,000 Huichol divided between three communities: San Andr6s Cohamiata (Tateiki6), San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlhn (Waut+a), and Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitldn (Tuapurie), although sometimes the peripheral areas of Tuxpan de Bolafios (Tutsipe) and Guadalupe Ocothn (Xatsitsarie) are included by the Huichol because of their historical significance.1 The most numerous settlements are located in Northern Jalisco and Eastern Nayarit (see Figure 1.2).



1 While three communities are noted in contemporary analysis, there were historically as many as five Huichol communities. Due to land loss to Mestizos and Huichol population decline, these geographic areas are no longer officially recognized as Huichol communities, though Huichol people may constitute a majority of the inhabitants in the regions.





5


The Sierra Madre Occidental is a very isolated, yet beautiful, area that straddles the coastline of western Mexico. It varies in elevation from several thousand feet to well over 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). Perhaps two of the most striking characteristics of this region are the climate and topography.















Sierra Madre Occidental
O = Huichol Homeland Region


Figure 1. 1. The Huichol Homeland



The climate of the region is extremely dry. Apart from the summer monsoon

season, the area receives little or no rain. Climate is largely a factor of altitude, varying from a subtropical zone with lush vegetation at lowest elevations, to pine-clad forests at its highest. Topography within the homeland consists of a series of mesas jutting up several thousands of feet, cut by the powerful Chapalagana River. Between the mesas lies a wealth of canyons and valleys. The Huichol populate the mesas for the most part, like the Hopi Indians in Arizona, preferring to migrate with the seasons, from the villages during the winter months, to family ranches located at higher elevations during the summer, while retaining their agricultural plots at a slightly lower altitude. The Huichol






6



utilize runoff rainfall to cultivate their fields, locating many of them on steep slopes


leading down hillsides (see Figure 1.3). At these altitudes, the principal crops that can be


grown are corn and some squash, using a type of slash-and-burn horticulture on collective


familial plots. The hillsides are very slippery and covered with volcanic rock. Trails


wind over, down, and around canyons and mesas. They are difficult to traverse for


humans, and nearly impossible for horses and pack animals (see Figure 1.4).











TATIICk~ Haakua (L jorwA)

"I (San Asidris Calwamna). $2ohamniara
IMaxatnu'u Caibm, de Ven,4n3C Ternurikita.
(Las Guayb) s* i PUIE
a (Santa Catatina Cuconuirlin)
aram-anawe
I(Las 'uA s)
K iarawar~ya WALUfl
S(Santa Grtiudi,) ipitsapa olpl~) (San Sebasdin Teponahauadin)
*Tateiki (San NfigueI Huaixtita)/



OXATSMITSE~
(Guadalupe ocurin) *TUFIPA (Tu-pan deBolaiAa)










'1' 0 Cahecera

Rncheria of Comunidad ndfgena of Tateikie '
-Regionalow
0 6) o -L Outer Boundary of Comaunidades Indfgenas





Figure 1.2. The Huichol Communities (Source: Liffmnan and Coyle 2000:4)






7


When not in village settlements, the Huichol generally migrate in summer to

family-owned ranches at much higher elevations within the pine-clad forested region of the Sierra. There they maintain cattle ranches. But, unlike their Mestizo neighbors, the Huichol do not kill their herds for meat. Rather, they use their cattle for producing miAlk. The milk is then turned into cheese so that it can be stored and used throughout the winter months when the ranches are no longer occupied.

A further complication to the Sierra Madre region is a lack of water. There are no streams at the higher elevations, making life difficult. What water that does exist, bubbles to the surface at ojos de agua (waterholes) that dot the region. While not plentiful, these waterholes sustain what life there is in the region, and limit the location of permanent human settlements.

At riverside, the climate is hot and extremely humid year-round. Settlements are generally abandoned during the summer months at these elevations for the cooler ranches of the highlands. The advantage to lower elevations, however, is that a variety of crops such as squashes, fruits, and beans can be grown. Water is also readily available, as are opportunities for fishing.

The Sierra Madre region is home to not only the Huichol, but also several other indigenous peoples, including the Cora, Tepehudn, and Mexicanero peoples. Collectively, they are referred to as the cuatro pueblos (four peoples). The various peoples of the region generally keep to themselves and, only occasionally, primarily through trade, becoming involved with others. This strategy has assisted the peoples in maintaining their own identities with separate traditions and languages. Yet, at the same time, this has hindered their ability to build pan-ethnfic alliances.





8


















Figure 1. 3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixtita.





















Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita.


The Huichol do not make use of the term comunidad (community) in the same manner as the modem political conventions used today by geographers, demographers, and development planners either in the U.S. or Mexico. A comunidad for the Huichol is





9


a politico-territorial distinction having pre-Hispanic significance. Each Huichol community comprises a geographic area equivalent to that of a U.S. county, but running directly in conflict with the Mexican municipio system which divides Huichol communities under the jurisdiction of different municipios, and even states. Like a Mexican municipio, each comunidad contains a number of principal village settlements that is home to several rancherias (extended family households). Each of the three Huichol comunidades (communities) is considered to be autonomous, electing its own political leaders according to the historic gobernador colonial system remaining from the days of Spanish occupation of Mexico, and also choosing its own religious leaders.

Although the three communities are autonomous, they are loosely bound together by a governing board known as the Uni6n de Comunidades Indigenas Huicholas (Union of Huichol Indigenous Communities or UCIH) (see Figure 1.5). All members are elected and appointed democratically by the Huichol communities. The UCIH does not directly intervene in the daily affairs of any of the Huichol communities, but rather serves as a mediator for disputes at state and national levels over indigenous affairs. The UCIH also serves to disseminate information among the various communities and acts in collective bargaining agreements with other organizations such as the Procuraderia de Asuntos Indigenas (Agency for Indigenous Affairs or PAI) of Jalisco and the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (National Indigenous Institute or INI).

The largest of the three communities in both geographic area and population is Tateikk. This community contains approximately 1750 adult Huichol members according to Rojas (1993:19). This figure, however, dates from 1950, and there is no current breakdown of Huichol population by indigenous community since that time.





10


More recent statistics released from the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) in 1993 indicate that there are 19,363 Huichol, irrespective of residency within the three communities (Instituto Nacional Indigenista 1993). Two years later, however, this number jumped to an astonishing 28,001 Huichol speakers, a figure that no doubt includes urban Huichol as well (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informcitica 1995). The fact is that no one is exactly certain how many Huichol there are, since birth records, in many cases, are inaccurate or nonexistent. Only if people attend school or obtain some form of official employment do they usually obtain a Cidula Unica de Registro de Poblaci6n (CURP) number, analogous to U.S. Social Security Numbers. Also, many children do not attend school, at least according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informndtica (INEGI), which states that greater than 40.1% of those six years of age or older do not attend school (INEGI 1990). Another 52.7% or more of the general population are illiterate (INEGI 1990).
















..Figure 1 5 Student Banner Promotin............ the UCI.IH

Figure 1. 5. Student Banner Promoting the UCIH





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TateikiM is located on the Northern edge of the Chapalagana River, bordering the community of Tuapurie on one side, and the state of Nayarit on the other. It is the community that has experienced the most land loss of the traditional communities -some 4,000 hectares since the start of agrarian reform legislation in the 1960's. Tateikita

Tateikita is the Huichol name for the village where I conducted my research. Literally, it means "small place of our mother," since it is located in the Huichol community of Tateikik (Place of our mother peyote). Containing a number of rancherias (extended family households), Tateikita is one of the principal small villages within the Huichol community, and is home to 280 people. Tateikita is located approximately five hours from TateikiM via a newly constructed road completed in April 1998, and eight hours from the town of Huejuquilla el alto, the town that serves as the northern gateway to the Huichol communities. Until the existence of the road, the only way in or out of the village was by foot or by air. Due to the time required to use the road, and its seasonal impassibility, the most efficient, and costly, method to reach Tateikita is by plane (see Figure 1.6). While not an option for most Huichol, because of the expense, planes can be contracted from locations in the state of Nayarit to reach the Sierra communities. There are also occasional flights available from missionaries who operate within the region. Flights take from 30-45 minutes depending on the points of departure and origin.

Tateikita is located at the edge of a small plateau overlooking the Chapalagana River at an altitude of some 5,500 feet (see Figure 1.7). Like much of the Sierra region, the climate is dry eight to nine months of the year, with only seasonal rains striking the region from June till mid-September. As a result, the topography is dry and rocky. Annual monsoon rains make the road impassable, and this serves as a constant reminder





12


of the power of nature and the way of the past. The Saludos family founded the village in the 1920S.2 They continue to be the main caretakers of the village. One of the local features in the village that reinforces this notion is the painting of the words Puro Saludos (Pure Saludos) on the side of one of the prominent buildings near the village plaza.








Figure 1 Plane.ofthe.Francscan........n.r.e .



....... ........












Figure 1.76. Viae of AthFraipca Surroniesasfoat a II Al ae aebenatrd hnneesrt rtetidvdasfrmpsil am






orgthe community fAsrom unees and und esed visitatn. t





13


Tateikita has eight small shops or stores that sell a variety of goods such as coffee, eggs, canned goods and Maseca (a brand-name corn flour baked with lye, used for making tortillas in the absence of one's own com). Most are goods that cannot be readily obtained by those within the village and surrounding ranches. These items must be trucked in from Huejuquilla. The small stores are family run, except for the Compafia National de Subsistencias Populares (CONASUPO), a state-subsidized general store, and the recently constructed almacen (cooperative store) built with assistance from the Jaliscan Association for the Support of Indigenous Peoples (AJAGI) in Guadalajara (see Figure 1.8). Because most shopkeepers have other employment (many are teachers), there is rarely more than two to three shops open at any given time.
















Figure 1.8. The a/macen at Completion in November 1999.



The CONASUPO sells necessary foodstuffs, mostly flour, corn, and other necessities per its connection with the national Secretaria de Desorrollo Social (SEDESOL) office. All foodstuffs are sold at a reduced price to families through this store.






14


In contrast to the CONASUPO, the almacen focuses on selling necessary hardware items such as barbed wire for ranches, sewing items, and tools. Items are shipped on a scheduled basis from Guadalajara, an eighteen hour trip by road.

The central buildings in the village are constructed around a plaza, much like the pattern seen in other Mexican towns and villages. In Tateikita, the plaza consists of a combination basketball-volleyball court and an open area used for gatherings and meetings. The local agency of the traditional Huichol authorities is located at one end of this plaza and a health clinic at the other (see Figure 1.9).

Tateikita, because of its remote location and only recent access via road, does not possess many of the amenities taken for granted in more urban areas. There is no electricity in the village or phone service.3 Water is provided by a series of plastic tubes that route water from a holding tank near the village, where it is collected from a water hole in the Sierra. Its availability, however, is often reduced due to leaks and other complications with the system that may leave the village without water for days at a time.

Taleikita has been home to a number of educational development projects in

recent years. Rural education in small ranch settlements near the village is controlled by Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (CONAFE) which offers the first three years of primary education to children in areas that have fewer than ten students, and in areas where attendance at a regular primary school might prove difficult. CONAFE also donates scholarships and materials to students in the region. In addition, there is a



3 In the spring of 2000 a cellular tower was constructed on a high mesa overlooking the Chapalagana region. It offers access to local numbers only. Prior to this, all cell calls had to be placed from the highest peaks of the Sierra region, ones that provided line-ofsight to the Cerro de Tepic, adjacent to Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit.





15


preschool in the village and a recently remodeled primary school with dormitories operated by INTI and with direct assistance from the Secretaria de Educaci6n Pblica (SEP) and the Departamento de Educaci6n Indigena (DEI) in Guadalajara. The primary school covers grades one through six (there is no equivalent of kindergarten in the Mexican public education system). Due to increasing attendance of students in recent years, the primary school now provides education to over 300 students from throughout the local area. Because primary education has been mandatory for many years, those students who are from more remote ranches often stay in the dormitories at the school during the week, returning home to their families on the weekends.















Figure 1.9. The Local Agency of Tateikita.


The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK)

In 1991, the Mexican government passed legislation making secondary education mandatory in Mexico. The 1997 figure for the state of Jalisco places the level of postprimary level education at only 47.6% of the general population (INEGI-ENADID 1997). Because of such low figures, the state concentrated first on establishing secondary





16


education in the cities, reserving rural areas for last. With this resolution in mind, it was not until 1995 that the first secondary school opened its doors in the Huichol region of the Sierra. The location of the school, by agreement of authorities, parents, and coordinators, was Tateikita because of its large educated, and mostly sedentary, population. Also, the resultant availability of teachers and specialists that could meet the needs of forming a rural secondary school existed.

Before the CETMK, the only option available for secondary education was to travel away from the homeland communities, usually to Tepic or Guadalajara. These migrations were thought to be further alienating the younger population from their Huichol identity, since in the city schools, Huichol children could not use their language or learn about their own traditions. Instead, they were forced to learn and speak Spanish on a daily basis. Children were also taught traditions that were alien to their own cultural heritage. These traditions urged them to shed off their Huichol identity and become "~Mexican" as the only way to succeed.

The Mexican states resorted to a cost-effective solution to providing education to rural areas. Using telesecundarias (video schools), the various state entities of the Secretary of Public Education (SEP) opted to provide a bare minimum of instruction to rural areas. Telesecundarias often have only one or two instructors on site who give all subject matter. At the time of the CETMK' s founding, there were no telesecundarias available locally to the Huichol. While this has changed in the past two years, their level of instruction is considered inferior to that of a regular secondary school. Teachers are poorly trained, provide a minimum degree of service (usually one year), and have many difficulties dealing with the native environments in which they are placed. They also





17


experience problems related to the limited Spanish proficiency of local inhabitants. As a result, the SEP is slow to construct these schools and has problems finding replacement teachers who usually do not like the harshness of life presented in the Huichol communities.

The CETMK was organized to be an "indigenous" school in the strictest sense of the word. Instructors were chosen from among the Huichol themselves, instead of relying on Mestizo teachers who would know little to nothing about the Huichol way of life or language. While genuinely certified teachers were desired, teachers were selected based on special skills they could contribute to the school, some with little or no formal education experience. The school began initially as a joint project between the Huichol, with assistance from the coordinator Rocio de Aguinaga of AJAGI, and the Instituto Technol6gico y de Estudios Superiores del Occidente (ITESO) as the only secondary school in the Sierra. Under de Aguinaga's guidance, the Huichol obtained permission for the school as an experiment in bilingual-intercultural education within the SEP. De Aguinaga also organized teacher training seminars and workshops, with a group of assistants at the ITESO, as a way to help Huicol teachers earn their full credentials.

The founding of the CETMK was not without controversy. Initially the CETMK was housed in buildings demanded from the local Franciscan mission, starting with a small base of students and borrowed plazas (paid positions) from the local municipio. With assistance of parents, new sets of classrooms were constructed below the mission (see Figure 1.10). The name of the school, Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi, means, in translation, "Educational Center of the Tail of Our Grandfather Deer." It





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employs eight full-time faculty and staff and 108 students divided among three grade levels. I was employed, by parental approval, as one of faculty at the Center.


















Figure 1. 10. CETMK Classrooms.




Dissertation Outline and Layout

Chapter 2 begins a review of the relevant Huichol and identity studies literature. The first section deals specifically with the history of the Huichol people. By examining the history of the Huichol people, the conditions leading to the present-day political, religious, socio-economic, and educational situations can be better understood. The chief authors of Huichol history, namely Phil Weigand and Beatriz Rojas, illustrate the growing tensions leading to a culture of resistance among the Huichol. Modem history's responses to outside pressures in such areas as rural development, religious conversion or education reform, have deep roots in the historical record and its 500+ years of effects upon the Huichol.

The second section of chapter 2 concerns nationalism and ethnic identity. The

present status of the Huichol is one where local interests may often conflict with those of





19


the state or nation. The nationalist literature of Stalin and Diaz Polanco are key to understanding the roots of nationalist movements as they affect the ethnicity of people in Latin America. In this growing age of globalization and the fragmentation of ethnic groups in Europe and Latin America, many of the same issues that confronted ethnic groups following the outset of World War I are arising once more: What constitutes a nation of people? Do ethnic groups have a right to autonomous organization by claiming they are nations of people? Or do nation-states have a right to assimilate indigenous peoples in the fight for a symbolic national identity? The concepts of autonomy and sovereignty lead to a discussion of indigenous identity from the opposing viewpoints of view of the scholars Michael Kearney (1996) and Bonfil Batalla (1987,1996).

Chapter 3 is the second half of the literature review, this time focusing on

educational research, principally among indigenous peoples of the U.S. and Mexico. This dissertation is about the steps involved in building and running an indigenous school. The model followed by the school is one designed to promote a celebration of Huichol identity through cultural preservation that aims to combine the best of indigenous schooling with that of the dominant society in a bilingual/intercultural methodology. In Chapter 3, the histories of indigenous education in the U.S. and Mexico are compared.

Chapter 4 is a breakdown of the theoretical concepts and research methods used in this study of Huichol education and identity. The prevalent theories are those involving the negotiation of what I call "bordered identities," or fragmented collectives that are unified by a native cosmology that is radically different from the individualistcentered cosmologies of the dominant society. The bordered identities of the Huichol are





20


the result of confusion and uncertainty at the onset of rapid culture change and development, and are explained within theories of sociological anomnie and materialism. Lastly, I combine political and educational theory to discuss macro and micro level processes of identity negotiation from the views of Foucault, Habermas, and Gramsci.

Chapter 4 concludes with a discussion of the various methods used in the research for this dissertation. These included questionnaires of third year students at the CETMK, measuring their attitudes toward the indigenous school, their identity and traditions, and sense of their own future. Formal and informal interviewing, as well as participant observation of students, faculty, parents, and community members, contributed to a holistic perspective on the present educational situation among the Huichol in Tateikita.

Chapters 5 and 6 comprise the actual fieldwork observations and reflections. Chapter 5 discusses the complicated nature of doing applied anthropology among the Huichol. The Huichol are generally suspicious of all outsiders, particularly anthropologists and "researchers." Distrust of researchers who have, in the past, written about the Huichol, usually with good intentions but unverified information, has created an atmosphere that is especially difficult for current and future anthropologists to penetrate. 1 discuss in Chapter 5 my own process of integration into Huichol society, and highlight the delicate balance between being an outsider, living in a rural area, and gaining trust and acceptance through example.

Chapter 6 comprises observations and interviews at the CETMK. I begin by examining the history behind the school's construction and its place within the village and community. I follow this historical account by reconstructing a day in the life of the school and pointing out the various activities that surround its existence in the minds and





21


actions of its social actors. I conclude chapter 6 by placing the school's mission and its daily activities within the light of the "imagined community" through the telling of tales revealed during the years 1998-2000.

In chapter 7, 1 summarize the observations and quantitative data from chapters 5 and 6. The results of surveys are tabulated, and results are stated. I conclude chapter 7 with the politics surrounding the results of interviews and surveys. I also demonstrate in what ways the culture of the CETMK contributes to its successes or failures in meeting its mission.

Lastly, chapter 8 includes a discussion of the conclusions and results, with

implications for the future of Huichol identity and indigenous education. I conclude with a discussion of suggestions for future research on the issues.














CHAPTER 2
HICHOL HISTORY AND IDENTITY STUDIES



"My prayers fly, my prayers rise with the wind; They were born in the place of
the rain message, They were born in the blue space. We are the seed of the
people, and the gods remain among us in the abode of the gods ...... Huichol
mara'akame chant. (Source: Norman 1977:848).


Historical Setting of the Huichol

This purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the historical data contributing to the creation of the Huichol people as they are today. I mention the prehistory and general history from archaeological, mythological, and ethnological viewpoints, all of which are interwoven into the fabric of Huichol history. This chapter concludes with a section addressing the identity studies literature, reflecting back upon Huichol history to explain the foundations of Huichol identity and the reasons for its present delicate state.

Prehistory and General History

The reconstruction of Huichol prehistory is a complicated affair. The exact

prehispanic origins of the people who became the Huichol are, at best, uncertain. One prominent author, Beatriz Rojas (1993:24), says that we must wait until at least the end of the 16th century to understand the Huichol as a people. Due to the lack of information surrounding Huichol origins, the bulk of research concerning the Huichol begins with history since colonial times. There are, however, a few things known about Huichol origins derived mainly from mythology, accented with archaeology and linguistic data, where possible.
22





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According to Rajsbaum (1994), the Huichol have their origins in the history of several prehistoric Indian peoples who came together in the Sierra Madre Occidental region of Mexico. Moreover, it has been widely speculated that these tribes were probably of Aztecan origin (Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). This appears to be consistent with Huichol self-declarations. I have even heard the Huichol point westward towards the coast when mentioning "Aztlan," the mythological homeland of the Aztecs. If the Huichol did indeed form as a result of a melding of several tribes, this could explain the duality of Huichol mythology whereby Eastern Huichol are more oriented toward desertcentered emergence stories in Wirikuta, land of the sacred peyote cactus, a point at which there is a convergence of the five cardinal directions (north, south, east, west, center) (Furst 1969a).

In opposition to these stories, Huichol along the Western edge of the Sierra Madre Occidental associate their emergence stories with Haramaratsie, the Huichol name for San Blds, Nayarit. Weigand (1981) believes this conglomeration of aboriginal peoples to be a reason for the diversity of Huichol mythology. These various connections, or associations, coupled with sacred sites associated with the other cardinal directions, determine Huichol cosmology in its broadest sense. Liffinan (2000) likens these attachments between sacred sites and sense of place (kiekari) to gourdvines, illustrating how Huichol historical territoriality is rooted in an open cosmology that includes over 90,000 square kilometers as opposed to the officially recognized 4,000 square kilometers that encompass the Huichol homeland. It is due to this very open patterning of Huichol territoriality that it becomes most difficult to situate the origins of the Huichol, especially with a lack of archaeological evidence to support or deny such allegations.





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The foremost authority on Huichol archaeology, Phil Weigand, himself

acknowledges that "archaeological investigations in the areas where rural Huichol Indians now reside are nearly nonexistent" (Weigand 1981:9). Using data collected from several surrounding areas, Weigand believes that the present-day Huichol have their origins in four distinct prehistoric influences: los nayaritas (the people of the Western Coast, including the Cora), the Huajimic-La Yesca archaeological cultures for the southern Chapalagana Huichol, the Chalchihuites culture of Zacatecas for the northernmost Chapalagana Huichol, and, finally, the Bolahos valley sites for the eastern and central Chapalagana Huichol (Weigand 1981). Many of these conclusions are drawn from the similarities in the construction of circular ceremonial structures and centers, as well as settlement patterns throughout the region. These circular ceremonial centers, so he believes, served as models for the circular kalihuey temple of the modem Huichol, and date to the early Classic period of 200-700 A.D. (Weigand 1979:101).

In his work, Weigand refutes another popular theory held by Furst (1996) that places Huichol origins in the Chichimec desert complex, along with ancestors known as the Guachichil people. It is Weigand's (1981, 2000) belief that this analogy is based on inconclusive evidence from small linguistic similarities between modem Huichol phonology and that of these purported ancestors.

Linguistic data from the Sierra region shows that there are significant linguistic similarities among the Pima, Tepehudn, Tarahumara, Yaqui, Cora, Huichol, Nahuatl, and Mexicano speaking peoples (Grimes 1964). Reconstructed through glottochronology, these similarities are most pronounced between Huichol and Cora, suggesting an accurate depiction of these languages as a subfamily (Grimes 1964). If these inferences are





25


accurate, than the Huichol and Cora are not only neighbors linguistically, but also could share a common kin ancestry.

In classes I observed in Tateikita, indigenous instructors taught that the

Guachichil were one of several ancestral groups to the Huichol. They also acknowledged the role of the Tepecanos and Teochichimecas in forming the present-day Huichol. This illustrates Huichol uncertainty with their own origins and support for Furst's model.

The collection of Huichol mythology as it relates to cultural origins was largely the work of Peter Furst (1969a, 1969b, 1972, 1974, 1989, 1993; Furst and Anguiano 1976; Furst and Myerhoff 1966) and Barbara Myerhoff (1970, 1974). Through the collection of origin myths and migration stories, Furst connected East with West in the formation of modem Huichol society. Variations in mythological accounts were said to be the result of the orality of Huichol culture, with regional variations developing across time as other influences affected the stories. In fact, Fikes (1985) wrote a dissertation on variations within Huichol myths in the community of Tuapurie, illustrating the fluid nature of these stories in Huichol oral culture.

The real problem in dealing with uncertain origins is the tendency to rely

exclusively on one domain (linguistic, archaeological, or cosmological) to reconstruct Huichol origins. Like Weigand (1981), I argue that these domains must be taken collectively to paint as accurate a picture as possible of Huichol origins. This is also the position adhered to by Williams (1990), who has traced archaeological data from maize cultivation and temple construction to place Huichol origins to about AD 200. He has also uncovered figurines of early forms of Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), also mentioned by Lumholtz (1902), during his late nineteenth century travels throughout the Sierra and meticulous classification of the symbolic material culture of the Huichol, Cora, and





26


neighboring tribes. If these speculations carry even an inkling of truth, then they are further proof for early and continuous occupation of the Sierra by the Huichol.

The Huichol, according to Ramirez de la Cruz (1995), were practically unknown before the famous Norwegian traveler Carl Lumholtz visited the Sierra region. In his text Unknown Mexico (1902), Lumholtz was one of the first ethnographers, along with Ldon Dig-aet (1899), to document the cultures of the Sierra region. While comments about the Huichol being "unknown" was an exaggeration of the elusiveness of the Huichol, it is true that the Huichol did little to make themselves known to the outside world. It was not until the sixteenth century that the Huichol were "discovered" by the Franciscan missions. In an attempt to avoid contact with Spanish colonial authorities, the Huichol moved higher and deeper in to the Sierra Madre. In fact, they have existed in their present location for a little over 500 years by this theory.

From the viewpoint of mythology, the Huichol encountered "Majakuagy" (Maxa Kwaxi, or Grandfather Deer Tail) who was a white spirit person from the heavens (Digtet 1899). Maxa Kwaxi then taught the Huichol people the ways of the peyote and showed them a place to settle in the Sierra Madre (Furst 1996). For quite some time, this story was thought to be of a "white man," perhaps of Spanish descent, who taught the Huichol their current way of life. The reference to "Majakuagy" being "white" is, in fact, a reference to the white tail of the deer (Schaefer and Furst 1996).

If we take the most restrictive dating considering Huichol prehistory, they have occupied their present-day location for at least 500 years. The first European contact with the Huichol was in 1531 by the Spanish conquistador Nufio de Guzmdn and soon thereafter the Franciscans set up the first missions (Furst 1996; Rojas 1993). Nufio de Guzmdn was relentless in his march through the coastal regions of the Sierra, causing





27


countless tribes to relocate, many joining and becoming assimilated into Cora and Huichol peoples of the Sierra. The difficulty of the terrain made conquest of the Sierra a troublesome endeavor. It was not until 1580, roughly 50 years after Nufto de Guzmdin's first contact with the peoples of the Gran Nayar coastal region, that missionary activity began in the Gran Nayar because the Sierra region was very inaccessible from the North, East, and South (Furst 1996).

Soon after the Franciscans entered the Sierra, mining operations began and continued until 1700. These mining operations coincided with a series of territorial conflicts between the Huichol and Chichimeca. The Huichol still proved to be elusive, although the much more easily accessible Cora were rounded up into eleven Jesuitcontrolled villages in 1722 (Franz 1996:79). Eleven years later in 1733, the Franciscans established a catholic mission in Waut+a, leading quickly to the founding of missions in several other key Huichol communities. Shortly thereafter, the Franciscans entered, on several occasions, the heart of the Huichol territory, each time being unsuccessful in converting the Huichol from their "primitive pagan ways" and, ultimately, forcing them into retreat.

According to Franz (1996:80), "the Huichol were apparently the least affected of all the Sierra tribes, since they were never congregated into nucleated mission settlements." Their seasonal patterns of migration and geographic dispersion made religious conversion among them a difficult task. Whereas the neighboring Cora Indians fought aggressively to resist acculturation, the Huichol response was primarily to "flee," thereby having as little contact with their aggressors as possible. This fleeing activity, Vogt (1955:253) believes, is the impetus for the Huichol being "withdrawn and reticent" in direct relations with Mestizos in the historical era.





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The Huichol retreat into the Sierra created a "region of refuge" (Aguirre Beltr~n 1967). As a natural geographic boundary, the Sierra enabled the Huichol to resist the acculturative pressures around them. Huichol avoidance of Mestizo aggression, however, assisted them in developing a more open style of relationships with outsiders. This style is in direct opposition to the Cora, who through the aggression of missionaries and settlers turned into a "closed" society.

I often draw an analogy to cultural distinctions between the Navajo and Hopi. The Hopi are quite closed in their relations with the outside world, whereas the Navajo have constantly been adapting to the outside world by taking in various aspects of the dominant society's material culture and ideology and adapting them to a "Navajo style of life." Vogt (1955) compares the Huichol and Cora acculturative struggles with that of the Navajo and the Zuni of the American Southwest. He makes the contention that Navajo hogan settlements are "much like the scattered extended family rancherias of the Huichol" (Vogt 1955:254). Moreover, whereas Navajo social organization is dependent on a matrilineal clan system,4 Huichol social organization is not, making their society even more mobile and flexible than that of the Navajo.

Missionary and Mestizo aggression began in the early nineteenth century and continued until the Cristero revolt of 1930 when many Huichol fled the Sierra for the cities or the basin of the Lerma River.'1 These periods of aggression, however, had little impact on traditional Huichol religion. In the late 1930's, the Huichol were able to return to their home region, but with a considerable loss of ancestral lands to which they no longer held title. The cultural consequences of the loss of these ancestral lands still



' The Cristero Revolt was a mostly peasant based Catholic revolt against the revolutionary government in western Mexico in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Cristero s fought under the motto "Viva el Cristo Rey' (Long live Christ the King).





29


plague Huichol society today, with lack of land entitlements being key to why the Huichol continue to struggle to reclaim these lands. Of the nearly 67,000 hectares that are in dispute, the Huichol have successfully regained 10,320, though several key ancestral areas near Tierra Blanca and San Juan Peyotdn remain difficult to reclaim (Chdvez and Arcos 1998).

Contemporary Huichol History

Contemporary Huichol history continues to be muddied by struggles to reclaim ancestral lands. This section explains the most recent history of the Huichol, particularly of Tateiki and Tateikita. It is meant to outline the various development projects within the community and village.

Much of Huichol contemporary history is shaped by the efforts of the National Indigenous Institute (INI), founded in 1949. Under plans for rural development, INI offices were located throughout the various indigenous regions of Mexico, and each was headed by an anthropologist charged with training workers how to conduct development projects among indigenous peoples. In 1960, the Cora-Huichol Coordination Center (HUICOT) was created to direct development within the Sierra (Nahmad 1996). The Plan HUICOT was the program instituted to add roads, assist agro-production, create schools, and generally improve living conditions in the Sierra. It was under the Plan HUICOT that the first airstrips were created in the various Huichol communities, including Tateikita (Nahmad 1996). It wasn't until 1968, however, that formal nonreligious schooling was first brought to the Huichol under Salom6n Nahmad, coordinator of the Plan HUICOT.

No formal history of Tateikita has ever been constructed other than that recorded by "Fray Hugo" and the Franciscans at their mission in Tateikita. In March 1999, during






30


an indigenous rights workshop held at the CETMK, students, together with instructors and parents/elders, attempted to reconstruct a chronological timeline for the history of Tateikita (see Appendix B). The timeline was constructed to put the development of the local village in parallel with developments in land reclamation and indigenous rights. Highlights of this reconstruction are noted in this section.

Although they reached the Sierra in the sixteenth century, the first arrival of the Franciscans to Tateikita occurred in 1963, shortly after the construction of the first airstrip. Arriving on mule, they established the local mission (see Figure 2. 1). Development in Tateikita was rapid after that. The local agency was constructed in 1964, and in 197 1, water was piped in from the Sierra to a holding tank outside Tateikita near the Rancho Robles. Two years later, a health care center was constructed and the airstrip was improved.


















Figure 2. 1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background.



The Franciscans started the first school in Tateikita in 1976. Local resistance abounded, and shortly thereafter, a primary was built, along with a boarding dormitory for students. Most of these structures were completed during the time of the Plan






31


HUICOT of the Instituto Nacionallndigenista. Current projects have aimed to get a road to Tateikita, linking it, at least seasonally, to the outside world. This project was completed in April 1998. Also, Missionaries of various faiths have penetrated the Sierra, disguising religious conversion under seemingly legitimate development projects. Social and Political Organization

Huichol social organization is best perceived at three levels: the household rancheria, the village or pueblo consisting of several rancherias, and the traditional politico-religious cornunidad (community). At the smallest of these levels, the household is typically a nuclear family with husband, wife, and unmarried children (Grimes 1962). More common in the traditional homeland, however, is the rancheria, or extended family household that consists of a matrilocal family with husband and wife, their married female children's families, and any unwed male children. The male children remain in the household of their parents until such time as they are wed, at which point a couple will establish residency with the husband's wife's family (Grimes 1962:104). This differs from Weigand (1979:112) who says that the ideal pattern of postmarital residence is patri- or neopatrilocal.

Huichol marriages are traditionally "arranged," and this practice continues to this day (Weigand 1981). In recent times, however, individual choice has replaced arranged marriages as the dominant marriage system. In the case of those still practicing arranged marriages, however, they are "bilateral and often between first cousins from within the same community" (Schaefer and Furst 1996:8). Marrying and staying within the same community decreases the risk factors associated with subsistence farming, since families are within accessible distance from one another, should sharing of crop harvests or labor become necessary.






32


Although social organization is matrilineal, the male is still the religious and

social head of household. It is no doubt that much of this is probably due to the infusion of Mexican machismo into Huichol society. Women usually control the land, however, with men tending to any cattle they may own. Inheritance is unilineal, with daughters receiving from their mothers and sons from their fathers. Sometimes, women receive cattle through inheritance, in which case they may come to control ranch land and all animals on it over time (Weigand 1979). It may be possible that these changing inheritance patterns are why patrilocal residence is not as common as it once was.

Huichol children live in the nuclear household, though caring for them is a

communal affair involving all members of the child's extended family. Huichol children are enculturated through a series of formal ceremonies and informal maternal instruction. The most important of these ceremonies for a child is what is known as the Fiesta del tam bor (Festival of the drum) that coincides with the annual harvest festival in the fall (Schaefer and Furst 1996). Only after the completion of five of these ceremonies is a child truly considered whole, showing the importance of the number five in Huichol. cosmology. At each of these annual ceremonies, lasting roughly two days, children are positioned on blankets before their mothers and are blessed by the gods. A series of offerings are made and a constant vigil is maintained through the aid of a cantador (shaman-chanter) and the incessant beating of the tepu (drum). At the end of the ceremony, all families with participating children offer a feast to attendees. In the feast, other kin and guests are treated to tortillas, tamales, and traditional tehuino drink. This ceremony serves for many children and adults as a mechanism to solidify social bonds (see Figure 2.2).





33


The historical significance of the ceremony lasting five years for each child is

probably rooted in high infant mortality rates (Schaefer and Furst 1996). It was common in the pre-development era for many children to die before their fifth birthday. The conclusion of the ceremony therefore marks an important passage for iluichol children into participating members of Huichol society.


"" N







Figre2.2 Cil inTaeiktaattheFistade TmbrDcme19.

At a colctv lee Huco soit is egltra bu as noe by Scaee and....


MIurst (19:1) "icesn patcpto in th make ecnm ha invtal created... ..











ighave observeid in Tateikita it was noetae nc mo to eeer t9coo9 cal






pspeouss pied o sre (caeterm n public office At the Januasryankng bin eoliasicang





of local authorities). Whether or not they accepted such gestures of appointment was





34


another matter entirely. Those picked to hold public office, because of the financial constraints involved, are therefore either those with some public debt, or those who the community believes can economically bear the hardship of serving in public office.

The current Huichol political system originated in the late eighteenth century

under the Franciscans "who introduced the comunidad (community) political structure" (Weigand 1979). 1 have mentioned earlier that there are three Huichol traditional communities. There are, however, five gobernancias, which remain from earlier civilreligious hierarchies. Further complicating these political divisions are the presence of temple districts (Weigand 1979:13). Each temple, or kalihuey, has its own religious authorities connected with maintaining it.

Huichol political organization is usually discussed at the level of civil-religious hierarchy. According to this system, the highest traditional office is the gobernador (governor). This individual's functions have been reduced to that of a figurehead in current Huichol organization. His principal role has been as an arbitrator to mediate disputes with the assistance of a panel of judges. He is "generally the eldest member of a community and serves a term of one year" (Weigand 1979:107). The community governor is the head of a council that includes a number of other positions, among them the capitanes (captains), al guaciles (political representatives) and their assisting topiles (police-servants). Alongside the Governor's council are the mayordomos who are responsible for overseeing that particular ceremonies, in the various pueblos (towns or villages) and rancherias, are conducted according to tradition (Weigand 1979).

The members of the council that hold the highest authority and prestige are the kawiteros, who are the elder esteemed members of the community. They are the experts of tradition. According to Weigand (1979:108), "a man becomes a kawitero through





35


lifelong study of the customs, history, religion, and myths of his comunidad." Kawiteros are often mara'akame, though they may no longer be practicing healers. They traditionally were responsible for overseeing the numerous kalihuey temples throughout the communities. Figure 2.3 illustrates the traditional political hierarchy in the mid1970s. The structure is roughly the same today, though the Plan HUJICOT, as indicated in the diagram, is no longer in existence.









GOBSRNADOR



I ..I . . . . .






Figure 2.3. Huichol Political Organization. (Source: Weigand 1979:103).


At the village level, the head authority is the comisario (commissioner) who

serves a joint role as mayor and police chief of a village settlement and temple district. It is his responsibility to mediate local disputes, wed couples, and provide for the general upkeep of the pueblo. The comisario is normally chosen from among the people in the village who are most prosperous or owe a term of service. This is because the position has a lot of responsibilities that can be economically taxing during the one-year term. Someone must also be chosen who holds some knowledge of the rules and regulations of





36


traditional and civil law. To help him in his duties, the comisario is assisted by topiles who are his message carriers and police force. Their responsibilities include policing the district and keeping the comisario informed of political and social "doings" in the region. Contemporary Religious Organization

Huichol spirituality, at least for the past 500 years, has been based on a

cosmology centered on the ritual use of the peyote cactus. The peyote cactus (see Figure

2.4) is the place from which life emanates, and from which it will return upon one's death. Furst, the foremost authority on IHuichol ceremony, says in his documentary of a Huichol peyote pilgrimage, "It is the doorway to the fifth dimension" (Furst 1969a). Annually, sometimes biannually, the Huichol from various communities will make trips to the sacred land called Wirikuta located in the desert near San Luis Potosi. It is there alone that the sacred peyote cactus grows. It must be harvested by those entrusted to do so, the peyoteros, and brought back to the many village communities for use in rituals and ceremonies.

In the past, pilgrimage trips would involve considerable personal hardship, as the pilgrimage would take up to a full month to accomplish on foot, during which time fasting from salt intake is obligatory. In recent times, personal hardship has changed to economic hardship. No longer are the pilgrimages conducted on foot, but rather by bus and truck, vehicles that must be contracted to carry the people to and from the various sacred sites along the journey, and assist them in returning to their communities with the harvests of peyote cactus (Muller 1978). The major expense has become transportation. These problems with expenses have limited the Huichol ability to make pilgrimages in anything other than organized temple district groups. It is now the plan of INI to assist the Huichol economically in conducting pilgrimages.





37
















Figure 2 4. The Peyote Cactus (Source Culman et al. 1986:202)



Each pilgrimage group is led by a mara 'akame (shaman, or healer) who acts as a spiritual guide to the followers (see Figure 25) Mara'akate (pl.) may be male or female, though I have yet to hear or see a female mara'akame, even though Valadez (aka Susan Eger 1978, 1989) has equated female master weavers and artists with mara'akame status. Moreover, Schaefer (1990, 1996) says that women weavers historically underwent an initiation ceremony much like a "rite of passage." She acknowledges, however, that these ceremonies did little for a women's ability to enter the religious-political hierarchy. This is consistent with Schaefer and Furst (1996), who say that the role is chiefly a male occupation. Were Valadez's statements to be correct, there would be many more female mara 'akate than their male counterparts, as most all women embroider, sew, weave, or use chaquira (beads) to make necklaces and bracelets. These items are chiefly for personal or family use, though there are some rural Huichol, and many urban Huichol, who do make crafts to sell to dealers and tourist shops in Puerto Vallarta, Tepic, or Guadalajara.





38


To be a mara'akame is a multifaceted role. Spiritually connected with the gods, one must be a diviner, a healer, and an expert in myth and lore (Fikes 1985). Furthermore, a mara'akame must be willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve prominent status within a given community. A good mara'akame is observant, humble, and personable. To be otherwise may label one a witch. One earns the status of a niara 'akame only by example. It is necessary for a potential mara'akame to complete the peyote pilgrimage at least five times to be honored and respected as such. Many have, however, completed the journey numerous times beyond the bare minimum. Because being a mara'akame is not a paid position, these spiritual leaders are dependent upon donations from those they serve. It is not uncommon these days to see a mara'akame go from family to family seeking monetary donations for a pilgrimage, a journey to acquire materials for a ceremony, or for travel funds to perform a ritual in outlying areas of the Huichol homeland (Muller 1978:92).

iluichol cosmology includes a view of the world that interconnects all people and places. The ritual use of peyote is for the purpose of receiving messages from the gods, as well as for honoring them. It is one way to make a direct spiritual connection with the ethereal world. Unlike images portrayed by the popular media, Huichol use of peyote is strictly sanctioned. There are certain contexts when it is permissible to use peyote and others when it is not. Permissible contexts usually involve the presence or guidance of a mara 'akame at ceremonies and the occasional use by artisans to receive divine intervention in artistic creations. Individuals, to prevent or cure sickness and ill health, may also use it. Peyote is present at most ceremonies, though in no way is it as prevalent as it once was in the historical accounts of Schaefer and Furst (1996), Mata Torres (1970), and Benitez (1994). In fact, the modern media continues to present a watered-





39


down and stereotypical view of Huichol religion and the people in general. Representations such as those portrayed by Ibdfiez and Lavidon (1997) and Zarembo (1999) promote inaccurate images of contemporary Huichol society and religion. In an age of global information exchange, views of the Huichol as peyote consuming secretive people who "are distrustful of outsiders" are detrimental to external relations.
























Figure 2.5. Mara'akame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo.



Huichol spirituality revolves around a series of ceremonies performed on an

annual cyclical basis. These ceremonies are connected with events such as the planting of corn (fiesta de la limpieza) in the late spring, and the harvest season (fiesta del tambor) in the late fall (Muller 1978). Some are connected with the peyote pilgrimage. At any given time within the year, the Huichol may visit sacred locations located throughout Western Mexico. These visits are often informal and family-centered, whereas major





40


events in the ceremonial calendar involve many relatives and families who come together to celebrate an event (see Figure 2.6).

















Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings. (Source: Geomundo 1997:76)



According to Huichol mythology, peyote, maize, and the white-tailed deer form a trinity in much the same way as the "Holy Trinity" serves as a unifying dimension of Western Christian religion (Schaefer and Furst 1996; Myerhoff 1970). Many names are assigned to each of the three items, as they are constantly associated with deities in the spirit world and are interchangeable, easily confusing the amateur interpreter. For example, peyote, apart from being called hikuri, is also referred to as Kauyumari (Mother Deer). Because peyote flowers possess white tufts of hair atop them, they are also called Maxa Kivaxi (Deertail). The mythological deer that showed the way to the peyote is reverentially called kauyumari (Mother Deer), but may also be called Tatutsi Maxa Kwvaxi (Grandfather Deertail), representing the gender-neutral nature of the figure. In these intersecting themes, the Huichol trinity is inseparable.

Huichol religion is "pantheistic" (Muller 1978:91). All deities are personified by associating them with kinship terms, the most prominent of which are Tau (Father Sun),





41


Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), Kauyumari (Brother or Mother Deer), Nakaw (Grandmother Growth), Tatei Yurianaka (Mother Earth), Tatei Niwetsika (Mother Maize) and Tukakame (God or Goddess of Death). Each of these deities is honored in ways to manipulate the natural world. These honoring rites usually involve offerings or sacrifices to the deities. Travel to sacred sites is also common. Among the cardinal directions associated with deities are Haramaratsie (San Blas, Nayarit) in the West, Xapawiyemata (Lake Chapala, Jalisco in the South), Wirikuta (near San Luis Potosi in the East), Teikata (the Huichol homeland) and Hauxa Manaka (a site to the North) (Liffinan 2000). Prayers and rituals frequently are for a good harvest, rain, and success in peyote rituals.

Taking the five key directional locations in mind, the number "5" plays an

important role in Huichol cosmology. Not only are there five sacred directions, but also Furst (1969a) says there are "five levels to the underworld," five stages and colors to the corn, and, frequently, five parts to an average peyote button. It can be said that five directions add centrality to the "here and now" orientation of Huichol space and time.


Tateikita: A Community Profile

Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy

The village of Tateikita is more reminiscent of recent urbanization trends within the Huichol territory than as representative of traditional Huichol economics. While in outlying ranches the Huichol rely more on traditional subsistence, those within Tateikita, much like other centralized villages, such as Tateikik or Tuapurie, are now dependent on a foreign economic system that requires them to purchase foodstuffs they are unable (or unwilling) to grow themselves.

The Huichol within each community possess land collectively and families work plots of land using cooperative labor from family members, friends, and more distant kin





42


(Weigand 1979:109). The fact that land is collective means that the territorial lands cannot be individually bought and sold. It is communal in that "individual titles to plots of land within the overall unit are not granted" (Weigand 1979:111). Weigand (1979: 111) continues, however, "lack of title does not imply lack of very strong and inheritable use rights." Instead, individual families retain possession of plots of land within tracts that are cleared annually utilizing a slash-and-burn technique. Within each cleared tract of land, several different families may have planted crops. Boundary divisions between familial plots are delineated by color of corn that has been planted. In addition, there is little population pressure on the land, so disputes are not common.

Not only may several families share a tract of land, but also each individual

family may possess multiple locations where they have a right to plant. These may be at different elevations so as to maximize the types of crops that can be grown. For instance, while some crops, such as corn and squash, still grow well at higher elevation, other crops, especially beans, do not yield at such elevations. These crops, instead, will be planted at lower elevations, interspersed amongst corn stalks, if they are planted at all.

Because land is considered "women's property," men do not ordinarily clear, plant, and harvest their own tracts of land, but instead will be responsible for preparing and harvesting crops from the lands of their spouses, if married, or those of their mother, sisters, or other female kin. Land is passed on matrilineally, meaning use rights will pass from a mother equally to each of her daughters. Upon the death of a female, her portion of the land will pass directly to her surviving daughters. If none are present, the land will be subsumed and reallocated to another family by the traditional authorities. These observations are in contrast to Weigand (1979: 111), who says "farm plots and farmsteads, however, also go to the eldest son of the first wife if he is capable of





43


managing them and is present to do so." It may be that, in many cases, the absence of theeldest male, due to urban migration, has resulted in females becoming more in control of land than they were in the past. Males are still, however, preferred to female children, and receive considerable more economic input from their parents than female children. This is noticeable especially in clothing and food allocation.

Use rights for women are very strong, and preserved through inheritance

(Weigand 1979:112). This is probably a secondary factor determining the collective nature of families, particularly sisters, in maintaining access to lands for planting. So, while official roles may show a plot of land as belonging to a male, because of use rights, women will actually be the owners of the land, delegating labor for maintenance of the land and crop tending to male kin.

Within Tateikita, most families still use their familial plots. The variety of

individual crops planted, however, has greatly diminished from the past. Families still plant the traditional five varieties of corn, but this is more ceremonial than practical in nature, as families prefer blue, red, and yellow corn to the other varieties. The planting of additional crops is usually limited to squash. Other smaller crops, such as radishes and cucumber are planted, if at all, within individual ranch homesteads. Some families also have fruit trees in their family compounds, especially orange, lemon, and lime varieties.

The.Huichol mainstay continues to be subsistence farming, as noted in the literature (Nahmad 1996; Schaefer and Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). By subsistence farming, I mean that food production is for familial use, and that surpluses are not ordinarily generated, If so, surpluses are traded with relatives who may not have had a very productive year. In this way, the system maintains equilibrium. A Huichol subsistence economy does not mean, however, that the Huichol produce the entire realm





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of food varieties necessary for their diet. This is especially true when it comes to protein intake. Huichol families, for the most part, are very nutritionally deficient. Families have a difficult time clothing their children, let alone worrying about a proper diet. Protein intake within Tateikita comes mainly from eggs, beans, and canned tuna fish. These items are brought in by truck from Huejuquilla, where they are sold in local shops or distributed at a discounted price through the government-subsidized Compahiia Nacional de Subsistencias Populares (CONASUPO). Poorer families will restrict their diet to beans and tortilla, while those who can afford to, will purchase the extra items.

The Huichol of Tateikita are not skilled, trained, or educated in small animal

husbandry. They do, however, supplement purchased items by the occasional chicken, pork, or, in rare instances, lamb. These animals are allowed to run wild throughout the rancherias and villages, feeding on garbage and human waste. Chickens are not raised from birth, but are purchased at a discounted rate through promotional programs of the Departamento de Infancia y Familias (Department of Infants and Families or DIF). Others contract truck owners and/or shopkeepers to bring in animals from outside the Sierra.

While Huichol families will have tracks of land to plant through the collective system of communally owned lands within each of the three rural Sierra communities, many also possess separate family ranches. In contrast to the areas used for planting crops (which are located on the steep hillsides or inter-mesa areas of the region), families from Tateikita will possess individual "ranchos" located outside the village, at higher elevations within the Sierra. These ranches are the primary place of residence for many families during the rainy summer months, when they will leave their homes in the village. Within the ranches, families will possess cattle and small animals, with the cattle being





45


used for milk production. The nfilk is then processed into cheese, which, when preserved, will keep for many months. Cattle are not normally killed for their meat, except when they have become old or no longer can be used for breeding purposes. Cattle are allowed to wander freely on the ranches during the day to graze, and returned to their corrals in the evening. Families from Tateikita will only return to the village if they need additional supplies or if foodstuffs are depleted.

The rural ranch homesteads, unlike the planting fields, are regularly referred to as mate property (Gerardo's ranch; Agustin's ranch). Women will work with the cattle during the summer months, but because these ranches are used almost exclusively for cattle (men's property), they are labor intensive, something requiring regular maintenance by males. Several families may come together on a ranch, working together for a share of the dairy products, and these groups are always centered on female kin networks (a wife's sisters).

Each of the eight shops in Tateikita is a general store, and all are independently owned, except the CONASUPO (state discount store) and the newly created almacen (hardware store) that is run by a women's collective. Being general stores, they all carry largely the same items. Foodstuffs include eggs, canned goods, pasta, oil, sweets, sodas and beer, MasecaTm (a commercial ground corn-flour mix), flour, salt, beans, rice, canned milk powder, coffee, and a limited selection of fruits and vegetables (chiefly apples, cabbage, and peppers). In addition, stores carry pesticides (bug sprays and insect powders) and general items (sandals, batteries, flashlights, candles, cigarettes, sewing items, and writing materials for the schoolchildren). All of these items are brought in by truck from outside the Sierra, resulting in prices being high for most items.





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Not all families can afford to purchase items at the local shops. While most families receive some sort of assistance either from INI and the Departamento de Infancia y Familias (DIF), for children attending school, or the Secretaria de Desorrollo Social (SEDESOL) (for planting particular crops), malnourishment still runs rampant, emphasizing economic differences between have and have-nots. The nutrition of those who can afford to provide additional essential vitamins, minerals, and protein supplements to their diet is much different from that of poorer families who may only be able to provide one meal a day to their children, and this may only be a monotonous daily consumption of beans and tortilla.

The Huichol are very reluctant to try new foods, which makes introducing new foods into their diet quite difficult. Weigand notes:

Huichols have shown little enthusiasm for other introduced plants, such as
carrots, lettuce, radishes, and the like. The scanty use of these garden crops is less a matter of adaptation to soil than one of taste (1979:11).

I found Weigand's observations to be trye. Attempts by the biointensive

agriculture project at the CETMK at introducing lettuce and carrots to students resulted in little interest in their consumption, despite successful yields. The Huichol prefer cabbage to lettuce, because of its durability. Lettuce is also more delicate than cabbage, making it an easy target for hungry ants and other insects. The Material Life of Tateikita

The Huichol of Tateikita, due to their unusually high income levels compared to those in outlying areas, have developed an interest in material goods. These range from battery-operated radios and tape players, to expensive television sets and videocassette recorders. In the case of the former, cheap radios now abound throughout the Sierra, allowing people to listen to news on an IN4-sponsored AM radio station, or to one of






47


several Spanish-only ranchero stations available at night. FM signals do not reach this portion of the Sierra. As for the "fetishism" for high tech gadgets such as televisions and VCRs, people with a regular source of income will purchase these items de crilito (on long-term loans of two to three years). The items will continue to sit in boxes as "status items" for many months because electricity has not yet reached Tateik/ta, nor will it probably be available any time in the foreseeable future.

Although there is no electricity in Tateikita, homes of the economically

advantaged (teachers and shop owners) have solar units. These units are panels mounted atop poles that convert the sun's energy into a 16-volt current, which, when run through a regulator unit, is downgraded to 12 volts in order to charge batteries. At night, these industrial-strength 12-volt batteries provide enough electricity to run fluorescent lighting within the homes and outside kitchen areas. Two families now possess AC/DC power invertors that enable them to show an occasional video. The local health clinic does the same, on occasion, but uses a gas-powered generator to create the necessary electric current to run a television and VCR.

Tate/kita Geography

Tate/k/ta is more developed than the average Huichol village. Located at the end of a newly created road, Tate/k/ta has become an educational mecca for many remote rancher/as and group settlements in the area. Education exists at preschool, primary, and secondary levels. Most recently, in January 2000, an open preparatory school was founded. In addition to educational advantages, Tate/k/ta also serves as a health center for other small settlements in the area. With these recent developments in mind, the geography of Tate/k/ta represents that of a Mestizo plaza-style settlement as opposed to a traditional Huichol settlement that would be dominated by the local kal/huey (religious





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temple). Tateikita possess a small kahhuey along the edges of the plaza, but the main religious and ceremonial center is located about two kilometers away.

The geography of Tateikita consists of a central plaza, dominated by a concrete court used for basketball and volleyball by local residents and students. Surrounding the plaza, are several of the local shops, with others located down nearby side roads. The prominent feature of the plaza is the health clinic. Its chain link fence and concrete foundation make it stand out compared to the adobe brick and weathered appearance of the other buildings in the plaza. The local agency is located opposite the plaza from the health clinic, consisting of no more than a two-room adobe structure with dirt floors.

The spacing of buildings in Tateikita is such that the most centralized area of the village is where most of the wealthy families live. They stay close to their shops, managing them themselves during the day and into the evenings. As one approaches the fringes of the village, approximately 100 meters in any given direction from the central plaza, the homes tend to include small plots of land, whereas those living close to the plaza do not have any immediate land at their disposal. Those who five at the fringes of the village, however, are the most economically disadvantaged of the Huichol citizenry. They generally keep to themselves, preferring to only come to the village when it is necessary to purchase supplies, attend meetings, receive government assistance, or participate in ceremonies.

Located within the boundaries of Tateikita, but near the road's departure from it, is the primary school alhergue, or dormitory, and across from that, a one-room preschool. As one heads east out of the village, the road approaches the airstrip, newly constructed primary school classrooms, and, finally, the secondary school, located below the village next to the soccer field Oust prior to the edge of the mesa). In-between the





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primary school and the secondary school is the Franciscan mission. Its doors stay locked, save for the presence of a Franciscan ftiar who continues to live within the mission's confines. One rarely, if ever, finds any Huichol attending or making use of the services of the mission. While once an important landmark, tensions with the local Huichol over evangelism and land-use rights have resulted in its activities taking place in seclusion. Mass is still held nightly, but one will not find any Huichol in attendance. Only visitors and the local doctor attend mass.

Gender Roles in Tateikita

Gender roles within Tateikita are strictly defined. Women are the primary

caregivers of children, while men take a more peripheral role. Women's work consists of preparing meals, making and embroidering clothing, and tending to small animals. It is not a woman's place to be vocal publicly. Traditionally, women did not hold political offices. While this continues to be the case within Huichol society, some women within Tateikita are more vocal as advisors, though they do not hold public office. This is especially true of those who are teachers at the primary and secondary level (a traditionally male occupation for the Huichol), the local indigenous nurse, and those whose husbands are economically advantaged shopkeepers. These women will freely express their opinions in public (something very rare traditionally), and tend to be younger, educated women. Sex segregation continues to be common, however, as women's social networks do not intermingle with those of males. This division of sexes has an important historic basis as a means of discouraging adultery.

It is men, not women, who are the most concerned about their children's

education, particularly that of their male children. Fathers are very protective of their daughters, however, due to traditional marriage occurring shortly after menarche (ages 13






50


to 15). The education of female children is considered a substantial economic investment, because the early marriage of a female child will bring more labor into the family economic unit. Men are expected to contribute financially to the well-being of their nuclear and affinal extended families. As a result, migrant labor is common, although within Tateikita, the population is not as fluid as in more remote rancherias. This is because several economically advantaged kinship networks (e.g., the Saludos family) dominate the local economy.


Nationalism and Ethnic Identity

The remainder of this chapter is about the connections between nationalism and ethnic identity among indigenous peoples. I will define the terms "ethnicity" and "identity," showing how they are interrelated in discussions about indigenous peoples in the modern world. I will then discuss how the themes of autonomy, self-determiAnation, and resistance have generated arguments among indigenous peoples, particularly in Latin America. These debates serve as arenas for the assertion of ethnic identity at national and transnational. levels. I conclude here by discussing the literature concerning the relationship between freedom and culture, and how indigenous peoples associate their reasons for mobilization with rights of sovereignty to control their own internal affairs and cultural traditions.

Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples

No discussion of indigenous peoples and culture change could be constructed

without first going to the roots of what indigenous people are and how they perceive their world. At the heart of ideology for indigenous people lie discussions of their identity and ethnicity. What are these concepts, and what roles do they play in defining the daily life of indigenous peoples? Moreover, how are these notions created and recreated?





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According to Eriksen (1993), a sensitivity to these types of questions has been common in cultural anthropology since at least the 1960s, and perhaps earlier. These questions continue to be important in the late twentieth century and early twentieth as well, because groups of indigenous peoples are continually striving to define who they are and where they see their future taking them. Constructions of identity and ethnicity serve political and social functions for people to control their own livelihood. As such, they are core attributes in the life of a people.

When one speaks of "identity," it is usually heard in conjunction with "ethnicity" as "ethnic identity." "Identity," in its most common definition, pertains to the distinct personality of an individual. Defined more broadly, identity is "the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is recognizable or knowrf' (American Heritage Dictionary 1989). This second definition encompasses the vast number of individual traits that make an individual who he or she may be. On the other hand, "ethnicity" is the "perception of oneself as a member of a social group which allows the culture to exist as a meaningful entity, make sense of the past and present, and give direction to the future" (McBeth 1983:19).

What makes ethnicity distinct from identity is that it is both an emic and an etic construction .2 Emic "self ascriptiorf' enables people to create a personal sense of belonging, a connection if you will, with others. Ethnicity is also etic as it requires others, such as social scientists, to recognize that one pertains to a particular group of people. These joint emic-etic constructions of ethnicity are what Barth (1969:13) calls


2 Borrowed from the linguist Kenneth Pike (1967) from the terms "phonemics" and "phonetics" and further elaborated upon by the anthropologist Marvin Harris (1990, 1999), emics and etics serve to define the differences between "insider" and "outsider" domains of perception in anthropology.





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"self-ascription and ascription by others, and are consistent with those found by other scholars, including De Vos (1995), Hutchinson and Smith (1996), and Mead (1995).

Ethnicity is a social category as opposed to a personal-psychological one. As a social category, ethnicity is defined by one possessing certain cultural or linguistic characteristics that serve to form boundaries between one's reality and that of others. It is probably Weber (1996) who first pointed out the exclusionary basis of ethnicity through its delimiting of social groups. He said, "it is primarily the political community, no matter how artificially organized, that inspires the belief in common ethnicity" (Weber 1996:35). Moreover, Weber saw that there was a distinction between ethnic membership and a purely kinship definition, because one's ethnicity is based on a series of perceived similarities with some individuals, yet differences from others.

The point I have been trying to make regarding "ethnicity" and "identity" is the way in which they are almost always considered synonymous, yet there still remain important differences between the two. These differences are important when one begins to look at "representations of identity" in ethnic variation. There is a dynamic interplay between self and group that may cause an individual to behave one way in some social contexts and still another way in others. As a result of these connections, most scholars consider ethnicity and identity as inseparable parts of a two-sided coin. When one looks at Native American peoples, however, the link is not so simple because we must include social definitions of native peoples as a "race."

Creating a "race of Indian peoples" has its own complications because to be

"American Indian," in the U.S. at least, one must possess a certain blood quantum that meets the minimum requirements for tribal enrollment. As Fogelson says:

It is assumed that there exists a linkage forged by a chain of blood and
continuous social interaction between historical tribes and their modem





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descendants, even though there may be such radical discontinuity that
present-day Yoruks or Sioux would have a difficult time recognizing, let
alone identifying with, the culture of their ancestors (1998:43)

Upon proving one possesses, in most cases, at least one-quarter Indian blood as reflected by generational kinship charts from historical "lists" of Indian tribal enrollment, one can be officially enrolled as a member of a particular tribe with various membership cards. Because of a growing concern that requirements are too strict, many tribes are now reducing the percentages required for affiliation to one-eighth or even one-sixteenth (National Public Radio 200 1). These legal definitions of American Indian "race" using biology are problematic. As Fogelson (1998) pointed out, one may be affiliated with a tribe even though s/he may not practice or even be aware of his/her cultural heritage within a particular Indian tribe.

In order to more clearly define indigenous identity in the United States, Fogelson (1987, 1998) has proposed three characteristics by which Native American identity is constructed: blood and descent; relations to land; and sense of community. These broader definitions of native identity characterize the other ways that definitions of Indian identity can be constructed. Relations to land and sense of community He at the heart of arguments about ethnic group membership, particularly in what is known as "symbolic ethnicity" among individuals who no longer have any direct familial and/or traditional ties to ancestral homelands. It is an issue especially affecting urban Indians in the U.S. and elsewhere who in response to continual contact with a dominant culture and society, must "negotiate" their identities, becoming truly "bicultural" as has been argued by those who study contemporary Indians (Furst and Havighurst 1973; Moore 1998; National Public Radio 2001; and Thornton 1978). These "bicultural identities" are in constant renegotiation as one adapts to societal change. Like Sandstrom's Aztec-descendent





54


Indians in Corn is Our Blood (199 1), the Huichol make it a point to stress their Indian identity when it may be advantageous to do so. In essence, they are carefully weighing a cost-benefit analysis when choosing which identity to place forward.

Arguments about the biculturality of Native American identity can be used to

point to consistent parallels between identity negotiation among U.S. American Indians and those of Latin America. There is, however, one additional factor in identity determination among the indigenous peoples of Latin America: Indigenous peoples of Latin America do not have blood quantum criteria that can legitimize their status as indigenous peoples. Instead, they must rely on notions of self and group identity. For the Huichol, as will be pointed out in later discussions, relations to the land appear to be of primary importance in determining Huichol membership. Other factors include use of the native language and participation in ceremonies, but these are of secondary importance. One can be urban and still be Huichol, but one must retain familial ties to the ancestral homeland in the Sierra. Once that pattern is broken, urban Huichol would no longer be considered to be Huichol by some rural members, regardless if they still spoke the language.'

Distinctions between "identity" and "ethnicity" lead to a discussion of "ethnic

identity." What are the components that make up one's ethnic identity and how do these components factor into the Huichol situation? According to Keefe (1992:3 8), "the domain of ethnic identity consists of: the perception of differences between ethnic groups; the feelings of attachment to and pride in one ethnic group and cultural heritage


3 The experiences of one Huichol teacher at the CETMK who had considerable difficulty reintegrating into rancheria society after a period of prolonged upbringing in an urban setting, helped reveal this aspect of Huichol identity. For second and third generation urban Huichol, the divisions between urban and rural Huichol are even more apparent.






55


as opposed to others; and, at least where there are perceived physical differences, the perception of prejudice and discrimination against one's own ethnic group." Indigenous peoples in Mexico, including the Huichol, have struggled to remain distinct from the collective mestizaje (Mestizo or "mixed") national identity that indigenous peoples see as assimilationist and therefore destructive to their survival as a people.

Until recently, research on the role of ethnicity in indigenous cultural

identification and preservation was limited to American Indian peoples of North America, even though the concept of ethnicity was applied to immigrant groups worldwide, including the Afican Diaspora, and the former Yugoslavia and Soviet republics (Alba 1990). Studies dealing with indigenous ethnicity in North America concentrated on the importance of blood quantum and an emerging concept known as "symbolic ethnicity" (Gans 1979; Roosens 1989; Sprott 1994). It was for quite some time that researchers struggled with how or whether to remove blood quantum percentage as a necessary component to defining ethnicity among indigenous peoples. The main problem with doing so is that in the opinion of many indigenous scholars, removing blood quantum from discussion of indigenous peoples' ethnicity would "dilute" their ability to remain distinct peoples and make it easier for their rights to be gradually stripped away (Nagel 1996; Thornton 1987). Among the Huichol, and others of Latin America, historical classifications of ethnic identity have been based on appearance alone, as no clear biological links have been established. It was not unusual to hear racial stereotypes of "gradations of skin pigmentation" factored into identification of people as indigenous. And the dominant Mexican ideology favors "light skin" over "dark skin" in social constructions of superiority-inferiority (Amselle 1998; Nassau 1994). Coupled with geographic residence and language, appearance helped label someone as indigenous





56


or not. Such generalizations, based on attributes often measured independently of one another, caused confusion and inaccuracy in historical demographics of indigenous
4
peoples in Latin America.

One way to counteract the removal of blood quantum as a determinant for ethnic identity has been to concentrate instead on self-identification and degree of involvement in what are called "traditional cultural practices." Weigand (1981) and Keefe (1992), like myself, claim that the cultural component to ethnic identification is much more important than blood quantum. Fishman (1980) used participation as an important component to his "being, doing, and knowing" model of ethnicity. The reasoning here is: "If you don't participate in your heritage, how can you claim it?" By focusing on participation as a necessary component of ethnic identity affiliation, categorizing people based on levels of melatonin in the skin (appearance) is limited, and we shift from racial definitions of identity to cultural distinctions. For the Huichol, participation in a multitude of religious practices is inseparable from daily existence. By intertwining the daily with the spiritual, a complex cosmology emerges that defines one's social and spiritual relations.

A final theme needs to be discussed when considering ethnic identity among

indigenous peoples: symbolic ethnicity. If one can become a member of an ethnic group without blood affiliation, but instead through cultural participation and self-declaration, what is the secret ingredient that brings together this ability? Gans (1979) proposes that "symbolic ethnicity" is one way to look at ethnic identity among people who are several generations, third or forth, removed from their ancestors. While he applies this reasoning


4 The population enumeration procedures for indigenous peoples in Latin America have varied from one census to the next, explaining why there is a lot of variability in the figures. The most recent population estimate of the Huichol by INEGI was done independently of one's use of a native language, relying instead on self-declaration and place of residence.





57


to looking at the future of ethnic groups and cultures in America, it has use in cultural revitalization and preservation movements for indigenous peoples. I argue that much of the "pan-Indian"' movement relies on a people's ability to create connections with other individuals based on perceived cultural similarities, when in reality there may be a lot of difference between a person's behavior and the traditional cultural practices of his or her ethnic group. By creating and using symbolic ethnicity, ethnic lines are dissolved and people can be united based on common beliefs and goals.

When talking about the Huichol, symbolic ethnicity may explain one way mn which the intelligentsia think and act when they create a school culture. By aligning themselves with the common goals of all indigenous peoples, they see the ability to "fight for the common good of all." At the same time, constructing a new collective social identity may act as a device to alienate traditionalists within the community, causing conflict and political side-taking when it comes to conflict resolution. Creating a collective symbolic ethnicity, however, may help to maintain group identity by justifying some acculturative (or assimilationist) aspects of culture change, such as changes in one' s dress or language to that of the dominant culture as non-indigenous. Pacheco Salvador (1995:209) writes about this from the point of view of a traditionalist when she speaks of the Huichol children of today who "combine traditional festivals with Christian ones," "play the same games" as the Mestizo children, and "swear off the Huichol language by not speaking it with other Huichol when there are mestizos present for fear of being criticized." I have been fortunate in a rural setting to have not seen this linguistic drop off to habitual Spanish use when in the presence of teiwaritsie (outsiders). Huichol appeared to be comfortable shifting between their native language and using a translator






58


or switching to Spanish when something was said for the non-Huichol speaker to understand.

Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Formation

Kearney (1996) and Hale (1996) suggest that the identities of indigenous peoples of Latin America historically have been cast in terms of a domination-exploitation model that restricts the dynamics of a peasant economy and casts them in a series of coreperiphery relationships first identified by Wallerstein (1976). By labeling indigenous peoples as "peasants," they are stripped of their collective identities. The reality is that these very "peasants" have become a sort of "post-peasant," something that Kearney (1996:141) refers to as "polybians." Imbedded in this term, argues Kearney, are the multiple identity roles that peasants must negotiate. They are not only living biculturally, but have learned multiple coping strategies that enable them to shift comfortably within an economic system that has recast our thinking of Wolf s (195 7, 1986) "closed corporate community." Indigenous peoples, including the Huichol, have maintained two distinct economic systems that act parallel to one another, one is communal, and the other is capitalist. By keeping these systems distinct, the Huichol have been able to resist acculturative pressures on their ethnicity, preventing what Stavenhagen (1963) saw as the disappearance of distinct Indian cultures and separate identities due to capitalist expansions into formerly indigenous regions. While the Huichol and other indigenous peoples of Latin America do partake of the capitalist economy, their communal economy (subsistence horticulture) remains largely intact and separate from capitalist ventures.

Stavenhagen has since taken an interest in ethnic resurgence among the indigenous peoples of Mexico. He believes the ethnic resurgence is the result of indigenous organization, pan-Indian transnationalism, and the formation of the





59


intelligentsia class (Stavenhagen 1994). These formns of collective organization are yet another aspect of "identity politics" that Hale (1997:568) calls "collective sensibilities and actions that come from a particular location within society, in direct defiance of universal categories that tend to subsume, erase, or suppress this particularity." Identity politics then serve as a form of resistance to national policies, such as Mexican indigenismo that seeks to marginalize indigenous peoples to promote the existence of national culture (Aguirre Beltr~n 1970;-Diaz Polanco 1997; Giroux 1983; Stavenhagen 1994).

The studies of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America have been significant since Redfield (1941) first examined Chan Kom and espoused his idea of a "folk-urban continuum" where he saw peasants at the mid-point of a continuum between traditionality and modernity, receiving modem traits, which, via their acceptance, would transform the peasantry out of existence, killing off traditions considered to be backward or no longer necessary. Redfield's idea of a changing peasantry is synonymous with the pristine view of indigenous peoples of Mexico that do not acknowledge intracultural variation.

The Huichol, and other Indian groups, are often portrayed as disarticulated from the economic systems of the dominant society. Foster's theory of the limited good (1965) sees disarticulated peasant economies as the determining factor in peasant behavior. Based on his research in Tzintzuntzan (Foster 1967), Foster has expressed peasant communities as "closed systems" whereby, "except in a special but extremely important way, a peasant sees his existence as determined and limited by the natural and social resources of his village and his immediate area" (Foster 1966:296). Although he views peasant economics as a closed system, Foster's model of the limited good





60


recognizes that "an individual or a family can improve a position only at the expense of others" (Foster 1966:297). These types of economics explain how one may be predisposed to use capitalist economics in order to transcend the level of poverty present in a community. In Tateikita, those who appear to possess the most capital (i.e., participate in a market economy) are becoming those with local and regional political influence. In an area of rapid culture change, these associations with a capitalist economy are creating divisions within Huichol society between what I call here "Traditionalists" and "Progressives." To be traditional entails practicing subsistence horticulture on communally held plots of land. It also means participation in religious practices and livelihood. The progressives, on the other hand, appear to be those that straddle the line between traditionality and modernity, embracing aspects of both economies, and following Chayanov's (1966) theory of peasant economies. Some have primary labor responsibilities that lie in teaching or shopkeeping, while still others have turned to selling traditional arts and crafts to vendors for profit, or travel to coastal fields to pick tobacco for money. The selling of surplus food has yet to be established as a viable economic option for the Huichol, as a precarious mountainous environment has too much annual variability in crop production for anything other than subsistence, and, perhaps, the selling of homemade tamales or tacos at local gatherings. .

The gradual expansion of a market economy among the Huichol has had the

impact of creating classes through these social distinctions. These class distinctions are emerging in contrast to traditional ranking systems that emphasized prestige as a prescribed status earned by kawiteros (elders) and mara akates (shaman). The new distinctions are creating a two-class system among the Huichol, which, according to Marx's (1906) critique of a political economy, are between the capitalists or bourgeoisie





61


(those who own and control capital) and the proletariat (those who must earn their living by selling their labor).

Marx's class divisions are not only existent at micro-scale levels, but are most

apparent between that of the dominant society and that of the indigenous peoples. These principal economic relations are rooted in a history of domination by colonial Spanish forces down to the present day exploitation of indigenous peoples by national governments. The idea is that by destruction of indigenous lifeways, a dominant marketstyle economy will prevail that will strengthen the legitimacy of the nation-state. Autonomy. Self-Determination, and Resistance

Relations that fall into domination-subordination characterize the history of indigenous peoples in Mexico and elsewhere. The Huichol, and others, have long recognized that economically, religiously and territorially they have been denied the ability to continue traditional cultural practices in a system that, in their eyes, has historically stripped them of their homelands and fields, limited their ability to practice their own religion and language, and exploited them economically. Moreover, the indigenous regions have been regions of drastic undervelopment in the areas of health care and education.

Five hundred years of conflict recently came to a head in January 1994 in

Chiapas, Mexico when an organized uprising by the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacidn Nacional (EZLN) took control of key villages within the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico as a way to protest actions by the government against the indigenous peoples of the region. Government offices were occupied and there was a cry of'"ya basta!" (enough!) throughout the state. The Zapatistas, named after Emiliano Zapata, a peasant hero of the Mexican revolution, sought autonomy for the people of the region as a way to





62


counteract the oppressive measures of the Mexican military and government.5 By seeking autonomy, the EZLN called for the ability to be recognized as an autonomous people with the right to elect their own government officials and control their own affairs in the highlands region of Chiapas (Diaz-Polanco 1998). The Zapatista uprising resulted in a period of warfare throughout the region, with EZLN forces remaining elusive and strong throughout the conflict. For 25 months the battle continued, finally "officially" ending with the signing of "The Accords of San Andres" by the EZLN and the Commission for Concord and Pacification (COCOPA) on February 16, 1996. The accords awarded the indigenous people of the region the right to practice their own religion and control their own internal affairs. Within seven months of the signing of the accords, however, they were nullified by President Ernesto Zedillo's refusal to implement the changes addressed in the accords. Violence erupted once more in the region, culminating in 1997 with the massacre of 45 indigenous people by paramilitary forces in the town of Acteffl and the ultimate displacement of more than 15,000 indigenous people from the highlands and northern region of the state of Chiapas, according to nongovernmental sources (Olmos 1999).

It did not take long for the repercussions of the EZLN uprising and the militarization of Chiapas to extend beyond the confines of the state. Among the intellectual indigenous community, the news spread quickly. Soon, knowledge of what was going on in Chiapas spread nationally and internationally. The indigenous communities of Mexico identified with the Zapatista cause, and the Mexican government feared an uprising in many of the indigenous regions of Mexico.





5See Appendix C for a copy of the EZLN Declaration of War.





63

The Huichol were among those to identity with the causes of the Zapatistas. While generally a passive people, they had experienced periods of harassment by authorities during their pilgrimages to sacred sites, and in carrying peyote back to their villages. Most recently, in March 1998, a group ofpeyoteros (those on the peyote pilgrimage) from Tateikid was detained at a military outpost outside Huejuquila del Alto, Jalisco and charged with drug trafficking, a federal offense (Valadez 1998). These actions were considered to be in direct violation of Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution, which says that the Huichol use of peyote is legally protected. Moreover, according to Valadez (1998), "in the International Vienna Treaty of Psychotropic Substances, ratified by Mexico in 1961, there is a clause that specifically states that indigenous groups who use psychotropic plants in their magicoreligious ceremonies are exempt from legal prosecution." After a public outrage, thepeyoteros were released, but the peyote was confiscated, creating anger and distrust among locals in the town and within the Huichol communities. Up until that time, the Huichol had mostly been passive. The state of Jalisco has been primarily friendly toward the Huichol, which has enabled them to maintain a limited degree of autonomy within the homeland region. The Huichol feared that this friendly period was coming to an end.

Since the incident of March 1998, the militarization of the Sierra region has increased significantly. There are now military forces present at community assembly meetings, bags are checked for contraband (principally arms) when flying in or out of the Sierra, and intellectuals are watched closely. The killing of the American reporter Philip True in December 1998 did not help the situation, and the Huichol have grown extra





64


suspicious of uninvited visitors in the Sierra since that time.6 Because of their dealings with the Huichol, the non-governmental association AJAGI has been threatened on numerous occasions, including the attempted kidnapping of the child of one its directors. 7 Despite these threats, AJAGI continues to help the Huichol with legal counseling in land disputes and development projects within the community of Tateikkg.

Tied in with discussions of autonomy for the indigenous peoples of Mexico are

the ideas of "self-determination" and "regional autonomy." Diaz-Polanco (1996:15) says that it is not possible to understand "the indigenous problem of Latin America without understanding the regional-national context in which it exists. As such, the origins of quests for autonomy must be placed within the socio-political foundations of the nationstate. We must also understand the difference between autonomy and self-determination.

According to Diaz-Polanco (1997:98), "the distinction between self-determination and autonomy is usually based on an identification of the former with the right to political independence and the establishment of a nation-state, while the latter is reserved for the assumption of certain special faculties (such as self-government) without statehood or political independence." He believes that many indigenous peoples are afraid of the International Labor Organization's resolutions from Convention 169, passed in January 1989. These resolutions, ratified into the Mexican constitution in December of 1992, gave the indigenous peoples of Mexico the right to practice their religious and social traditions, but at the same time, the wording is not clear and can be interpreted in different ways. The vague wording is the very thing that plagued Lenin during the 1930s


6 1 personally witnessed the explusion of a pair of anthropologists from Tateikita in the Fall of 1999. Despite good intentions, they did not follow proper authoritative channels in requesting to do their research on "dance and symbolism" in the village.

7 Personal Communication with Angeles Arcos, March 1999.





65

as he struggled to define the "self-determination" of ethnic minorities as independent of a right to form a federation (Nimni 1991:75-76).

For the Huichol, the road has been mostly one of limited autonomy, rather than the more radical picture of self-determination that implies the formation of an autonomous Huichol state. Diaz-Polanco (1997:151) says that autonomy must include three elements: 1) political-territorial foundation; 2) autonomous self-government; and, 3) competences (skills and knowledge that allow the political decentralization essential to autonomy). The Huichol have already banded together to form various associations with
8
political objectives. At this point in time, the Huichol are content with negotiations aimed at reclaiming lost territory and preserving their language and cultural traditions. It is not their prerogative to be militant and to risk losing the largely positive negotiations they are currently experiencing. In the past, the Huichol generally kept to themselves, and this remains to be the case today. They are, at least at a certain mental level, "free." Questions of Ethnicity and Nationalism

Emancipation and freedom are inherent qualities of mobilization in a quest for ethnic autonomy. In explaining the status of emancipation as "liberating," we are left, however, with the "national-ethnic" question. The "national-ethnic" question arises from how autonomous ethnic groups and regions fit into the national image of a nation-state. It was Stalin (1953:300-301) who first defined a nation as "an historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life and psychological make up, manifested in a common culture." By this definition, it is possible to see that a nation of peoples can be quite distinct from a


8 The Uni6n de Comunidades Indigenas Huicholas de Jalisco (UCIH.) and the government's Procuraderia de Asuntos Indigenas (PAI) and Departamento de Educaci6n Indigena (DEI), mentioned in Chapter 1, are examples of this phenomenon.





66

"4nation-state" which includes a political dimension. If an indigenous ethnic group, such as the Huichol, can be considered a "nation of people," such as is common among the many indigenous peoples of Native North America, then without freedom,4 how can they be autonomous? The term "nation-state," on the other hand, expands the idea of freedom to the formation of an almost idealistic state. This idealistic state then possesses a political dimension that is seen as the "liberating force" for the freedom they seek. The ethnic group uses their political power to retain their culture.

Cruz Burgette (1998:98) refers to these political dimensions as methods of

resistancec" by which an ethnic group can maintain itself as a distinct nation of people. She further states that these ethnic traits are present in three dimensions: "social, cultural, and historical" that act as legitimizing factors in quests for ethnic autonomy (Cruz Burgette (1998:99-100). Lastly, she also points out that native language use is one of the most important strategies for survival of an ethnic group (Cruz Burgette 1998). Along with its loss, she believes, comes the loss of an understanding of traditional religious symbolism. The Huichol believe that their language reflects their reality and equate loss of it with loss of their native ways of thought (G6mez; L6pez 1995). This is further supported by Altamirano and Flirabayashi (1997: 10) who define "the uses of a native language," in conjunction with "religion," "common conceptions of time and space," and musicc and dance" as significant characteristics in defining regional identities needed for ethnic mobilization of nations of people.

In Mexican indigenismo policy of the past, the identity of indigenous groups in Mexico was diminished. The idea of being "Indian" was stigmatized into being something negative. The nationalistic movement among indigenous peoples of Mexico is now changing this idea, especially since the Zapatista uprising in 1994. Friedlander





67


(1975), in her classic study of forced identity in Hueyapan, Mexico, noted at the time the negative stigma attached to being "Indian." At that time, the dominant ethos among Hueyapan villagers was to deny their indigenous identity as something shameful and backward. She writes, "early in my stay I learned that villagers were embarrassed about their Indian identity" (Friedlander 1975:72). To be Indian meant that one was lazy, did not speak Spanish, or was poor. Friedlander found villagers referred to the term indict (Indian) as a synonym for "backwardness." According to her interviewees, being Indian was closely connected with the idea of "underdevelopedness," and was the result of "progressivist propaganda" that equated modernity with adoption of an identitdad mestiza (Mestizo identity). Conditions of a Mestizo identity included fluency in Spanish, conversion to Catholicism, and movement from an agrarian society to a society that included centralized social agencies and their respective services (Friedlander 1975). The identidad mestiza would, in turn, create an illusion of unity among Mexican peoples, despite social class divisions.

In Friedlander's (1975) study, Traditionalists and Progressives were virtually unanimous in their rejection of being labeled indios. Among the Huichol, there is no apparent rejection of indigenous identity. The conflict between the two is more centered on what it means to be indigenous, or, more to the point, how much of the "other" can we accommodate into our own culture and still consider ourselves to be Huichol. One cannot rely on Friedlander's study alone, however, without realizing the historical situation from which it arose. At the time of her study, nationalist propaganda ran strong. In fact, she labeled those that espoused Indian identity as "extremists." She was also quick to point out that those that advocated cultural preservation were primarily Mestizos





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from outside the village who came to warn villagers of the evils of "assimilation" into mainstream society.

Perhaps, because of their prolonged isolation in the Sierra, or because of their present situation of sudden contact with outsiders, the Huichol in this study do not conform to the same set of attitudinal beliefs mentioned by Friedlander among the Hueyapan villagers. Instead, the Huichol do not reject their indigenous identity. I do not argue that there are not those among the Huichol who consider their state as being one of underdevelopment, but rather that the overall attitudes among the Huichol appear to be ones anchored in preservation of their traditional ways of life. In contrast to other rural peoples in Mexico who have sought urban migration as a way to escape the poverty and underdevelopment of their surroundings, the Huichol are most interested in preserving their traditional language and customs, and this requires them to stay in their rural homeland.

In Friedlander's study, it was the outsiders who influenced the actions of local extremists among Hueyapan villagers. Among the Huichol, the outsiders are only solicited as political puppets for their interests. The pan-Indian movement, mobilized chiefly through the actions of the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberaci6n Nacional (Zapatista National Liberation Army), shows that the Indian peoples of Mexico are not the closedcorporate communities that they were once thought to be. The Huichol, despite their geographic isolation, are quite aware of the larger political climate in Mexico. Some of this can be attributed to the movement of intellectuals into and out of the various Huichol villages and communities; still other awareness can be attributed to their current legal struggle to reclaim more than 4000 hectares of land which they consider to have been stolen by cattle ranchers and logging and farming industries.





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Lastly, another trend in ethnic identity and nationalist literature, particularly in education, is the use of the term "intercultural." Used by indigenous scholars, chiefly Nabmad (n.d.), Mondino (1993), Acevado Conde, et al. (1996), and Rojas (1999a, 1999b), this term has been applied to the blending of native and non-native educational systems, and proposed as a solution to defining indigenous people in the context of social change. This process, while seemingly beneficial on the surface, trivializes the degree of ethnic variation within a group and irresponsibly used can actually serve as integrationist and assimilationist propaganda that gradually introduces aspects of a dominant culture, down to language use, into the lives of indigenous peoples. The proposal is that "indigenous control" can counteract any misuse of intercultural education, and that more research needs to be done in this area to determine the long-term positive or negative affects on an ethnic group.













CHAPTER 3
EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION

"La escuela me da chanza de aprender del mundo ajeno mientras
quedarme igual. No me pueden cambiar [los mestizos]. Ya s6 quin soy
yoil

"The School gives me the chance to learn about the outside world while
remaining who I am. They [the Mestizos] can't change me. I already
know who I am."


Indigenous Educational History

Indigenous education is a recent area of concern in educational philosophy. This chapter begins with a general history describing the historical developments leading to the creation of indigenous education programs in the U.S. and Mexico. Despite geographic separations and different governments, the historical timelines of federal Indian education policies in the U.S. and Mexico are surprisingly similar. As of yet, there do not appear to be any comparative approaches to studies of indigenous education programs in the U.S. and Latin America, with reasons lying in linguistic, geographic, and political-territorial distinctions. In each of the subsequent sections, I mention the various forms of legislation leading up to the present state of indigenous self-control of public and private Indian education on both sides of the border. I do so in order to show that the shifting tides of political climate have influenced claims for Indian sovereignty that now appear to be entering a new era emphasizing local control of education.



Personal Communication with Pr year Huichol student of the CETMK, July 2000.




70





71

Native peoples, regardless of geography, have been at the whims of federal

policies. For Mexico, the slower progression towards Indian self-empowerment may, in part, be due to their limited understanding and views of the imperfect success of native attempts at self-empowerment in the U. S. On the U. S. side, tribal efforts at indigenous self-control developed faster because of shifts in federal policy towards Native Americans, while in Mexico, two parallel (and competing) systems developed, one marked by federal assimilationist policy, and another marked by community development (Nahmad 1998). Both U.S. and Mexican dominant-subordinate cultural histories began, however, with religious conversion agendas by missionaries. With a strong basis of indigenous activism in education approached from a U.S. perspective, I conclude this chapter by looking specifically at previous educational research among the Huichol, explaining how knowledge gained from U.S. studies of Indian education can assist in understanding the present situation in Tateikita. Much can be learned about effective Indian education program implementation in Mexico by looking at the successes and failures of indigenous programs in the U.S. and applying what is useful to analyze and improve upon indigenous education in Mexico or elsewhere. A General -History of U.S. Indian Education and Policy

The history of American national policy towards the education of indigenous peoples dates to a treaty signed in 1794 between the federal government and several Indian elders (Pewewardy 1998). Although this treaty called for Indian children to be educated, it did not include any specifics for policies determining the methodology of such education. The history of Native Education as it relates to current classroom and institutional processes cannot be discussed without first relating the different stages in





72

Native American history and putting the development of reservation schooling within that context.

Little is known about American Indian education before the American

Revolution. What is known, however, is that the start of Western education and the concept of formal schooling were first brought to Native Americans by Roman Catholic priests who arrived with the first missionaries to the Americas (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972). The Midwest and East were primarily under the tenitory of the Jesuits, while the Southwest was the territory of the Franciscans who organized the many Indian peoples into settlements near missions. The Jesuits concentrated on teaching French language and customs, whereas the Franciscans were more concerned with practical skills such as agriculture and carpentry. There was, as McBeth (1983:75) states, "no clear distinctions between separation of Church and State with respect to Indian education in the 1700s and early 1800s." It must not be forgotten, however, that apart from teaching practical skills, Indian education served little purpose. Fuchs and Havighurst note the following trend:

The school was established as an agent for spreading Christianity and the transmittal of Western culture and civilization. No consistent attempts to
incor-porate Indian languages, culture, or history were made in the
curriculum offered. The issues raised by the white man's efforts to extend
the benefits of his educational tradition to the peoples of the new World
were clearly defined at an early date-and still endure. (1972:3)

The impact of education on the Indian peoples of North America was quite

limited at this point in time. Indians strongly resisted attempts at conversion, and there were frequent periods of violence and unrest.

There are five generally accepted historic cultural periods of importance in U.S. national policy towards Indian peoples. They are: 1) extermination; 2) assimilation; 3) separation / autonomy / sovereignty; 4) termination-, 5) separation / autonomy once again.





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Each of these periods influenced the development of reservation schooling today, as well as native attitudes toward national Indian policy. These indigenous policy periods differ slightly from the official designations, outlined by Fischbacher (1967:201-203): the Reservation Period (1870-1887); the Allotment Period (1887-1934); the Reorganization Period (1934-1952); the Termination Period (1953-1972); and the Self-Determination Period (1970s to the present).

The first period, which I call "extermination," occurred during the 1860s and was marked by repeated attempts to subdue and eliminate Native American peoples by U.S. forces stationed in the Southwest. Native Americans were considered a threat to the territorial expansion of the United States under the "manifest destiny" program, and the prevailing attitude was that they should be eliminated because they were "savages" incapable of being "civilized" (Berkhofer 1979, Morris and Weaver 1990). The Fort Fauntleroy massacre of 1861 and Navajo slave trade were examples of this policy, as was the attack on Fort Defiance in 1860 that led to the "Long Walk" in which Navajos were removed from their homes and retained at Fort Sumner (Roessel 1983). The government had no intention of educating Native Americans at this time, but only of terminating their existence according to what Duran et al. (1998:63) call "cultural genocide" and a "holocaust" (1998:66).

The Second period, "assimilation," lasted from 1868 into the 1920s and reflected a policy change from one of extermination of Indian peoples to one that involved an attempt to assimilate Native Americans into the general population by destroying their culture and lifeways. With the treaty of 1868, the Navajo reservation was established, and, soon thereafter, came the first regulations requiring mandatory Indian schooling and





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attendance. In addition, the first major treaty affecting Indian education was passed, effectively allocating $100,000 for creating educational programs for Indian peoples. It was quickly followed, however, by congressional action that prohibited the creation of further treaties with Indian peoples.

This period also saw the production of the first federal boarding school at Fort Defiance in 1881, and it quickly led to a proliferation of such institutions by the 1920's (Roessel 1983). Federal boarding schools were intentionally placed long distances from Indian communities, if possible. Students were actively discouraged from, and often beaten for, expressing their heritage and language publicly, and the schools were organized around the concept of producing "productive citizens" out of "savages." Boarding schools were established in major urban centers and students were shipped in from remote locales, separated from their families to partake of a foreign formal education. Students frequently fled from these schools, experiencing "culture shock" and wishing to return to their families and old ways of fife (Johnston 1988, Szasz 1999:22).

The educational situation for Native peoples was further complicated by the passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 that "broke up communally-held Indian lands into individual allotments" which could freely be bought or sold (Fischbacher 1967:222). By breaking up communally held lands, the federal government saw yet another avenue into gaining control of Indian-occupied lands. With the dissolution of Indian lands, there was reason to push Indians into mainstream society and into trade occupations. Students were encouraged to attend coeducational facilities by the start of the 2& century, and these types of coeducational facilities sprung up throughout the NEdwest, where Indian peoples were not as isolated as those of the Southwest. McBeth (1983:74) writes that there were





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twenty-five off-reservation schools by the start of the 201h century. In the Southwest, institutions were few and far between. A congressional act of 1918 led to large numbers of Indian children who had no way to attend school because they were either considered state citizens or of less than one quarter Indian blood (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972:9). By making Indians citizens of the United States, the U.S. could escape honoring previous treaties and legislation regarding Indian education and federal policy.

The next historical stage was "separation / autonomy / sovereignty," which began in the 1920s and continued until 1953. With results of the 1928 Meriam Report, the problems with the under-funding of Indian boarding schools were brought to light (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972). These revelations were studied hard when John Collier became Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1933, appointed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He held the position until 1945. During Collier's tenure, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 was passed, returning much local control to tribes that were subsequently encouraged to develop their own tribal governments (Adams 1971:75). This act eliminated individual allotment of tribal land and made native peoples responsible for their own economic rehabilitation.

It was during this era that many of the boarding schools were converted into "day schools. Day schools enhanced the learning experience for Native Americans by allowing students to complete their schooling in much closer proximity to their families, with the privilege to return home at night. It was also at this time that the government pushed Indian tribes into public school attendance. Many of the Indian boarding schools had met their quota, making it difficult for other Indian children to be educated without





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constructing more federal schools, or by what seemed to be the easiest solution the transfer of Indian children into the state public school systems.

The Johnson-O'Mally Act of 1934 also gave special monies to public schools that had Indian students in attendance (DeJong 1993:178). Most public schools receiving funds through the Johnson-O'Mally Act, however, were much more interested in the federal funds they would be receiving than in the act's true purpose, monetary assistance to public schools to help them to better accommodate Indian students (Szasz 1999:92). Transportation proved to be extremely difficult in some rural areas, particularly of the U.S. Southwest where lack of roads and sporadic-seasonal variations made accessibility a troublesome endeavor.

The turnover at the federal level to the Eisenhower administration in 1953 produced a drastic change in federal policy toward Native Americans in general. President Eisenhower did not support Indian self-empowerment, and as such, there were cuts in federal assistance programs and progress came to a near standstill. Once again, the policy had returned to one of "termination," though not as drastic as the previous period of the 19th century had been. President Eisenhower believed that Native education should not be actively encouraged as "separate," but instead proposed an integration of Native Americans into the contemporary public school systems. Under the Eisenhower administration, what little funding was appropriated to the federal boarding schools was insufficient to keep many of them running, forcing them to close their doors.

It was not until the late 1 960s that the tide turned, yet again, towards Indian

"separation, autonomy, and self-empowerment," where it has remained ever since. One of the main reasons for this shift was the American Indian Movement (AEI) that





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considered tribal control of education as crucial to their goals of gaining tribal sovereignty for all Indian peoples (Pewewardy 1998:3 1). This current period in Indian education has seen the creation of public school districts, private tribally run and controlled schools, contract schools, and the growth of community colleges.

The start of Rough Rock Demonstration School in 1966, the forerunner of Navajo Community, was just one such example of this period's accomplishments. Rough Rock was essentially built from the ground up as a "community school." As such, the school board and dormitory attendants were all local Navajo residents (Szasz 1999:172). The school was the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S. A core curriculum was built around Navajo history and culture. Teachers were encouraged to develop curriculum within this content area. Conflicts erupted between the states and "upstart" schools because the states felt that the tribal schools were not meeting the state-mandated curriculum. Moreover, in order to obtain experts in local language and culture, tribal schools such as Rough Rock and the subsequent Ramah Indian school in New Mexico, employed individuals who did not hold state teaching credentials. As a way to compete with these upstart tribal schools, public schools attempted to improve their image, but subsequent research conducted by the National Study of American Indian Education (NSAIE) in the late 1960s found much of the public school curriculum to be "stereotypical" (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972; Riner 1979).

The focus since the 1970s has been on increasing the numbers of Indian teachers and exploring issues in "Native American Learning Style" research. The education of Indian youth, while having been impacted by changes in national policy regarding Indian peoples in general, primarily remained in the hands of non-indigenous teachers and





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administrators. It was not until the first Native peoples became educated, and began practicing in the classroom, that anyone approached problems related to language and culture in a formal academic setting. Several pieces of federal legislation passed during the 1970s aided the Indian self-determination movement, including the Indian Education Act of 1972, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, and the Title )G of Education Amendments Act of 1978. These amendments assisted Indian peoples to gain contracts over federal schools formerly controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the same time, the 1980s were especially difficult for Indian education. Indian peoples and Bureau officials, because of cuts to federal education grants and contracts, have heavily criticized the Reagan administration. These cuts resulted in the eventual closure of many tribal schools in the late 1980s (Szasz 1999:203).

The Indian Nations at Risk Task force (INAR) reported in 1991 that there was little change in the conditions of Indian education (Szasz 1999:217). Despite the growth of Indian self-control of education, the huge national debt built during Reagan's administration is blamed for causing the subsequent closure of many tribal schools during the 1990s. Luckily, by the 1990s, argues Szasz (1999:203), "there was an effective network of Indian educators" who had the skills and abilities to reform Indian education. There just was not much in terms of funding. Native political interest groups such as the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) and the Office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP) were crucial to the survival of Indian-controlled education. Using their political power, indigenous educators pushed for more monetary assistance, resulting in the passage of the Indian Self-Detern- nation and Education Assistance Act of 1987 and the Native American Languages Act of 1990. While the former act aided tribes





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in obtaining funds to control their own schools, the latter piece of legislation said that the U.S. government had a duty to "promote and preserve the indigenous languages of the USX' (U.S. Congress 1990).

The trend of the 1990s has been towards establishing programs to teach, preserve, and revitalize indigenous languages (see Rehyner 1995, 1997). Indigenous scholars stress the importance of "native ways of knowing" and different cosmologies that influence how Native American students relate to and experience the educational environment (Cleary and Peacock 1998). 1 will talk more about this in the section on contemporary Indian education.

Despite the passage of these legislative acts, some indigenous scholars have

remained critical of the intentions of these self-determinist acts, chief among them being Vine Deloria (1995) and Ward Churchill (1998). It is the view of these individuals that passing national amendments with little or no monetary assistance to tribes was a way to make the Indian peoples responsible for their own demise, should their attempts at educational self-deten-nination fail. One interesting rebuke to a "debatable" scenario such as this is that since the proliferation of tribal gaming and state compacts, the numbers of tribal community centers and language revitalization programs have grown immensely. Native people are now exploring issues that they deem to be relevant in manners consistent with their own cultural epistemologies. A Brief Histojy of Indigenous Education in Mexico

Indigenous education in Mexico has historically been caught up in the same types of conflict as U.S. Indian education. Since Spanish colonial times, a system of education was implemented with the primary goals of converting the Native peoples to Catholicism and teaching them the Spanish language (Nahmad 1998). Both the Jesuits and





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Franciscans established mission outposts in the indigenous areas of Mexico in order to Christianize the Indian peoples and extend their sphere of cultural influence worldwide. Rippberger (1992:34) has divided indigenous education in Mexico into three distinct time periods that prove useful for a study of shifting policies towards indigenous education: Spanish colonization, the Mexican revolution, and since the founding of the National Indigenist Institute.

We know from various historical sources and codices that Indian education before the time of colonization was both informal and formal. For the non-nobility, education was in the home, stressing the values of loving the gods, modesty, honesty, sobriety, hard work, love of virtue, and respect for elders (Acevado et al. 1996:17). While the general populace was not separated for special instruction, among the Aztec and Mixtecs, children of the nobility were trained in special schools controlled by the religious hierarchy (Acevado et al. 1996:17). In these special schools, the nobility received cosmological, religious, and mathematical instruction. In contrast, the general populace learned trades informally in the homes. It is important to note that both women and men of the nobility received special instruction, meaning that it was in no-way gender-biased.

Indigenous education at the time of Spanish occupation of the hemisphere was not much different from the prior integrated religious education. In 1523, the Franciscan friar Pedro de Gante founded the first elementary school for Indians in Texcoco (Acevado et al 1996:18). The primary duties of the school were the evangelization of the Indians as well as the formation of a literate populace because the Franciscans taught the Indians the ability to read and write Latin. Soon thereafter, other schools opened





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throughout the New World, including a school especially for the education of women in 15' 4 by the Jesuits, who were deeply involved in women's education.

While these early colonial schools focused on making the indigenous peoples of Mexico knowledgeable about Christianity, they also performed an important function that would impact the goals of indigenous education in much more recent times: by making people literate, they aided indigenous peoples in the recording of their literary works for future generations. While education was principally in Spanish and Latin with a practical orientation, the ability of indigenous peoples to read and write allowed them to record their customs and mythology, contributing significantly to our understanding of these peoples. The period of promoting indigenous scholarship was short lived, however, for in 1688, under King Carlos V, the mandate was for Spar- ish-only instruction (Acevado et al. 1996:19). This stance has continued in many areas, even into the present day, through "Indigenist" Mexican national policy.

The period from 1833-1910, prior to the Mexican revolution, was a period of little preoccupation with indigenous education. Education continued to be primarily religious, and a decree was made in 1842 declaring education to be both free for all, and compulsory as well (Acevado et al. 1996:20). Education's purpose was beginning to shift from religious education to education in skills and crafts for the general populace.

The time of the Mexican revolution saw the first significant changes in the

Mexican educational system. In 19 10, barely into the start of the revolution, a school for the Indians of the Sierra Nayarita was established in El Zapote, Nayarit (Acevado et al. 1996:2 1). Although there is little documentation about this school, it was probably for the Cora and not the Huichol, because of the difficulty in penetrating the heart of the





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Sierra, and because Huichol settlements were dispersed as opposed to those of the Cora that were clustered into densely-packed villages due to relocation by missionaries. This school marked the first non-missionary school (public) within the Sierra region. A year later, federal decree in 1911 declared a national campaign to establish schools throughout the rural regions of Mexico for indigenous peoples (Acevado et al. 1996:2 1). The extent of the growth of these rural schools was limited, however, due to the revolution.

A significant turn of events began with the conclusion of the Mexican revolution in 1917, and the writing of the Mexican constitution. Several years later, in 1921, the Secretaria de educaci6npfiblica (SEP) was created (Vaughn 1997:4; Nahmad n.d.:3). Its primary purpose was an "action policy" used to create federal rural schools to educate and discipline the peasant population (Vaughn 1997:27). It was thought that by channeling their energy into other endeavors rather than rebellion, Mexico could begin to focus on national cultural formation. The purpose of schools was to give a primary level education to everyone, principally through teaching basic literacy skills.

The SEP maintained its original mission in building a national collective by

establishing the Department of Education and Indigenous Cultures (DEIC) in 1923. One of the first projects of the department was the formation of the Casa del/Estudiante Indigena (the Indigenous Student School) (Nahmad Sitt6n 1980:4). The indigenous student boarding school eventually became the Escuela Nacional Rural (National Rural School) that aimed to "better the life and literacy" of the 27 different ethnic groups represented at the school (Acevado et al. 1996:2 1). In addition, the DEIC created 690 rural schools in indigenous areas and attempted to educate teachers to become experts in the regions to which they were assigned. The purpose of these schools, however, was





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identical to the overall national agenda of raising literacy levels and training students for trade professions. Indigenous identity was ignored.

The post-revolution period of 1934-1940, under the administration of President Lizaro Cdrdenas, was probably the most substantial for the growth of public education in Mexico. During this time period, the public education agenda was significantly socialist in nature, following the labor-dominated PNR party that chose to educate teachers as politicall actors" (Vaughn 1997:5-6). The new government administration made good on its efforts to study the problema indigena by initiating studies of rural Indian education at this time. During the 1930s, the SEP entered Yaqui territory and Michoacdn, appropriating former military and state run schools, and first learning of the problems of alienation and boredom in the classroom by Indian students whose teachers knew nothing of local languages and customs. These studies led to the transfer of control of federal schools to the Department of Indigenous Affairs whose job was to improve indigenous educational relations (Vaughn 1997:153; Nahmad Sitt6n 1998:59). At the same time, President Cd.rdenas founded the National School of Anthropology and H1istory to study the social and linguistic issues of Mexico's indigenous peoples. The decade culminated with Cdrdenas holding the first Pan-American meeting to discuss the issue of the incorporation of the Indian into the Mexican nationality.

It was from this point on that education took a decidedly assimilationist stance in all endeavors, at about roughly the same time as the post-WWII administration of President Eisenhower took a similar position. The Department of Indigenous affairs was dissolved in 1946 and capacitation for teachers was passed directly to the SEP where it took on a "secondary importance" in the SEP's mission under the Direcci6n General de





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Asuntos Indigenas (General Office of Indigenous Affairs or DGAI). According to Nahmad (1998:59), "the National Indigenist Institute (IN-T) was formed in 1949 in direct opposition to this policy, creating two contradictory agendas in the direction of indigenous education in Mexico," one via the avenue of assimilation, the other geared towards accommodationAt the national level, a number of moves were taken that limited the ability of the INI to better the conditions of indigenous peoples. This began in the 1950s, becoming labeled indigenismo. Indigenismo, contrary to the suggestion of"indigenist" as meaning self-directed, was an educational and political propaganda aimed specifically at monolingual Spanish instruction and nationalist history, neglecting the diversity of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. In 1968, the SEP eliminated the DGAI, following this with a national program aimed at decentralizing education that continued up until 1994 (Freedson and Perez 1995:384). Included in this decentralization process were the 1973 Federal Law of Indigenous Education and the 1974 National Plan of Castillianization that limited the curricular options available to indigenous schools.

Within the INI, argues Nahmad (1998), a different agenda was taking place. INI promoted indigenous education, including the active recruitment and training of indigenous teachers who lived in the various communities. The idea was that these teachers would be bilingual. In 1978, the General Directorate of Indigenous Education (DGEI) was created specifically to introduce the concept of bilingual education into the indigenous communities of Mexico (Nahmad 1998:59).2 By 1979, INT was operating in




2 There is some confusion over an accurate date for the DGEI, as Bums (1998) equates the establishment of the DGEI with the making of bilingual-bicultural policy official in





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85 indigenous regions with 918 escuelas-albergues (boarding schools) (Nabmad Sitt6n 1980:28). TNT continues to offer scholarships to top students in both primary and secondary indigenous schools in Mexico.

Despite TNT' s strong interest in preserving indigenous cultures in Mexico, national policy has proven to be quite inconsistent in its approaches to indigenous education. Recent accomplishments, such as the 1990 constitutional article number 4 and the 1993 Federal Education Law, still sought Spanish as the primary language of instruction for primary schools, even though they officially recognized bilingual-bicultural education (Freedson and Pdrez 1995:392-393). The national "free text" program at that time still was limited to Spanish-only texts, with histories that did not recognize the contributions of Indian peoples to Mexican national society. This was in contrast to primary schools in the indigenous regions of Mexico where many children were still monolingual. Bilingual-bicultural education was never meant to build full fluency in both languages by indigenous students, but rather, to serve to form a "bridge" to eventual monolingual Spanish use. In addition, teachers in the indigenous regions were poorly educated. According to Freedson and PNrez (1995:398), by 1995, 61% of teachers in Chiapas had not completed a preparatory level education and only 24.76% a secondary level.'







1955. Freedson and Perez: (1995) and Nahmad (1983) originate the DGEI in the DGAI that was founded in 1946 and dissolved in 1968.

3 Although Freedson and PNrez do not elaborate on whether the survey was of primary and secondary teachers, I suspect, because of the conservative nature of the statistics, that they were primary school teachers. Mandatory secondary education was still something new in Mexico at that time, and a shortage of teachers in rural areas would be likely.





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Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation

Recent trends in indigenous education have focused in the areas of language and culture preservation. The remainder of this chapter will look at the issues related to language and culture preservation studies, particularly in the context of the indigenous self-determination movement. I will compare the relevant literature in U.S. native education to that of Mexico and Latin America. I will conclude with a discussion of current research in Huichol education and how it impacted my decision to do the research for this dissertation.

Border Pedagogy and Cultural Diversit

The lot of indigenous educational research belongs mainly to educators and not anthropologists. In fact, there has rarely been collaboration between the two disciplines. The interdisciplinary studies of "anthropology and education" is something that has been limited to several key authors, Margaret Gibson, Allan Bums, and Elizabeth Eddy among them. In looking at the perspective from which studies of indigenous education have come, it is from what the critical theorist Henry Giroux has coined a "border pedagogy." By border pedagogy, he means "an understanding of how the relationship between power and knowledge work as both the practice of representation and the representation of practice to secure particular forms of authority" (Giroux 1992:29). Moreover border pedagogy attempts to "develop a democratic philosophy that respects the notion of difference as part of a common struggle to extend the quality of public life ... a radical democratic society" (Giroux 1992:28).

Critical educational theorists root the troubles of indigenous education worldwide in an aura of oppression by dominant philosophies that silence the voice of minorities. They are concerned with the political aspects of agency, voice, and control (Cleary and




Full Text
260
own culture was limited to an understanding of basic ceremonies that they saw reinforced
by observation in their home ranches and the local community.
Many members of the local community limit themselves to participating in only a
key set of ceremonies (fiesta de la sembra, fiesta del elote/tambor, fiesta del peyote,
cambio de varas). Students have come to identify participation in these key ceremonies
as central to their identity and have, like others in the general population, not found the
other parts of native mythology to be as important to them. Moreover, students have
already developed attitudes about their ethnicity by the time they reach the CETMK, and
teachers are often upset when first year students cannot identify sacred sites, deities, or
explain why certain rituals or ceremonies are performed. The secondary school must
therefore become an avenue for reclamation of these beliefs that receive little support
within students own families.
The success or failure of the CETMKs ability to preserve the native language and
culture, and hence the answer to the first question, rests in a maybe yes / maybe no
scenario. If students, individually, make a conscientious effort to practice what they learn
in the classroom about their heritage and language in their own lives (with their parents
and prospective families), then the answer will be a resounding, yes. On the flip side
of the coin, should students not use their newly acquired knowledge and skills outside the
educational environment, then language shift and acculturation will continue to occur.
The differences from non-native education were outlined, in part, by the problems
the Huichol see with tele secundarias, particularly non-native instructors who have no
knowledge of the Huichol language or understanding of its culture. The model supports
individualism rather than collectivism, Spanish rather than the indigenous language, and


20
the result of confusion and uncertainty at the onset of rapid culture change and
development, and are explained within theories of sociological anomie and materialism.
Lastly, I combine political and educational theory to discuss macro and micro level
processes of identity negotiation from the views of Foucault, Habermas, and Gramsci.
Chapter 4 concludes with a discussion of the various methods used in the research
for this dissertation. These included questionnaires of third year students at the CETMK,
measuring their attitudes toward the indigenous school, their identity and traditions, and
sense of their own future. Formal and informal interviewing, as well as participant
observation of students, faculty, parents, and community members, contributed to a
holistic perspective on the present educational situation among the Huichol in Tateikita.
Chapters 5 and 6 comprise the actual fieldwork observations and reflections.
Chapter 5 discusses the complicated nature of doing applied anthropology among the
Huichol. The Huichol are generally suspicious of all outsiders, particularly
anthropologists and researchers. Distrust of researchers who have, in the past, written
about the Huichol, usually with good intentions but unverified information, has created
an atmosphere that is especially difficult for current and future anthropologists to
penetrate. 1 discuss in Chapter 5 my own process of integration into Huichol society, and
highlight the delicate balance between being an outsider, living in a rural area, and
gaining trust and acceptance through example.
Chapter 6 comprises observations and interviews at the CETMK. I begin by
examining the history behind the schools construction and its place within the village
and community. I follow this historical account by reconstructing a day in the life of the
school and pointing out the various activities that surround its existence in the minds and


CHAPTER 4
THEORY AND METHODS
Theoretical Perspectives
The theoretical perspectives for this dissertation fall under three main headings::
ethnicity and identity, political, and educational theory. In this chapter, I introduce each
perspective with its corresponding theories as it pertains to the Huichol at macro and
micro levels of social organization. Only then, by taking these perspectives together, can
the current status of Huichol education and community-school relations be understood. I
conclude this chapter with a discussion of the qualitative and quantitative research
methods used in my research.
At macro (societal) level for the Huichol, pan-Indianism, the collective binding of
indigenous peoples together as a minority people based on perceived cultural similarities
with other Indian peoples defines who the Huichol are collectively vis--vis the dominant
Mestizo socio-political hierarchy. In addition, the macro-cultural situation of the Huichol
can be defined by using Marxist dialectics and historical materialism. Opposing
economic systems (capitalism and social egalitarianism) are in competition due to newly
emerging social classes holding different political and material ideologies that affect the
Huichol way of life in the rural Sierra. Lastly, I feel that the type of educational theory
that fits the Huichol situation of traditional informal education is one shaped by
democratic-socialist theory from the philosophical perspectives of Jrgen Habermas
(1990, 1992) and John Dewey (1938, 1966).
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258
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi seems to have a positive affect on the
retention of the Huichol language and traditional culture, at least for those who are
directly involved in the secondary school and take an interest in it. The schools mission
to attract students from the Sierra has been successful also, at least for students in the
community of Tateiki. Outside this community, not many parents elect to send their
children to the Huichol secondary school. I suspect that the communities being largely
autonomous, as well as their geographic isolation, has something to do with this decision,
although the CETMK does have a number of students native to the community of
Waut+a, an eighteen-hour hike from Tateikita in the neighboring state of Nayarit.
For those in attendance at the CETMK, the very strength of the school itself is
fruitful to the preservation of the native language. The school, by very nature of being an
all-inclusive culture for its adherents, fosters a cooperative learning community. Among
males, their lives continue to be more flexible and appear to be the source of most
experiments in ethnic identity expression. Male students are also the most at risk to the
loss of their language due to the greater likelihood of continuing further education outside
the Sierra, or taking jobs that require them to participate in the mainstream Mexican
market economy.
Women, on the other hand, are not as likely to be mobile. The strength of their
social networks already provides an ample environment for promoting the use of their
language at home with their children. If males are going to appropriate Spanish more
readily than females, attention needs to be paid to encouraging women to become fluent
in reading and writing their language, since they will take the central role in a childs
upbringing. Men are going to shift to using Spanish if they cannot find ample work in the


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only 10 miles away. Dropout rates for Native American students were very high as they
struggled to find a bicultural balance between being Indian and being White.
Historically, anthropology, unfortunately, did not take an active role in the
preservation of native peoples, but rather a documentation stance that aimed to record the
material culture (Boas, Kroeber, Kluckholm, Reichard), linguistic (Whorf, Hymes), and
cultural data of native peoples before their inevitable disappearance. The Bureau of
American Ethnologys founding in 1879 was specifically for this purpose of documenting
indigenous lifeways, rather than on actively seeking to preserve them. In addition,
anthropologists always had a fetish for the exotic, and as such, focused mainly on
religion, often neglecting the other aspects of a peoples cultural heritage. Such backlogs
of data collection in the mind of some Indian peoples have done nothing to better their
situation and have caused resentment by Native peoples of anthropologists (Biolsi 1997;
Deloria 1995; Mizrach 1999).
What little work done in the area of anthropology and education, however, proved
useful in establishing an understanding of community-school relations (Riner 1979; Wax
et al 1964; Wolcott 1967). The recruitment of anthropologists was also crucial in federal
assessments of Native American education (Havighurst 1970; Indians at Risk Task Force
1991) and local studies of classroom ethnography (Erickson and Mohatt 1982; Rohner
1965). Unfortunately, there has been little work by anthropologists in recent years
dealing with the Native education situation. Due to the global Indian self-determination
movement, these studies have been left in the hands of the indigenous peoples themselves
to conduct their own assessments of progress and change, and as previously stated, the


166
At the same time that FDS is a teacher at the CETMK, he must negotiate his
duties with the surrounding local community, feeling each often unfairly criticizes him.
FDS is the most closed individual of the CETMK as well (outside his school duties).
While other teachers frequently maintain relations with students inside and outside the
classroom, FDS does so with only a select group of musicians. In negotiating his roles as
comisario and teacher, FDS was never reluctant to show his disinterest in outsiders,
particularly Mestizos and anthropologists:
Por qu vengan aqu? Escriben sus libros de mentiras. Nunca nos
consultan. Yo los veo, estoy observando que hacen. Aqu es nuestro
territorio, kiekari. Vienen y compran cosas pero en secreto estn
escribiendo [haciendo movimientos de escribir en cuaderno], Y usted.
Qu escribes en tu cuarto? Te conocimos, pero los otros, no.
Why do they come here? They write their books of lies. They never
consult us [afterwards]. I see them. Im observing what they do. Here is
our territory, homeland. They come and buy things, but in secret they are
writing (making writing motions as if in a notebook). And you. What are
you writing in your room? We know you, but the other people, no.
RS was (is, because he continues to serve as an advisor while in the city) the most
openly Mestizo-ized of the Huichol teachers, but only on the surface. Instead of
dressing in traditional garb, RS, like his older half-brother CSD, preferred to wear non-
Huichol clothing. For RS, this was ranchera style clothingboots, shirt, and jeans.
Because of his youthful age, he was most aggressive in Huichol sports. Yet at the same
time, he endured the same harsh times in Guadalajara as his elder half-brother CSD, since
they were raised together. RS spoke and understood both Spanish and Huichol very well,
and was highly educated in mathematics. Married to his sister, a condition permitted
under unrestrictive Huichol marriage taboos, RS served as a role model for young male
students, in particular, who saw that they could be educated and still be Huichol. RS
frequently helped me with translations at meetings. Many faculty and students were sad


194
In the second-year classroom, AS is attending to thirty-three students. He is
teaching Huichol culture, and in this class no Spanish is allowed. Students must first
recite from memory a long list of deities and give appropriate thanks to them. There is no
misbehavior in this class, as all appear attentive. Following the recitation, AS introduces
the days lesson that pertains to la identidad tnica (ethnic identity) taken from a
bilingual reader. He has brought several to class, but students are expected to return them
to a pile thereafter. There are not enough books to go around, so many must share. AS
chooses students at random to read from the book in Huichol, trying to see how much
they understand their reading. After each section, he asks students to answer questions
such as What do you think about this? and Do you agree? Noticing that I have been
following along with the Spanish translation, AS asks for my own opinion, and I respond
with an answer about the situation of other minorities who have been stripped of their
languages and religions already. A student asks, Hay indgenas all? (Are there
indigenous people there?). The ensuing discussion turns to one of how the Huichol can
learn from the lessons of other indigenous peoples who have not been fortunate to retain
their language, lands, and religions, and now must rediscover their native identities. AS
reaffirms my statements, talcing what I have said and turning it into Huichol to make the
ideas easier to understand for some who may not have grasped everything of what we
have been discussing up to that point in time.
Since FDS has still not arrived, third year students decide to take advantage of the
opportunity and start having an impromptu class meeting where they begin to plan the
upcoming sports tournament and dance. As I walk into the room they shout ¡Ingls!,
to which I respond that FDS is going to be back any minute. Their enthusiasm,


142
mediator must be familiar with the positions of competing cocultures and serve to unify
them based on a shared mission. It is an extra complexity when the mediator is working
in an indigenous community and is not indigenous his or herself, as was my case.
Longitudinal work and rapport-building become key contributors to the success or failure
of such a role.
Traditional anthropology is usually at odds with applied anthropology when it
comes to being paid for research, conducting research with a specific agenda already
in mind, or by seeing the applied anthropologist as unable to maintain research
objectivity. These issues make the study of ethics and ethical research conduct of
particular importance for applied anthropologists (Van Willigen 1993:41-54). While
these are valid areas of concern in applied anthropology, I feel I must clarify my position
in regards to each.
First, I was not paid for my research. As part of an agreement with a host family,
I was given a place to stay in Tateikita and would eat with household members of a
teacher at the CETMK. In return, I would offer manual labor and contribute to a kitchen
cooperative that consisted of the teachers immediate family, three CETMK students
staying at their residence, and one other teacher from the CETMK. All contributed food
items to the maintenance of the kitchen and bought necessary items, or contributed
monetarily to it. Over time, I learned that locals were impressed that I had come from
so far to be with them, without compensation of any sort. Because I was there of my
own free will and accord, people were open to me that might not otherwise have shared
their thoughts and opinions quite so openly.


239
that loss of a language does not necessarily mean the loss of a culture. In the case of
Huichol society, the native language cannot be so easily separated from religious
traditions and epistemology, a concept that Agar (1994) calls languaculture. Students
at the CETMK, unlike other youth who are educated in telesecundarias or in the city, are
taught to realize that you cannot have one without the other.
Until the recent present, the Huichol have been lucky in their geographic isolation
that has been advantageous to the maintenance of their traditional language and religion.
As the wider community continues to change and religious practices fall into disuse, the
new class of thinking indigenous person will be able to determine what it is that so
many students point out as doing things according to custom.
Just what are these customs? According to student free listings, Huichol customs
(traditions) were their land, language, dress, and fiestas, in that order. Students and
community members regularly talked about the land reclamation efforts, filling in truth
with a little gossip when facts were unclear. It is important to note, however, that
relations to the land was the most significant aspect of what students considered living
the Huichol way.10 Fiestas was a generalized term used to refer to public ceremonies
(festivals). There were three principal festivals named by students, those being the
festival of the drum, the festival of the peyote, and the festival of planting. These are the
three most visible ceremonies within the Huichol communities and therefore form the
core of ceremonial practices of importance to students. Mentioned by two of the students
was the annual cambio de varas (change of offices) ceremony held each January.
10 The realization that land was most important underlies the other variables of ethnicity
in the rest of the questionnaire design, although it was not explicitly calculated into the
factor analyses.


114
distant kin. In addition, at least three of the shopkeepers in Tateikita are members of the
political-ruling family faction within the traditional ascribed hierarchy status system.
The implications of this shift away from a quasi-tribal system creates constraint
on time that must be balanced between traditional cultural participation and that
necessary to obtain a profit, so that food may be purchased for the self and family. In
terms of educational considerations, since the concept of money invaded local power
hierarchies, a class system has begun to emerge, placing primary teachers and
shopkeepers at the top of the hierarchy, followed by secondary and pre-school teachers
who obtain a quincena (twice monthly) salary from the state. In the middle are those
who specialize in crafts and who may travel to the coast or city to sell them to a dealer.
At the bottom are those who have little to no occupational specializations or who only
subsistence farm. The result is that as traditional occupations become increasingly
devalued, an anomic state results.
The sociological theory of anomie was first developed by Durkheim (1951) and
was enhanced upon by Merton (1968). In the theory of anomie, more recently referred to
as structural-strain theory, stresses developed by lack of cultural adjustment to
changing social conditions manifest themselves in deviant behavior. Anomie, in
Durkheims Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1965) refers specifically to a state
of normlessness or lack of social regulation that promotes higher rates of suicide (Akers
1999:119). Merton (1968) expanded upon this notion of normlessness, applying it to
modem society, where there is dissociation between valued cultural ends and legitimate
societal means to reach those ends (Akers 1999:120). Discrepancies between means and
ends can result from class divisions. These discrepancies, for Merton (1938), are


279
TEMADOS: IDENTIDAD ETNICA
1.
Buena |-
2.
Difcil |
*'>
J>.
Importante
4.
til |
5.
Caliente |
6.
Fuerte |
7.
Bonita |
8.
Especial |
9.
Activa
10.
Political |
11.
Personal |-
12.
Organizada
13.
Interesante
14.
Rpida |
1 Mala
Fcil
-| 1 No Importante
-| Intil
I 1 Fra
1 Dbil
1 Fea
-| 1 Comn
1 Pasiva
| 1 No es political
-| 1 Impersonal
| 1 Desorganizada
-| 1 Desinteresante
1 Despacia


96
The Huichol direction in language and culture preservation has been shaped by
relations with the University of Guadalajaras Centro de Investigacin de Lenguas
Indgenas that has published several works in the 1990s, mostly in Spanish, dealing with
aspects of Huichol language and culture preservation. Until recently, these works
included writings by intellectuals about the state of their culture and some translated
poetry. Recently, the first work entirely in Huichol for the Huichol was published:
Wixaritari Wayeiyari (+kix+ and Lpez de la Torre 1999) that recounts the Huichol
peyote pilgrimage as well as talks about the location of various sacred sites throughout
the kiekari (traditional Huichol homeland). It is hoped that this book will stop the decline
in traditional practices and ensure that they are conducted correctly in the future. While
this book is designed for use by older Huichol, especially those at the secondary level, a
series of five books for teaching Huichol have also been developed for the primary school
level and marketed under the free text program of the SEP. These texts mix elements
of the natural environment with word concepts, hoping that by attaching language
learning concepts to the natural world, Huichol children will learn faster.
A central problem for language and culture studies among the Huichol has been
the standardization of a written form of the language. Despite an elaborate orthography
developed by Grimes (1964), there are inconsistencies in the scripts used by various
agencies. In some, crucial diacritical marks are neglected; in others, orthographic
inconsistencies impair rather than assist Huichol to become literate in their own language.
In 1984, Bums (1998:51) says, the Yucatn adopted a standardized Spanish writing


233
ceremonies, is still relatively new to Huichol culture, and I have heard little evidence of a
problem prior to the existence of the road into the village in April, 1998. The
introduction of salaries for teachers, income from social development programs and
scholarships associated with education has brought Marxs commodity fetishism
(1934) into mainstream Huichol culture in Tateikita. The existence of money in a
formerly cashless quasi-tribal system has put strains on family relations and the income
and debt associations it has created may be responsible for at least part of the shifts in
individualist orientation found among the most affluent members of the local society.
It is well known within Tateikita that many people purchase items on credit from
stores, awaiting receipt of their income from rural development programs, or, more
commonly, the State. Not only does the practice of estar en la lista (being on the list)
dominate the daily lives of many people, but it is teachers themselves, principally
primary, that build up the most debt with local shop-owners, many of whom are their
own relatives. The shopkeeper collects repayment with interest when payment comes. It
is not unheard of to see a 40% surcharge attached to tallied bills. Why such a lopsided
debt system towards teachers? The answer is simple: they have the disposable income to
spend on alcohol. To live from one paycheck to the next in order to pay off debt is not
uncommon among some teachers.
It was not until the completion of the road from Tateiki into Tateikita that goods
could be easily transported into Tateikita. This occurred in April of 1998. Shortly
thereafter, the first foreign business vehicle to enter the local village was Corona,
followed closely by Modelo, and, finally, Pepsi. Before the arrival of trucks bearing
alcoholic beverages into Tateikita, consumption was limited to fiestas and the occasional


102
viewed as an antroplogo by the Huichol community, and for these reasons people
maintained a cautioned distance from her at first (Rojas 1999b:28).
When I began to work among the Huichol, I knew that performing longitudinal
research was a better method to truly get at an understanding of school-community
relations. Although this was one of Rojas principal goals, I feel that one could not have
gained a true understanding of conflict and community dynamics over such a short period
of fieldwork. Rojas did, however, make it her point to work primarily with students. For
my role, to be discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 of this dissertation, I was to take a three-fold
role as a teacher, community resident, and applied anthropologist. It is my belief as well,
that being a male, in contrast to recent trends in female ethnography, as well as serving as
a teacher at the school, allowed greater rapport with community leaders and school
personnel. Contrary to both Von Groll and Rojas, I did not experience such long-term
problems getting close to the culture of the school. Being asked to teach various courses,
I was immediately thrust into being a participant within it.9 I also did not present myself
openly as an anthropologist, although many knew me to be one, instead trying to
downplay the category, showing my dislike for the ethics of some anthropologists in the
past, and through being a social activist for indigenous preservation.
9 The scenario of insider anthropology and action anthropology creates its own set of
problems in the eyes of some who see one as being unable to distinguish emic from
etic social categories of meaning.


177
inappropriate and will not be tolerated. The same occurred with the conduct of a
CETMK teacher who had to publicly admit his behavior after a week of drinking:
The student body president introduces the discussion of the absence of a
certain teacher during the past week. All know that he had been drinking,
as he had been seen wandering in the community listening to loud music
at all hours of the day and night. The students are upset and they call the
accused teacher into the room to explain the reasons for his behavior.
Upon entering the room, he begins to speak in a mix of Spanish and
Huichol: Yo estoy muy triste. No tengo dinero. Netumini. Me deben
por la hortiliza y no me pagan. La seora dice que quiere salir. (I am
really sad. I dont have any money. My money. They owe me for the
crops, but they dont pay me. My wife says that she wants to leave.) The
teacher is in near tears at which point the students and teachers begin to
ask why he chose to drink. Why didnt he ask someone for money?
they ask. The teacher responds that it is a problem for him, that he has
been borrowing for too long. He owes money to his kids in Tepic, but he
also has his family here [in Tateikita].
The problem was resolved by group effort whereby teachers offered to loan
money to the individual and provide free meals until the teachers payment situation was
resolved. In much the same way that the student was reprimanded, people showed then-
disparagement through disappointment in the teachers conduct, reinforcing the need to
be a positive role model for students.
The assembly system represents both the principles of Deweys notion of a
democracy of education (1938) and Habermas theory of communicative action (1992),
in which social actors are allowed to express their opinions freely without fear of
repercussions. Although not an ideal environment that Habermas admits himself is
necessary for a true emancipatory speech community, it is an avenue for discussion of
discourses and achievement of consensus. The portion pertaining to Asuntos Varios is
especially relevant because it is the point at which unwritten itinerary items can be
introduced into the conversation by anyone, whether student, teacher, parent, or local
community member.


55
as opposed to others; and, at least where there are perceived physical differences, the
perception of prejudice and discrimination against ones own ethnic group. Indigenous
peoples in Mexico, including the Huichol, have struggled to remain distinct from the
collective mestizaje (Mestizo or mixed) national identity that indigenous peoples see as
assimilationist and therefore destructive to their survival as a people.
Until recently, research on the role of ethnicity in indigenous cultural
identification and preservation was limited to American Indian peoples of North
America, even though the concept of ethnicity was applied to immigrant groups
worldwide, including the African Diaspora, and the former Yugoslavia and Soviet
republics (Alba 1990). Studies dealing with indigenous ethnicity in North America
concentrated on the importance of blood quantum and an emerging concept known as
symbolic ethnicity (Gans 1979; Roosens 1989; Sprott 1994). It was for quite some
time that researchers struggled with how or whether to remove blood quantum percentage
as a necessary component to defining ethnicity among indigenous peoples. The main
problem with doing so is that in the opinion of many indigenous scholars, removing
blood quantum from discussion of indigenous peoples ethnicity would dilute their
ability to remain distinct peoples and make it easier for their rights to be gradually
stripped away (Nagel 1996; Thornton 1987). Among the Huichol, and others of Latin
America, historical classifications of ethnic identity have been based on appearance
alone, as no clear biological links have been established. It was not unusual to hear racial
stereotypes of gradations of skin pigmentation factored into identification of people as
indigenous. And the dominant Mexican ideology favors light skin over dark skin in
social constructions of superiority-inferiority (Amselle 1998; Nassau 1994). Coupled
with geographic residence and language, appearance helped label someone as indigenous


113
Huichol economic model, there are two competing modes of production: the traditional,
and an emerging petty-commodity production that harbors the seeds of capitalism. The
traditional Huichol economy is what Nash (1976:163) refers to as a quasi-tribal system.
As such, they are a people that are characterized as primarily egalitarian subsistence
farmers who produce material goods for the home or exchange, but not generally for
profit. Household food resources are shared, when necessary, and full-time craft
specialization or lack of participation in subsistence agricultural practices is rare.
The competing developing system in Tateikita appears to be petty-commodity
production that fits the model developed by Chayanov (1966) in which families may be
engaged in horticulture, crafts, and trades. What appears to be happening among the
historically isolated Huichol is a sudden shift towards capitalist activities within the more
concentrated village centers. The primary points for contact with the outside world are
limited to the village centers, where some have shifted their primary responsibilities,
particularly since the arrival of a road in Spring 1998 (in Tateikita), from horticulture to
shopkeeping.3 These additional sources of income have created economic divisions
between have and have-nots where there was previously little difference. Moreover,
shopkeepers tend to follow dual roles as teachers at the primary level as well, so that in
some instances they may be collecting considerable income and choosing a plant less
and purchase more scenario.4 They may also delegate planting to their children or more
Before the arrival of the dirt road to Tateikita, there were two stores, one being part of
the federal rural assistance program (COPUSI). There are now nine, although the
population of Tateikita has remained largely constant the past several years.
4 I was shocked during the course of my research in Tateikita by the quantities of Maseca,
a brand-name nixtamalized corn mix, which was purchased by some individuals in the
community.


45
used for milk production. The milk is then processed into cheese, which, when
preserved, will keep for many months. Cattle are not normally killed for their meat,
except when they have become old or no longer can be used for breeding purposes.
Cattle are allowed to wander freely on the ranches during the day to graze, and returned
to their corrals in the evening. Families from Tateikita will only return to the village if
they need additional supplies or if foodstuffs are depleted.
The rural ranch homesteads, unlike the planting fields, are regularly referred to as
male property (Gerardos ranch; Agustins ranch). Women will work with the cattle
during the summer months, but because these ranches are used almost exclusively for
cattle (mens property), they are labor intensive, something requiring regular maintenance
by males. Several families may come together on a ranch, working together for a share
of the dairy products, and these groups are always centered on female kin networks (a
wifes sisters).
Each of the eight shops in Tateikita is a general store, and all are independently
owned, except the CONASUPO (state discount store) and the newly created almacn
(hardware store) that is run by a womens collective. Being general stores, they all carry
largely the same items. Foodstuffs include eggs, canned goods, pasta, oil, sweets, sodas
and beer, Maseca (a commercial ground corn-flour mix), flour, salt, beans, rice, canned
milk powder, coffee, and a limited selection of fruits and vegetables (chiefly apples,
cabbage, and peppers). In addition, stores carry pesticides (bug sprays and insect
powders) and general items (sandals, batteries, flashlights, candles, cigarettes, sewing
items, and writing materials for the schoolchildren). All of these items are brought in by
truck from outside the Sierra, resulting in prices being high for most items.


130
The school chose to be a much better environment, statistically speaking. In this
environment, I had a large sample of students, faculty, and parents from whom I could
elicit attitudes about the school, the community, and their culture. Among teachers, I
conversed with all seven at the school, whenever possible, and visited their homes on
numerous occasions. I also lived with one of the teachers and a member of CONAFE in
a community house for my first five months in Tateikita, before relocating to the
village center. Among the students, I worked primarily with those in their third year of
attendance at the CETMK, numbering twenty-three. In addition, through teaching at the
CETMK, I was in contact with the first and second year students as well. For
interviewing purposes, I made use of snowball sampling within the school as well. As I
spent more time involved in school activities, ethnographic informal interviewing
A
expanded to include many first and second-year students.
Student Questionnaires and Huichol Cultural Values
My only formal questionnaire interviewing was done among third year students at
the CETMK in March of 1999. Using a questionnaire composed of open-ended
questions, free-listings, and a series of Likert scales, I solicited student attitudes about the
effectiveness of the school, what they valued most about their culture, and career and
future goals. I chose to administer these questionnaires to third year students because I
had been informed by teachers and students alike that limited Spanish proficiency of first
and second year students might prove to be a barrier to their ability to use the
questionnaires. I also chose third year students because they are the ones who could best
assess the totality of three years experience at the CETMK, and they were the most
7 See appendix D for a copy of the Spanish questionnaire and variables used for statistical
analysis.


41
Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), Kauyumari (Brother or Mother Deer), Nakaw
(Grandmother Growth), Tatei Yuriancika (Mother Earth), Tatei Niwetsika (Mother Maize)
and Tukakame (God or Goddess of Death). Each of these deities is honored in ways to
manipulate the natural world. These honoring rites usually involve offerings or sacrifices
to the deities. Travel to sacred sites is also common. Among the cardinal directions
associated with deities are Haramaratsie (San Bias, Nayarit) in the West, Xapawiyemcita
(Lake Chapala, Jalisco in the South), Wirikuta (near San Luis Potosi in the East), Teikata
(the Huichol homeland) and Hanxa Manaka (a site to the North) (Liffinan 2000). Prayers
and rituals frequently are for a good harvest, rain, and success in peyote rituals.
Taking the five key directional locations in mind, the number 5 plays an
important role in Huichol cosmology. Not only are there five sacred directions, but also
Furst (1969a) says there are five levels to the underworld, five stages and colors to the
corn, and, frequently, five parts to an average peyote button. It can be said that five
directions add centrality to the here and now orientation of Huichol space and time.
Tateikita. A Community Profile
Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy
The village of Tateikita is more reminiscent of recent urbanization trends within
the Huichol territory than as representative of traditional Huichol economics. While in
outlying ranches the Huichol rely more on traditional subsistence, those within Tateikita,
much like other centralized villages, such as Tateiki or Tuapurie, are now dependent on
a foreign economic system that requires them to purchase foodstuffs they are unable (or
unwilling) to grow themselves.
The Huichol within each community possess land collectively and families work
plots of land using cooperative labor from family members, friends, and more distant kin


25
accurate, than the Huichol and Cora are not only neighbors linguistically, but also could
share a common kin ancestry.
In classes I observed in Tateikita, indigenous instructors taught that the
Guachichil were one of several ancestral groups to the Huichol. They also acknowledged
the role of the Tepecanos and Teochichimecas in forming the present-day Huichol. This
illustrates Huichol uncertainty with their own origins and support for Fursts model.
The collection of Huichol mythology as it relates to cultural origins was largely
the work of Peter Furst (1969a, 1969b, 1972, 1974, 1989, 1993; Furst and Anguiano
1976; Furst and Myerhoff 1966) and Barbara Myerhoff (1970, 1974). Through the
collection of origin myths and migration stories, Furst connected East with West in the
formation of modem Huichol society. Variations in mythological accounts were said to
be the result of the orality of Huichol culture, with regional variations developing across
time as other influences affected the stories. In fact, Fikes (1985) wrote a dissertation on
variations within Huichol myths in the community of Tuapurie, illustrating the fluid
nature of these stories in Huichol oral culture.
The real problem in dealing with uncertain origins is the tendency to rely
exclusively on one domain (linguistic, archaeological, or cosmological) to reconstruct
Huichol origins. Like Weigand (1981), I argue that these domains must be taken
collectively to paint as accurate a picture as possible of Huichol origins. This is also the
position adhered to by Williams (1990), who has traced archaeological data from maize
cultivation and temple construction to place Huichol origins to about AD 200. He has
also uncovered figurines of early forms of Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), also mentioned
by Lumholtz (1902), during his late nineteenth century travels throughout the Sierra and
meticulous classification of the symbolic material culture of the Huichol, Cora, and


211
Indigenous Controlled Schooling and Educational Attitudes
There appear to be close ties between the philosophy of education held by parents
and that expressed by students at the CETMK. This is similar to the findings of
Stambach (2000) and Byram (1986) of schooling in Africa and Denmark, respectively.
In these studies, students of indigenous schools were enculturated into an educational
environment where their limited understanding of the outside world resulted in their
perceptions of formal education reflecting the values of their teachers. In such a tight
social environment that thrives on the rhetoric of activist teachers, like that of the
CETMK, these beliefs are not surprising.
Student Beliefs of Cultural Identity and Change
Student beliefs in their own senses of cultural identity reflect the attitudes of both
their teachers and parents. In analyzing student perceptions about traditional aspects of
their culture (language, dress, religion, family, traditions, and tehuino), there were strong
R-values (Pearsons correlations) between all of these variables, although the weakest
were surprisingly found to be in associations with the variable family and those of the
traditional beverage tehuino (see Table 7.1)2.
I can only speculate on why the two variables dealing with importance of the
family and a traditional beverage do not come strongly associated with any of the other
variables. The family when analyzed alone, revealed it still had a high frequency
ranking among students. In fact, 17 of the 23 students ranked it as a five (very
2 Pearsons correlations are measures of linear associations between variables. The closer
a value is to one, the greater the linear association between two variables (or R value). A
value of zero indicates no linear association between variables, and a negative number, a
negative linear relationship. Associations are measured at .01 (99%) and .05 (95%)
confidence intervals.


47
several Spanish-only ranchero stations available at night. FM signals do not reach this
portion of the Sierra. As for the fetishism for high tech gadgets such as televisions and
VCRs, people with a regular source of income will purchase these items de crdito (on
long-term loans of two to three years). The items will continue to sit in boxes as status
items for many months because electricity has not yet reached Tateikita, nor will it
probably be available any time in the foreseeable future.
Although there is no electricity in Tateikita, homes of the economically
advantaged (teachers and shop owners) have solar units. These units are panels mounted
atop poles that convert the suns energy into a 16-volt current, which, when run through a
regulator unit, is downgraded to 12 volts in order to charge batteries. At night, these
industrial-strength 12-volt batteries provide enough electricity to run fluorescent lighting
within the homes and outside kitchen areas. Two families now possess AC/DC power
invertors that enable them to show an occasional video. The local health clinic does the
same, on occasion, but uses a gas-powered generator to create the necessary electric
current to run a television and VCR.
Tateikita Geography
Tateikita is more developed than the average Huichol village. Located at the end
of a newly created road, Tateikita has become an educational mecca for many remote
rancheras and group settlements in the area. Education exists at preschool, primary, and
secondary levels. Most recently, in January 2000, an open preparatory school was
founded. In addition to educational advantages, Tateikita also serves as a health center
for other small settlements in the area. With these recent developments in mind, the
geography of Tateikita represents that of a Mestizo plaza-style settlement as opposed to a
traditional Huichol settlement that would be dominated by the local kalihuey (religious


30
an indigenous rights workshop held at the CETMK, students, together with instructors
and parents/eiders, attempted to reconstruct a chronological timeline for the history of
Tateikita (see Appendix B). The timeline was constructed to put the development of the
local village in parallel with developments in land reclamation and indigenous rights.
Highlights of this reconstruction are noted in this section.
Although they reached the Sierra in the sixteenth century, the first arrival of the
Franciscans to Tateikita occurred in 1963, shortly after the construction of the first
airstrip. Arriving on mule, they established the local mission (see Figure 2.1).
Development in Tateikita was rapid after that. The local agency was constructed in 1964,
and in 1971, water was piped in from the Sierra to a holding tank outside Tateikita near
the Rancho Robles. Two years later, a health care center was constructed and the airstrip
was improved.
Figure 2.1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background.
The Franciscans started the first school in Tateikita in 1976. Local resistance
abounded, and shortly thereafter, a primary was built, along with a boarding dormitory
for students. Most of these structures were completed during the time of the Plan


259
Sierra to keep them close to their wives and families, and they will likely encourage
Spanish in the household, in the limited time they are present. While the CETMK
stresses the ability of students to speak their language in the school setting, there is little
reinforcement for this in the cultures outside the school, especially in migrant labor. If
the written language is to be reinforced (and language shift reversed), students must not
only be taught how to write their language and keep daily journals, but need to be
encouraged to produce literary works (such as poems and short stories) that can be used
in the home with children. The CETMK regularly uses Spanish in all formal forms of
communication. Rarely, however, did students use written Huichol for anything outside
of schoolwork (see Figure 8.1).
Figure 8.1. Student Notice for End-of-Year Banquet.
Cultural traditions at the CETMK were formally taught in a class on Huichol
culture. The class was successful in instilling students with pride in their traditions,
deities, and Huichol mythology. Student retention of what they were taught about their


105
traditions. They are intimately woven together, as evidenced in various ceremonies
surrounding an annual horticultural schedule (Schaefer and Furst 1996). Huichol
cosmology comes to represent the groundwork for explaining other aspects of the
Huichol condition, such as their desire to remain separate and autonomous.
In Huichol traditional society, status was accorded based on age and experience
and was largely egalitarian (Schafer and Furst 1996:11; Weigand 1981:17). That model
is now being replaced by one based around those who are members of the petit-
bourgeoisie who control access to resources, or, in the case of neo-Marxist micro-level
theory, those who control knowledge and access to it (Weigand 1979:113, 1981:18). The
situation in this dissertation is one in which the macro-scale oppressive economic and
political situation of the Huichol has begun to filter down to micro societal (ranchera)
level. This micro (school-community level of social interaction) is where I observed the
fragmentation of Huichol identity taking place.
While there appears to be a unified sense of Huichol identity, there is individual
and intercommunity variation homogeneity of Huichol culture is often an artifact
created by anthropologists relying upon urban informants (Weigand 1979:102). There is
such a competing set of actors at the local level that only those with the real control over
knowledge can determine the direction the school takes. Student attitudes about formal
education, as evident from questionnaires and interviews, closely reflect the ideals
instilled by their teachers (an emerging intelligentsia class), but the reality of traditional
norms (early marriage for females, a need for cooperative field labor, etc.) is at odds with
some of these ideals desired by Huichol teachers and Mestizo intellectuals.


227
English, for comparison. Students were also asked to indicate which language they used
primarily in the household, whether they could read or write their language, and whether
they could read or write Spanish.
All students indicated a regular use of Huichol in the household, with only
minimal use of Spanish (three students indicated they used both languages in the
household, but Spanish use was intermittent and only was used in conjunction with
regular Huichol use). When students were asked how they felt about their fluency in
Spanish, most felt comfortable with it. Two women, however, indicated they were not
very skilled at it.
When ranking students perceptions about the importance of their language by
sex, there was not much difference between the responses of either males or females (see
Figures 7.9 and 7.10). In these histograms, the variables lengua/and lenguam represent
the independent ratings from one to five on a semantic scale of the importance of the
Huichol indigenous language, in which one is not important and five represents very
important. In both instances, the results were nearly identical, although there were three
more males in the sample than females. Because of the small sample size involved, the
variation between males and females is insignificant statistically.


33
The historical significance of the ceremony lasting five years for each child is
probably rooted in high infant mortality rates (Schaefer and Furst 1996). It was common
in the pre-development era for many children to die before their fifth birthday. The
conclusion of the ceremony therefore marks an important passage for Huichol children
into participating members of Huichol society.
Figure 2.2. Child in Tateikita at the Fiesta del Tambor, December 1999.
At a collective level, Huichol society is egalitarian, but as noted by Schaefer and
Furst (1996:11), increasing participation in the market economy has inevitably created
some inequalities, especially in differential access to certain economic and social
advantages. The same market factors are applied to social status. Traditionally, social
status is based on age (Schaefer and Furst 1996). At the highest rankings in political
organization, this continues to be the case. At the village level, however, a market
economy is beginning to show its face. At two village asambleas (community meetings)
I have observed in Tateikita, it was not uncommon to see the most economically
prosperous picked to serve a term in public office at the January cambio de varas (change
of local authorities). Whether or not they accepted such gestures of appointment was


110
European, namely Spanish, colonialism on the indigenous peoples of Latin America, I
fmd that the indigenous peoples of Latin America have much more in common with their
kin north of the border than either Mexican or American anthropologists care to admit.
Much can be learned about Native peoples on either side of the border by opening up the
grounds for comparative research between them.
Huichol epistemology, as discussed in chapter 2, is one that is concerned with the
entire life cycle. Bound closely to agricultural cycles and to the environment, to not
engage in these practices, which are often communal, would be not to live as a Huichol.
While other anthropologists, namely Grimes (1964) and Vogt (1955), emphasize the
individualist nature of Huichol culture, I tend to disagree. It is my belief that ceremonies
have become ritualized and formalized to the point that they are communal activities
that take precedence over individual acts (such as traveling to sacred sites to leave
offerings). The primary residence shift from cultural dispersion to concentration in
small-scale village centers further accentuates the gradual change towards more
formalized communal religious rituals as clinging mechanisms to traditional Huichol
identity. Whereas elsewhere in the world residence shifts from rural to urban centers
resulted in individualism, at least in Tateikita religion appears to have become more
communal. As for economic considerations, however, there is now a shift from
communal property to the idea of personal property, which previously had been
unknown to the Huichol. The only personal type of religious experience that appears to
remain is that associated with ceremonial peyote consumption. Ones experience, much
like that shared by Cheyenne and Lakota vision seekers, is personal. Its use, however, is
closely linked to communal ceremonies, and the experience is frequently evaluated by a


14
In contrast to the CONASUPO, the almacn focuses on selling necessary
hardware items such as barbed wire for ranches, sewing items, and tools. Items are
shipped on a scheduled basis from Guadalajara, an eighteen hour trip by road.
The central buildings in the village are constructed around a plaza, much like the
pattern seen in other Mexican towns and villages. In Tateikita, the plaza consists of a
combination basketball-volleyball court and an open area used for gatherings and
meetings. The local agency of the traditional Huichol authorities is located at one end of
this plaza and a health clinic at the other (see Figure 1.9).
Tateikita, because of its remote location and only recent access via road, does not
possess many of the amenities taken for granted in more urban areas. There is no
electricity in the village or phone service.3 Water is provided by a series of plastic tubes
that route water from a holding tank near the village, where it is collected from a water
hole in the Sierra. Its availability, however, is often reduced due to leaks and other
complications with the system that may leave the village without water for days at a time.
Tateikita has been home to a number of educational development projects in
recent years. Rural education in small ranch settlements near the village is controlled by
Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (CONAFE) which offers the first three years of
primary education to children in areas that have fewer than ten students, and in areas
where attendance at a regular primary school might prove difficult. CONAFE also
donates scholarships and materials to students in the region. In addition, there is a
3 In the spring of 2000 a cellular tower was constructed on a high mesa overlooking the
Chapalagana region. It offers access to local numbers only. Prior to this, all cell calls
had to be placed from the highest peaks of the Sierra region, ones that provided line-of-
sight to the Cerro de Tepic, adjacent to Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
fcfjuudSC
Robert Sherman
Professor of Foundations of Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
August 2001
Dean, Graduate School


72
Native American history and putting the development of reservation schooling within
that context.
Little is known about American Indian education before the American
Revolution. What is known, however, is that the start of Western education and the
concept of formal schooling were first brought to Native Americans by Roman Catholic
priests who arrived with the first missionaries to the Americas (Fuchs and Havighurst
1972). The Midwest and East were primarily under the territory of the Jesuits, while the
Southwest was the territory of the Franciscans who organized the many Indian peoples
into settlements near missions. The Jesuits concentrated on teaching French language
and customs, whereas the Franciscans were more concerned with practical skills such as
agriculture and carpentry. There was, as McBeth (1983:75) states, no clear distinctions
between separation of Church and State with respect to Indian education in the 1700s and
early 1800s. It must not be forgotten, however, that apart from teaching practical skills,
Indian education served little purpose. Fuchs and Havighurst note the following trend:
The school was established as an agent for spreading Christianity and the
transmittal of Western culture and civilization. No consistent attempts to
incorporate Indian languages, culture, or history were made in the
curriculum offered. The issues raised by the white mans efforts to extend
the benefits of his educational tradition to the peoples of the new World
were clearly defined at an early dateand still endure. (1972:3)
The impact of education on the Indian peoples of North America was quite
limited at this point in time. Indians strongly resisted attempts at conversion, and there
were frequent periods of violence and unrest.
There are five generally accepted historic cultural periods of importance in U.S.
national policy towards Indian peoples. They are: 1) extermination; 2) assimilation; 3)
separation / autonomy / sovereignty; 4) termination; 5) separation / autonomy once again.


164
CSDs story illustrates his difficulty in dealing with the external culture of the
city. When he left, he was Huichol. But upon returning, he had to prove himself in
order to regain acceptance by his own people. The most fluent in Spanish and
knowledgeable about Mestizo culture and life, CSD uses his experience gained from the
city to explain the importance of education to understanding who you are as a culture.
He reinforces his belief in the CETMK through the poor experiences he had in the city.
CSD is also the most accepting of new ideas and student cultural variability at the
CETMK. His experience is that the best way to bring about changes in the system is to
work internally from within it.
ADSs story is similar to that of CSD, but instead of teaching about the dominant
culture, he instead focused on learning about traditional human rights, and on regional
dance and music. He also became actively involved in politics, even running as a
suplente with a representative on the PRI ballot in the mid 1990s. A forceful voice for
tradition, ADS is highly educated, with a university degree in the humanities. His duties
required him to be absent from the Sierra during much of his tenure as director of the
CETMK, a reason for complaints by some. ADS is knowledgeable about political
processes and procedural law, however, and for this he is admired within the local
community.1
AD is married to a local in Tateikita. She is especially interested in art, spending
much of her free time stitching bags, embroidering outfits, making beaded jewelry, and
caring for her children. She is popular among female students, who generally segregate
themselves from the male student population, forming their own cliques. It is not
1 Several shops within Tateikita have posters of ADS with the PRI candidates.


SEGUNDO AO DE SECUNDARIA
8:30-9:00
LUNES
HONORES A LA
BANDERA
MARTES
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
WIXARIKA
MIERCOLES
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
ESPAOL
JUEVES
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
WIXARIKA
VIERNES
DIARIO
PERSONAL
EN
ESPAOL
9:00-10:00
CULTURA
WIXARIKA
MATEMATICAS
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
ESPAOL
DERECHOS
INDIGENAS
10:00-11:00
11:30-12:30
MATEMATICAS
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
MATEMATICAS
FISICA
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNID ARIAS
Mffim
BIOLOGIA
ESPAOL
QUIMICA
ESPAOL
ASAMBLEA
12:30-1:30
3:30-4:30
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
ARTISTICAS
ESPAOL
INGLES
BIOLOGIA
EDUCACION
FISICA
WIXARIKA
(ESCRITURA)
HORTALIZA O
CARPINTERIA
(TALLERES)
ASAMBLEA
4:30-6:00
HORTALIZA O
CARPINTERIA
INGLES
EDUCACION
FISICA
TALLERES
289


210
Figure 7.1. Percentages of Third Year CETMK Students by Age (n-23).
CARRICAL
LOS LOBOS
26.1%
SEBASTIAN
TATEIKITA
30.4%
LIMON
4.3%
LA CIENEGA
8.7%
CHALATE
4.3%
Figure 7.2. Pie Chart Indicating Student Home Residences (n=23).


126
indigenous school ought to be. Habermas subsequent works, Moral Consciousness and
Communicative Action (1990) and Inclusion of the Other (1998), turn communicative
action theory into a political theory, pulling out the idea that sometimes the historical
legitimacy of a prevailing discourse takes a strategic-action position that may not be
accepted by some members of the discourse community.
Returning to historical materialism, as presented by Marx (1970) in his A
Contribution to the Critique of a Political Economy, Habermas also took an evolutionary
perspective towards the development of normative discourse, yet, at the same time, he
acknowledged that the rules for discourse cannot be separated from the infrastructure that
gives rise to them (Habermas 1994:82). The discussion for Habermas of the Huichol
situation, then, boils down to the possibility that on a collective level, the favorable
discourse has been socialistic while, at the same time, being emancipatory for its
participants. The social institution of the school can serve as a location for the
argumentation of competing norms and values that are challenging the traditional
Huichol way of life.
A summary of the three theoretical perspectives (educational, political, and
ethnicity and identity) and their potential matching at macro and micro levels of analysis
for the Huichol is as follows:
Table 4.1. The Comparison of Theoretical Positions to Macro and Micro Levels of
Analysis.
Educational
Political
Ethnicity & Identity
Macro
Egalitarian and
Emancipatory
Oppressive
Pan-Indianism and
Regional Cultures
Micro
Egalitarian?
Oppressive?
Anomic and with
Power hierarchies
Native Epistemology


199
fertilizer in the beds. Across the way, several students are exempted from working in the
fields today. Instead, they are cutting boards to be used for the roof of the new library
that is being built. AS is overseeing them in their work (See Figure 6.6).
Figure 6.6. Carpentry at the CETMK.
Carpentry and working in the fields are by far not the only activities students
engage in at the CETMK. There are also traditional crafts. During previous months,
elders have visited the school to teach females how to make pottery and males how to
make batea (a wooden container for holding ground maize). They have also learned how
to make an upari (traditional bench seat) using the same natural resources and techniques
that have been used for centuries, down to the black glue produced from tree sap.
After working on talleres until 5:30 pm, many go up to the village to play
basketball or go home. Others remain at the school for a music class with FDS. He is
teaching any interested girls at the school how to play the violin, guitar, and bass. They
will then have the responsibility of playing at the Clausura (graduation) of the CETMK
in early July.


134
to gain rapport with students so that they would freely talk to me about their lives and
aspirations. As a tetwari (outsider) I was in a position that I was both part of the school
community, yet not part of the community. Having come to the Sierra from so far away
to be with the people of Tateikita, made people curious and generally friendly in their
relations with me. I also gained rapid rapport with students through telling stories about
el otro lado (the other side). This dual-role relationship of insider-outsider would be
important during the course of my tenure in Tateikita and at the CETMK.
Through the course of being a teacher at the CETMK, I was able to observe
student behavior in my own classes as well as those of others. I interacted with other
teachers on a daily basis and became involved in sharing the administrative duties with
other teachers and the directors when it became time to fill out various reports for the
SEP and other state organizations. Working on an administrative level also gave me the
opportunity to understand the number of organizations involved in sustaining the
CETMK and better understand its mission, and potential limitations on its power from
that perspective.
After an initial period of five months, I decided to move my primary residence
from the community house into the greater village community. The impetus for this
change was threefold: to move closer to the village community itself and away from the
school culture in order to gain a better understanding of its role within the village; to
remove myself from a community house that had become cramped with the arrival of the
other resident teachers wife and regularly used as a meeting place by CONAFE,
therefore having a considerable number of people who came and went on a regular basis;
and lastly, to show my appreciation for a well-respected teachers offer of another


155
the police apprehended two Huichol suspects in the case. Although the true story may
never be known, the brothers tried for the murder contested that the reporter had been
drinking, snapping photos of places, and trespassing in and around their ranch (Zarembo
1998:11).
Talking with locals and showing them photos of the suspects (see Figure 5.2),
members of Tateikita immediately responded with the following statements:
No son huicholes. Son cholos. [CETMK estudiante]
They arent Huichol. Theyre cholos.11 [CETMK student]
¡Mira como son! Son narcos . su ropa, todo. [Dueo de una tienda]
Look at how they are! Theyre drug dealers.. .their clothes, and
everything. [Shopkeeper]
No representan a nosotros. Son de un rancho aislado. A veces hay.
[CETMK maestro]
They dont represent us. Theyre from an isolated ranch. Sometimes
there are people [like that]. [CETMK teacher]
The initial Huichol reaction appears to be much the same as my own initial
reaction to the photograph and story. The overwhelming reaction was that Chivarra and
Hernndez, the accused murderers of Philip True, were not characteristic of their own
culture, but rather marginalized members of Huichol society, or urban Huichol who
had very limited ties to traditional Huichol society.12 In a discussion at the CETMK, I
publicly denounced the tactics used by True in his research, affirming their own
11 For the Huichol, the term cholo represents gangbangers and others involved in the
illicit drug trade, usually urban Mestizo youth.
12 This is in spite of the fact that the brothers-in-law reported to authorities that they were
in the process of making a visit to a shrine to leave offerings when they encountered True
on the road.


158
Reluctantly, all eventually went inside to eat. While the Franciscan brothers
oversaw the meal, student musicians performed, as did a group of students from the
mission school. Apart from the music, there was no observable intermingling with either
the Franciscans or the mission students. After the meal, and subsequent return to
Tateikita, some students fell ill from the food (more likely from consuming too much),
but it was attributed by the CETMK director to Franciscan desires to do away with the
Huichol:
Los franciscanos nos quieren matar. Ponen veneno en la comida. Por
qu la comieron?
The Franciscans want to kill us. They put poison in the food. Why did
they eat it?
While this appeared to be the judgment of the school director, it was not that of
the students. I, myself, became ill later, but from lombrices (intestinal worms), probably
resulting from poorly prepared pork. It is interesting to note the purveyance of distrust by
the Huichol director. If there was such resistance against the Franciscans, it seemed odd
that students would be permitted to travel and compete against them in sport. Students
even had made cross necklaces that they wore to the mission, and during competition.
Some students had already self-proclaimed themselves as Catholics, while yet others
merely wore the crosses as a sign of friendship and good luck.14
The second event involving the Franciscans comes from the General Community
Assembly in Tateiki. At this meeting, held over four hours away by truck from
Tateikita, everyone arrived to find a state police presence at the meeting. Traditional
14 Huichol religion has appropriated Christian symbolism and iconography. For example,
Huichol gods eyes used in offerings and ceremonies are similar in design to Christian
crosses, but the eye represents tau (the sun god) or tatewari (grandfather fire), rather than
the Christian god.


43
managing them and is present to do so. It may be that, in many cases, the absence of the
eldest male, due to urban migration, has resulted in females becoming more in control of
land than they were in the past. Males are still, however, preferred to female children,
and receive considerable more economic input from their parents than female children.
This is noticeable especially in clothing and food allocation.
Use rights for women are very strong, and preserved through inheritance
(Weigand 1979:112). This is probably a secondary factor determining the collective
nature of families, particularly sisters, in maintaining access to lands for planting. So,
while official roles may show a plot of land as belonging to a male, because of use rights,
women will actually be the owners of the land, delegating labor for maintenance of the
land and crop tending to male ldn.
Within Tateikita, most families still use their familial plots. The variety of
individual crops planted, however, has greatly diminished from the past. Families still
plant the traditional five varieties of corn, but this is more ceremonial than practical in
nature, as families prefer blue, red, and yellow corn to the other varieties. The planting of
additional crops is usually limited to squash. Other smaller crops, such as radishes and
cucumber are planted, if at all, within individual ranch homesteads. Some families also
have fruit trees in their family compounds, especially orange, lemon, and lime varieties.
The Huichol mainstay continues to be subsistence farming, as noted in the
literature (Nahmad 1996; Schaefer and Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). By subsistence
farming, I mean that food production is for familial use, and that surpluses are not
ordinarily generated. If so, surpluses are traded with relatives who may not have had a
very productive year. In this way, the system maintains equilibrium. A Huichol
subsistence economy does not mean, however, that the Huichol produce the entire realm


250
school. The flow of information is still largely transmissive based on the intellectual
community.
Students are stuck on a line between the two communities. They are bordered
in their identities since they are stuck on the periphery of the struggle for identity and
social change. Students are not resistant to the culture of the school, although there are
occasionally some who do not feel fully a part of it (illustrated in the quote by the student
body president in the previous chapter). So, while the culture of the school is continuous,
there is a lack of social articulation with the local community that has come to view
students as outsiders, principally because of the lack of harmonious relations between the
secondary school and the primary school teachers. The two cultures are now evolving
separately, developing a separate set of values and practices.
The CETMK and the Intellectual Movement
In conclusion of this chapter, the secondary school in Tateikita possesses the
unique ability to mobilize students around a culture of schooling that formally defines
traditional values within an intellectual agenda of preserving religious traditions,
language, and culture. The ability of CETMK students to work collaboratively with other
students and apply the knowledge learned at the school to their own lives has been
successful in instilling a sense of pride in their own identity among Huichol students.
Repeatedly in questionnaires, students will list various aspects of their culture as
important to them, ranking their language and traditions as having significant cultural
value. Students appear to reject notions of individuality, stressing working with others
communally. The competitive nature of educational values, while still emphasized in the
formal structure of schooling at the CETMK (exams, competitions), is not compatible
with Huichol culture. Those who are the most competitive are usually on the fringes of


Biglows around the world, Mike and Sandy Iski, Steve Mizrach, James Bosworth, Ken
Sturrock, Sebastian Romero, and Gordon Weaver.
v


162
or reorganize it in a way that takes the locus of control out of the hands of the Huichol, by
placing it under administrative scrutiny that might remove teachers or courses. The other
advisors are to help teachers with their shortcomings in standard academic areas such as
mathematics and science. They are especially useful when Huichol teachers must teach
these courses without laboratory equipment, electricity, or books. In addition, AS,
teacher of Huichol culture, has an aide who helps ensure that he has copies of important
materials to lecture from and that his lesson plans are complete and useful at all three
levels of the secondary school. As AS has the least amount of formal education of all
teachers at the CETMK, his advisors assistance is especially helpful for him to organize
his lectures on traditional culture, identity, and religion into an acceptable classroom
format.
Each of the eight teachers at the CETMK is responsible for two or three subject
areas at the CETMK. The following coded names and responsibilities are the teachers at
the CETMK from the fall of 1998 tthrough the fall of 2000:
CSD: Director of the CETMK. He teaches what is known as Actividades
Comunitarias, a catchall phrase for history, geography, and civics.
ADS: Director of the CETMK in 1998-1999. Though he stepped down as
director, he continued to be an important teacher of music, dance, and
theater at the school.
AD: Teaches first and second year mathematics and writing in Huichol at
all three levels. She is the only female instructor at the CETMK and
oversees womens physical education.
FDS: Local comisario in 1998-1999, FDS teaches indigenous rights to
second and third-year students, teaches three levels of Spanish, and
overseas daily journal writing in Spanish. He is also the schools musician
and teaches music classes.
RS: Taught two levels of mathematics and physics and chemistry to
second and third year students at the CETMK until his departure in
summer 1999 and subsequent replacement by L.


2
attitudes differ from the attitudes of those attending telesecundarias (video schools) or
non-indigenously controlled schooling? 2) Is there any internal conflict that results from
indigenously controlled education? If so, how are opposing definitions of cultural
identity accommodated (or not) by indigenous schooling? 3) What role does Huichol
formal education play in the enculturation process of Indian youth? 4) Do the Huichol
have a uniform sense of cultural identity? 5) Lastly, what exactly does indigenously
controlled education mean?
The case of Huichol education first interested me, when prior to beginning field
research I learned that there was little to no record of anthropological research dealing
with education and culture change among the Huichol. Dr. Salomn Nahmad conducted
research in the late 1960s and early 1970s while he was the regional director of the
National Indigenous Institutes development projects for the Cora, a neighboring
indigenous group, and Huichol. In subsequent articles, he called for a need for further
educational research among the Huichol (Nahmad 1981, 1996). Because of the problems
involved in Huichol integration into the national infrastructure of a collective Mexican
identity, the choice to work among the Huichol appeared ideal, as there were significant
gaps in Huichol ethnography other than research pertaining to archaeology or religion.
The scope of applied anthropology today comprises issues of local control of
indigenous affairs, from development projects (Mathur 1989, Sodusta 1993), to
environmental management (Hornborg 1998) and education (Bernard 1985, Cleary and
Peacock 1998, Szasz 1999). It is generally thought by those working in native education
that indigenous control will lead to higher retention rates for students, better student
performance, and greater community involvement (Cleary and Peacock 1998; De


59
intelligentsia class (Stavenhagen 1994). These forms of collective organization are yet
another aspect of identity politics that Hale (1997:568) calls collective sensibilities
and actions that come from a particular location within society, in direct defiance of
universal categories that tend to subsume, erase, or suppress this particularity. Identity
politics then serve as a form of resistance to national policies, such as Mexican
indigenismo that seeks to marginalize indigenous peoples to promote the existence of
national culture (Aguirre Beltrn 1970;.Diaz Polanco 1997; Giroux 1983; Stavenhagen
1994).
The studies of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America have been
significant since Redfield (1941) first examined Chan Kom and espoused his idea of a
folk-urban continuum where he saw peasants at the mid-point of a continuum between
traditionality and modernity, receiving modem traits, which, via their acceptance, would
transform the peasantry out of existence, killing off traditions considered to be backward
or no longer necessary. Redfields idea of a changing peasantry is synonymous with the
pristine view of indigenous peoples of Mexico that do not acknowledge intracultural
variation.
The Huichol, and other Indian groups, are often portrayed as disarticulated from
the economic systems of the dominant society. Fosters theory of the limited good
(1965) sees disarticulated peasant economies as the determining factor in peasant
behavior. Based on his research in Tzintzuntzan (Foster 1967), Foster has expressed
peasant communities as closed systems whereby, except in a special but extremely
important way, a peasant sees his existence as determined and limited by the natural and
social resources of his village and his immediate area (Foster 1966:296). Although he
views peasant economics as a closed system, Fosters model of the limited good


238
88 STUDENT
TEHUIN_R
O STUDENT
CERVEZ_R
-10123456
Student Response Rankings
Figure 7.15. Overlaid Graph of Students Rankings of Alcohol Types by Importance.
Looking at this graph, most students who ranked traditional alcohol (tehuino) as
very important (one) also ranked cerveza as not important (five). If these figures are
correct, students are not, as yet, appropriating the alcohol consumption patterns seen in
the community.
Culture and Knowledge Preservation
The CETMK holds that its mission is the preservation of traditional language and
culture. Other studies of education in indigenous communities by Modiano (1973) and
Wolcott (1967) emphasized the formal aspects of indigenous education that involved the
introduction of foreign values and language that were unfamiliar to students, resulting in
student resistance and, in some cases, rebellion. Others, such as Rosaldo (1989) argue


53
descendants, even though there may be such radical discontinuity that
present-day Yoruks or Sioux would have a difficult time recognizing, let
alone identifying with, the culture of their ancestors (1998:43)
Upon proving one possesses, in most cases, at least one-quarter Indian blood as
reflected by generational kinship charts from historical lists of Indian tribal enrollment,
one can be officially enrolled as a member of a particular tribe with various membership
cards. Because of a growing concern that requirements are too strict, many tribes are
now reducing the percentages required for affiliation to one-eighth or even one-sixteenth
(National Public Radio 2001). These legal definitions of American Indian race using
biology are problematic. As Fogelson (1998) pointed out, one may be affiliated with a
tribe even though s/he may not practice or even be aware of his/her cultural heritage
within a particular Indian tribe.
In order to more clearly define indigenous identity in the United States, Fogelson
(1987, 1998) has proposed three characteristics by which Native American identity is
constructed: blood and descent; relations to land; and sense of community. These
broader definitions of native identity characterize the other ways that definitions of Indian
identity can be constructed. Relations to land and sense of community lie at the heart of
arguments about ethnic group membership, particularly in what is known as symbolic
ethnicity among individuals who no longer have any direct familial and/or traditional
ties to ancestral homelands. It is an issue especially affecting urban Indians in the U.S.
and elsewhere who in response to continual contact with a dominant culture and society,
must negotiate their identities, becoming truly bicultural as has been argued by those
who study contemporary Indians (Furst and Havighurst 1973; Moore 1998; National
Public Radio 2001; and Thornton 1978). These bicultural identities are in constant
renegotiation as one adapts to societal change. Uike Sandstroms Aztec-descendent


129
were normally reluctant to allow research to be done, these two individuals acted as
initial gatekeepers into the Huichol culture for me.
Population Demographics and Sampling
One of the most difficult endeavors proved to be finding accurate population
statistics for the Huichol in general, let alone, for Tateikita. Rojas (1999a) says that there
are 250 plus boarding-school students living in the primary dormitory. This makes the
number approximately a conservative 490 (factoring in 40 students per year of the
primary). The number recognized by local inquiry was 275 residents.
One of my first tasks was to make a map of the local community indicating who
resided in each building. Due to the mobility of people, this was no easy task. Some
included students who stayed with them in the sample; others included kin who were
rarely present in the village. A second problem was in marking the boundaries of the
village, as some nearby ranches were not included in Tateikita samplings. Quickly
learning that such measurements were considered invasive, I decided to stop my
sampling in the community by accepting a rough figure constructed from official Centro
de Salud (health center) figures and my own sampling, placing the number of local
residents at 292 for 1999. If surrounding ranches are included, the number jumps to 402
over the age of 18.
For interviewing purposes in Tateikita, I used a snowball sampling approach
(Bernard 1994). In snowball sampling, the researcher makes use of anyone willing to
approach and talk to him or her. Because gaining trust in field research is difficult,
particularly in indigenous communities suspicious of outsiders, the best way to find out
about a peoples responses to questions was merely to ask them through the course of
casual conversation.


198
supplies for making a poster and preliminary diagrams; still others begin to choose who
they want to portray in the play.
Figure 6.5. Derechos Indgenas Debate at the CETMK Clausurax July 1999.
Most students, who can, go home during the afternoon lunch break. Women may
have to make more tortillas for the meal or cook and prepare food for their family. If
there is time, a rest is taken. After lunch, all return to the school for class, crafts and
music, or to work in the gardens. Recently, all students who are not in English class
became obliged to work in the gardens to prepare the beds for planting. Soil and natural
fertilizers are now in the beds, and students are being shown what to plant in each bed,
and how to intersperse different types of plants to obtain the highest yield. Both males
and females must work in the gardens. The idea is that students will take what they have
learned from the gardens at the school, and bring that knowledge back home to their
families, planting sustainable gardens there as well.
In addition to PGC, E is helping students in the gardens. Some female students
carry buckets of water to the beds while the remaining boys and girls even-out the


3.EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION
70
Indigenous Educational History 70
A General History of U.S. Indian Education and Policy 71
A Brief History of Indigenous Education in Mexico 79
Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation 86
Border Pedagogy and Cultural Diversity 86
Cultural Preservation vs. Cultural Revitalization 87
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A U.S. Perspective 88
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A Latin American
Perspective 91
Educational Research and the Huichol 97
4. THEORY AND METHODS 103
Theoretical Perspectives 103
Ethnicity and Identity 106
Pan-Indianism and Regional Cultures 106
Native Epistemology and Cosmology 109
Political Theory and the Aims of Indigenous Movements 112
Dialectical Materialism and Anomie 112
Power-Knowledge Relations in Historical Materialism 115
Educational Theory: Developing a Philosophy of Education for the Huichol 118
Critical Theory in Education 119
Democratic Socialism 123
Research Methods 127
Formal Interviewing of Key Personnel 127
Population Demographics and Sampling 129
Student Questionnaires and Huichol Cultural Values 130
Informal Interviewing and Oral History Reconstruction 131
Participant Observation 133
5. DOING APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AMONG THE HUICHOL 137
Applied Anthropology and the Question of Researcher Roles 137
Doing Anthropology in a Huichol Community 144
Living WixarikaBeing Teiwari 147
Working in a Closed Corporate Community 151
The Concept of the Teiwari (other) in Huichol External Relations 152
Huichol Distrust: Reporters, Franciscans and Ethical Conduct 153
vii


11
Tateiki is located on the Northern edge of the Chapalagana River, bordering the
community of Tiicipurie on one side, and the state of Nayarit on the other. It is the
community that has experienced the most land loss of the traditional communities -some
4,000 hectares since the start of agrarian reform legislation in the 1960s.
Tciteikita
Tateikitci is the Huichol name for the village where I conducted my research.
Literally, it means small place of our mother, since it is located in the Huichol
community of Tateiki (Place of our mother peyote). Containing a number of rancheras
(extended family households), Tateikita is one of the principal small villages within the
Huichol community, and is home to 280 people. Tateikita is located approximately five
hours from Tateiki via a newly constructed road completed in April 1998, and eight
hours from the town of Huejuquilla el alto, the town that serves as the northern gateway
to the Huichol communities. Until the existence of the road, the only way in or out of the
village was by foot or by air. Due to the time required to use the road, and its seasonal
impassibility, the most efficient, and costly, method to reach Tateikita is by plane (see
Figure 1.6). While not an option for most Huichol, because of the expense, planes can be
contracted from locations in the state of Nayarit to reach the Sierra communities. There
are also occasional flights available from missionaries who operate within the region.
Flights take from 30-45 minutes depending on the points of departure and origin.
Tateikita is located at the edge of a small plateau overlooking the Chapalagana
River at an altitude of some 5,500 feet (see Figure 1.7). Like much of the Sierra region,
the climate is dry eight to nine months of the year, with only seasonal rains striking the
region from June till mid-September. As a result, the topography is dry and rocky.
Annual monsoon rains make the road impassable, and this serves as a constant reminder


308
Rasmussen, David M.
1990 Reading Habermas. Cambridge, MA: Basic Blackwell.
Redfield, Robert
1934 Chan Kom, a Maya Village. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of
Washington.
1941 The Folk Culture of Yucatn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Reyhner, Jon, ed.
1995 Stabilizing Indigenous Languages. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona
University.
1997 Teaching Indigenous Languages. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona
University.
Riner, Reed D.
1979 American Indian Education: A Rite that Fails. Anthropology and
Education Quarterly, 10:236-253.
Rippberger, Susan J.
1992 Indian Teachers and Bilingual Education in the Highlands of Chiapas.
Ph.D. Thesis. University of Pittsburgh.
Roessel, Robert A.
1983 Navajo History, 1850-1923. In Handbook of North American Indians,
10:506-523. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Rohner, Robert P.
1965 Ethnography of a Contemporary Kwakiutl Village. Stanford, C A:
Stanford University Press.
Rojas, Anglica
1999a Escolaridad e Interculturalidad: Los jvenes wixaritari en una escuela
secundaria de huicholes. Unpublished Masters Thesis, CIES AS Occidente,
Guadalajara, Mxico.
1999b Las asambleas de alumnos en Tatutsi Maxakwaxi: Una prctica educativa
poltica. Sinctica 15:58-70. July-December. Guadalajara, Mexico:
Revista del Departamento de Educacin y Valores del ITESO.
Rojas, Beatriz
1993 Los huicholes en la historia. Mxico: Instituto Nacional Indigenista.
Roosens, Edward E.
1989 Creating Ethnicity: The process of Ethnogenesis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Rosaldo, Renato
1989 Culture and Truth: The Remaking of Social Analysis. Boston: Beacon Press.


58
or switching to Spanish when something was said for the non-Huichol speaker to
understand.
Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Formation
Kearney (1996) and Hale (1996) suggest that the identities of indigenous peoples
of Latin America historically have been cast in terms of a domination-exploitation model
that restricts the dynamics of a peasant economy and casts them in a series of core
periphery relationships first identified by Wallerstein (1976). By labeling indigenous
peoples as peasants, they are stripped of their collective identities. The reality is that
these very peasants have become a sort of post-peasant, something that Kearney
(1996:141) refers to as polybians. Imbedded in this term, argues Kearney, are the
multiple identity roles that peasants must negotiate. They are not only living biculturally,
but have learned multiple coping strategies that enable them to shift comfortably within
an economic system that has recast our thinking of Wolf s (1957, 1986) closed corporate
community. Indigenous peoples, including the Huichol, have maintained two distinct
economic systems that act parallel to one another, one is communal, and the other is
capitalist. By keeping these systems distinct, the Huichol have been able to resist
acculturative pressures on their ethnicity, preventing what Stavenhagen (1963) saw as the
disappearance of distinct Indian cultures and separate identities due to capitalist
expansions into formerly indigenous regions. While the Huichol and other indigenous
peoples of Latin America do partake of the capitalist economy, their communal economy
(subsistence horticulture) remains largely intact and separate from capitalist ventures.
Stavenhagen has since taken an interest in ethnic resurgence among the
indigenous peoples of Mexico. He believes the ethnic resurgence is the result of
indigenous organization, pan-Indian transnationalism, and the formation of the


74
attendance. In addition, the first major treaty affecting Indian education was passed,
effectively allocating $100,000 for creating educational programs for Indian peoples. It
was quickly followed, however, by congressional action that prohibited the creation of
further treaties with Indian peoples.
This period also saw the production of the first federal boarding school at Fort
Defiance in 1881, and it quickly led to a proliferation of such institutions by the 1920's
(Roessel 1983). Federal boarding schools were intentionally placed long distances from
Indian communities, if possible. Students were actively discouraged from, and often
beaten for, expressing their heritage and language publicly, and the schools were
organized around the concept of producing "productive citizens" out of "savages."
Boarding schools were established in major urban centers and students were shipped in
from remote locales, separated from their families to partake of a foreign formal
education. Students frequently fled from these schools, experiencing "culture shock" and
wishing to return to their families and old ways of life (Johnston 1988, Szasz 1999:22).
The educational situation for Native peoples was further complicated by the
passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 that broke up communally-held Indian lands into
individual allotments which could freely be bought or sold (Fischbacher 1967:222). By
breaking up communally held lands, the federal government saw yet another avenue into
gaining control of Indian-occupied lands. With the dissolution of Indian lands, there was
reason to push Indians into mainstream society and into trade occupations. Students were
encouraged to attend coeducational facilities by the start of the 20th century, and these
types of coeducational facilities sprung up throughout the Midwest, where Indian peoples
were not as isolated as those of the Southwest. McBeth (1983:74) writes that there were


31
HUICOT of the Instituto Nacional Indigenista. Current projects have aimed to get a road
to Tateikita, linking it, at least seasonally, to the outside world. This project was
completed in April 1998. Also, Missionaries of various faiths have penetrated the Sierra,
disguising religious conversion under seemingly legitimate development projects.
Social and Political Organization
Huichol social organization is best perceived at three levels: the household
ranchera, the village or pueblo consisting of several rancheras, and the traditional
politico-religious comunidad (community). At the smallest of these levels, the household
is typically a nuclear family with husband, wife, and unmarried children (Grimes 1962).
More common in the traditional homeland, however, is the ranchera, or extended family
household that consists of a matrilocal family with husband and wife, their married
female childrens families, and any unwed male children. The male children remain in
the household of their parents until such time as they are wed, at which point a couple
will establish residency with the husbands wifes family (Grimes 1962:104). This
differs from Weigand (1979:112) who says that the ideal pattern of postmarital residence
is patri- or neopatrilocal.
Huichol marriages are traditionally arranged, and this practice continues to this
day (Weigand 1981). In recent times, however, individual choice has replaced arranged
marriages as the dominant marriage system. In the case of those still practicing arranged
marriages, however, they are bilateral and often between first cousins from within the
same community (Schaefer and Furst 1996:8). Marrying and staying within the same
community decreases the risk factors associated with subsistence farming, since families
are within accessible distance from one another, should sharing of crop harvests or labor
become necessary.


173
basis, observing classes and giving reports to parents at the monthly meetings. Because
parents cannot always be there to oversee the activities of their children, the presidents
role requires a great deal of care, attentiveness, and discipline. He is frequently the brunt
of criticism when there are parents complaints about their childrens education or
conduct.
The president of the padres de familia happened to be the same individual during
1998-2000, although it is a position elected annually by parents. Antonio says:5
Yo. Yo no tengo dinero. Soy pobre. No me pagan. No puedo trabajar
bien, pero estoy aqu porque creo en los nios. Esta posicin no tiene el
respeto de la comunidad, de nadie. Est difcil. No tengo otra cosa. Para
m, la escuela tiene que ser Huichol, de nosotros. Wixa cien porciento.
I. I dont have any money. Im poor. They dont pay me [for this
position], I cant work very well, but I am here because I believe in the
students. This position [president of padres de familia] isnt respected by
the community, by anyone. It is hard. I dont have anything else. For me,
the school has to be Huichol, ours. 100% Huichol.
Antonio reiterates that he does not love the politics of the position, but loves to be
close to the children. He cannot always see everything that is going on, but parents
sometimes blame him for things when they go wrong. At one of the fundraising dances
for the queen candidates for the school, there were problems. Many community members
became intoxicated and demanded dances with the female dancers from the school. They
made a lot of money in two nights, but at the same time, the effects were devastating.
One girl was robbed off to the city to be wed; others felt very tired and used by the
solicitors. When Antonio refused to sell tickets to several drunk individuals, a scuffle
ensued, at which point Antonio resigned as head of the padres de familia, only to resume
tasks several days later at the insistence of teachers and students.
3 Not his true name.


254
language as a way to preserve it. At least within the walls of the school and among their
peers, students continued to prefer to use their native language. They held strong
opinions, however, about the importance of learning Spanish and using it for professional
advancement. The retention of traditional religious practices, while encouraged within
the school itself, were continuing to change among the students, resulting in a
combination of traditional beliefs with foreign concepts and ideas that students felt were
still a part of their ethnicity. The appropriation of these new ideas and concepts were
considered by students to have become uniquely Huichol. The culture of the secondary
school tolerated these experimentations in identity representation by students, although
there was some resistance in the community to their presence.
The boarding of Huichol students within the local community further served as a
mechanism to strengthen group solidarity among Huichol students. These bonds are
extremely strong, especially among kin, and in part determine the levels of acceptable
ethnic expression on the part of students. The social networks of Huichol youth therefore
serve as microcultures to both promote and limit ethnic change and identity expression.
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi is an environment that promotes the
development of student-directed activities. Oral presentation skills are encouraged, as
seen in the long student assembly meetings and self-directed organization of sports
tournaments, school plays, and fund-raising dances. The development of these skills are
encouraged for both males and females, and give women an active voice as potential
leaders. The expression of oral skills is in line with traditional Huichol culture that has
only recently had a written language form encouraged among its people. The
introduction of women as potential vocal leaders challenges traditional gender roles that


282
DE 1 (MUY IMPORTANTE) A 5 (NO ES IMPORTANTE), ?QUE LE VALEN
LAS SIGUIENTES COSAS? [3 ES NEUTRAL]
1. RADIO
2. GRABADORA
3. AVIONETA
4. CAMIONETA
5. ELECTRICIDAD
6. TELEFONO
7. APARATO SOLAR
8. RELOJ
9. MUSICA
10. LA MISION
11. LIBPvOS
12. PERIODICOS
13. MASECA
14. DULCES
15. REFRESCOS
16. CERVEZA
17. TEHUINO
18. LA CIUDAD
19. UNAPREPA
20. UNA UNIVERSIDAD
21. GUADALAJARA


176
classes, teachers, and project updates, such as progress on biointensive horticulture and
the building of the new library.
Like any democratic meeting, the debate table personnel control the pace of the
meeting, but no topic is dropped until it has been thoroughly addressed to exhaustion.
Teachers and parents are generally passive listeners, letting students sort out their own
plans and activities. The pattern changes, however, when students have introduced items
into the debate list that may include a discussion of upcoming examinations or some
other point that may affect more than just the student body.
The last item in the presentation is, perhaps, the most important of them all. This
is the Asuntos Varios (Miscellaneous Topics). This item, usually the longest, includes
considerable mediation and arbitration on the part of teachers and parents. Under
Asuntos Varios, the socialistic aspects of social control emerge. Each student, parent, or
teacher can introduce any topic for discussion. These are sometimes complaints by
students about the conduct of others at the school, or a parent may enter to publicly
reprimand his or her son or daughter for inappropriate behavior. For example:
Miranda enters the room with a stem look on her face. She proceeds to
reprimand her daughter in front of everyone for having run off with
another girl and disappeared for a couple days during which she didnt
attend school. The two had been down at the river picking fruits, but they
didnt inform anyone of their whereabouts and the family had been
concerned. She comments:6 Didnt you think about your mother? Your
brother? He didnt sleep because he didnt know where you were! How
could you do such a thing [run off]? At this point, YS begins to cry,
covering her face with her multicolored scarf. The rest of the room is
silent, realizing the graveness of YSs infraction.
These types of reprimands, while not a weekly occurrence, do serve to publicly
embarrass the student while at the same time making the group aware that the behavior is
6 Paraphrased translation with the assistance of the teachers PGC and RS.


240
The attitude of teachers at the CETMK is one in which they hope that students
will learn something and retain that knowledge when they start their own families,
continuing to pass it on into a subsequent generation. This idea was evident when AS,
the teacher of Huichol culture, indicated his belief that students should take away only
what they consider necessary, putting the choice to retain what is learned in the
classroom solely on their own decisions of what is or is not important. The realization is
that students, as future adults, will decide collectively what is or is not necessary to their
cultural survival. Teachers view themselves mainly as providing tools for the students to
make reasoned and informed decisions.
Socialist Education and Identity Preservation
Students at the CETMK, despite problems with local community acceptance,
believe that they have an important role as mediating authorities between the statements
of teachers and their parents. In keeping with traditional communal beliefs, the results of
free listings by students of things associated with education were the following, in
order of importance:
1. Respecto (respect)
2. Ayudar en la comunidad (helping in the community)
3. Ensear a la familia (teaching the family)
4. Ensear a los ancianos (teaching elders)
These top four listings indicate a strong interest on the part of students toward
helping the family and local community. These listings appeared in this order despite
students rankings of the family as not being as important as the other internal aspects of
their identity (language, dress, religion, traditions). I now suspect that the family
variable did not load into the ethnicity component in factor analysis as prominently as the


294
Amselle, Jean-Loup
1998 Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Apple, Michael W., and Vernon F. Haubrich, eds.
1975 Schooling and the Rights of Children. Berkeley, C A: McCutchan Publishing
Corporation.
1995 Education and Power, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.
1996 Cultural Politics and Education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Ball, Steven I, ed.
1990 Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge. New York:
Routledge.
Baker, Victoria J.
1997 Does Formalism Spell Failure? Values and Pedagogies in Cross-Cultural
Perspective. Pp. 454-471. In Education and Cultural Process: Anthropological
Approaches, 3rd ed. George D. Spindler, ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland
Press, Inc.
Barth, Frederik
1969 Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture
Difference. Prospect Heights, EL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Battiste, Marie
2000 Maintaining Aboriginal Identity, Language and Culture in Modem
Society. In Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision. Marie Battiste, ed.
Pp. 192-208. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Benitez, Femando
1994 Los Indios de Mxico: los huicholes. Mxico, D.F.: Biblioteca ERA.
Berkhofer, Robert F.
1979 The White Mans Indian: Images of the American Indian from
Columbus to the Present. New York: Vintage.
Bernard, H. Russell
1985 The Power of Print: The Role of Literacy in Preserving Native Cultures.
Human Organization 44(l):88-93.
1994 Research Methods in Anthropology, 2nd ed. Walnut Creek, CA:
Altamira Press.
1995 Language Preservation and Publishing. Accessed: January 15, 2001.
(http .//nersp. nerdc .ufl. edu/~ufruss/commodit. html)
1997 Recent Developments at CELIAC. Accessed: January 15, 2001.
(http ://nersp. nerdc.ufl. edu/~ufruss/english. html)


LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
Table 4.1. The Comparison of Theoretical Positions to Macro and Micro Levels of
Analysis 126
Table 7.1. R-Scores (Pearsons Correlation Coefficients) of Traditional Practices 212
Table 7.2. Factor Analysis of Variables-Language, Dress, Religion, Family, and
Traditions, Irrespective of Sex 214
Table 7.3. Percent of Variance Explained for Males by Principle Components Analysis 215
Table 7.4. Percent of Variance Explained for Females by Principle Components Analysis..215
Table 7.5. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Males 216
Table 7.6. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Females 217
Table 7.7. Descriptive Statistical Comparison of Alcohol and Tehuino 237
x


128
read about the Huichol, she had spent four years during the 1970s in Tateiki, the
traditional community that includes the village of Tateikita. I could tell from the
interviews that she was excited about the CETMK and the potential she saw that it had to
prevent culture loss. Our email communications continued for the next year, during
which time I had mailed her copies of my proposals and my initial solicitude. This
permitted her to act as a liaison between the Huichol community and myself.
During the same trip to Guadalajara, I met with the other personnel of AJAGI. I
interviewed the director, Carlos Chvez, formally in two different hour-long sessions. In
these interviews he gave me the background on the Huichol struggle to reclaim portions
of their traditional homeland that were stripped away by cattle ranchers and government
projects. I also met with lawyers involved in the legal litigations with the state of Jalisco
and met my first Huichol youth through them.
Upon my arrival in the community of Tateikita in September of 1998,1 began by
formally meeting with the director and assistant director of the CETMK.6 Each of these
individuals was instrumental in introducing me to the school and village communities.
Meeting with them, I learned about the school organization and discussed my proposal
for research within the school. At the same time, I offered my assistance to the project.
Through their guidance, I was allowed to sit in on my first classes and discuss my
objectives with students and the other teachers. Discussions about school organization
led to my formal presentation of my proposal to the padres de familia (school-parent
society) at one of the weekly-held meetings at the school. Whereas community personnel
6 CSD was to become first acting director and eventually the director of the school
during my first year of teaching at the CETMK.


119
(1998). The second subsection, democratic socialism, is a position taken from the works
of John Dewey and Jrgen Habermas.
Critical Theory in Education
The educational theory position taken in this dissertation is one that addresses the
connection between micro-culture and macro-culture. On a general level, Huichol efforts
to control their own educational destiny are influenced by critical theory because of its
emphasis on information control and power. Huichol education, until recently, was
dominated by a system that did not recognize the value of indigenous languages and
cultures (De Aguinaga 1996; Ramirez 1994; Rojas 1999a, 1999b; Von Groll 1997, 1999).
As seen in Chapter 3, various national titles only masked the true agenda of Mexican
national education, one which sought the assimilation of Mexicos indigenous peoples.
Even national programs in bilingual-bicultural education continued to focus on Spanish
fluency and a denial of a pluralistic state. This is despite official recognition in the
Mexican constitution, since 1992, which states:
The Mexican nation has a pluricultural composition based originally on its
indigenous peoples. The Law will protect and promote the development
of their languages, cultures, uses and customs, resources and specific
forms of social organization, and will guarantee their members effective
access to the jurisdiction of the state. Injudicial and agrarian proceedings
to which they are a party, their legal practices and customs shall be taken
into account in the manner established by law (Stavenhagen 1994:80).
In addition to macro dominant society-indigenous society relations, a critical
philosophy of education is useful in describing why the Huichol developed a macro-level
ethnic position that emphasizes traditional communitarian cultural values as opposed to
dominant individualistic ideologies commonly associated with capitalism. At a macro
ethnic level then, an ideal Huichol educational philosophy would be socialistic and
egalitarian, emphasizing values that include respect, honoring commitments to others,


167
when RS left the school for the city once more. He had spent the previous year unpaid
due to contractual problems and was deeply in debt. Taking a scholarship to become a
licensed architect, RS enrolled in a five-year program for certification in Guadalajara. He
continues to serve as a curriculum advisor to the new teacher that replaced him and still
visits his family in Tateikita periodically.
L came to Tateikita after having recently gained certification in mathematics and
the sciences from a remote village in the community. Young, like RS, L easily took over
as a role model for younger males. He did not arrive until several weeks before my
departure in the fall of 1999, relieving me from teaching third-year mathematics, and I
did not get a chance to know him well. Student reactions implied that he was tough
and expecting, but at the same time, I heard no complaints about him as a role model.
PGC has a long past as a primary teacher in Nayarit and Waut+a prior to his
arrival to Tateikita in November 1999. With specialized training in biology and natural
sciences, PGC became the spearhead of an effort to expand the biointensive agriculture
program at Tateikita. Educated by one of the premier biointensive agricultural programs
in the World, Ecology Action in Willits, California, PGC learned all about biointensive
organic farming, and was brought to the CETMK to teach others how to make their soils
more productive.
PGC was my housemate for the first five months in the field, residing in the
community house with a CONAFE rural coordinator and myself. At the same time that
he is one of the most approachable individuals at the CETMK, he is the most elusive to
truly understand. Despite two years of knowing PGC, there are still things about him that
I do not understand. He has a long history of involvement with anthropologists, starting


4
85
85 indigenous regions with 918 escuelas-albergues (boarding schools) (Nahmad Sittn
1980:28). INI continues to offer scholarships to top students in both primary and
secondary indigenous schools in Mexico.
Despite INIs strong interest in preserving indigenous cultures in Mexico, national
policy has proven to be quite inconsistent in its approaches to indigenous education.
Recent accomplishments, such as the 1990 constitutional article number 4 and the 1993
Federal Education Law, still sought Spanish as the primary language of instruction for
primary schools, even though they officially recognized bilingual-bicultural education
(Freedson and Prez 1995:392-393). The national free text program at that time still
was limited to Spanish-only texts, with histories that did not recognize the contributions
of Indian peoples to Mexican national society. This was in contrast to primary schools in
the indigenous regions of Mexico where many children were still monolingual.
Bilingual-bicultural education was never meant to build full fluency in both languages by
indigenous students, but rather, to serve to form a bridge to eventual monolingual
Spanish use. In addition, teachers in the indigenous regions were poorly educated.
According to Freedson and Prez (1995:398), by 1995, 61% of teachers in Chiapas had
not completed a preparatory level education and only 24.76% a secondary level.3
1955. Freedson and Prez (1995) and Nahmad (1983) originate the DGEI in the DGAI
that was founded in 1946 and dissolved in 1968.
3 Although Freedson and Prez do not elaborate on whether the survey was of primary
and secondary teachers, I suspect, because of the conservative nature of the statistics, that
they were primary school teachers. Mandatory secondary education was still something
new in Mexico at that time, and a shortage of teachers in rural areas would be likely.


69
Lastly, another trend in ethnic identity and nationalist literature, particularly in
education, is the use of the term intercultural. Used by indigenous scholars, chiefly
Nahmad (n.d.), Mondino (1993), Acevado Conde, et al. (1996), and Rojas (1999a,
1999b), this term has been applied to the blending of native and non-native educational
systems, and proposed as a solution to defining indigenous people in the context of social
change. This process, while seemingly beneficial on the surface, trivializes the degree of
ethnic variation within a group and irresponsibly used can actually serve as integrationist
and assimilationist propaganda that gradually introduces aspects of a dominant culture,
down to language use, into the lives of indigenous peoples. The proposal is that
indigenous control can counteract any misuse of intercultural education, and that more
research needs to be done in this area to determine the long-term positive or negative
affects on an ethnic group.


82
Sierra, and because Huichol settlements were dispersed as opposed to those of the Cora
that were clustered into densely-packed villages due to relocation by missionaries. This
school marked the first non-missionary school (public) within the Sierra region. A year
later, federal decree in 1911 declared a national campaign to establish schools throughout
the rural regions of Mexico for indigenous peoples (Acevado et al. 1996:21). The extent
of the growth of these rural schools was limited, however, due to the revolution.
A significant turn of events began with the conclusion of the Mexican revolution
in 1917, and the writing of the Mexican constitution. Several years later, in 1921, the
Secretara de educacin pblica (SEP) was created (Vaughn 1997:4; Nahmad n.d.:3). Its
primary purpose was an action policy used to create federal rural schools to educate
and discipline the peasant population (Vaughn 1997:27). It was thought that by
channeling their energy into other endeavors rather than rebellion, Mexico could begin to
focus on national cultural formation. The purpose of schools was to give a primary level
education to everyone, principally through teaching basic literacy skills.
The SEP maintained its original mission in building a national collective by
establishing the Department of Education and Indigenous Cultures (DEIC) in 1923. One
of the first projects of the department was the formation of the Casa del Estudiante
Indgena (the Indigenous Student School) (Nahmad Sittn 1980:4). The indigenous
student boarding school eventually became the Escuela Nacional Rural (National Rural
School) that aimed to better the life and literacy of the 27 different ethnic groups
represented at the school (Acevado et al. 1996:21). In addition, the DEIC created 690
rural schools in indigenous areas and attempted to educate teachers to become experts in
the regions to which they were assigned. The purpose of these schools, however, was


265
must be followed, as well as why teachers stress certain aspects of traditional culture
formally, or must use, but not treat, Huichol as a foreign language in the secondary
school.
I mentioned previously in this research that the mean age of students entering the
secondary school is becoming lower and lower as students pass directly from the primary
school into the secondary school. Students enter the secondary school without prior
knowledge about how or why the school came to be and must be gradually introduced
(i.e., enculturated) into its culture. Every year there are several student problems that
crop up involving respect for the school and its communal property. Cooperation
between the primary and secondary schools may help to reduce these sorts of problems in
the future. Curriculum may need to be altered to fit the cognitive patterns of a younger
student audience as well or, in some areas, made more difficult, since students are no
longer taking time off between primary and secondary education.
Points three and four are both ways to get locals involved in music, art, or
interested in poetry or native religion to become more involved in the school and see
value in it. Huichol culture will continue to change both externally and internally to the
school, and unless there is greater communication between all parties interested in
education, there will be no availability to make changes in the curriculum per changes in
the local culture from which the students come.
Point number five concerning alcohol is important because traditional values
break down with the presence and misuse of alcoholic beverages by teachers and
community members. The point has been made at biannual meetings of the community
of Tateiki and in local village meetings (Unidad de Apoyo a Grupos Indgenas 1999).


91
affecting the contemporary Native American.4 Ethnolinguistic collaboration by
anthropologists with educational and aboriginal scholars, however, has been limited to
the U.S., and being a new and emerging area, there is still considerable room for future
research. Battiste states the following:
Little classroom research has been done on the effects of teaching students
about their culture, history, and languages, as well as about oppression,
racism and differences in world views, but consciousness-raising classes
and courses at the elementary and junior high school levels, and at the
college and university levels, have brought to the surface new hopes and
dreams and have raised the aspirations and educational successes of
aboriginal students (Battiste 2000:206)
Battistes comments call for longitudinal research to determine whether the
effects of these new and emerging indigenous language and culture programs really
impact indigenous peoples in the ways that she suggests. The lack of classroom school
ethnography can be seen both in the U.S. and in Latin America as the polarization of
disciplines accelerated, with teachers and administrators primarily concerned with
practical educational assessment tools, and educational philosophers left writing about
problems in education without the assistance of applied anthropologists to work in
schools. Anthropologists chose to leave academic studies to educators, and so the rift
between the disciplines grew wider.
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A Latin American Perspective
A study of the current climate of indigenous studies in the U.S. has been
important to understanding the politics regarding doing anthropology, particularly
educational anthropology, among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America.
4 See Reyhners (1997) Teaching Indigenous Languages and (1995) Stabilizing
Indigenous Languages for a articles from ongoing symposiums regarding indigenous
language preservation.


303
Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e Informtica (INEGI)
1990 XI censo general de poblacin y vivienda. Aguascalientes, Mxico.
1995Censo general de poblacin y vivienda. Mexico, D.F.
1997 Encuesta nacional de la dinmica demogrfica (ENADID). Mexico, D.F.
2000 Censo general de poblacin y vivienda: preliminario. Mxico, D.F.
Iturrioz Leza, Jos Luis
1995 Principios generales de la cultura huichola. In Reflexiones sobre la
Identidad Etnica. Jos Luis Iturrioz Leza, et al.., eds. Guadalajara, Mxico:
Universidad de Guadalajara.
Jessop, Bob
1982 The Capitalist State: Marxist Theories and Methods. New York: NYU Press.
John, Vera P.
1972 Styles of Learning-Styles of Teaching: Reflections of the Education of
Navajo Children. In Courtney Cazden, John Vera, and Dell Hymes, eds.
Functions of Language in the Classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.
Johnston, Basil
1988 Indian School Days. Norman,OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
Kearney, Michael
1996 Reconceptualizing the Peasantry. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Keefe, Susan E.
1992 Ethnic Identity: The Domain of Perceptions of and Attachment to Ethnic
Groups and Cultures. Human Organization, 51:35-43.
Kemper, Robert V., and Anya P. Royce
1997 Ethical Issues for Social Anthropologists: A North American Perspective on
Long-Term Research in Mexico. Human Organization 56(4):479-489.
Kenway, Jane
1990 Education and the Rights Discursive Politics: Private versus State Schooling.
In Foucault and Education: Disciplines and Knowledge. Stephen J. Ball, ed.
Pp. 167-206. New York: Routledge.
Krauss, Michael
1996 Studies of Native American Language Endangerment. In Stabilizing
Indigenous Languages. Gina Cantoni, ed. Pp. 16-21. Flagstaff, AZ:
Northern Arizona University, Center for Excellence in Education.
Levinson, Bradley
1998 Student Culture and the Contradictions of Equality at a Mexican Secondary
School. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 29(3):267-296.


266
Those who have problems with the misuse of alcohol need to be made aware of the
effects of their misuse on their families, and especially children. Confessional-type
apologies seem to work at the CETMK, as illustrated by the case of the teacher who
missed a weeks worth of classes due to a drinking binge. In that instance, traditional
forms of open discussion and adherence to group norms proved fruitful to preventing
further escalation of the problem and in beginning the mental healing process for the
accused. The type of social repentance and sanctioning used at the CETMK could be
adopted within the villages with guidance provided by local comisarios, mora 'abates,
and topiles.
Lastly, since the ability to read and write in Huichol is taught in the secondary
school, students should be made aware of the possibilities this gives them for limitless
self-expression. Huichol culture thrives on artistic endeavors, present in the crafts,
music, and oral presentation skills of its people. A practical use for learning to read and
write its language, however, remains without support in the school and in the local
community. Encouragement of artistic endeavors utilizing the native language will help
to preserve it, especially by making it more relevant to male students who are, through
the findings of this research, the most at risk for abandoning traditional cultural practices.
Living rural and being modem does not have to be a separation from the past in
order to move into a sustainable cultural future. Although these recommendations were
presented to those in Tateikita and at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi, it is up
to the Huichol community itself to decide their relevance and apply them to its own
educational practices. What is tradition and what is not is something that is constantly


261
the validity of external cultural beliefs rather than indigenous knowledge. Instead, the
CETMK creates a learning community surrounding the school, and external beliefs are
taught as complementary to indigenous ones rather than dominant to them. Students,
teachers, and parents take an active interest in the activities of the CETMK, unlike a
school with non-indigenous teachers. The resistance of students to the authority of
teachers and the discontinuity between the formal educational system and their home
environment are not what has been found by Baker (1997), Macias (1987), Wax (1964),
and Wolcott (1967,1997), but rather more like the recent findings of Harrison (1993),
Dementi-Leonard and Gilmore (1999), and Modiano (1973), who note the improved
ethnic pride and loyalty to the school and processes of formal education, in general, when
it is minority-directed or includes indigenous teachers.
I now turn to the second primary question: Are there conflicting attitudes about
formal education (what is important and how it should be done)? Yes. The community
has a separate educational agenda represented by the primary school, in which it has
considerable economic investment. Teachers from the primary school and some
community members are ambivalent towards the secondary school, stressing their belief
that the indigenous language should not be taught as a foreign language, but rather it
should be used, but with Spanish being the focus of all foreign language studies.
Misunderstandings over teacher qualifications and pay also feed jealousies, and cause
*
tension and occasional conflict, especially when alcohol is present. Some locals feel
disenfranchised from the school because they do not have a say in its agenda or how it is
managed.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
ETHNO-NATIONALIST POLITICS AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION:
EDUCATION AND BORDERED IDENTITIES AMONG THE
WIXARITARI (HUICHOL) OF TATEDCITA,
JALISCO, MEXICO
By
Brad Morris Biglow
August 2001
Chairman: John H. Moore, Ph.D.
Major Department: Anthropology
This dissertation examines the relationship between indigenously controlled
education and cultural preservation among the Wixaritari, or Huichol, of the Sierra Madre
Mountains of Jalisco, Mexico. Studies of indigenous identity and schooling are still
lacking in anthropological fieldwork. While such studies have, in the past, focused on
native education in the United States, there has been little research done on the impacts of
indigenous-controlled education on the enculturation process of Indian youth, particularly
in Latin America, and whether such educational environments really serve to fortify
indigenous identity, and if so, how it is done. Recently, there has been resurgence in
ethno-nationalism or self-determination among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and
Latin America. This study examines the role of so-called indigenous-controlled
community schooling in light of these larger pan-Indian movement goals, showing that
xiii


169
stories of other people who had traveled to the city. Regardless the accuracy of PGCs
story, it reflected Huichol distrust in the greater system, and these types of stories
abounded in an oral culture such as the Huichol. Such stories inflicted fear in students
and those unfamiliar with places outside the Sierra, strengthening group solidarity. The
same went for those who had encountered problems on a previous years peyote hunt,
where they were detained and the ceremonial harvest confiscated by the military
(Valadez 1998).
There is recognition among students and community members that teachers are
not infallible themselves, but are imperfect individuals who will sometimes make
mistakes. PGC mentioned that he used to have an alcohol problem, but that he does not
drink anymore because it makes him sick. Even a drop. Yet, on several occasions,
PGC or FDS would slip up and go on week-long drinking binges where they would be
absent from courses at the school. Such happenings provoked an atmosphere of sadness
at the school, and jeers from students and faculty alike. Through social pressures,
problems of this sort were usually quickly resolved at the CETMK, and alcohol was not
as much a problem there as it was in the general community and primary school.3
AS is the CETMKs elder-in-residence. With only a few years of primary
education, AS has remained committed to life-long learning, having taught himself to
read and write both Spanish and Huichol. A quiet and reserved man, AS always prefers
to think things through before voicing his opinion or making judgments. A voice of
3 One community meeting tried to make alcohol sales to teachers illegal in Tateikita. It
was voted down, largely by the voice of primary school teachers and shopkeepers who
were making money off the debts of teachers. CETMK members made a pact amongst
themselves not to openly consume alcohol because of its negative effect on students self
esteem.


147
fortifying group solidarity. Boys teams, especially, travel regularly to other Huichol
villages to compete against mission and telesecundaria teams throughout the Sierra.
Living WixarikaBeing Teiwari
One of the most difficult tasks for anyone wishing to integrate into a foreign
culture or community lies in the ability to adjust ones lifestyle to be compatible with the
culture at hand. The Huichol lifestyle in Tateikita, because of its educational focus,
enables people to be much more sedentary than in other homeland villages, including the
community head of Tateiki. Tateikita is still uniquely Huichol despite the infusion of
educational centers, a largely ignored Franciscan mission, and a health-care center.
Huichol is the language of choice and is used exclusively in daily conversation. It is only
in the presence of an outsider, a teiwari, that Spanish may be spoken, and then, only
when the speakers wish the teiwari to understand.
Although Huichol is used exclusively, some Spanish words, primarily for items or
concepts that have no Huichol equivalent, have been adopted. Children, teachers, and
those who have traveled or spent time in the city are most likely to be bilingual, although
degrees may vary significantly from one individual to another. Among non-teachers and
students, men are more likely bilingual than women. When it comes to literacy rates,
most Tateikita residents are not literate (i.e., cannot read or write) in their own language
or in Spanish. Due to recent standardization efforts in Huichol orthography and phonetic
transcription, including an aggressive effort to provide medical information in Huichol
for monolingual speakers, it is now not uncommon to see advisories posted in Wixarika
(Huichol) (see Figure 5.1).


292
CURP
DEI
DEIC
DGAI
DCF
EZLN
HUICOT
INAR
INEGI
INI
NACIE
OIEP
PAI
SEDESOL
SEP
UCIH
Cdula nica de Registro de Poblacin (Individual Identity-Registration
Card)
Departamento de Educacin Indgena (Department of Indian Education)
Departamento de Educacin y Cultura Indgena (Department of
Education and Indigenous Cultures
Direccin General de Asuntos Indgenas (General Office of Indigenous
Affairs)
Departamento de Infancia y Familias (Department of Children and
Families)
Ejrcito Zaptatista de Liberacin Nacional (Zapatista National Liberation
Army)
Centro Huichol-Cora (Huichol-Cora Center)
Indian Nations at Risk Task Force
Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa y Informtica (National
Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Information)
Instituto Nacional Indigenista (National Indigenous Institute)
National Advisory Council on Indian Education
Office of Indian Education Programs
Procuradera de Asuntos Indgenas (Office of Indigenous Affairs)
Secretara de Desarrollo Social (Secretary of Social Development)
Secretara de Educacin Indgena (Secretary of Indian Education)
Unin de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholas (Union of Huichol
Indigenous Communities)


218
Women are not as familiar with these religious practices and therefore probably rate them
lower than males.
In addition to a known analysis of factors in Huichol ethnicity, I also ran factor
analyses containing control (independent) variables. In the first case, I included telfonos
(telephones), grabadoras (tape players) and relojes (watches) in the factor analysis to see
if the original variables would still load higher in the component extraction. The result
was that two factors were extracted, one resulting in the close association of the previous
variables, and another resulting from the close association of watches and telephones
(forms of technology). Tape players did not associate directly with either component (see
Figure 7.5)
1.0
.5
o.o
CM
c --5
a>
c
o
Q-
E
O -1.0
-1.0 -.5 0.0 .5 1.0
Component 1
Figure 7.5. Overlaid Plot of Factor Components for Ethnicity and Technology.
Component Plot
reioj_r

telefo_r

refetir r
n o~
tradit_r
grabad_r
lengua r ^


famil r
c
ll



191
Figure 6.2. Esculta (Honoring the Flag).
A teacher enters the ring, following the student presidents comments. He
reminds the students in Wixa that they have examinations approaching in the following
week, and that if they are going to have a tournament, they should postpone it until after
the examinations. He switches almost randomly between Wixa and Spanish; code
switching to emphasize that students should perform well on the examinations. He is
concerned about the dance as well. He emphasizes that the students need to obtain


247
classrooms. Among teachers, the complaint was that they did not have a faculty office,
but instead had to occupy the students library on a regular basis.14 I have mentioned
previously that students at the CETMK have limited textbook resources and must usually
learn about physics and chemistry without the opportunity to do any experiments. At the
telesecundarias, these subjects are presented through videotapes with teacher examples.
Classroom materials are more readily available, but teachings of these subject areas are
not related to the local environment in ways that only indigenous teachers can provide.
This conflict is most noticeable when scientific values and theories have to be fit within
Huichol epistemology and world cosmogony. Non-indigenous teachers unfamiliarity
with Huichol religion ill-prepare them to explain the connections in a way that accents
native epistemology rather than contradicts it. In the case of the loss of Huichol students
to the telesecundarias, at least in the case of the CETMK, I was able to verify the loss of
only one student to the nearby telesecundaria. He was a student who was not performing
well at the CETMK and would have had to repeat the year. Instead, his parents opted to
place him in the telesecundaria close to home rather than having him repeat the previous
year over again at the secondary school.
Community-Centered Schooling and Community (Dis)articulation
The idea of community-centered schooling is not new in educational
anthropology, although theories about its role in promoting cultural preservation are still
being investigated (Oppenheim 2000; Stambach 1996, 2000). At the recent meetings of
authority.
14 The library is a small room that holds filing cabinets containing students records and
the classroom texts. It has very few books other than past workbooks (which are used as
texts by teachers, since students are not allowed to remove them from the library without
permission). As of this writing, a new library is being constructed that includes faculty
space.


98
Indgenas (AJAGI), the Secretara de Educacin Pblica de Jalisco (SEP-Jalisco), and
others, voted to establish a secondary school in Tateikita to begin during the 1995-1996
school year.
The first year of the schools existence was full of conflict. De Aguinaga (1996)
writes about the formative pre-CETMK years of the school and the struggle involved in
bringing the school to the Huichol. Before the CETMK, she writes, a culture of the
West dominated for 20 years (De Aguinaga 1996:65). She adds that there were 35
primaries, 14 of which were dormitory-schools. There were also 21 Unitarian schools
with 1380 students on scholarship, bringing the total to 2880 students in the Sierra
(De Aguinaga 1996:66). At the secondary level, there was only one telesecundaria
(video school) that was struggling to survive in the Sierra, but suffered from attrition and
only had 20 students in attendance at the time in 1996. De Aguinaga (1996) mentions
that many parents were sending their children away to be schooled, but the results were
more detrimental than advantageous for the students and their parents. Besides being
expensive, it alienated children from their culture and family. The current bilingual
curriculum stressed Spanish in the curriculum, much more so than anything indigenous.
The Huichol, in founding the CETMK, wanted to move away from this model (De
Aguinaga 1996:67).
The first ethnographic work involving the CETMK was done by Maren Von Groll
(1997). As a candidate for licenciatura in psychology from the Universidad Nacional
Autonoma de Mxico (UNAM), Von Groll wrote about the construction of self and other.
Her main thesis was to explain the construction of space between self and other that was
to serve as a meeting place between Huichol and the dominant Mestizo culture. Focusing


CHAPTER 6
HUICHOL FORMAL EDUCATION AND THE CETMK
Building the Dream: The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK)
This chapter paints a picture of the organization of the CETMK, drawing from the
dialogue of Huichol faculty, students, and local community members of Tateikita.
Through narrative, I approach the daily life of the school, illustrating a typical days
classes and activities in the school. The chapter concludes by situating the school culture
within the context of a life-long learning cultural initiative and then comparing this to the
perceptions of the CETMK by the greater community. The articulation, or
disarticulation, of the school culture with the local community is exposed in a way that
offers insights into culturally directed educational development projects.
Personnel and Organization
The CETMK is organized with eight faculty/staff members, an advisory board of
padres de familia (parents), and an outside coordinator, Roco de Aguinaga, who
oversees the schools progress from within the ITESO (Instituto Tecnolgico de Estudios
Superiores del Occidente), its primary sponsor. Along with the coordinator exist a
number of administrative assistants in Guadalajara that serve as curriculum development
advisors for the teachers at the CETMK or serve other administrative functions such as
ensuring that proper forms and information reach the Sierra, and that teachers receive
their quincenas (biweekly salaries). She insists that her only role is as an advisor to
assure that that things go smoothly so that the SEP does not decide to close the school
161


136
with them that would endure throughout my remaining time in the Sierra, especially
during the fall semester of the following academic year. Lastly, I traveled to several
remote ranch clusters by family and student invitations during the period from 1998-
2000. These visits allowed me to observe similarities and differences between lifestyles
in Tateikita and those in outlying remote areas.


281
TEMA CUATRO: TECHNOLOGIA [radio, avioneta, camioneta, carretera,
electricidad]
1. Buena | 1 ¡ 1 1 1 1 1 Mala
2. Difcil ¡ 1 1 1 1 1 1 Fcil
3. Importante | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No Importante
4. til | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Intil
5. Caliente | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Fra
6. Fuerte | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Dbil
7. Bonita | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Fea
8. Especial | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Comn
9. Activa | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Pasiva
10. Political ¡ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No es political
11. Personal | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Impersonal
12. Organizada | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Desorganizada
13. Interesante | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Desinteresante
14. Rpida | 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Despacia


234
traveler who brought these items back with him from outside the Sierra. With the arrival
of alcohol, chiefly cerveza (beer), the concept of being on the list took on a whole new
meaning. Instead of debts accruing from a delay in payment receipts, debts were
accruing by those with little to no income to begin with. Many began to spend their
paychecks on alcohol instead of food for their families, creating a downward spiral of
indebtedness ultimately leading to interfamilial and intrafamilial conflict. Prices
hovering at approximately eight pesos per beer (nearly a dollar a piece, by exchange rates
at the time) did not appear to affect consumption by any means.
Much like its role in devastating indigenous communities in the U.S., alcohols
effects were quickly felt throughout the community of Tateiki and the village of
Tateikita. Teachers, the number one consumer of alcoholic beverages, began to make
drinking a regular part of their activities, individuals sometimes going on week-long
binges where they would be absent from a school, leaving students and other teachers
concerned. Not only did alcoholic beverages enter into daily consumption, but their
presence began to taint ceremonies as well.
I must point out here that the Huichol in no way avoided alcoholic beverages
before the arrival of beer and tequila from outside the Sierra region. Instead,
consumption of alcohol was limited to religious ceremonies and village fiestas or national
holidays. At these events, Huichol consumed what are called traditional alcoholic
beverages, chiefly tehuino (a fermented maize beverage) that is used in various offerings
to deities, religious leaders, and both given out to and consumed by attendees in ritualistic
fashion. Now, beer and tequila have entered into religious ceremonies and fiestas.
Instead of ritual-defined alcohol consumption, people frequently stand removed from the


203
are raised to be verbal, for boys in particular. The discontinuities appear to be more
gender-related than persisting broadly to all children, although the foreign concept of
competition introduced through the SEPs point-based grading system still segregate
some childrens beliefs in accomplishment from those of others.
The process of being nunutsi is troublesome for students who find scientific and
cultural matter at odds with their internalized cultural knowledge. For instance, how
does one associate bacteria into a belief that gods have caused misfortune when an
individual becomes ill? Furthermore, what about religion? While texts espouse a
Catholic history, students are, at the same time, being bombarded with traditional
ceremonies and beliefs that do not fit into traditional epistemologies. For each child,
resistance or accommodation is different, but the acceptance of foreign ideas is more
permissible in an educational environment, such as the CETMK, than it is in the general
culture.
Spindler (1997) refers to the shock of Hano Hopi children upon learning that the
kachinas that visited them, as children, were not real. The choice for some is to resist the
fact. For others, a greater understanding is obtained of the reasons why religious
characters exist. For the Huichol children at the CETMK, there are relatively strong
sociocultural bonds between students that allow traditional knowledge to be used as a
complimentary, not opposing system of reality to the Mestizo world.18 A wider culture
of teachers and kin networks that emphasize traditional roles and conformity norms may
18 The students who wore Christian crosses to a soccer tournament, some openly
professing to be Catholic and also being Huichol, represent an excellent example of the
blending of systems.


18
employs eight full-time faculty and staff and 108 students divided among three grade
levels. I was employed, by parental approval, as one of faculty at the Center.
v:::
Figure 1.10. CETMK Classrooms.
Dissertation Outline and Layout
Chapter 2 begins a review of the relevant Fluichol and identity studies literature.
The first section deals specifically with the history of the Huichol people. By examining
the history of the Huichol people, the conditions leading to the present-day political,
religious, socio-economic, and educational situations can be better understood. The chief
authors of Huichol history, namely Phil Weigand and Beatriz Rojas, illustrate the
growing tensions leading to a culture of resistance among the Huichol. Modern historys
responses to outside pressures in such areas as rural development, religious conversion or
education reform, have deep roots in the historical record and its 500+ years of effects
upon the Huichol.
The second section of chapter 2 concerns nationalism and ethnic identity. The
present status of the Huichol is one where local interests may often conflict with those of


132
more information can be obtained over time through many conversations. These
interviews were recorded in field journals, primarily through using traditional pen-and-
paper. Some observations were immediately recorded, while others were recorded
shortly thereafter.
Informal interviewing has a disadvantage in that it requires an unspecified period
of time to establish rapport with informants. Working in indigenous communities,
particularly ones that do not welcome outsiders and are suspicious of the intentions of all
researchers and anthropologists, can be a difficult task. It is for this reason that I
argue that longitudinal research is necessary to adequately use this method in indigenous
communities. Short-term residence is disadvantageous to building long-term social
bonds necessary for people to freely share aspects of their lives with outside researchers.
By combining long-term residence with participant observation, one can gain a better
understanding of the socio-political mechanisms that contribute to culture change within
a given community. For research in Tateikita, I cannot stress enough the importance of
observing change over time, rather than in snapshot anthropology that does not lend the
researcher to establish any potentially permanent-bonds within the community. Short
term ethnography also limits the ability to seek out answers to emerging questions during
the course of the research process.
A still further advantage of informal interviewing is shown among non-literate
societies (or at least those that rely chiefly on an oral tradition). The Huichol, as a
traditionally oral society, have not preserved a written record of their existence and
accomplishments. They have been described as possessing a presentist orientation, and
therefore not concerned with either the past or the future (Grimes 1962). Considered to


209
The questionnaires were administered in a classroom setting, but students were
informed beforehand that the questionnaires would not affect their grades in any way, and
they were informed of their right to refuse to participate, should they desire. Students
could also leave any questions blank that they did not wish to answer. During the time
that the questionnaires were administered, I remained present to assist the students with
any questions they might have during the completion process. Students were further
instructed not to indicate their names anywhere on the forms in order to retain anonymity,
instead indicating their response with M ( of the questionnaires, I assigned each questionnaire a number, using these for all
subsequent data analysis in SPSS version 10.0.5 for Microsoft Windows.
Demographic Data
Of the twenty-three students completing the questionnaire, 56.5% were male and
43.5% were female, indicating a slightly higher number of male students than females.
One student did not indicate his or her age. Removing that outlier, the average age came
to 16.59, or nearly 17 years of age. Both the mode and median were 17, accounting for
31.8% of the 22 students that indicated their ages on the questionnaires. This indicates a
high mean age for students completing their third year at the CETMK. Figure 7.1
indicates student ages of those completing the CETMK.
Most students were either from one of two villages: Tateikita (30.4%) or Los
Lobos (26.1%). The remaining 43.5% were from seven other ranch settlements, with two
individuals not indicating their home residence (see Figure 7.2).


172
willingness to allow their students to attend, there would be no school. A significant
difference between the Huichol parent-teacher association and that of standard secondary
schools, both in Mexico and the U.S. is the level of involvement of parents within the
school.
Figure 6.1. Construction Meeting of padres de familia.
The padres de familia of the CETMK number about 75, with some parents in
charge of multiple students. What is immediately noticed is the commitment of fathers to
the educational process. At reunion meetings, it is the males who speak up and express
their concerns, sometimes in consultation with their spouses, but usually this is not the
case. The comments added by women are frequently ignored, unless they come from
single mothers who may be in charge of multiple children attending the school. As a way
to maintain close contact with the school during the long periods between meetings
(some parents travel by foot from as far as twelve hours away in order to attend
meetings), the president of the parents network is usually present at the school on a daily


285
Gracias por su tiempo y cario! Nadie menos yo sabr sus respuestas y su nombre. Sus
respuestas ayudarn a la escuela, los padres de familia, y la comunidad entender mejor
los cambios que le llegan a usted. Si tiene algn problema o pregunta, por favor
bsqueme en la escuela o la casa de la comunidad.
Investigador,
Brad M. Biglow


248
the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) in Merida, Mexico, a session was held on
educational and community transformation. According to Oppenheim (2001), the
relationship between school and community needs to take on a spiritual dimension that
binds the two environments together cooperatively. In the case of the CETMK, the
school is supposed to be a reflection of the values held by the greater community. What
began to emerge was a realization that the CETMK was undergoing significant change.
First, while firmly establishing itself as a micro culture that shared the common
goals of the wider pan-Indian ethic of the Huichol and other indigenous peoples of
Mexico, the CETMK had become a culture in and of itself over the years, thereby
isolating (alienating) itself from the local community. The experiences of teachers and
students from the previous chapter illustrate their difficulties in establishing the kind of
sharing, spiritual community that Oppenheim (2001) thinks will solve intra-community
educational conflict. The isolation between the school and the community itself creates a
level of distrust thriving on the discontinuities between the two environments, most
especially forging community divisions between primary and secondary school teachers
over misunderstandings about teacher credentials, or the need for more space or
materials.
Second, there was little elder participation in the secondary school other than by
those who happened to be parents of students attending the CETMK. Lastly, most
students were now attending the CETMK directly after having finished the local primary
school. They were becoming younger in age and did not understand the school history,
resulting in a loss of the special status the secondary school once held for students.


301
Greaves, Thomas, ed.
1994 Intellectual Property Rights for Indigenous Peoples: A Sourcebook.
Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.
Grimes, Joseph E.
1962 Semantic Distinctions in Huichol (Uto-Aztecan) Kinship. American
Anthropologist 64:104-14.
1964 Huichol Syntax. The Hague: Mouton and Company.
Gustafson, Bret
1998 Guarani Educational Politics and Multicultural State-Making in Bolivia.
Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(1):20-21.
Haas, T.
1992 What Can I Become?: Educational Aspirations of Students in Rural
America. Washington, D: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small
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Habermas, Jrgen
1990 Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press.
1992 [1984] Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.
1994 Some Questions Concerning the Theory of Power: Foucault Again. In
Critique and Power: Recasting the Foucault / Habermas Debate. Michael
Kelly, ed. Pp. 79-107. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
1998 The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory. Cambridge:
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Hale, Charles R.
1997 Cultural Politics of Identity in Latin America. Annual Review of
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Hale, Kenneth
1992 Endangered Languages. Language 68:1-42.
Harris, Marvin
1979 Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture.
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Harrison, Barbara
1993 Building our House from the Rubbish Tree: Minority-Directed Education.
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46
Not all families can afford to purchase items at the local shops. While most
families receive some sort of assistance either from INI and the Departamento de
Infancia y Familias (DIF), for children attending school, or the Secretara de Desorrollo
Social (SEDESOL) (for planting particular crops), malnourishment still runs rampant,
emphasizing economic differences between have and have-nots. The nutrition of those
who can afford to provide additional essential vitamins, minerals, and protein
supplements to their diet is much different from that of poorer families who may only be
able to provide one meal a day to their children, and this may only be a monotonous daily
consumption of beans and tortilla.
The Huichol are very reluctant to try new foods, which makes introducing new
foods into their diet quite difficult. Weigand notes:
Huichols have shown little enthusiasm for other introduced plants, such as
carrots, lettuce, radishes, and the like. The scanty use of these garden
crops is less a matter of adaptation to soil than one of taste (1979:11).
I found Weigands observations to be trye. Attempts by the biointensive
agriculture project at the CETMK at introducing lettuce and carrots to students resulted in
little interest in their consumption, despite successful yields. The Huichol prefer cabbage
to lettuce, because of its durability. Lettuce is also more delicate than cabbage, making it
an easy target for hungry ants and other insects.
The Material Life of Tateikita
The Huichol of Tateikita, due to their unusually high income levels compared to
those in outlying areas, have developed an interest in material goods. These range from
battery-operated radios and tape players, to expensive television sets and videocassette
recorders. In the case of the former, cheap radios now abound throughout the Sierra,
allowing people to listen to news on an INI-sponsored AM radio station, or to one of


49
primary school and the secondary school is the Franciscan mission. Its doors stay locked,
save for the presence of a Franciscan friar who continues to live within the missions
confines. One rarely, if ever, finds any Huichol attending or making use of the services
of the mission. While once an important landmark, tensions with the local Huichol over
evangelism and land-use rights have resulted in its activities talcing place in seclusion.
Mass is still held nightly, but one will not find any Huichol in attendance. Only visitors
and the local doctor attend mass.
Gender Roles in Tateikita
Gender roles within Tateikita are strictly defined. Women are the primary
caregivers of children, while men take a more peripheral role. Womens work consists of
preparing meals, making and embroidering clothing, and tending to small animals. It is
not a womans place to be vocal publicly. Traditionally, women did not hold political
offices. While this continues to be the case within Huichol society, some women within
Tateikita are more vocal as advisors, though they do not hold public office. This is
especially true of those who are teachers at the primary and secondary level (a
traditionally male occupation for the Huichol), the local indigenous nurse, and those
whose husbands are economically advantaged shopkeepers. These women will freely
express their opinions in public (something very rare traditionally), and tend to be
younger, educated women. Sex segregation continues to be common, however, as
womens social networks do not intermingle with those of males. This division of sexes
has an important historic basis as a means of discouraging adultery.
It is men, not women, who are the most concerned about their childrens
education, particularly that of their male children. Fathers are very protective of their
daughters, however, due to traditional marriage occurring shortly after menarche (ages 13


Ill
mara 'akame (shaman).1 Like Moore (1998:285) noted among the Cheyenne, there is a
distinction between personal religious knowledge and collective religious
knowledge. While individual knowledge gained in visions is ones own business,
collective ceremonies demand a different type of behavior that limits the options
available to the self. Roles, attitudes, and expected behaviors are closely regulated.
On a native cosmological level, Huichol personal-identity is inseparable from a
collective identity. Interactions take place in a natural environment that limits individual
actions. A pantheon of gods control the environments actions on the group, and poor
individual behavior can cause serious environmental consequences for the self and / or
group. The role of Huichol native cosmology in the daily life of the school and
community is important. If Huichol cosmology does, in fact, emphasize communal
rather than individualistic behavior, one would expect to see its importance central to
describing the school culture of the CETMK. Furthermore, a native cosmology that
emphasizes the power of the natural environment over the self would, in theory, mean
that student attitudes towards traditional cultural values would remain strong at the
school.2 Likewise, if there were a shift away from traditional cultural values (Huichol
cosmology) in the school or the community, this would be observable in the daily life of
each.
1 While it is not my intention in this dissertation to analyze Huichol religious matters, a
general discussion of their epistemological role in the overarching Huichol cosmology is
necessary.
2
One aspect of using questionnaires among a student sample population was to
determine exactly what they thought these traditional values were and then to compare
these to researcher observations made at the school.


300
Furst, Peter T., and Marina Anguiano
1976 To Fly as Birds: Myth and Ritual as Agents of Enculturation Among the
Fluichol Indians of Mexico. In Enculturation in Latin America: An Anthology.
Johannes Wilbert, ed. Pp. 95-181. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center.
Furst, Peter T., and Barbara G. Myerhoff
1966 Myth as History: The Jimson Weed Cycle of the Huichols of Mexico.
Antropolgica 17:3-39.
Gans, Herbert J.
1979 Symbolic ethnicity: the future of ethnic groups and cultures in America.
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2:1-20.
Gegeo, David W., and Karen Watson-Gegeo
1999 Adult Education, Language Change, and Issues of Identity and Authenticity in
Kwaraae (Solomon Islands). Anthropology and Education Quarterly 30(1):
22-36.
Geomundo
1997 Volume 21, number 8. Mxico: Editorial Televisa, S.A. de C.V.
Gibson, Margaret A.
1987 Punjabi Immigrants in an American High School. In Education and Cultural
Process: Anthropological Approaches, 3rd ed. George D. Spindler, ed.
Pp. 281-310. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
1997 Playing by the Rules. In Education and Cultural Process: Anthropological
Approaches, 3rd ed. George D. Spindler, ed. Pp. 262-272. Prospect Heights,
IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Gilliland, Hap
1992 Teaching the Native America, 2nd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt.
Giroux, Henry A.
1983 Theory and Resistance in Education: A Pedagogy for the Opposition.
South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey.
1992 Border Crossings: Cultural Workers and the Politics of Education.
New York: Routledge.
Gmez Lpez, Paula
1995 Lengua y cultura. In Reflexiones sobre la identidad tnica. Jos Luis Itturioz
Leza, et al., eds. Pp. 121-142. Guadalajara, Mxico: Universidad de
Guadalajara.
Gramsci, Antonio
1971 Selections from the Prison Notebooks. New York: International
Publishers.


50
to 15). The education of female children is considered a substantial economic
investment, because the early marriage of a female child will bring more labor into the
family economic unit. Men are expected to contribute financially to the well-being of
their nuclear and affinal extended families. As a result, migrant labor is common,
although within Tateikita, the population is not as fluid as in more remote rancheras.
This is because several economically advantaged kinship networks (e.g., the Saludos
family) dominate the local economy.
Nationalism and Ethnic Identity
The remainder of this chapter is about the connections between nationalism and
ethnic identity among indigenous peoples. I will define the terms ethnicity and
identity, showing how they are interrelated in discussions about indigenous peoples in
the modern world. I will then discuss how the themes of autonomy, self-determination,
and resistance have generated arguments among indigenous peoples, particularly in Latin
America. These debates serve as arenas for the assertion of ethnic identity at national and
transnational levels. I conclude here by discussing the literature concerning the
relationship between freedom and culture, and how indigenous peoples associate their
reasons for mobilization with rights of sovereignty to control their own internal affairs
and cultural traditions.
Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples
No discussion of indigenous peoples and culture change could be constructed
without first going to the roots of what indigenous people are and how they perceive their
world. At the heart of ideology for indigenous people lie discussions of their identity and
ethnicity. What are these concepts, and what roles do they play in defining the daily life
of indigenous peoples? Moreover, how are these notions created and recreated?


131
extroverted of the student body, making them the most favorable sample for acceptance
of such a test. As for first and second year students, I knew that they had limited Spanish
proficiency and would be reluctant to ask me for assistance if any of the instructions or
questions were unclear to them.
The students, as a group, agreed to help me with my research, resulting in
questionnaires being administered anonymously to twenty-three individuals all at once.
I explained the questionnaires to them, including their ability to opt out of participating
should they so choose to do so. I justified the questionnaires by explaining their
significance to understanding Huichol culture change from the students perspective. I
also said that their responses would help teachers to assess the schools mission and make
any necessary adjustments that could be discussed by everyone (parents, teachers, and
students) at a future school assembly meeting.
Informal Interviewing and Oral History Reconstruction
As mentioned above in the sampling section, informal interviewing was an
extremely important technique involved in this research. After I administered
questionnaires to students and had formally interviewed key personnel involved in the
CETMK project, informal interviewing became the primary data collection method.
Informal interviewing was conducted in the course of daily participation within the
secondary school and community, involving teachers, students, parents, and various
members from the community who were shopkeepers, primary teachers, or otherwise
involved in community affairs within Tateikita and the surrounding area. As an effective
tool for qualitative data collection, informal interviewing is both reciprocal and building.
By reciprocal, I mean that both questions and answers are mutually contributed to the
process by those involved in a conversation. As such, the conversation builds so that


88
impact of the dominant society on indigenous ways of being and knowing. In cultural
revitalization, there are frequently few people left, usually elders, who are competent in a
native language or heritage of an indigenous nation. Cultural revitalization is concerned
with disseminating the knowledge and providing ways to facilitate its continuance within
mainstream indigenous societies. Both preservation and revitalization position share,
however, the common theme of maintenance of a pluralistic society that values
difference.
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A U.S. Perspective
Native education in the United States, as shown by the historical section, has,
until the recent self-determination period, focused on the conversion of native peoples
lifeways to fit into a national concept of American identity. In this new collective
identity there was no place for the Indian child as Indian. In describing his own
experiences growing up in public schools, Professor Thomas Peacock at the University of
Minnesota, Duluth recalls:
My own schooling had reminded me that American Indians were a
neglected part of the American story. My Minnesota history was the
history of non-Indian settlement. American history began with the landing
of Columbus. During Thanksgiving we decorated our classrooms with
pilgrims, turkeys, and Indians. That was the only time it was good to be
an Indian. There were no American Indian teachers, teacher aides, or bus
drivers. There wasnt even an American Indian janitor. Once I got on the
bus for school each morning it was like taking a trip to another country, a
place that bore no resemblance to my own world. It was as if American
Indians were invisible. We didnt count. We werent important. (Cleary
and Peacock 1998:16-17).
These types of experiences were commonplace in the Wisconsin Northwoods as
well as other parts of the country. I recall as late as the 1980s receiving no Native
American history despite being within 50 miles of three Ojibwa reservations, one being


42
(Weigand 1979:109). The fact that land is collective means that the territorial lands
cannot be individually bought and sold. It is communal in that individual titles to plots
of land within the overall unit are not granted (Weigand 1979:111). Weigand
(1979:111) continues, however, lack of title does not imply lack of very strong and
inheritable use rights. Instead, individual families retain possession of plots of land
within tracts that are cleared annually utilizing a slash-and-bum technique. Within each
cleared tract of land, several different families may have planted crops. Boundary
divisions between familial plots are delineated by color of corn that has been planted. In
addition, there is little population pressure on the land, so disputes are not common.
Not only may several families share a tract of land, but also each individual
family may possess multiple locations where they have a right to plant. These may be at
different elevations so as to maximize the types of crops that can be grown. For instance,
while some crops, such as corn and squash, still grow well at higher elevation, other
crops, especially beans, do not yield at such elevations. These crops, instead, will be
planted at lower elevations, interspersed amongst com stalks, if they are planted at all.
Because land is considered womens property, men do not ordinarily clear,
plant, and harvest their own tracts of land, but instead will be responsible for preparing
and harvesting crops from the lands of their spouses, if married, or those of their mother,
sisters, or other female kin. Land is passed on matrilineally, meaning use rights will pass
from a mother equally to each of her daughters. Upon the death of a female, her portion
of the land will pass directly to her surviving daughters. If none are present, the land will
be subsumed and reallocated to another family by the traditional authorities. These
observations are in contrast to Weigand (1979:111), who says farm plots and
farmsteads, however, also go to the eldest son of the first wife if he is capable of


4
factors, such as identity fragmentation and conflict in the local community, can inhibit
programs in cultural preservation. How the culture of the school community is directed
and advised become crucial for understanding the effectiveness of the school culture in
meeting the goals set forth in its mission. Power and the control of information flow,
principally knowledge, determine the schools path and, ultimately, its success or failure
in language and culture preservation.
Research Site
The Huichol Homeland Communities
The Huichol homeland encompasses roughly 4,000 officially recognized
kilometers (of some natively claimed 90,000 square kilometers) located in the Sierra
Madre Mountains of what are the modem day Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and
Durango (see Figure 1.1). Within this area, or kiekari, live approximately 18-20,000
Huichol divided between three communities: San Andrs Cohamiata (Tateiki), San
Sebastian Teponahuaxtln (Waul+a), and Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitln (Tuapurie),
although sometimes the peripheral areas of Tuxpan de Bolaos (Tutsipe) and Guadalupe
Ocotn (Xatsitsarie) are included by the Huichol because of their historical significance.1
The most numerous settlements are located in Northern Jalisco and Eastern Nayarit (see
Figure 1.2).
1 While three communities are noted in contemporary analysis, there were historically as
many as five Huichol communities. Due to land loss to Mestizos and Huichol population
decline, these geographic areas are no longer officially recognized as Huichol
communities, though Huichol people may constitute a majority of the inhabitants in the
regions.


66
nation-state which includes a political dimension. If an indigenous ethnic group, such
as the Huichol, can be considered a nation of people, such as is common among the
many indigenous peoples of Native North America, then without freedom, how can they
be autonomous? The term nation-state, on the other hand, expands the idea of freedom
to the formation of an almost idealistic state. This idealistic state then possesses a
political dimension that is seen as the liberating force for the freedom they seek. The
ethnic group uses their political power to retain their culture.
Cruz Burgette (1998:98) refers to these political dimensions as methods of
resistance by which an ethnic group can maintain itself as a distinct nation of people.
She further states that these ethnic traits are present in three dimensions: social, cultural,
and historical that act as legitimizing factors in quests for ethnic autonomy (Cruz
Burgette (1998:99-100). Lastly, she also points out that native language use is one of the
most important strategies for survival of an ethnic group (Cruz Burgette 1998). Along
with its loss, she believes, comes the loss of an understanding of traditional religious
symbolism. The Huichol believe that their language reflects their reality and equate loss
of it with loss of their native ways of thought (Gmez Lpez 1995). This is further
supported by Altamirano and Hirabayashi (1997:10) who define the uses of a native
language, in conjunction with religion, common conceptions of time and space, and
music and dance as significant characteristics in defining regional identities needed for
ethnic mobilization of nations of people.
In Mexican indigenismo policy of the past, the identity of indigenous groups in
Mexico was diminished. The idea of being Indian was stigmatized into being
something negative. The nationalistic movement among indigenous peoples of Mexico is
now changing this idea, especially since the Zapatista uprising in 1994. Friedlander


135
residence within a ranch compound. In that location, I would have my own room in a
building shared with a family of four.
Apart from daily contact at the school that included attendance at all student
assemblies, faculty meetings, and regular reports on the status of my investigations
during the research period, I attended a large number of community events. These
included: five fiestas del tambor traditional child ceremonies (two in Tateikita, two in a
neighboring ranch cluster known as Robles with a teachers family, and another in yet a
third ranch known as Ocolote)\ participation in two Mexican Flag Day festivals within
the village, one Independence Day celebration, two celebrations for the patron Saint of
the village; attendance and participation at two traditional community-wide assembly
meetings in the community head of Tateiki; four assembly meetings in Tateikita, two
graduation ceremonies of the primary school, and one of the CETMK school in
Tateikita,b and finally, one despedida (parting ceremony) of peyoteros from Tateikita and
subsequent festivities surrounding their arrival back in Fall 1999.
In addition to occurrences within Tateikita, I also went along with one other
teacher from the school as chaperones for a trip by second year students to Mexico City
during an eight-day period, in May 1999. It was during this trip that I was to learn that it
was the second year group of students rather than those in the third year who were the
most outgoing. Over the course of the trip, I was able to closely observe the actions of
Huichol youth with the outside world, as many of them had never been outside the Sierra
before, and had not previously seen the city and its lifestyle. I established close bonds
Q
The closing of a second school year was missed, but I was able to interact with newly
graduated students from the CETMK shortly thereafter in July 2000.


196
different locations on the map. He concludes the days lecture when students now know
the sacred directions. In many cases, they may have heard of the locales before but did
not know of their historical significance to the Huichol people.
At 11 am, there is a recess of a half hour. Many students rush up into the
community to buy bolis (flavored ice water from one of the shops that has a gas
refrigerator) or candy. Others go to a storage room designated as a store where the
students have purchased bottles of soda directly from a Pepsi truck that now visits the
village every two weeks or so. Still others are now going into the COPUSI, a cooperative
kitchen, where they can pay two pesos and receive some tortillas and beans (see Figure
6.4). This location is especially popular with students who have walked to school in the
morning from neighboring ranches. Many of them have not yet had a meal, and the
COPUSI meal may be their only one for the day. The COPUSI is extra-popular when the
cooks serve chicken soup, and it is not unusual to see faculty crowd-in to eat on those
days (for an additional fee of eight pesos).
Figure 6.4. COPUSI Dining Facility of the CETMK.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Brad Biglow is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary cultural anthropology
program of the Anthropology Department of the University of Florida. He received his
bachelors degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, graduating
magna cum laude in 1992 with dual minors in sociology and anthropology. He continued
his education at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff earning a masters degree in
applied interdisciplinary cultural anthropology with distinction for his research entitled
Educational Futures, Culture Change, and the Community College: Integrating
Language, Technology, and Diversity into the Anthropological Curriculum. He has
worked in numerous areas, from systems administration and computer consulting, to
museum collections management, and applied research in educational anthropology among
Native Americans. His academic interests include science and technology studies,
philosophy of education, ethnic studies, and language and culture.
313


249
In the model that follows (see Figure 7.16), I have attempted to reconstruct the
flow of information and social relations between the various parties involved in the
school: In this figure, T1 represents secondary teachers; T2, primary teachers; P, parents
of students; C, the local community; and S, the CETMK students.
PAN-INDIAN GOALS
SCHOOL
Figure 7.16. Model of School-Community Relations and the CETMK.
In this simplified model, the relationship of secondary school relations are
mapped to the larger pan-Indian community in a parallel fashion to that of the primary
teachers and the general community. In the flow of information, both cultures (the school
and the local community) are linked directly to the pan-Indian goals of the greater
Huichol community. For those in the general community, there is regular contact and
discussion of concerns between community members who expressed their localized
concerns into the organic superstructure. In the case of those involved in the CETMK,
teachers filter and transform the pan-Indian goals to fit the needs of the community of the


63
The Huichol were among those to identity with the causes of the Zapatistas.
While generally a passive people, they had experienced periods of harassment by
authorities during their pilgrimages to sacred sites, and in carrying peyote back to their
villages. Most recently, in March 1998, a group ofpeyoteros (those on the peyote
pilgrimage) from Taeiki was detained at a military outpost outside Huejuquilla del Alto,
Jalisco and charged with drug trafficking, a federal offense (Valadez 1998). These
actions were considered to be in direct violation of Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution,
which says that the Huichol use of peyote is legally protected. Moreover, according to
Valadez (1998), in the International Vienna Treaty of Psychotropic Substances, ratified
by Mexico in 1961, there is a clause that specifically states that indigenous groups who
use psychotropic plants in their magicoreligious ceremonies are exempt from legal
prosecution. After a public outrage, the peyoteros were released, but the peyote was
confiscated, creating anger and distrust among locals in the town and within the Huichol
communities. Up until that time, the Huichol had mostly been passive. The state of
Jalisco has been primarily friendly toward the Huichol, which has enabled them to
maintain a limited degree of autonomy within the homeland region. The Huichol feared
that this friendly period was coming to an end.
Since the incident of March 1998, the militarization of the Sierra region has
increased significantly. There are now military forces present at community assembly
meetings, bags are checked for contraband (principally arms) when flying in or out of the
Sierra, and intellectuals are watched closely. The killing of the American reporter Philip
True in December 1998 did not help the situation, and the Huichol have grown extra


107
Pan-Indianism is useful to an understanding of Huichol language and culture
preservation because the intellectual community shares its goals. In Tateikita, the
majority of influential residents in the social hierarchy are also teachers, be they primary,
secondary, or educacin inicial (preschool). As teachers, they are in positions to control
information (Apple 1995, 1996, McLaren 1998). They can propagate or limit the
dissemination of thoughts and ideas regarding ethnicity and culture, and they can also be
markers of traditionality or agents for social change. Since teachers are the ones who
receive payment on a regular basis for their instruction, they are also the most likely
individuals to be literate and travel outside the Sierra. Bums (1998) found the native
Maya teachers he assisted in curriculum development in the Yucatn to be primary agents
of voice in discussions of pan-Indian ideologies. With this in mind, they were also the
most in control of traditional educational values that were now shifting from informal to
formal educational institutions, be they in encouraging the use of the local Maya dialect,
or in regulating the school year cycle (Bums 1998). When looking at the educational
atmosphere in Tateikita, one must not neglect the power of teachers as both agents of
change and social discourse moderators in discussions of pan-Indian goals of self-
determination that the Huichol share with neighboring indigenous peoples. Huichol
acknowledgement that they share common goals with EZLN mandates, those of the
International Labor Organization, and COCOPA resolutions is further proof that they are
not as ideologically isolated from the outside world as they may, at first, appear to be.
Anthropological discourses on pan-Indianism seem to fall short at the level of
regional cultures. According to Lomnitz-Adler (1991:198), regional culture is the
internally differentiated and segmented culture produced by human interaction within a


201
borrowing circle, the situation is used as an example at school meetings of a need to show
respect for the belongings of others.17
Other items of personal property become group property as well. These include
tape players and cassette tapes. Ranchera music is quite popular among students and any
new tape will circulate through many hands until just about everybody has had it in his or
her possession for a little while. The same occurs with regional music, popularized by a
number of different Huichol groups that sing in both Spanish and Huichol. A number of
local groups have emerged in recent years, all producing cassette tapes for sale in local
communities. These tapes are played regularly, and form the most popular type of music
among students and local community members of Tateikita. In addition to trading tapes,
personal tape players are also redistributed, equalizing the difference in economic wealth
between students that may have money to purchase these luxury items and those who do
not. Batteries have become a prized commodity as students listen to music at all hours of
the day (sometimes during class!).
Not only has music become a way to reinforce regional identity among Huichol,
but so has a reinterpretation of the symbolism of narcotraficantes (drug dealers),
particularly among young males. On the surface, it appears that students are idealizing
these dealers through the possession of hats that contain the symbols of marijuana leaves,
guns, and state names. The strong allure of these symbols for young students, is the idea
of cultural resistance and separation. By wearing these symbols, individuals are showing
17
I have loaned jackets and other clothing items to students at their request, only to watch
them circle around to other students, sometimes returning, sometimes not. Watches are
also a frequent item to make the rounds among students.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank my committee members-Dr. John Moore for being ever-
supportive of my work with native peoples; Dr. Allan Burns for instilling in me the
interest and drive to engage in Latin American anthropology, and helping me to discover
the Huichol; Dr. Gerald Murray for our shared interests in language, culture, and
education; Dr. Paul Magnarella for guidance and support in human rights activism, law,
and intellectual property; and Dr. Robert Sherman for our mutual love of educational
philosophy. Without you, this dissertation would be a mere dream.
My life in the Sierra has been filled with countless names and memories. I would
like to thank all of my friends and family at the CETMK, especially Carlos and Ciela,
Marina and ngel, Agustn, Pablo, Feliciano, Everardo, Amalia, Rodolfo, and Armando,
for opening your families and lives to me. In addition, I thank my former students,
including los chavos (Benjamn, Salvador, Miguel, and Catarino), las chicas (Sofia,
Miguelina, Viviana, and Anglica), and los msicos (Guadalupe and Magdaleno). From
the community, I thank the autoridades iradicionales/kawiteros and mara akatesDon
Ricardo, Samuel, Faustino, Gerardo and family, Chalio, Manuel, and Lucio.
Professionally, I thank Roco de Aguinaga, Sarah Corona, Carlos Chvez and ngeles
Arcos of Asociacin Jalisciense de Apoyo a Grupos Indgenas (AJAGI), Mike Finerty,
Oscar Hagerman, Hctor Hernndez, Dago and Karen, and los pilotos. Lastly, I wish to
thank my family and fiends for helping me through the critical stages of this researchthe
IV


10
More recent statistics released from the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) in 1993
indicate that there are 19,363 Huichol, irrespective of residency within the three
communities (Instituto Nacional Indigenista 1993). Two years later, however, this
number jumped to an astonishing 28,001 Huichol speakers, a figure that no doubt
includes urban Huichol as well (Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e
Informtica 1995). The fact is that no one is exactly certain how many Huichol there are,
since birth records, in many cases, are inaccurate or nonexistent. Only if people attend
school or obtain some form of official employment do they usually obtain a Cdula
nica de Registro de Poblacin (CURP) number, analogous to U.S. Social Security
Numbers. Also, many children do not attend school, at least according to the Instituto
Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e Informtica (INEGI), which states that greater than
40.1% of those six years of age or older do not attend school (INEGI 1990). Another
52.7% or more of the general population are illiterate (INEGI 1990).
Figure 1.5. Student Banner Promoting the UCIH


148
PETIKUYE?
awiweyametsie CANCER X-f KA
0XE1YANI, PUYU UAYEMARIN+A
Figure 5.1. Huichol Cancer Advisory. (Source: Secretary of Health, Jalisco).
Life in Tateikita revolves around both religious and school, or secular, calendars;
otherwise, there is not much difference between any given weekday. Saturdays continue
to be work days and will often involve community projects such as fixing the road to
the village or mending the barbwire fence around the airstrip in order to keep out animals.
All local communal projects come under the jurisdiction of the comisara (commissary or
mayors office). While community improvement projects generally take place on
Saturdays, this is no hard and fast rule. Women must clean (sweep) the plaza area on a
rotating schedule a couple of times per week, including Sundays, and after, or before, all
public ceremonies or meetings.


215
When a factor analysis is run separating the sexes, there was once again one
component extracted for each sex. For males, the component extracted explained 61.79%
of the variance in the initial eigenvalues (see Table 7.3). For females, the component
explained 71.63% of the variance (see Table 7.4).
Table 7.3. Percent of Variance Explained for Males by Principle Component Analysis.
Total Variance Explained
Initial Eigenvalues
Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings
Component
Total
% of Variance
Cumulative %
Total
% of Variance
Cumulative %
1
3.085
61.696
61.696
3.085
61.696
61.696
2
1.023
20.468
82.164
3
.638
12.765
94.929
4
.196
3.912
98.841
5
5.797E-02
1.159
100.000
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
a. Only cases for which SEX = 0 are used in the analysis phase.
Table 7.4. Percent of Variance Explained for Females by Principle Components Analysis
Total Variance Explained
Initial Eigenvalues
Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings
Component
Total
% of Variance
Cumulative %
Total
% of Variance
Cumulative %
1
3.582
71.631
71.631
3.582
71.631
71.631
2
.809
16.188
87.819
3
.519
10.374
98.193
4
9.036E-02
1.807
100.000
5
-2.00E-16
-3.998E-15
100.000
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
a- Only cases for which SEX = 1 are used in the analysis phase.
The results of these separate factor analyses reveal that the same factor is
underlying the responses from either sex. What is more interesting, however, is the
weight of the various variables in the component extraction (see Figures 7.5 and 7.6 for
males and females, respectively). For men, dress, religion, and traditions were the


CHAPTER 5
DOING APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AMONG THE HUICHOL
Applied Anthropology and the Question of Researcher Roles
The research conducted for this dissertation and data collected are the result of
doing applied anthropology. Because of the nature of applied anthropology versus
traditional anthropology, a brief discussion of its meaning and impact on my fieldwork
are necessary.
Applied anthropology, as expressed by van Willigen (1993:7), is simply
anthropology put to use. It is a synthesis between theory and practice in cultural
problem solving. It is also known as the service of anthropology to organizations,
businesses and other groups because the anthropologist is frequently contracted by one of
these affiliates. When it is done as a fulltime occupation, it is known as practicing
anthropology (Van Willigen 1993:7). In applied anthropology, the researcher usually
fills a consulting or collaborative role that may be paid or unpaid. The assumption is that
the history of anthropological ethics is such that the anthropologists of new must atone
for the sins committed by anthropology in the past. It is believed that anthropological
research has historically exploited indigenous peoples and other ethnic groups purely for
the sake of research itself. Any research results were either not shared with informants
and cultural groups, or in no way contributed to their own benefit. The knowledge
retrieved from these types of traditional research is often considered stolen by locals
who considered it sacred intellectual property. Many local people felt as though the
137


193
As the first classes begin, students are restless. In the first year classroom, AD is
introducing mathematics to students. She, unlike RS, is nearly entirely in Wixau She is
well-collected, and begins to go over homework assignments, with each student coming
to the front as called to have their work graded. The students are young and restless;
some playing in the back of the room while AD is not able to see what is going on. There
are 37 students in the classroom, ranging in age from twelve to fifteen.15 Some are more
interested in learning than others who have done little, of any, of the assignment.
Afterwards, she has students do problems on the board.
Figure 6.3. CETMK Teacher Addressing Students.
14 Womens monolingual literacy rates are much higher than that of males, as males are
more likely to have traveled outside the Sierra to work in fields or visit kin.
15 Students ages at each grade level vary by several years because many did not enter
school directly from the primary, started at a later age, or were held back for academic
reasons. The age variance between students ages within any grade level at the CETMK
appear to be stabilizing however, as well as beginning to be younger and younger as more
progress directly from primary into secondary schooling.


9
a politico-territorial distinction having pre-Hispanic significance. Each Huichol
community comprises a geographic area equivalent to that of a U.S. county, but running
directly in conflict with the Mexican municipio system which divides Huichol
communities under the jurisdiction of different municipios, and even states. Like a
Mexican municipio, each comunidad contains a number of principal village settlements
that is home to several rancheras (extended family households). Each of the three
Huichol comunidades (communities) is considered to be autonomous, electing its own
political leaders according to the historic gobernador colonial system remaining from the
days of Spanish occupation of Mexico, and also choosing its own religious leaders.
Although the three communities are autonomous, they are loosely bound together
by a governing board known as the Unin de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholas (Union
of Huichol Indigenous Communities or UCIH) (see Figure 1.5). All members are elected
and appointed democratically by the Huichol communities. The UCIH does not directly
intervene in the daily affairs of any of the Huichol communities, but rather serves as a
mediator for disputes at state and national levels over indigenous affairs. The UCIH also
serves to disseminate information among the various communities and acts in collective
bargaining agreements with other organizations such as the Procuradera de Asuntos
Indgenas (Agency for Indigenous Affairs or PAI) of Jalisco and the Instituto Nacional
Indigenista (National Indigenous Institute or INI).
The largest of the three communities in both geographic area and population is
Tateiki. This community contains approximately 1750 adult Huichol members
according to Rojas (1993:19). This figure, however, dates from 1950, and there is no
current breakdown of Huichol population by indigenous community since that time.


75
twenty-five off-reservation schools by the start of the 20th century. In the Southwest,
institutions were few and far between. A congressional act of 1918 led to large numbers
of Indian children who had no way to attend school because they were either considered
state citizens or of less than one quarter Indian blood (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972:9). By
making Indians citizens of the United States, the U.S. could escape honoring previous
treaties and legislation regarding Indian education and federal policy.
The next historical stage was separation / autonomy / sovereignty, which began
in the 1920s and continued until 1953. With results of the 1928 Meriam Report, the
problems with the under-funding of Indian boarding schools were brought to light (Fuchs
and Havighurst 1972). These revelations were studied hard when John Collier became
Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1933, appointed under President Franklin D.
Roosevelt. He held the position until 1945. During Colliers tenure, the Indian
Reorganization Act of 1934 was passed, returning much local control to tribes that were
subsequently encouraged to develop their own tribal governments (Adams 1971:75).
This act eliminated individual allotment of tribal land and made native peoples
responsible for their own economic rehabilitation.
It was during this era that many of the boarding schools were converted into "day
schools." Day schools enhanced the learning experience for Native Americans by
allowing students to complete their schooling in much closer proximity to their families,
with the privilege to return home at night. It was also at this time that the government
pushed Indian tribes into public school attendance. Many of the Indian boarding schools
had met their quota, making it difficult for other Indian children to be educated without


PRIMER AO DE SECUNDARIA
8:30-9:00
LUNES
'//////////y
HONORES A LA
BANDERA
MARTES
777777777777/
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
WIXARIKA
MIERCOLES
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
WIXARIKA
JUEVES
''//y/////////
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
WIXARIKA
VIERNES
//////////AA
DIARIO
PERSONAL EN
ESPAOL
9:00-10:00
MATEMATICAS
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
MATEMATICAS
WIXARIKA
(ESCRITURA)
CIENCIAS
(PRACTICAS)
10:00-11:00
11:30-12:30
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
ESPAOL
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
CIENCIAS
(BIOLOGA)
MATEMATICAS
CULTURA
WIXARIKA
ACTIVIDADES
COMUNITARIAS
ESPAOL
INTRODUCCION
A LA FSICA Y
QUIMICA

ASAMBLEA
12:30-1:30
3:30-4:30
ESPAOL
INGLES
CIENCIAS
(BIOLOGA)
HORTALIZA O
CARPINTERIA
ARTISTICAS
EDUCACION
FISICA
DERECHOS
INDIGENAS
HORTALIZA O
CARPINTERIA
(TALLERES)
ASAMBLEA
4:30-6:00
INGLES
TALLERES
EDUCACION
FISICA
TALLERES
290


310
Spindler, George D.
1974 The Transmission of Culture. In Education and Cultural Process:
Anthropological Approaches, 2nd ed. George D. Spindler, ed.
Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
1997 The Transmission of Culture. In Education and Cultural Process:
Anthropological Approaches, 3rd ed. George D. Spindler, ed. Pp. 275-309.
Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.
Sprott, John
1994 "Symbolic Ethnicity" and Alaska Natives of Mixed Ancestry Living in
Anchorage: Enduring Group or Sign of Impending Assimilation? Human
Organization, 53:311-322.
Stalin, Josef
1953 [1934] Marxism and the National and Colonial Question. New York:
International Publishers.
Stambach, Amy
1996 Knowledge is Wealth: The Culture of Schooling Among the Chagga of
Northern Tanzania. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Chicago.
2000 Lessons from Mount Kilimanjaro: Schooling, Community, and Gender in East
Africa. New York: Routledge.
Stavenhagen, Rodolfo
1963 Clases, colonialismo y aculturacin. Amrica Indgena 6:63-104.
1994 The Indian Resurgence in Mexico: New Thinking About Old Issues.
Cultural Survival Quarterly. Summer / Fall. Pp. 77-80.
Swisher, Karen G.
1991 American Indian / Alaskan Native Learning Styles: Research and Practice.
Charleston, WV: ERIC: CRESSAppalachia Educational Laboratory.
Szasz, Margaret C.
1999 Education and the American Indian: The Road to Self-Determination
Since 1928. Albuquerque, NM: The University of New Mexico Press.
Turnbull, Colin
1987 The Mountain People. New York: Touchstone Books.
Unidad de Apoyo a Comunidades Indgenas
1999 El alcohol y sus consecuencias en el pueblo Wixarika. Guadalajara:
Unidad de Apoyo a Comunidades Indgenas y la Universidad de Guadalajara.


219
In two subsequent factor analyses by sex, three components were extracted,
although only two were significant, once again showing clusters of the variables
underlying ethnicity in one component and technology in another (see Figures 7.6 and
7.7).
Component Plot
Figure 7.6. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Males.
These control plots further substantiate the grouping of ethnicity variables as a
significant component. Once again, the lower importance of family (best illustrated by
Figure 7.7 for females) is indicated in the plots. The variable for importance of
indigenous language falls within the first component in both factor runs by sex despite its
loading value being .414 for males (still significantly lower compared to ,8s and ,9s for
the other variables). For females, importance of indigenous language continued to load


184
mostly from Europe (Finland) and from an Adventist missionary organization known as
the Amistad Foundation. Amistad has been responsible for securing the materials for
the new library and cultural center, one of the classrooms, and for sponsoring both the
education of PGC in biointensive agriculture in California, and start of the horticulture
project at the CETMK.
The funding of the CETMK is not without its criticisms. The problem from an
administrative position is that the SEP naturally favors a telesecundaria video school
model for rural areas. As a result, the CETMK is in a constant struggle to maintain funds
to continue to operate and develop new programs. Criticism arises when the funding
sources are beyond the hands of the Huichol themselves.
In the case of Amistad, their director and regional representative in Mexico
offered to assist the director of the school with obtaining funding for the new library,
most recently by acquiring books and materials. The decision to involve them was
accepted as long as any work was done in good faith. Their participation in the project
came with some resistance from the coordinator, and others, who saw the school
becoming externally, rather than internally, controlled. While some students have been
offered full scholarships to attend an Adventist preparatory school after graduation, the
tension remains strong among locals who know they need assistance and the fears that
may result from losing control over their own dream.
Fears are especially evident in the eyes of the coordinator and some teachers and
community members who say they are keeping a close watch on what is going on. But
criticisms also reach the level of the local community, those who are not integrated into
the culture of the school and, therefore, cannot understand the reasons why certain


5
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a very isolated, yet beautiful, area that straddles
the coastline of western Mexico. It varies in elevation from several thousand feet to well
over 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). Perhaps two of the most striking characteristics of this
region are the climate and topography.
Figure 1.1. The Huichol Homeland
The climate of the region is extremely dry. Apart from the summer monsoon
season, the area receives little or no rain. Climate is largely a factor of altitude, varying
from a subtropical zone with lush vegetation at lowest elevations, to pine-clad forests at
its highest. Topography within the homeland consists of a series of mesas jutting up
several thousands of feet, cut by the powerful Chapalagana River. Between the mesas
lies a wealth of canyons and valleys. The Huichol populate the mesas for the most part,
like the Hopi Indians in Arizona, preferring to migrate with the seasons, from the villages
during the winter months, to family ranches located at higher elevations during the
summer, while retaining their agricultural plots at a slightly lower altitude. The Huichol


202
their defiance of the state regime. Not once have I observed these symbols actually
pertaining to any ones individual belief in the ability to traffic drugs or carry guns.
Teachers at the CETMK are constantly revising their curriculum, trying to
improve their methodology. Matusov (1999) discusses the methods needed for a
community of learners to maintain itself longitudinally over time. Each teacher learns
how to act within the culture of the school in the same way that each new generation of
students is incorporated into the school. For instance, first year students of the CETMK
are still considered children by a lot of the older students. They will say that the students
still have a lot to learn. This is for the most part true. They learn the enculturation
process by watching the older students and then come to mimic these behaviors over
time.
The second year at the CETMK usually becomes the transition year for students.
At this stage they either fit in or fall out of the system. This is the primary reason for the
drop-off in class numbers between second and third year students at the CEMK (usually a
loss of around 15%, or 8 to 9 of their students, to marriage or academic failure).
Margaret Gibson (1987,1997) calls this process learning to play by the rules in
resistance and accommodation of newly acquired role expectations. These resistance or
accommodation scenarios then become markers of continuity or discontinuity in the
educational process; discontinuity that Spindler (1974:308) refers to as an abrupt
transition from one mode of being and behaving to another. For the Huichol, the
discontinuity between home and school environments is minimized by the efforts of
schooling within their own native communities. Unlike some native peoples cultures,
such as the study of early Papago Indian education by Macias (1987), Huichol children


206
The other statements pertaining to the use of Huichol as a foreign language and
the salaries of teachers are unjustified. Teachers are actually paid less than at the primary
school and sometimes do not receive their checks regularly, unlike at the primary school.
They also work longer hours without compensation. As for the formal listing of Huichol
as a foreign language study area, the justifications by AS and CSD that students do not
know their own culture (sacred sites, deities, etc.), are used to justify Huichol as a foreign
language. Despite open invitations to members of the primary school and community to
attend the secondary school and observe what is really going on, there has been little
interest.19
The concerns about the particularity or community nature of the school are
justified, however, due to the politics associated with the funding difficulties for
maintenance the CETMK. Greater community involvement in the expression of their
concerns could help rectify the situation. This is not being done, however, at this point in
time. The next chapter will highlight the discontinuities and continuities of the school
culture with the general community through data analysis of a sample group of CETMK
students.
19 During my time working at the CETMK, I never observed any visitation of the school
by members of the primary. And only once did a non-parent from the CETMK visit the
school during an open workshop on Indigenous Rights sponsored by the NGO AJAGI and
RADP1 (Network of Lawyers for Indigenous Peoples).


275
Second: Respect the lives of our prisoners and turn over all wounded to the International
Red Cross.
Third: Initiate summary judgments against all soldiers of the Mexican federal army and
the political police that have received training or have been paid by
foreigners, accused of being traitors to our country, and against all those that have
repressed and treated badly the civil population and robbed or stolen from or
attempted crimes against the good of the people.
Fourth: Form new troops with all those Mexicans that show their interest in joining our
struggle, including those that, being enemy soldiers, turn themselves in
without having fought against us, and promise to take orders from the General Command
of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
Fifth: We ask for the unconditional surrender of the enemy's headquarters before we
begin any combat to avoid any loss of lives.
Sixth: Suspend the robbery of our natural resources in the areas controlled by the EZLN.
To the People of Mexico: We, the men and women, lull and free, are conscious that the
war that we have declared is our last resort, but also a just one. The
dictators are applying an undeclared genocidal war against our people for many years.
Therefore we ask for your participation, your decision to support this plan
that struggles for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence,
freedom, democracy, justice and peace. We declare that we will not stop fighting
until the basic demands of our people have been met by forming a government of our
country that is free and democratic.
JOIN THE INSURGENT FORCES OF THE ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION
ARMY.
General Command of the EZLN
1993


221
formally teach traditionally informal educational practices that include religious
traditions, language, and cultural values. Students, much like the adaptive Athabaskan
Navajo, are taking new elements of material culture and utilizing them to fit traditional
cultural practices. This blending of foreign cultural elements into Huichol ethnicity can
be seen in regional music, mixing of individualist and communal educational practices,
and in the appropriation of non-native symbolism, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe and
crosses, into indigenous identity expression. Nowhere are these changes as prevalent as
among students at the CETMK. Not only are they at an adolescent age where they are
struggling with their own identity expressions, but also they are more open to accepting
foreign values and material culture as if they were indigenous. These expressions were
seen in communal relations to personal property such as the trading and swapping of
music, hats, jewelry, and other clothing items to redistribute wealth communally.
Students frequently used Catholic symbolism, though most knew little about Catholicism
other than the symbols they wore. And most still attended and participated in traditional
ceremonies,,despite the seeming appearance of being Catholic.
In defining indigenous ethnicity, those directly involved in CETMK culture not
only blend aspects of external curriculum with formal classes of Huichol language and
culture, but they also define the ways and methods for the informal or extracurricular
expressions of these newly formed renegotiations. While there is some degree of
difference between students and teachers about the degree of accepted behaviors, there is
a general consensus that students can play with aspects of their expression freely as
long as it does not harm others. The social collective is strong enough that individuals
; f
expressing rion-acceptable behaviors can be brought back in line with traditional norms


267
changing, and nowhere is this more apparent than among Huichol youth. The period of
geographic, political, and cultural isolation for the Huichol is coming to an end.
Suggestions for Future Research
This research is but one case study in a growing body of literature on indigenous-
directed education and language and culture preservation. Herein I have attempted to
document the culture of a model indigenous secondary school among the Huichol with
the hope that it will serve as a basis for further discussion about the processes involved in
developing, implementing, and maintaining an indigenous school. While there have been
other studies of indigenous language and culture programs, as cited in the literature
review section, there are successful models of indigenous-run schools that have not been
documented. First, this research, while centered on a study of formal secondary-level
education in a Huichol society, can provide information for the development of
indigenous education programs in the U.S., Mexico, and other nations.
Second, this study continues to be a work-in-progress. The community has
recently obtained an open preparatory school and a new school library has been
constructed within the past year. It is hoped that this library will serve as a community
center that can bring community members, elders, teachers, and students together. It will
be worthwhile to observe the effects of these new additions within the local community,
to see their impacts on student retention of traditional cultural practices, particularly in
the case of the open preparatory school that will offer specialized training tracks for older
community members and nontraditional students. The open preparatory and the new
library may be able to heal some of the wounds between the secondary school and the
local community, by making locals aware of how CETMK programs can benefit them. It


CHAPTER 7
QUANTITATIVE DATA AND OBSERVATIONS
Introduction
This Chapter begins with a discussion of the complicated nature of Huichol ethnic
identity and culture change in Tateikita and the Sierra Madre region. Data are presented
from an analysis of questionnaires administered to 3rd year students forming the
paritemai (second generation) of graduates from the CETMK. These data are then
compared and contrasted to qualitative data collected in order to portray the culture of the
CETMK within the local community. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the
surveys results to the future of language and culture preservation among the Huichol,
declaring the political nature of community-centered schooling, and the CETMKs place
within the indigenous intellectual movement of Mexico.
Survey Results
Surveys in Spanish were administered to 23 of the 24 students in their 3rd year of
schooling at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi.1 In the first part of these
questionnaires, students were asked to make free listings of what they considered to be
important aspects of three themes: Being Huichol, Traditions, and Education. Within
each of these themes, students were to list anything that came to mind under these
general headings. They then rated each item they listed on a scale of one to ten (or
1 See Appendix D for a copy of the Spanish questionnaire. A table of coded variables is
also included.
207


48
temple). Tateikita possess a small kalihuey along the edges of the plaza, but the main
religious and ceremonial center is located about two kilometers away.
The geography of Tateikita consists of a central plaza, dominated by a concrete
court used for basketball and volleyball by local residents and students. Surrounding the
plaza, are several of the local shops, with others located down nearby side roads. The
prominent feature of the plaza is the health clinic. Its chain link fence and concrete
foundation make it stand out compared to the adobe brick and weathered appearance of
the other buildings in the plaza. The local agency is located opposite the plaza from the
health clinic, consisting of no more than a two-room adobe structure with dirt floors.
The spacing of buildings in Tateikita is such that the most centralized area of the
village is where most of the wealthy families live. They stay close to their shops,
managing them themselves during the day and into the evenings. As one approaches the
fringes of the village, approximately 100 meters in any given direction from the central
plaza, the homes tend to include small plots of land, whereas those living close to the
plaza do not have any immediate land at their disposal. Those who live at the fringes of
the village, however, are the most economically disadvantaged of the Huichol citizenry.
They generally keep to themselves, preferring to only come to the village when it is
necessary to purchase supplies, attend meetings, receive government assistance, or
participate in ceremonies.
Located within the boundaries of Tateikita, but near the roads departure from it,
is the primary school albergue, or dormitory, and across from that, a one-room pre
school. As one heads east out of the village, the road approaches the airstrip, newly
constructed primary school classrooms, and, finally, the secondary school, located below
the village next to the soccer field (just prior to the edge of the mesa). In-between the


189
but he probably does. The two students start looking at each others notebooks and peek
at one of the male students notebooks. PGC lets them copy without any hesitation.
That is the way most students are here. The system encourages them to succeed
on an individual basis, and the students know they have examinations the next week.
Much like finals at a college in the U.S., they all must take examinations in two-hour
blocks in the following week. While sometimes examinations involve group projects,
especially in Derechos Indgenas, students also know that they must perform well on
these examinations individually, or face recuperation exams at the end of the year, or
even having to repeat the whole academic year. The formal examination schedule to
which the school culture must adhere appears at odds with traditional Huichol values that
stress cooperation and group participation over individual achievement.
It is now 8:30 am and students line up by year in front of their classroom
buildings while faculty form a line near the back. All the women are dressed traditionally
in skirt, blouse, and headscarf; about 65% of men are dressed traditionally, the remainder
in jeans and t-shirt. All have white sombreros or baseball caps. At this time every week,
classes begin with saluting the Mexican flag and reciting the national anthem, sometimes
in Spanish, other times in Wixa. The organization is militaristic, as the bandera (flag) is
marched around the central plaza by the esculta (flag bearers). Following the national
anthem, the flag is placed in a classroom where it will remain throughout the week.
Students, faculty, and staff at the CETMK honor the Mexican national flag, much
as in any Mexican school. While the procession is foreign, the character is uniquely
Huichol. They take great pride in honoring the flag correctly. The esculta (flag bearers)


309
Roseberry, William
1997 Marx and Anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology 26:25-46.
Sandstrom, Alan R.
1991 Com is our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec
Indian Village. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
Schaefer, Stacy B.
1990 Becoming a Weaver: The Womans Path in Huichol Culture.
Ph.D. Dissertation. University of California, Los Angeles.
1996 The Crossing of the Souls: Peyote, Perception, and Meaning among the
Huichol Indians. In People of the Peyote: Huichol Indian History, Religion, and
Survival. Stacy B. Schaefer and Peter T. Furst, eds. Pp. 138-168. Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press.
Schaefer, Stacy B., and Peter T. Furst
1996 Introduction. In People of the Peyote: Huichol Indian History, Religion, and
Survival. Stacy B. Schaefer and Peter T. Furst, eds. Pp. 1-25. Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press.
Shakespeare, William
1623 As You Like It. Act II, Scene vii.
Shepher, Israel
1983 The Kibbutz: An Anthropological Study. Norwood, PA: Norwood Editions.
Sindell, Peter S.
1997 Some Discontinuities in the Enculturation of Mistassini Cree Children.
In Education and Cultural Process: Anthropological Approaches, 3rd ed.
George D. Spindler, ed. Pp. 383-392. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove
1997 Human Rights and Language Policy in Education. In Encyclopedia of
Language and Education, Volume 1: Language and Political Issues in Education.
R. Wodak, and D. Corson, eds. Pp. 55-65. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic
Publishers.
Sodusta, Jesucita
1993 Into the Field: Applied Anthropology and the Dilemmas of Development.
In Asias Cultural Mosaic: An Anthropological Introduction. George
Evans, ed. Singapore: Prentice Hall.


7
When not in village settlements, the Huichol generally migrate in summer to
family-owned ranches at much higher elevations within the pine-clad forested region of
the Sierra. There they maintain cattle ranches. But, unlike their Mestizo neighbors, the
Huichol do not kill their herds for meat. Rather, they use their cattle for producing milk.
The milk is then turned into cheese so that it can be stored and used throughout the winter
months when the ranches are no longer occupied.
A further complication to the Sierra Madre region is a lack of water. There are no
streams at the higher elevations, making life difficult. What water that does exist,
bubbles to the surface at ojos de agua (waterholes) that dot the region. While not
plentiful, these waterholes sustain what life there is in the region, and limit the location of
permanent human settlements.
At riverside, the climate is hot and extremely humid year-round. Settlements are
generally abandoned during the summer months at these elevations for the cooler ranches
of the highlands. The advantage to lower elevations, however, is that a variety of crops
such as squashes, fruits, and beans can be grown. Water is also readily available, as are
opportunities for fishing.
The Sierra Madre region is home to not only the Huichol, but also several other
indigenous peoples, including the Cora, Tepehun, and Mexicanero peoples.
Collectively, they are referred to as the cuatro pueblos (four peoples). The various
peoples of the region generally keep to themselves and, only occasionally, primarily
through trade, becoming involved with others. This strategy has assisted the peoples in
maintaining their own identities with separate traditions and languages. Yet, at the same
time, this has hindered their ability to build pan-ethnic alliances.


8
Figure 1.3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixhta.
Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita.
The Huichol do not make use of the term comunidad (community) in the same
manner as the modern political conventions used today by geographers, demographers,
and development planners either in the U.S. or Mexico. A comunidad for the Huichol is


192
permission from the padres de familia for the bailadoras.12 There is a sigh of disgust
among the students and cries of waiku (no) from different sides. The teacher backs off,
letting students begin to discuss the tournament and dance openly (see Figure 6.3). The
president looks to his counsel and remarks that it will be the following Friday so that they
have time to get the invitations out to the other teams and receive responses, otherwise
someone will have to run to the remote villages and hand-deliver the invitations on short
notice. There is a brief moment of silence and shouts of hu (yes) enter the discussion.
The student president announces that the tournament and dance will be a topic of debate
for the coming Fridays assembly meeting.13 He makes no mention of the involvement of
parents. The current comisario and CETMK teacher FDS is not present and can provide
no input at the moment. He is doing paperwork at the agency, as frequently occurs. No
one seems preoccupied at his absence.
At this point in time, students are becoming restless. It is nearly 9:00 am and
classes are about to begin. Without further ado, the lines begin to break, marked by a
moment of silence. Each class heads to its respective classroom, with teachers following
soon behind them. FDS has still not arrived, and students wonder where he is, as he has
to give Spanish class.
12
In a typical Huichol dance, girls from the school represent the bailadoras (dancers).
Groups of three dances each (tandas) are purchased by people from the community and
students as a money-raising activity. At a previous dance, mayhem erupted with drunken
citizenry and the robbing of a dancer for marriage.
13 Student assembly meetings are held weekly on Fridays. All students, teachers, and the
head of the parents association are expected to attend.


65
as he struggled to define the self-determination of ethnic minorities as independent of a
right to form a federation (Nimni 1991:75-76).
For the Huichol, the road has been mostly one of limited autonomy, rather than
the more radical picture of self-determination that implies the formation of an
autonomous Huichol state. Diaz-Polanco (1997:151) says that autonomy must include
three elements: 1) political-territorial foundation; 2) autonomous self-government; and,
3) competences (skills and knowledge that allow the political decentralization essential to
autonomy). The Huichol have already banded together to form various associations with
political objectives.8 At this point in time, the Huichol are content with negotiations
aimed at reclaiming lost territory and preserving their language and cultural traditions. It
is not their prerogative to be militant and to risk losing the largely positive negotiations
they are currently experiencing. In the past, the Huichol generally kept to themselves,
and this remains to be the case today. They are, at least at a certain mental level, free.
Questions of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Emancipation and freedom are inherent qualities of mobilization in a quest for
ethnic autonomy. In explaining the status of emancipation as liberating, we are left,
however, with the national-ethnic question. The national-ethnic question arises from
how autonomous ethnic groups and regions fit into the national image of a nation-state.
It was Stalin (1953:300-301) who first defined a nation as an historically constituted,
stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory,
economic life and psychological make up, manifested in a common culture. By this
definition, it is possible to see that a nation of peoples can be quite distinct from a
8 The Unin de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholas de Jalisco (UCHU) and the
governments Procuradera de Asuntos Indgenas (PAI) and Departamento de Educacin
Indgena (DEI), mentioned in Chapter 1, are examples of this phenomenon.


168
with his filming by an anthropologist as a child when he first went on a peyote hunt
pilgrimage. He has also traveled extensively both in Mexico and in the Southwestern
United States, both legally and as a mojado (illegal transient). He admits that he could
have been a mara akame but never desired to be so, despite having made many trips to
Wirikuta (the site where the peyote grows).
The anomie of Huichol identity is perhaps best represented by PGC. He
struggles to accommodate his Huichol sense of self with the part of him that knows of
ways beyond the local level. He repeatedly would refer to anthropologists as liars,
much like FDS, and would tease me with such remarks all the time. Yet while he was
distrustful of outsiders, he was always the first to welcome visitors who arrived by plane
on the airstrip. He was always clever, looking for a chance to make a situation turn out
advantageous, yet at the same time PGC was always the brunt of bad luck.
Si me llevan a la ciudad, voy a la iglesia para rezar. Eso es que quieren.
If they [evangelists] take me to the city, I go to the church to pray. Thats
what they want.
Yo sal del mercado y pas por una calle. Es una calle prohibida ...
[nombre borrado]. Ah hay las viejas ... las prostitutas. La polica me
secuestraron y me llevaron a la crcel. Tuve que pagar y sin mi sueldo me
detuvieron. Decan, Tu ojo. Por qu est hinchado? Te peleaste? No
me creyeron. Les pagu todo que tena y en 24 horas, me dejaron en otro
lugar.
I left the market and passed down a street. Its an illegal street. .. [name
deleted]. There ... there are old women .. prostitutes. The police
kidnapped me and took me to jail. I had to pay, and without my paycheck,
they detained me. They were saying, Your eye. Why is it swollen? Did
you get in a fight? They wouldnt believe me. I paid them everything
that I had and 24 hours later they released me in another location.
Upon hearing such a story, I was suspicious about its accuracy. No one ever did
find out the truth, but at the same time, PGCs story did not sound at all unfamiliar to the


97
system for Maya. This has not occurred yet for the Huichol, and the dialectical
differences make it difficult to establish orthography consistent with that of Spanish.6
Educational Research and the Huichol
Contemporary, educational research among the Huichol has chiefly been by those
involved in the CETMK project. Rural education for the first three years of primary
education is conducted by the Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (CONAFE). A
division of the SEP, CONAFE has been instrumental in bringing education to rural areas
where otherwise there would be no opportunity for schooling. At the secondary
educational level, Huichol educational research has been done by Corona (1999), De
Aguinaga (1996), Rojas (1999a, 1999b), and Von Groll (1997, 1999). All of these
writings and publications deal exclusively with the CETMK project, and from a positivist
orientation.
De Aguinaga, the coordinator of the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Mecca Kwaxi
project, is the figura mestiza (Mexican person) most instrumental in helping the Huichol
to establish a secondary school. After having examined several different projects in other
parts of Mexico, the Huichol from the community of Tateiki together with various
authorities from the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI), the Unidad de Comunidades
Indgenas Huicholes de Jalisco (UCIHJ), the Asociacin Jaliciense de Apoyo a Grupos
0 One common difference in Huichol orthography is the x, which may be pronounced
like a Spanish rr, yet in other dialects it is pronounced as an sh. Spanish scribes have
written these characters in different ways depending on the dialect observed by the
researcher. Huichol also contains a vowel sound that is incompatible with the Spanish
vowel system. It has been transcribed as everything from an iu to a u, causing
confusion in word meaning because important contrastive phonemic distinctions are not
accurately recorded. See appendix A for an explanation of Huichol orthography and
important contrastive vocalizations.


195
particularly those of the third year, amazes me. They are excited to learn. When classes
are not held, students will grow restless and call for substitutions, as they had just done to
me moments earlier. FDS steps in behind me and asks if I want to give Spanish class.
Kindly, I pass over the opportunity and hand the class over to him. He takes the students
outside the classroom and has them sit on the ground to read their lessons. He has had
them writing folktales in Spanish. As part of the grading process, he wants them to recite
their tales aloud. After each student is done reading his or her tale, he has the student
bring the lessons up to him where he proceeds to grade the grammar and punctuation. In
this class, FDS is using entirely Spanish, wanting students to grasp a firm understanding
of the subject matter.
Each group of classes lasts about an hour, at which point teachers change
classrooms, and some take a break for a while. CSD has now arrived at the school to
teach Actividades Comunitarias. This class, an integration of history, civics, and
geography, is taken by CSD from a local to a global perspective. In the first year, he
wants students to understand their local culture ... to know the location of sacred places
and to understand the prehistory of the Huichol. Who are their ancestors? Where did
they come from? While each examination unit is different, CSD prefers to build upon his
lessons by starting with local politics. His reasoning is that first-year students have not
yet developed the necessary cognitive skills to read and talk about complex global issues
like the environment and astronomy. When asking students to recite a list of sacred sites,
CSD realizes that they cannot name any but one or two, mainly Wirikuta (the land of the
peyote) and Maxamu u (a local sacred spot referring to the head of the deer). They are
speechless about others. CSD begins to draw a map of the region, where he points out


3
Aguinaga 1996; Freedson and Prez 1998). But is this really the case, especially in
situations of rapid culture change? Do indigenous peoples in their homelands possess
enough of a unified sense of their own cultural identity to be able to determine their own
direction without outside assistance and/or intervention?
The sorts of questions mentioned above become particularly important when
discussing a people who have traditionally lived in an isolated environment, in so-called
closed corporate communities (Wolf 1957). As a result of such an environment, the
indigenous people were able to practice their religious traditions, speak their native
language exclusively, and in general, live with little or no outside influences upon them.
Recent development projects under proposed aims of improving accessibility to
remote areas in Mexico are, however, quickly putting an isolationist lifestyle in jeopardy,
leading to a state of confusion, distrust, and fear among some native inhabitants of
previously undeveloped regions, such as the Huichol (Chvez and reos 1998; Nahmad
1996; Rojas 1993; Schaefer and Furst 1996). The Huichol believe the nationalist
Mexican agenda is to create a collective national identity with a language, values, and
traditions foreign to the indigenous peoples it ostensibly wishes to unify (Ramrez de la
Cruz 1995; Stavenhagen 1994; Von Groll 1997).
The research conducted for this dissertation shows that there are in actuality many
factors that determine the success or failure of indigenous education programs. It will be
shown that some factors, such as the boarding of students in ethnically indigenous areas,
can have a positive influence on the educational attainment and attitudes of Indian youth
within threatened cultures, and also serve as a mechanism for creating a sense of
community continuity among students, teachers, and local community members. Other


133
be the result of subsistence agriculture, the Huichol present-time orientation is attributed
to seasonal concerns that may restrict or assist in a productive growing season and
harvest. In the course of informal interviewing, a timeline for historical incidents in
Tateikita was created by the Huichol at the school. As part of the informal interviewing
process, I elaborated upon this timeline and presented it to various individuals for their
critique. This oral history reconstruction perspective ended up proving useful for
developing written accounts of activities within the school and community (see Appendix
B).
Participant Observation
Participant observation was the primary ethnographic technique used in my
fieldwork. My roles were threefold: teacher, resident, and applied anthropologist of
education (consultant). Each of these roles provided the ability to observe daily
occurrences within the school and the village. Participant observation took place during
the following time periods that roughly correspond to one and a half school year cycles:
September 5-10, 1998; November 22nd to December 17, 1998; January 11 to March 11,
1999; March 31 to July 8, 1999; September 1 to December 20, 2000; and a week from
June 24 to July 5, 2000. The longer periods from January to July 1999, and September to
December 2000, were complimented with three days of departure to the city, usually
Guadalajara, every four to five weeks for making copies of fieldnotes, obtaining supplies,
and keeping abreast of news at home in the U.S.
At the school, I had been asked by teachers, parents, and students to offer English
classes at the CETMK to students. In complying with this obligation, I was directly
involved in the daily activities of the school. While bringing me closer to the teachers at
the school, being in the dual role of teacher-researcher did not alienate me from an ability


120
maintaining the family, and truthfulness. These values are in contrast to the competing
philosophy of education presented by the dominant Mexican society that includes self
development and achievement, and neglects the family. Furthermore, for the Huichol,
the school is not considered to be an isolated environment. The idea of a community
school emphasizes a connection between the school and the community on ideological
and practical levels.
At the micro level of analysis, the culture of the school itself, the CETMK seeks
to be a model for indigenous education. From the outside, schools like the CETMK
appear to be egalitarian environments where various discourses about education come
together and consensus is achieved that creates an educational environment that is
advantageous towards achieving shared goals. The CETMKs objectives reflect the
idea of presumed shared set of goals. These objectives are:
1. To recognize the trunk [group] so that the branches [children] may
grow
2. To fill the center [CETMK] with the Huichol culture
3. To give classes in Huichol
4. To learn about ones people in order to learn about the world
5. To promote and fertilize the seeds, and to learn to solve the needs of
the community
6. To create unity for autonomy
7. To integrate the school with the community and the UCIHJ
8. To get parents to become involved and disseminate information to the
community in general
9. To ferment [develop] autonomy and decision
In addition, teachers felt the objectives of the school should be:


179
At the same time that BDD complained about the stress of his position, he also
freely talked about his beliefs and identity:
Yo soy catlico, pero soy Huichol tambin. Creo en Jess y creo en los
dioses. La escuela me ensea del mundo ajeno mientras soy quien soy.
No me pueden cambiar [los mestizos]. Ya lo s quien soy.
I am catholic, but I am also Huichol. I believe in Jesus and I believe in the
Gods. The school teaches me about the outside world while [still]
remaining who I am. They [the Mestizos] cant change me. I already
know who I am.
BDD, along with one other athlete, had been friends together at a Catholic
mission school prior to coming to the secondary school at Tateikita. BDDs mother was
also a teacher in La Cienega, a nearby ranchera of Tateikita. His educational upbringing
had no doubt affected his perceptions of education. In contrast to the others, however,
BDD was highly competitive in his academic endeavors, a position that may have
eventually caused some friction between himself and his colleagues. He avoided most of
his criticisms by maintaining close ties with sports. Interestingly, the highest averaging
student from the previous year also had a Catholic upbringing, and faced alienation from
the others. He did not hold a council position, however, instead remaining a loner, for the
most part. Upon graduation he attended a Jesuit Preparatory School, San Juan Coseln,
outside Guadalajara. This is the same institution both BDD and his closest friend desired
to attend.
Apart from social and administrative organization, the CETMK possesses a
dormitory system that may serve as an important impetus for maintaining group solidarity
among students and promoting the existence of a collective school culture. I have
previously mentioned that students, if they have the opportunity to do so, often will board
with relatives while attending the CETMK. Paying their way with any scholarship


139
these ceremonies are frequently not accessible to them, or are in a language they cannot
understand.
When I first approached the Huichol in Tateikita about doing anthropology on
culture change and formal education, I pointed out that I was not just another foreign
anthropologist who was interested in becoming rich through writing and selling books
containing Huichol lies.2 In a school and open community meeting in September 1998,
1 announced my intended research to all who came to listen. I made it clear that I in no
way intended to profit from any of my work and that the results were to be fully shared
with the school and community. It was at this meeting that I was given permission to
pursue my research. The community was certain, however, to place a number of
demands and restrictions on my research. These included my duties as an English
teacher at the CETMK and assistant to the directors for the following year. In addition, I
was restricted from writing about anything religious, taking pictures that did not involve
my research at the school, using video, and was restricted in my travels.3 I was to keep
the local comisario informed of my comings and goings and was not allowed to travel
outside the village on my own. I was told that these restrictions were for my own safety.
Although these restrictions were eventually relaxed, they were taken very seriously. At
the same time, I offered my assistance in helping to keep the school going and specified
2 While in Tateikita, I repeatedly heard criticism of the work of several authors by
teachers of the CETMK who referred to anthropologists as liars who do not record the
truth, and only wish to make a profit.
3 Local Huichol traditionalists, marakate in particular, believe that video and pictures
remove portions of their spiritual power. Even when eventually permitted, photos of
people and ceremonies were limited to specific requests to do so by the subject or at my
prior request.


40
events in the ceremonial calendar involve many relatives and families who come together
to celebrate an event (see Figure 2.6).
Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings. (Source: Geomundo 1997:76)
According to Huichol mythology, peyote, maize, and the white-tailed deer form a
trinity in much the same way as the Holy Trinity serves as a unifying dimension of
Western Christian religion (Schaefer and Furst 1996; Myerhoff 1970). Many names are
assigned to each of the three items, as they are constantly associated with deities in the
spirit world and are interchangeable, easily confusing the amateur interpreter. For
example, peyote, apart from being called hikuri, is also referred to as Kauyumari (Mother
Deer). Because peyote flowers possess white tufts of hair atop them, they are also called
Mecca Kwaxi (Deertail). The mythological deer that showed the way to the peyote is
reverentially called kauyumari (Mother Deer), but may also be called Tatutsi Maxa
Kwaxi (Grandfather Deertail), representing the gender-neutral nature of the figure. In
these intersecting themes, the Huichol trinity is inseparable.
Huichol religion is pantheistic (Muller 1978:91). All deities are personified by
associating them with kinship terms, the most prominent of which are Tau (Father Sun),


26
neighboring tribes. If these speculations carry even an inkling of truth, then they are
further proof for early and continuous occupation of the Sierra by the Huichol.
The Huichol, according to Ramrez de la Cruz (1995), were practically unknown
before the famous Norwegian traveler Carl Lumholtz visited the Sierra region. In his text
Unknown Mexico (1902), Lumholtz was one of the first ethnographers, along with Lon
Digiiet (1899), to document the cultures of the Sierra region. While comments about the
Huichol being unknown was an exaggeration of the elusiveness of the Huichol, it is
true that the Huichol did little to make themselves known to the outside world. It was not
until the sixteenth century that the Huichol were discovered by the Franciscan
missions. In an attempt to avoid contact with Spanish colonial authorities, the Huichol
moved higher and deeper in to the Sierra Madre. In fact, they have existed in their
present location for a little over 500 years by this theory.
From the viewpoint of mythology, the Huichol encountered Majakuagy (Maxa
Kwaxi, or Grandfather Deer Tail) who was a white spirit person from the heavens (Digiiet
1899). Maxa Kwaxi then taught the Huichol people the ways of the peyote and showed
them a place to settle in the Sierra Madre (Furst 1996). For quite some time, this story
was thought to be of a white man, perhaps of Spanish descent, who taught the Huichol
their current way of life. The reference to Majakuagy being white is, in fact, a
reference to the white tail of the deer (Schaefer and Furst 1996).
If we take the most restrictive dating considering Huichol prehistory, they have
occupied their present-day location for at least 500 years. The first European contact
with the Huichol was in 1531 by the Spanish conquistador uo de Guzmn and soon
thereafter the Franciscans set up the first missions (Furst 1996; Rojas 1993). uo de
Guzmn was relentless in his march through the coastal regions of the Sierra, causing


151
understanding of conversations in Huichol, especially when Spanish words were
substituted, but my own speech remained limited.
The Huichol tend to be impressed by someone seeking to live as they do rather
than worry about the conveniences of the city. They refer to people who can do so as
strong, which is not sex-determined, but rather comes from an internal strength that
most Huichol feel Mestizos do not possess. The local doctor lisa, whose husband was in
Tateiki, was the only woman other than Kata to live for an extended period of time in
Tateikita. Her replacement, a male, did not last even a year, despite regular departures to
the city.
Working in a Closed Corporate Community
I have previously stated that on the surface Huichol society appears to be typical
of Eric Wolfs (1957, 1986) concept of a closed corporate peasant community. In
order to appear to the outside world as a closed community, the Huichol have constructed
a number of mechanisms for solidifying their cultural integrity. Linguistically, the term
teiwari (other) serves as a way to reinforce us and them distinctions. Similarly,
distrust can serve as both a positive way to reinforce self-identity, yet at the same time
function in a negative fashion to reinforce ethnic boundaries and stereotypes from the
outside.
Huichol identity negotiation appears to revolve around the construction of internal
and external stereotypes regarding culture. The propagation of myths and stories
surrounding different cultures serve to solidify ethnic membership by distancing oneself
from foreign values, concepts, and ideas. It can be regarded as a coping mechanism to
the anomie coping mechanisms of the Huichol. The situation, then, becomes one of


295
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23
According to Rajsbaum (1994), the Huichol have their origins in the history of
several prehistoric Indian peoples who came together in the Sierra Madre Occidental
region of Mexico. Moreover, it has been widely speculated that these tribes were
probably of Aztecan origin (Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). This appears to be consistent
with Huichol self-declarations. I have even heard the Huichol point westward towards
the coast when mentioning Aztlan, the mythological homeland of the Aztecs. If the
Huichol did indeed form as a result of a melding of several tribes, this could explain the
duality of Huichol mythology whereby Eastern Huichol are more oriented toward desert-
centered emergence stories in Wirikuta, land of the sacred peyote cactus, a point at which
there is a convergence of the five cardinal directions (north, south, east, west, center)
(Furst 1969a).
In opposition to these stories, Huichol along the Western edge of the Sierra Madre
Occidental associate their emergence stories with Haramaratsie, the Huichol name for
San Bls, Nayarit. Weigand (1981) believes this conglomeration of aboriginal peoples to
be a reason for the diversity of Huichol mythology. These various connections, or
associations, coupled with sacred sites associated with the other cardinal directions,
determine Huichol cosmology in its broadest sense. Liffinan (2000) likens these
attachments between sacred sites and sense of place (kiekari) to gourdvines, illustrating
how Huichol historical territoriality is rooted in an open cosmology that includes over
90,000 square kilometers as opposed to the officially recognized 4,000 square kilometers
that encompass the Huichol homeland. It is due to this very open patterning of Huichol
territoriality that it becomes most difficult to situate the origins of the Huichol, especially
with a lack of archaeological evidence to support or deny such allegations.


263
Traditional values support a Habermasian and Deweyan notion of social democracy and
its associated values of reasoned inquiry and consensus based on shared norms of validity
and argumentative egalitarian discussion. At the same time, a historical ethnic
perspective is at work in the immediate community. At the secondary school, however,
the school (intellectualist) culture uses a presentist set of historical genealogies to
reconstruct their ethnic identity and social conditions along a set of guidelines determined
by the intellectual community as legitimate. By deferring to the voices of a select few,
the culture of the secondary school closes itself off to inquiry from the community. After
a prolonged period of disarticulation, the local community has simply chosen to remove
itself from activities at the CETMK. Students are stuck between the two cultures, at least
until they complete their schooling and enter the greater Huichol society. Students,
however, are not only bordered between two competing indigenous cultures, but also are
learning to negotiate their identities with the external dominant Mexican national culture.
Henze and Vanett (1993) state that we cannot assume that cultural identities are
uniform, and that schools can merge the two or more competing identities into a uniform
self that is bilingual and bicultural. Nor can they be subsumed into a bilingual
intercultural identity that Rojas (1999a) suggests. Instead, argue Henze and Vannett
(1993:123), being between two worlds does not mean the same thing to everyone.
Huichol society has enough intracultural variation that formalized (i.e., standardized)
cultural curriculum will always come under fire from one segment of society or another.
Henze and Vanett (1993:128) found that even in Yupik Eskimo classes where Yupik
was the language of instruction, classroom control was maintained in English. In the


APPENDIX B
HISTORIA CRONOLOGICA DE TATEIKITA
1725 Entrega el ttulos virreales de San Andrs Cohamiata
1784 Fray Jos es el primer gobernador de San Andrs Cohamiata
1809 El territorio huichol tiene 74,940 hectares con cuatro comunidades:
Tuapurie (Santa Catarina), Waut+a (San Sebastin), Tateikie (San Andrs
Cohamiata), y Tutsipe (Tuxpan de Bolaos)
193Os Ejidos y comunidades mestizas invaden la Sierra
1960 La pista fue construido a mano de la comunidad de San Miguel Huaixtita con
la ayuda del ingeniero Jos Jimenez
1963 La llegada de los Franciscanos a San Miguel Huaixtita por mua
1964 Se construy la agencia de San Miguel Huaixtita
1968 Faltaban 4000 hectares ms del territorio wixarika
1971 (?) Agua potable lleg
1973 Se arregl la pista
1973 Llego la carretera de San Andrs Cohamiata
1973 Se construy el centro de salud de San Miguel Huaixtita
1976 Se fondo la escuela de los franciscanos en San Miguel Huaixtita
1978 Se instal albergue escolar de San Miguel Huaixtita (la primaria)
El maestro Miguel Chivarra es el primer maestro de la primaria
1991 Se fondo la Unidad de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholes de Jalisco (UCHU)
1992 La UCHU acude ante la OIT sobre el problema de la perdida de territorio
1995 En el otoo empieza conflicto religioso entre los franciscanos y los huicholes
1995 Se instala una escuela secundaria, la primera en la Sierra Huichola, CETMK
1997 Lleg Jess Lara Chivarra (con su telfono), Pancho Voliano, Pablo
1998 En abril lleg la carretera a San Miguel Huaixtita
1998 El Profr. Pablo Gonzalez Carrillo lleg a la secundaria para clases de hortaliza
1998 16 de diciembre se encontr el cuerpo del periodista Philip True de la agencia
mexicana del peridico San Antonio Express Times cerca de Popotita
(un rancho unos 3 horas de camino de San Miguel Huaixtita) Llega mucha gente
de los EEUU. Recibe atencin nacional e internacional
1998 Tensiones sobre el conflicto entre mestizos y huicholes aumentan. Empiezan
reuniones sobre el conflicto
1999 Llegan a las Lie. ngeles Arcos de AJAGI y Claudia Gomez de Mxico para taller
con los de la secundaria en SMH sobre derechos indgenas
271


187
betterment of the local community only served to further fragment and polarize the two
cultures.
Life at the CETMK: Living the Dream
The following narrative introduces the daily life of the CETMK. Drawing from
fieldnotes from many daily observations at the school, the following is a pieced
reconstruction of a typical school day. The firsthand narrative is accented with research
reflections. Following the narrative, the Huichol idea about learning is exposed and
examined in light of community definitions of appropriate education.
A Day in the Life of...
It is the start of another week of classes at the CETMK. Students begin their daily
progression down the winding dirt road from the village and surrounding ranches. Some,
like Sofia, have already been up for hours, having helped to prepare the morning meal for
their host family; others, like Mauricio and Migul, have spent that time walking from
their remote ranch in order to arrive in time for classes; still others, like Anglica and
Salvador, have not seen their family in a couple months. They were sent to the CETMK
by their families, feeling it a worthwhile educational investment and much cheaper than
the alternative of the city. It is more likely for males than females to be sent from afar to
be educated. This is because in traditional settlements women usually marry between the
ages of 13 and 17. If parents from remote areas are going to invest in the education of
their children, they are more likely to do so with males, since they are the ones who must
work and obtain employment, by traditional roles.
It is 8:00 am and the third year students have already arrived at school. For the
next half hour they have Biointensive Agriculture class with PGC. PGC is already inside


Frequency ^ Frequency
213
7.3. Histogram of Family Importance (5=very important).
TEHUIN R
Std. Dev = 1.42
Mean = 1.7
N = 23.00
TEHUIN R
Figure 7.4. Histogram of Tehuino Value (livery important).


182
In terms of the ENI relationship with the CETMK, their actions come in the form
of scholarships to students who perform well academically. Bimonthly examinations
determine the top students who score, roughly, a B or higher (8 out of 10) average. These
students then become eligible for money from the INI for their good performance. The
money is distributed to parents through CONAFE, a rural education assistance
organization. CONAFE also distributes school materials such as notebooks, dictionaries,
and pens and pencils to students annually, but only to those who qualify through their
examination scores. While the idea behind the money is that it is to be used to reimburse
parents for their children attending school, this is not always the case. Some parents will
not use the money for their children, but instead will make use of it themselves. The
scholarships, as they are called, are about $20 U.S. / month / student.
One of the main problems with this system is that the students who perhaps most
need assistance do not receive it. While they are rewarded for performing well, the
Huichol value system is not based on individual competitive performance, which these
scholarships reward. Instead, introducing some sort of reward to those who are not
performing as well academically and may need incentive to perform better might help
reinforce Huichol traditional values. The lowest academic performing students usually
lack materials as well, having to borrow them from other students because no free
distribution system exists for classroom materials within the school, other than for texts
that students are not permitted to take home.7
7 Students at the CETMK can sign out texts through the library for use outside school,
but infrequently do so. It is not unusual to see only three or four names on the library list,
though more books may be missing. Students are not distributed texts to take home
because of the irregularity of the SEP delivering free texts to the CETMK. Texts arrive


81
throughout the New World, including a school especially for the education of women in
1534 by the Jesuits, who were deeply involved in womens education.
While these early colonial schools focused on making the indigenous peoples of
Mexico knowledgeable about Christianity, they also performed an important function that
would impact the goals of indigenous education in much more recent times: by making
people literate, they aided indigenous peoples in the recording of their literary works for
future generations. While education was principally in Spanish and Latin with a practical
orientation, the ability of indigenous peoples to read and write allowed them to record
their customs and mythology, contributing significantly to our understanding of these
peoples. The period of promoting indigenous scholarship was short lived, however, for
in 1688, under King Carlos V, the mandate was for Spanish-only instruction (Acevado et
al. 1996:19). This stance has continued in many areas, even into the present day, through
Indigenist Mexican national policy.
The period from 1833-1910, prior to the Mexican revolution, was a period of little
preoccupation with indigenous education. Education continued to be primarily religious,
and a decree was made in 1842 declaring education to be both free for all, and
compulsory as well (Acevado et al. 1996:20). Educations purpose was beginning to
shift from religious education to education in skills and crafts for the general populace.
The time of the Mexican revolution saw the first significant changes in the
Mexican educational system. In 1910, barely into the start of the revolution, a school for
the Indians of the Sierra Nayarita was established in El Zapote, Nayarit (Acevado et al.
1996:21). Although there is little documentation about this school, it was probably for
the Cora and not the Huichol, because of the difficulty in penetrating the heart of the


56
or not. Such generalizations, based on attributes often measured independently of one
another, caused confusion and inaccuracy in historical demographics of indigenous
peoples in Latin America.4
One way to counteract the removal of blood quantum as a determinant for ethnic
identity has been to concentrate instead on self-identification and degree of involvement
in what are called traditional cultural practices. Weigand (1981) and Keefe (1992), like
myself, claim that the cultural component to ethnic identification is much more important
than blood quantum. Fishman (1980) used participation as an important component to
his being, doing, and knowing model of ethnicity. The reasoning here is: If you dont
participate in your heritage, how can you claim it? By focusing on participation as a
necessary component of ethnic identity affiliation, categorizing people based on levels of
melatonin in the skin (appearance) is limited, and we shift from racial definitions of
identity to cultural distinctions. For the Huichol, participation in a multitude of religious
practices is inseparable from daily existence. By intertwining the daily with the spiritual,
a complex cosmology emerges that defines ones social and spiritual relations.
A final theme needs to be discussed when considering ethnic identity among
indigenous peoples: symbolic ethnicity. If one can become a member of an ethnic group
without blood affiliation, but instead through cultural participation and self-declaration,
what is the secret ingredient that brings together this ability? Gans (1979) proposes that
symbolic ethnicity is one way to look at ethnic identity among people who are several
generations, third or forth, removed from their ancestors. While he applies this reasoning
4 The population enumeration procedures for indigenous peoples in Latin America have
varied from one census to the next, explaining why there is a lot of variability in the
figures. The most recent population estimate of the Huichol by INEGI was done
independently of ones use of a native language, relying instead on self-declaration and
place of residence.


122
their situation, or, essentially, getting them to accept their situation as something that is
unsurpassable. Freire says that some come to see freedom as an impossibility because of
the risks involved in achieving it. Others, however, have not accepted their submissive
status and, according to Freire (1993:49), it is their responsibility to raise the
consciousness of others and organize collective action towards liberation.
Girouxs (1992) development of a theory of border pedagogy attempts to
answer the means by which a community, as a whole, can address the effects of a
dominant societys pedagogy upon them. Border pedagogy is more a philosophy than a
theory. According to Giroux (1992:33), a theory of border pedagogy needs to address
the question of how representations and practices that name, marginalize, and define
difference as the devalued Other are actively learned, internalized, challenged, or
transformed. It must also provide the conditions for students to engage in cultural
remapping as a form of resistance (Giroux 1992:33). Giroux believes that the way to
attain a democratic (free) education is through the avenues of discourse and voice that
include the positions of teachers, students, and community members. It is an issue of
representation that involves moving marginalized discourses to a position such that
they become central discussions (Giroux 1992:218-226).
McLaren (1998:168) summarizes the position of the critical theorists when he
says, critical educational theorists are united in their objectives which are to empower
the powerless and transform existing social inequalities and injustices. McLaren goes
on to discuss the intricacies of hidden currculums and agenda that impose foreign forms
of thinking, being, and acting, that Bourdieu (1986) refers to as cultural capital. Using
the discourse of youths and teachers in suburban Toronto, Ontario, McLaren tells a tale of


150
visit and stay for unspecified periods of time. They may help relatives with chores or
horticulture in exchange for a share of the coming harvests returns. Along with a dislike
for individualism comes a dislike for the values associated with it: greed or self-
indulgence, extravagance, and exploitation of others. To be Wixarika (Huichol, or of the
Huichol way), one must realize that all space is shared space and all property is
communal property. Although you may be the one who purchased something, others
have a right to its use. Concerns of the family, in progressing levels of importance
starting with more distant kin, are more important than personal endeavors.
In integrating myself into the village and culture of the school, I chose to
participate as much as possible in village daily life. I ate the same foods as the villagers,
worked on cooperative group projects with locals, and assisted in the chores of several
families whether preparing tamales for a ceremony, working on a ranch, or picking com
in the harvest season. Because of my involvement with parents during the construction
of one of the CETMK classrooms, I was given a Huichol name, Xaureme, which was to
stick with me throughout my time in the Sierra.9 Learning Huichol proved to be a very
difficult task, and few non-Huichol have ever achieved fluency in it. For that matter,
Spanish was generally used with me in my daily workings in the community, although I
made an effort to gradually introduce more and more Huichol into my own speech over
the year and a half in Tateikita. By the end of my research period, I could grasp a general
9 The name, in keeping in line with Huichol humor, carries a double meaning. It refers to
the stage of the com when it is mature, ripe, dry, and ready to be picked (referring to my
time of arrival in the Sierra). It also referred to my baldness (the husk has begun to fall
away).


99
primarily on the formative process of the CETMK, Von Groll spent portions of several
months during the Spring of 1996 doing qualitative ethnography in the school,
interviewing primarily teachers to gain through their voices of perspective on how the
Huichol construct their collective identity that then emerges through stories of conflict
with Franciscans and Mestizos that have historically exploited the Huichol. She then
applies her psychological model to a series of observations in the Sierra, from the conflict
with Franciscans and the media when the school was first constructed, to describing how
environmental education and the kiekari form crucial parts of Huichol self-identification.
She concludes, by recounting through brief stories from the teachers, how the Huichol are
not static but rather, divided themselves over change and how to deal with it. She leaves
the question open about whether the CETMK can really be a space of intercultural
communication.
Sarah Corona (1999), investigator, coordinator of the Masters program in
Journalism at the University of Guadalajara, and an assistant to the CETMK project,
expanded upon Von Grolls negotiation of self and other through an ethnographic
account of a series of student plays. In her account of a Huichol theatrical performance,
presented by CETMK students, Corona says negotiation of the other can be seen
through the dress and actions of various Mestizo characters in student-created plays.
She discuses the plays as habitus, where we are able to see how we think the other
n
constructs us. She says that students describe the Mestizo as immoral, paternalistic,
legalistic, and very powerful and that we can see these attributes in the Mestizo
7 Habitus, according to Pierre Bourdieu (1990), are locations of meaning that can be
analyzed as scenarios of being and knowing.


39
down and stereotypical view of Huichol religion and the people in general.
Representations such as those portrayed by Ibez and Lavidon (1997) and Zarembo
(1999) promote inaccurate images of contemporary Huichol society and religion. In an
age of global information exchange, views of the Huichol as peyote consuming secretive
people who are distrustful of outsiders are detrimental to external relations.
Figure 2.5. Mara akame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo.
Huichol spirituality revolves around a series of ceremonies performed on an
annual cyclical basis. These ceremonies are connected with events such as the planting
of corn {fiesta de la limpieza) in the late spring, and the harvest season (fiesta del tambor)
in the late fall (Muller 1978). Some are connected with the peyote pilgrimage. At any
given time within the year, the Huichol may visit sacred locations located throughout
Western Mexico. These visits are often informal and family-centered, whereas major


Copyright 2001
by
Brad Morris Biglow


38
To be a mara 'akame is a multifaceted role. Spiritually connected with the gods,
one must be a diviner, a healer, and an expert in myth and lore (Fikes 1985).
Furthermore, a mora akame must be willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve
prominent status within a given community. A good mara akame is observant, humble,
and personable. To be otherwise may label one a witch. One earns the status of a
mara akame only by example. It is necessary for a potential mara 'akame to complete the
peyote pilgrimage at least five times to be honored and respected as such. Many have,
however, completed the journey numerous times beyond the bare minimum. Because
being a mara akame is not a paid position, these spiritual leaders are dependent upon
donations from those they serve. It is not uncommon these days to see a mara akame go
from family to family seeking monetary donations for a pilgrimage, a journey to acquire
materials for a ceremony, or for travel funds to perform a ritual in outlying areas of the
Huichol homeland (Muller 1978:92).
Huichol cosmology includes a view of the world that interconnects all people and
places. The ritual use of peyote is for the purpose of receiving messages from the gods,
as well as for honoring them. It is one way to make a direct spiritual connection with the
ethereal world. Unlike images portrayed by the popular media, Huichol use of peyote is
strictly sanctioned. There are certain contexts when it is permissible to use peyote and
others when it is not. Permissible contexts usually involve the presence or guidance of a
mara akame at ceremonies and the occasional use by artisans to receive divine
intervention in artistic creations. Individuals, to prevent or cure sickness and ill health,
may also use it. Peyote is present at most ceremonies, though in no way is it as prevalent
as it once was in the historical accounts of Schaefer and Furst (1996), Mata Torres
(1970), and Benitez (1994). In fact, the modern media continues to present a watered-


145
There was still no running water or electricity, but the community house was well built.
It was previously the home of a woman by the name of Kata and was sometimes
referred to as the house of Finerty. A woman by the name of Kathryn Finerty
constructed it during the 1980s. She had come to the village as a nurse and religious
missionary. At the time, Tateikita had no health center or medical doctor and she cared
for many patients, becoming a friend of the local community and immortalized in
Huichol lore as la seora kata (Ramirez de la Cruz 1995). She and her son Mike were
instrumental in preventing a smallpox outbreak in Tateikita and Tateiki through
vaccination in 1989. This same outbreak killed approximately 400 children in the
community of Tutsipe. Her son Mike has spent parts of more than twenty years in
Tateikita, and resided in the house while working as a biologist in the area.6 He
subsequently passed the house to the local community during the 1990s, whereupon
researchers and visitors used it over the following years.
At the CETMK, I began holding beginning English classes for all three grade
levels at the secondary school. In contrast to the classes of the other seven teachers at the
school, my classes were held chiefly in Spanish. It was interesting to note that I was
using my second language (Spanish) with limited Spanish proficiency students who also
N
held Spanish as a second language, in order to teach them a third language (English). I
was surprised with the ease with which they grasped a third language, especially when I
took an approach that solicited the students themselves for things they wanted to learn
6 Mike continues to visit the community annually and assist them in science projects. He
was instrumental in helping me maintain my connections with the outside world during
long periods of isolation in the Sierra, as well as supplying me with his long-term
knowledge of community members and relations in Tateikita.


78
administrators. It was not until the first Native peoples became educated, and began
practicing in the classroom, that anyone approached problems related to language and
culture in a formal academic setting. Several pieces of federal legislation passed during
the 1970s aided the Indian self-determination movement, including the Indian Education
Act of 1972, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, and
the Title XI of Education Amendments Act of 1978. These amendments assisted Indian
peoples to gain contracts over federal schools formerly controlled by the Bureau of
Indian Affairs. At the same time, the 1980s were especially difficult for Indian
education. Indian peoples and Bureau officials, because of cuts to federal education
grants and contracts, have heavily criticized the Reagan administration. These cuts
resulted in the eventual closure of many tribal schools in the late 1980s (Szasz 1999:203).
The Indian Nations at Risk Task force (INAR) reported in 1991 that there was
little change in the conditions of Indian education (Szasz 1999:217). Despite the growth
of Indian self-control of education, the huge national debt built during Reagans
administration is blamed for causing the subsequent closure of many tribal schools during
the 1990s. Luckily, by the 1990s, argues Szasz (1999:203), there was an effective
network of Indian educators who had the skills and abilities to reform Indian education.
There just was not much in terms of funding. Native political interest groups such as the
National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) and the Office of Indian
Education Programs (OIEP) were crucial to the survival of Indian-controlled education.
Using their political power, indigenous educators pushed for more monetary assistance,
resulting in the passage of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of
1987 and the Native American Languages Act of 1990. While the former act aided tribes


140
that I would seek to find materials that could benefit the school. I had intentions from the
beginning that were to help them succeed in their language and culture preservation
efforts by working collaboratively and acting as a consultant for any problems they might
see in the school. I made it clear that I had previously worked with indigenous cultural
education while obtaining my Masters degree at Northern Arizona University. I told
them about various Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni projects that I thought could assist the local
Huichol in their pursuit of self-determinist education.
One of the difficulties in doing applied anthropology is that the researcher must
fill a variety of roles that may include consultant, impact or needs assessor, planner,
manager, or therapist (Van Willigen 1993:3-5). While at the same time aware that I was
labeled as an anthropologist, I made it a point to stress my concentration in education,
as a teacher more than as an anthropologist. I told them that the bulk of my past research
had to do with indigenous language and culture education, and that I was all but a few
courses shy of holding a doctorate in education, as well as my pursuit of a doctorate in
anthropology at the University of Florida.
It is a well-known fact in applied anthropology that an anthropologist may work
under titles that obscure his or her anthropological specialization (Chambers 1989; Van
Willigen 1993). While I was an anthropologist, I was at the same time a teacher and a
student, willing to accept criticism along the way. An important part of professional
development is that an applied anthropologist realizes that he or she must be versatile by
possessing training in multiple areas, be it in education, business, or, as I was for years
myself, technology and computer information systems. Not only was I confronted with


108
regional political economy. He further states, .within a given region one can discover
similarly constituted identity groups, whose senses of themselves (their valued objects
and relationships, their boundaries) are related to their position in the power region.
Likewise, a regional culture implies the construction of frames of communication within
and between various identity groups, and these frames also have their spaces (Lomnitz-
Adler 1991:198). When applying the concept of regional culture to pan-Indianism, the
realm of intercultural variation is exposed which would otherwise be masked. Likewise,
the concept of regional culture blurs the lines of distinction between ethnic groups,
returning one to a discussion of economic and intellectual similarities that extend across
ethnic lines. It returns the discourse to Marxist and Weberian notions of power called for
by Roseberry (1997) and mentioned in the identity politics of Hale (1997). It is
therefore useful for discovering underlying infrastructural materialist conditions that lead
to social and intellectual class differentiation among native peoples and peasantry who
may share common sentiments for factional organization and historical rebellious
uprisings in rural areas of Mexico.
During the course of my research I was repeatedly drawn aback at the level of
intercultural variation seen within the culture of the school as well as that of the
community. I was forced to ask myself whether there might be intercultural hierarchies
of power that had developed within Huichol society. Once again, Lomnitz-Adler
(1991:201) lays the groundwork for a discussion of regions of power that she says leads
to hegemony that is a fundamental concept for the study of regional cultures.
Moreover, these regions of power refer to culture as it exists and operates in a space that
is organized by... and articulated through... class domination (Lomnitz-Adler 1991:201).


104
At the level of micro theory, the theories that fit my findings and observations fall
under those that explain how overarching beliefs of autonomy and differing notions of
Huichol ethnicity are accommodated within the immediate school and community. This
is why power-knowledge, Foucaults (1982) equation of power with knowledge, and its
limiting of discourse strategies, plays such an important role in describing the control
mechanisms involved in the struggle between educational factions within Tateikita
brought about by the rapid culture change within the Huichol community.
The theoretical stances that explain Huichol identity(ies) appear to grow from a
dominant/subordinate frame wherein the Huichol situation is explained as one with a
history of self-inflicted isolationism as a response to political and cultural exclusion by,
initially, the Colonialist regime and, more recently, the dominant Mestizo culture, which
sees the Huichol as an underdeveloped people (Weigand 1981; Nahmad 1996). In terms
of their indigenous identity in Latin America, indigenous scholars emphasize the pan-
Indian trend whereby the Huichol cannot be considered as an isolated people but, rather,
as a people who share common goals with other indigenous people and possess a shared
consciousness of identity with them that extends beyond being Huichol (Ramirez 1995;
Nahmad 1998). While among intellectuals, particularly urban and educated Indians, this
may be the case, among the average rural Huichol citizenry, lack of rural development
that facilitates communication has made such measures difficult.
Despite the intelligencia, the Huichol still possess their traditional native
cosmology that is rooted in a small-scale horticultural society with egalitarian methods of
social control (Weigand 1981). From the perspective of their cosmology, then, there can
be no separation between their subsistence economy and their religious practices and


109
As alliances between community members and teachers are forged (or broken), I began to
wonder if there were not ideological differences that were closely tied to class formation
which had, in turn, resulted from the emergent capitalist economy that had so quickly
invaded Huichol society. These resulting class cultures when applied to a particular
setting, such as a school, are what Lomnitz-Adler (1991:202) calls intimate cultures,
which are the cultures of classes in specific kinds of regional settings. When one intimate
culture gains control over localist ideology in a particular setting, it is likely to become
the consensus creating mechanism for how identification of the pan-indian movement is
expressed on a regional level.
Native Epistemology and Cosmology
A second component to ethnicity and identity theory as it pertains to the Huichol
is in the area of native epistemology and cosmology. An understanding of these areas is
particularly useful in explaining Huichol world-view. Moore (1998) argues that Native
American epistemologies are inherently bound by religious cosmologies. As such, they
cannot adequately be described by Western philosophies using such core terms as
nominalism, idealism, empiricism, and realism. Instead, he argues that Native
American philosophies are radically different from European philosophical epistemology
because they rely on a spatially constructed native cosmology (Moore 1998:272). In
**
constructing his argument, Moore presents evidence from Cheyenne and Mvskoke
philosophies where secular questions of reality cannot be separated from the religious.
He clearly states that he bases his reasoning on smaller-scale egalitarian societies living
north of Mexico before the coming of the Europeans (1998:271). I argue, however, that
Moores contentions can be applied as well to native peoples south of the border (i.e.,
Mexico). While some may argue that this cannot be done due to the significant impact of


84
Asuntos Indgenas (General Office of Indigenous Affairs or DGAI). According to
Nahmad (1998:59), the National Indigenist Institute (INI) was formed in 1949 in direct
opposition to this policy, creating two contradictory agendas in the direction of
indigenous education in Mexico, one via the avenue of assimilation, the other geared
towards accommodation.
At the national level, a number of moves were taken that limited the ability of the
INI to better the conditions of indigenous peoples. This began in the 1950s, becoming
labeled indigenismo. Indigenismo, contrary to the suggestion of indigenist as meaning
self-directed, was an educational and political propaganda aimed specifically at
monolingual Spanish instruction and nationalist history, neglecting the diversity of the
indigenous peoples of Mexico. In 1968, the SEP eliminated the DGAI, following this
with a national program aimed at decentralizing education that continued up until 1994
(Freedson and Perez 1995:384). Included in this decentralization process were the 1973
Federal Law of Indigenous Education and the 1974 National Plan of Castillianization that
limited the curricular options available to indigenous schools.
Within the INI, argues Nahmad (1998), a different agenda was taking place. INI
promoted indigenous education, including the active recruitment and training of
indigenous teachers who lived in the various communities. The idea was that these
teachers would be bilingual. In 1978, the General Directorate of Indigenous Education
(DGEI) was created specifically to introduce the concept of bilingual education into the
indigenous communities of Mexico (Nahmad 1998:59).2 By 1979, INI was operating in
2
There is some confusion over an accurate date for the DGEI, as Bums (1998) equates
the establishment of the DGEI with the making of bilingual-bicultural policy official in


272
1999 Marzo 21. Consulto nacional sobre las 4 preguntas del EZLN para hacer un ley
por que el gobierno de mexico no respeta a los acuerdos de San Andrs (Chiapas)
Salen 5000 delegados del EZLN de Chiapas para las communidades de Mexico.
Dos representantes llegan a SMH la semana de 16-21 de marzo. Por presin
poltica el maestro de Ingls estadounidense se sale de la comunidad durante la
semana a Guadalajara. El regresa despus de vacaciones escolar (abril).


Figure 6.2. Esculta (Honoring the Flag) 191
Figure 6.3. CETMK Teacher Addressing Students 193
Figure 6.4. COPUSI Dining Facility of the CETMK 196
Figure 6.5. Derechos Indgenas Debate at the CETMK Clausurax July 1999 198
Figure 6.6. Carpentry at the CETMK 199
Figure 7.1. Percentages of Third Year CETMK Students by Age 210
Figure 7.2. Pie Chart Indicating Student Home Residences 210
Figure 7.3. Histogram of Family Importance 213
Figure 7.4. Histogram of Tehuino Value 213
Figure 7.5. Overlaid Plot of Factor Components for Ethnicity and Technology 218
Figure 7.6. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Males 219
Figure 7.7. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Females 220
Figure 7.8. Student Career Aspirations 224
Figure 7.9. Male Rankings of Native Language Importance 228
Figure 7.10. Female Rankings of Native Language Importance 229
Figure 7.11. Male Ranking of Spanish Importance 230
Figure 7.12. Female Ranking of Spanish Importance 231
Figure 7.13. Male Rankings of the Importance of English 231
Figure 7.14. Female Rankings of the Importance of English 232
Figure 7.15. Overlaid Graph of Students Rankings of Alcohol Types by Importance 238
Figure 7.16. Model of School-Community Relations and the CETMK 249
Figure 8.1. Student Notice for End-of-Year Banquet 259
Figure 8.2. Los Viejitos, Regional Dance at the Clausura, June 1999 268
xii


232
Figure 7.14. Female Rankings of the Importance of English.
Confronting Alcohol and Foreign Values
Teachers at the CETMK regularly profess to students not to become involved in
alcohol and marijuana use. Students, for the most part, uphold these expectations, only
consuming alcohol at fiestas and not becoming involved in illicit drug use.7 There were
frequently discussions about alcohol abuses economic and emotional effects on the
family, especially before any local fiestas or ceremonies. These discussions served as
Q
condensed informal DARE-type education programs. One must not forget that the
introduction of alcohol, other than the traditional tehuino beverage associated with
7 One student was involved in marijuana use, but others strongly opposed his habitual
use, avoiding most social contact with him.
8 It was not unusual to find myself being asked about alcohol use and abuse in the U.S.
for which the Huichol often held stereotypical beliefs that there were no problems with its
use in the U.S. (i.e. all used it responsibly).


185
decisions are made within the school. These non-participating members see the school as
a model that began with a Huichol dream of education that has now moved to an ITESO-
controlled bureaucracy and experimental plan. Illustrations of this include the bringing in
of a Mexico-city based film crew to produce a video for school fundraising efforts
through Europe and the ITESOs desire to use the CETMK as an environment to send
teachers-in-training on their semesters de campo (semesters of practice teaching).9
A significant problem in the CETMKs external relations stems, not only from
funding difficulties, but also, from the perspective of whom possesses the locus of control
over the educational environment. In relations with the primary school, there is little to
no association with its teachers and students, apart from a realization that students will
eventually graduate from the primary and pass into the secondary school. Divisions
appear to be based on economic models and misconstrued information or rumors that
develop because of the lack of social connections between the social actors at the two
schools.
As mentioned previously, many of the teachers at the primary school participate
in the market economy, either as shopkeepers, or as consumers who have already
integrated themselves more into a capitalist economy than those of the secondary school.
If primary teachers (those with a much longer established residency in the local
9 Although the video was made, it was not used in the U.S. for fundraising because it was
felt by the coordinator that U.S. organizations always have ulterior motives and
requirements rather than freely giving to an organization such as the CETMK. The film
crews appearance was permitted but not understood by students who called them the
fantasmas (ghosts) because they came, did as they pleased, and then vanished without a
trace. Some students objected to being marketed in this way. In the case of semestres de
campo, it is this authors feeling that such proposals, while read to teachers, are not fully
understood when approval is consented. These practices will further enhance the
divisiveness of the community from the school.


92
The previously stated timeline of educational policy in Mexico shows that since the
revolution two distinct sets of policies have governed the actions of development projects
in Mexico. Whereas anthropologists took very non-applied approaches to the study of
the indigenous situation in the U.S., this has not been the trend in some other countries.
In Mexico, there have been three foci in studies of anthropology and education:
bilingual-bicultural education, intercultural and interethnic education, and language and
culture preservation.
In contrast to the U.S., there is little documentation of the lifeways of indigenous
peoples of Mexico other than those done by American anthropologists, such as Redfield
(1935), Foster (1965), and Lewis (1951), to name a few. These studies are largely
contemporary, focusing on the issues of culture change affecting the indigenous peoples
of Mexico under the policies of indigenismo, previously mentioned in this chapter. They
were also works done principally by American anthropologists without collaboration with
Mexican researchers. As a result of these studies, American anthropologists, just as in
the U.S., created an atmosphere of distrust and ambivalence on the part of Indian peoples
toward their work. American anthropology conducted in Mexico has been labeled
individualist (Kemper 1997:479). There is, however, an oft-neglected parallel between
the national policies in both countries, one that sought to eliminate or assimilate
indigenous peoples into the national infrastructures of their respective countries. Aguirre
Beltrn, a Mexican activist, has said:
The entire process of national formation demands the assimilation of
regional populations that participate from a distinct culture than that of the
population that forms the dominant national character (1973:251).5
5 Translation from the original Spanish.


76
constructing more federal schools, or by what seemed to be the easiest solution the
transfer of Indian children into the state public school systems.
The Johnson-O'Mally Act of 1934 also gave special monies to public schools that
had Indian students in attendance (DeJong 1993:178). Most public schools receiving
funds through the Johnson-OMally Act, however, were much more interested in the
federal funds they would be receiving than in the acts true purpose, monetary assistance
to public schools to help them to better accommodate Indian students (Szasz 1999:92).
Transportation proved to be extremely difficult in some rural areas, particularly of the
U.S. Southwest where lack of roads and sporadic-seasonal variations made accessibility a
troublesome endeavor.
The turnover at the federal level to the Eisenhower administration in 1953
produced a drastic change in federal policy toward Native Americans in general.
President Eisenhower did not support Indian self-empowerment, and as such, there were
cuts in federal assistance programs and progress came to a near standstill. Once again,
the policy had returned to one of termination, though not as drastic as the previous
period of the 19th century had been. President Eisenhower believed that Native
education should not be actively encouraged as "separate," but instead proposed an
integration of Native Americans into the contemporary public school systems. Under the
Eisenhower administration, what little funding was appropriated to the federal boarding
schools was insufficient to keep many of them running, forcing them to close their doors.
It was not until the late 1960s that the tide turned, yet again, towards Indian
separation, autonomy, and self-empowerment, where it has remained ever since. One
of the main reasons for this shift was the American Indian Movement (AIM) that


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES x
LIST OF FIGURES xi
ABSTRACT xiii
CHAPTERS
1. INTRODUCTION 1
Research Questions and Hypotheses 1
Research Site 4
The Huichol Homeland Communities 4
Tateikita 11
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK) 15
Dissertation Outline and Layout 18
2. HUICHOL HISTORY AND IDENTITY STUDIES 22
Historical Setting of the Huichol 22
Prehistory and General History 22
Contemporary Huichol History 29
Social and Political Organization 31
Contemporary Religious Organization 36
Tateikita'. A Community Profile 41
Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy 41
The Material Life of Tateikita 46
Tateikita Geography 47
Gender Roles in Tateikita 49
Nationalism and Ethnic Identity 50
Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples 50
Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Formation 58
Autonomy, Self-Determination, and Resistance 61
Questions of Ethnicity and Nationalism 65
vi


Dedicated to the Wixciritari of Tateikita and the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi
(CETMK): For teaching me the true meaning of what it is to follow in the footsteps of
Tatutsi, and for allowing this teiwari to experience what you call tame tep+xeinuiwari.
My heart will forever remain with you.


243
Tenemos que aprender cmo escribir y hablar bien.
We have to leam how to write and speak well.
On the surface these comments speak well of the secondary school and its mission
to transmit Huichol culture to the children. On a sublevel, the responses from each
student were nearly identical. What could be happening is one of two things, or the
possibility of both:
1. Students limited Spanish comprehension resulted in very brief almost
pre programmed responses to a question asking them about the
importance of the school to them,
and /or
2. Students were already enculturated into the culture of the school and
were repeating the phrases they had heard from teachers, the director, and
parents.
I suspect that elements of both conditions influenced student perceptions of their
schooling experience at the CETMK. Although responses on the questionnaires were
brief and limited in semantic depth, qualitative data from students and teachers presented
in the previous chapter augments these generic-type responses, indicating that students
could express their opinions about their education more fully verbally than in written
responses. All but one female student indicated that the CETMK was a positive
educational experience for them and would send their own children to the school in the
future.12
The politics between the secondary school and the local community were not
reflected in the questionnaires for two reasons: 1) At the time the questionnaires were
19 - ...
Family social networks are important for maintaining the diversity of the CETMK as
more and more local students come directly to the school. The number of students
from further away appears to be in decline, but oftentimes brothers and sisters will come
to the school together.


222
through group mediation, as was the case with alcohol abuse, stealing, disrespect for
personal or communal property, and failure to do ones part in group work such as in
the biointensive agriculture project or in student/school-sponsored activities.
Adaptation to new ways of being, however, is not without resistance. Community
members are actually the ones who are changing the fastest to a market-based economy.
This integration includes primary teachers who have a stake in the development process
of the local community. This shifting in value orientation by the local community has
created a rift between the cultures of the school that emphasizes traditional egalitarian
and communal practices and that of the community that is moving towards an
individualist orientation.
In Chapter 6, the local community did not accept the efforts of students and
people associated with the secondary school to better their community. Rather, they
were met with resistance rather than accommodation. Even when it came to their own
residents, teachers were not respected for their work. Some like CSD and AS were
criticized for their positions of teaching traditional cultural practices within the school.
Moreover, because the school teaches indigenous rights, it has taken on a political
dimension that some community members wish to resist. When students were asked
whether they considered the school to be political or not, only three students indicated
that the school was not political. In contrast, thirteen students indicated that the school
was very political or political, and another two indicated that it was somewhat
political.
Statements made by some community members indicate their strong desires to
have a nonpolitical education, to the point of desires to send their children off to the city


230
Figure 7.11. Male Ranking of Spanish Importance (n=13).
The results for English importance were nearly equivalent between the sexes, with
both sexes indicating means of 4.0 or higher (important when transposed to fall within
the same guidelines as the other variables). A handful of students (three females and two
males) felt indifferent about English, although no one placed it as either not important
at all or of little importance (see Figures 7.13 and 7.14).
These results may reveal a growing interest in English (perhaps, because of my
own presence influencing their responses), since the means were high. But, they may
also indicate a belief that the English language is not immediately useful to them.


270
Consonants are pronounced the same as their Spanish equivalents with a couple of small
exceptions. The W before an i is pronounced as a v rather than a w In all other
instances, a w sound is produced.
The characterx has two dialectical variations. The first, and most common, uses the
x character to represent the Spanish rr This is the dialect throughout Tateiki, and,
therefore, in Tateikita. It represents language shift away from earlier recordings of
Huichol pronunciation (see Grimes 1964). In some of the other communities, however,
the x retains its Aztec-Nahuatl origins and is pronounced as an sh in English.
For example:
Wixaritari may be pronounced as either (vi-rra ri-tar-i) or (vi-sha-ri-ta-ri)


APPENDIX F
GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND ACRONYMS
Comisario
Comunidad
District
Kalihuey
Kawitero
Ki
Kiekari
Municipio
Ranchera
Rancho
Rancho
Tateiki
Topil(es)
Village
AJAGI
CEMTK
COCOPA
CONAFE
CONAPO
CONASUPO
Huichol mayor-police chief
Spanish term for a town. For the Huichol, it pertains to any 1 of 3
Traditional temple districts, each encompassing a vast geographic area.
These traditional comunidades may or may_not cross Mexican political
Divisions (i.e., municipio and/or state boundaries)
English term for the Huichol use of Comunidad
Sacred Huichol temple
Huichol elder
Huichol term for a nuclear or extended family household (residence unit)
Huichol term for their ancestral homeland
Mexican geopolitical division analogous to a U.S. county
Spanish equivalent of an extended family ki
Spanish term for a family-owned hamlet with cattle or other small animals
Spanish term for small Huichol settlements (2 or more extended Family
rancheras). Does not have governmental services.
I.e., Rancho los lobos, rancho ocolote
Huichol term for place of our mother
Legislative assistants of the Comisario
English term for Spanish pueblo that contains services (e.g., Tateikita)
Acronyms
Asociacin Jaliciense de Apoyo a Grupos Indgenas (Jaliscan Association
For the Support of Indigenous Groups)
Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (Educational Center of
Grandfather Deer Tail)
Comisin de Concordancia y Pacificacin (Commission for Concord and
Peace)
Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo
Consejo Nacional de Poblacin
Compaa Nacional de Subsistencias Populares (National Subsistence
Company)
291


17
experience problems related to the limited Spanish proficiency of local inhabitants. As a
result, the SEP is slow to construct these schools and has problems finding replacement
teachers who usually do not like the harshness of life presented in the Huichol
communities.
The CETMK was organized to be an indigenous school in the strictest sense of
the word. Instructors were chosen from among the Huichol themselves, instead of
relying on Mestizo teachers who would know little to nothing about the Huichol way of
life or language. While genuinely certified teachers were desired, teachers were selected
based on special skills they could contribute to the school, some with little or no formal
education experience. The school began initially as a joint project between the Huichol,
with assistance from the coordinator Roco de Aguinaga oAJAGI, and the Instituto
Technolgico y de Estudios Superiores del Occidente (ITESO) as the only secondary
school in the Sierra. Under de Aguinagas guidance, the Huichol obtained permission for
the school as an experiment in bilingual-intercultural education within the SEP. De
Aguinaga also organized teacher training seminars and workshops, with a group of
assistants at the ITESO, as a way to help Huicol teachers earn their full credentials.
The founding of the CETMK was not without controversy. Initially the CETMK
was housed in buildings demanded from the local Franciscan mission, starting with a
small base of students and borrowed plazas (paid positions) from the local municipio.
With assistance of parents, new sets of classrooms were constructed below the mission
(see Figure 1.10). The name of the school, Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi,
means, in translation, Educational Center of the Tail of Our Grandfather Deer. It


312
Weigand, Phil C.
1972 Co-Operative Labor Groups in Subsistence Activities Among the Huichol
Indians of the Gobemancia of San Sebastian Teponahuastlan, Municipio of
Mezquitic, Jalisco, Mexico. Mesoamerican Studies Research Records number 7.
Carbondale, IL: University Museum / Southern Illinois University.
1979 Contemporary Social and Economic Structure. In Art of the Huichol Indians.
Kathleen Benin, ed. Pp. 101-115. San Francisco: The Fine Arts Museums of
San Francisco / Harry N. Abrams.
1981 Differential acculturation among the Huichol Indians. In Themes of
Indigenous Acculturation in Northwest Mexico. Tom Hilton and Phil
Weigand, eds. Pp. 9-21. Anthropological Papers of the University of
Tucson, no. 38. Tucson, AZ: The University of Tucson Press.
Weigand, Phil C., and Acelia Garcia de Weigand
2000 Huichol Society before the Arrival of the Spanish. Journal of the
Southwest 42(1): 12-36.
Whitehead, Alfred N.
1967 [1929] The Aims of Education and Other Essays. New York: The Free Press.
Williams, Eduardo
1990 Huichol Ethnography and Archaeological Interpretation. Papers from the
Institute of Archaeology 1(1990):6-15.
Wolcott, Harry F.
1967 A Kwakiutl Village and School. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
1997 The Teacher as Enemy. In Education and Cultural Process: Anthropological
Approaches, 3rd ed. George D. Spindler, ed. Pp. 77-92. Prospect Heights, EL:
Waveland Press, Inc.
Wolf, Eric R.
1957 Closed Corporate Peasant Communities in Mesoamerica and Central Java.
Southwest Journal of Anthropology 13(1):1-18.
1966 Peasants. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
1982 Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California
Fress.
1986 The Vicissitudes of the Closed Corporate Community. American
Ethnologist 13(2):325-329.
Zarembo, Alan
1999 Death in the Mountains: Inside Mexicos Murder Mystery.
Newsweek (International Edition), March 23: 83(12): 10-15.


197
After the half-hour recess, students return to classes that continue until 1:30 pm,
when there is a two-hour break for lunch. During the three hour period prior to the break,
students are in class the entire time as teachers shift from room to room to give their
appropriate assigned courses.16
On this day, there is a substitution, and FDS is teaching a course in Derechos
Indgenas to third-year students. He had asked them to travel about in the community
and interview traditional authorities, creating lists of their offices and roles. They have
returned to give presentations on their research. Following their individual presentations,
PGC asks them to begin work on a play related to indigenous rights. He asks them to
hold a debate where the various positions of Huichol elders and citizens, cattle ranchers,
and government authorities will be presented (see Figure 6.5). A discussion follows, and
students begin to mill around the table at the front of the room. I ask FDS about some
papers he has with him. He responds:
Estn abriendo los ojos. En ningn otro lugar aprenden de derechos
indgenas. Nuestra situacin ... la tierra. La bandera de Mxico, el
guila. Lo robaron de nosotros. Eso aprend en una reunin en el DF.
They are opening their eyes. In no other place do they [the students] learn
about indigenous rights. Our situation ... the land, the Mexican flag, the
eagle. They [The Mexican Government] robbed it from us. I learned that
at a meeting in Mexico City.
I ask FDS some more about the class, but he leaves them with me to supervise
and provide ideas while he goes to do some unfinished business in the agency. One
would think that the students would make use of the time to fool around, but this is not
the case. FDS will frequently leave students unsupervised, allowing them to work
together and organize their own time. One student runs off to the library to get some
16 See Appendix E for course schedules of the three grades at the CETMK.


257
programs, some Franciscan (Catholic), others not. These migrations out of the Sierra
may damage the ability of youth to properly reintegrate themselves into the local culture.
This difficulty was evident in the stories of the directors difficulties returning to the
Sierra, as well as those of other teachers of the secondary school who are being secured
from outside the local community, rather than recruited from within it. The question
remains of whether or not the students will follow through on their desires to return
home.
Those who enter CONAFE, a rural educational assistance organization that
provides education in remote ranch settlements for the first three years of the primary, are
able to stay in their local communities and work with children in a way that permits them
to maintain strong communal ties. While several recent secondary school graduates have
opted for this track, most students feel that CONAFE will slow their chances for learning,
since to be a rural promoter requires a year of dedication to teaching children in which
they cannot attend school themselves. Completion of the second year, however, provides
a monetary supplement for five years of study (three years of preparatory and two of the
university).
Indigenous Control and Community Schooling
The research, while evaluating the mission of the school, was also centered on
answering the following primary questions:
1. What impact does the establishment of an indigenous-controlled school
have on Huichol culture and language? Does it fortify identity or is there
considerable intracultural variation that will be exposed by examining the
views of school culture and community relations, and therefore no
difference from non-indigenous controlled education?
2. Are there conflicting attitudes about formal education (e.g., what is
important and how it should be taught)?


127
The educational theory that best fits the micro level of analysis is left ambiguous
on purpose. Its true nature lies at the intersection of competing discourses that determine
the role of the CETMK within the local community, and the culture of its adherents. The
following section on research methods discusses the various approaches I used to assess
what might actually be the true nature of the micro-culture of the CETMK school and the
community dynamics of education in Tateikita.
Research Methods
The research methods used in my research were a combination of qualitative and
quantitative ethnographic methods. I began my fieldwork knowing that by combining
both techniques I may be able to see if there are any similarities between what people say
and what they actually do. Because I was asked to teach at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi
Maxa Kwaxi by the school director, assistant director, and parents, I knew that I would
have an opportunity to be involved inside and outside the classroom on a regular daily
basis.
Formal Interviewing of Key Personnel
I began my work a year in advance in the Summer of 1997 by visiting the school
coordinator, Roco de Aguinaga, in Guadalajara. Put into contact with her through
Salomn Nahmad, an anthropologist from CIESAS, it was at that time that I first learned
about her school project with the Huichol. In a series of several chats, she taught me
about the difficult process in bringing a secondary school para los huicholes, de los
huicholes (for the Huichol, by the Huichol).5 Visiting with her, I could tell how
enchanted she was with the Huichol. Whereas, at that point in time, I had actually only
5 Personal Communication from Roco de Aguinaga, July 1997.


118
positions in an ideal atmosphere could be argued out as Habermas (1992) contests. At
the CETMK, these discourses may be accommodated at assembly meetings, and
discussed at village gatherings. But the question really remains of which discourse is the
prevailing one, and, how, if at all, opposing views of schooling are accommodated within
the school and the community.
Educational Theory: Developing a Philosophy of Education for the Huichol
The third theoretical perspective for this dissertation comes from the realm of
educational theory. Much of educational theory about indigenous peoples and
educational pedagogy in general are concerned with empowerment issues in the
classroom for both teachers and students (Apple 1975, 1995, 1996; Ball 1990; Cleary and
Peacock 1998; Dewey 1989; Giroux 1992; Levinson 1998; Lima and Lima 1998;
Marshall 1996; McLaren 1998). As an inseparable part of educational theory, an
overarching philosophy of education is critical to understanding the emancipatory nature
of education. A philosophy of education is, in effect, a general mission statement made
up from group norms and aims that determines the purpose and function of education
within a given population or community (Whitehead 1967). A sound analysis of Huichol
education would not be complete without addressing the larger philosophy of education
that dictates its mission and function within the greater Huichol society.
In the following two subsections, I will introduce the central ideas involved in a
critical pedagogy of education, and ultimately tie them together as socialistic means to
achieve an idealistic scenario of social egalitarianism that revolves around discussions of
voice, agent, and action. The critical educational theory that shapes this area is derived
from the positions of Paulo Freire (1993), Henry Giroux (1992) and Peter McLaren


21
actions of its social actors. I conclude chapter 6 by placing the schools mission and its
daily activities within the light of the imagined community through the telling of tales
revealed during the years 1998-2000.
In chapter 7,1 summarize the observations and quantitative data from chapters 5
and 6. The results of surveys are tabulated, and results are stated. I conclude chapter 7
with the politics surrounding the results of interviews and surveys. I also demonstrate in
what ways the culture of the CETMK contributes to its successes or failures in meeting
its mission.
Lastly, chapter 8 includes a discussion of the conclusions and results, with
implications for the future of Huichol identity and indigenous education. I conclude with
a discussion of suggestions for future research on the issues.


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
Figure 1.1. The Huichol Homeland 5
Figure 1.2. The Huichol Communities 6
Figure 1.3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixtita 8
Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita 8
Figure 1.5. Student Banner Promoting the UCIH 10
Figure 1.6. Plane of the Franciscan Missionaries 12
Figure 1.7. View of Airstrip and Surrounding Mesas from Tateikita 12
Figure 1.8. The almacn at Completion in November 1999 13
Figure 1.9. The Local Agency of Tateikita 15
Figure 1.10. CETMK Classrooms 18
Figure 2.1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background 30
Figure 2.2. Child in Tateikita at the Fiesta del Tambor, December 1999 33
Figure 2.3. Huichol Political Organization 35
Figure 2.4. The Peyote Cactus 37
Figure 2.5. Maraakame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo 39
Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings 40
Figure 5.1. Huichol Cancer Advisory 148
Figure 5.2. Philip True Murderers as Portrayed by the American Media 156
Figure 6.1. Construction Meeting of padres de familia 172
xi


228
c
=¡
o
O
10-
2-
8-
6-
4-
1,00
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
lenguam
Figure 7.9. Male Rankings of Native Language Importance (n=13; 5=very important)
For comparison of potential language shift towards importance of English and
Spanish for students, I also ran separate analyses by sex of student perceptions of the
importance of English or Spanish in their lives. For Spanish, the mean response for
males was 4.33 on a 5-point scale (with one student not indicating a response), expressing
a belief that Spanish is and will continue to be an important means of communication for
them in the future. Among female students, three did not answer the question. Of those
who did, the mean was 4.43, showing an even greater belief in the importance of Spanish
to them. Because three women did not answer the question, the sample size for women is
only seven, causing value changes to affect even greater sways in the mean and standard
deviation than for males who comprised a larger aggregate sample. If the women who


CHAPTER 3
EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION
La escuela me da chanza de aprender del mundo ajeno mientras
quedarme igual. No me pueden cambiar [los mestizos]. Ya s quin soy
yo1
The School gives me the chance to learn about the outside world while
remaining who I am. They [the Mestizos] cant change me. I already
know who I am.
Indigenous Educational History
Indigenous education is a recent area of concern in educational philosophy. This
chapter begins with a general history describing the historical developments leading to
the creation of indigenous education programs in the U.S. and Mexico. Despite
geographic separations and different governments, the historical timelines of federal
Indian education policies in the U.S. and Mexico are surprisingly similar. As of yet,
there do not appear to be any comparative approaches to studies of indigenous education
programs in the U.S. and Latin America, with reasons lying in linguistic, geographic, and
political-territorial distinctions. In each of the subsequent sections, I mention the various
forms of legislation leading up to the present state of indigenous self-control of public
and private Indian education on both sides of the border. I do so in order to show that the
shifting tides of political climate have influenced claims for Indian sovereignty that now
appear to be entering a new era emphasizing local control of education.
1 Personal Communication with 3rd year Huichol student of the CETMK, July 2000.
70


297
De Vos, George A.
1995Ethnic Pluralism: Conflict and Accomodation. In Ethnic Identity: Creation,
Conflict, and Accomodation, 3rd ed. Lola Romanucci-Ross and George
De Vos, eds. Pp. 15-47. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.
DeJong, David H.
1993 Promises of the Past: A History of Indian Education in the United States.
Golden, CO: North American Press.
Deloria, Vine Jr.
1995 Red Earth, White Lies. Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact.
New York: Scribner.
Dementi-Leonard, Beth, and Perry Gilmore
1999 Language Revitalization and Identity in Social Context: A Community-Based
Athabascan Language Preservation Project in Western Interior Alaska.
Anthropology and Education Quarterly 30(l):37-55.
Dewey, John
1938 Experience and Education. New York: Collier Books and Kappa Delta Pi.
1966 [1916] Democracy and Education. Toronto, Canada: Free Press.
1967 Outline of a Critical Theory of Ethics. In The Early Works 3:237-388.
Carbondale, EL: The John Dewey Society.
1989 [1939] Freedom and Culture. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books.
Diaz Polanco, Hctor
1996 Autonoma Regional: La Autodeterminacin de los Pueblos Indios, 2nd ed.
Mexico City: Siglo XXI.
1997 Indigenous Peoples in Latin America: The Quest for Self-Determination.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
1998 La Cuestin tnico-Nacional, 2nd ed. Mexico City: Editorial Fontamara.
Diget, Lon
1899 Contribution to lEtude Ethnographiques des Races Primitives au Mexique.
La Sierra de Nayarit et ses Indigenes. In Nouvelles Archives des Missions
Scientifiques et Litteraires 9:571-630. Paris.
Duran, Bonnie, Eduardo Duran, and Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart
1998 Native Americans and the Trauma of History. In Studying Native America:
Problems and Prospects. Russelll Thornton, ed. Pp. 60-76. Madison, WI:
University of Wisconsin Press.
Durkheim, Emile
1951 [1897] Suicide. New York: Free Press.
1965 [1915] The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: Free Press.


283
QUESTIONARIO
1. Cual es su sexo? Edad?
2. De donde es usted?
3. Ha viajado fuera de la Sierra? Si la respuesta es s, adonde? Cuantas veces?
4. Participa usted en su religin tradicional (cultura wixarika) o es catlico o de otra
religin? Mas de uno? Cuantas?
5. Habla Wixa o espaol en casa? Si habla los dos, cual usa mas frecuentemente?
6. Puede usted leer y escribir el espaol? Hablar espaol?
7. Cmo le piensa su habilidad de hablar espaol?
8. Puede usted leer Wixa? Escribirlo?
9a. Tiene usted algn trabajo? Si tiene, de que?
9b. Si no tiene trabajo, que carrera quisiera?
10. Que tipos de trabajo tienen sus padres?
11. Es usted, o desea usted, hacerse maraakame?
12. Que nivel de educacin tiene usted?
13. Cuales caractersticas de ser Huichol puede apuntar usted?
14a. De 1 a 5 (peor al mejor), Cuanta importancia tiene el espaol en su vida diaria?
14b. Por que?
14c. Piensa usted que ser mas importante en el futuro?
15. Que piensa usted de la escuela secundaria Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi> Por que?
16a. Hay algo que quisiera cambiar de la escuela?
16b. Que es y por que?
17. Si usted puede empezar de nuevo, asistira a la escuela? (o requera a sus nios que
asisten)
18. Si hay que poner en orden de 1 a 5 (peor al mejor), Cmo es su experiencia de la
escuela secundaria (o de su nio / nia)? Por que?


171
How can he give classes in Huichol? He doesnt participate [in the
ceremonies]. He didnt go to Wirikuta with us. I went 15 times; perhaps
this is my last time. I am old. (eldest mara akame and healer of the local
community)
AS becomes very emotional at such comments, responding in near tears:
Yo s participo en mi cultura. Voy a las fiestas. Estudio. No tomo peyote
porque me hace dao. Una vez cuando fue nio, lo tom . com
mucho.4 Me sent mal, mareado. Despus vi unas figuras . una vbora
en el camino. Me asust mucho.
I, yes, participate in my culture. I go to the festivals [ceremonies], I
study. I dont take peyote because it makes me ill. One time when I was a
child ... I ate a lot. I felt bad, dizzy sick. Afterwards I saw some figures.
. a snake on the path. It scared me a lot.
Along with CSD, AS is the most outspoken proponent of abstinence from alcohol
for teachers, students, and community members. He makes a strong separation between
tehuino (a maize beer used ceremonially) and beer and liquor. The first is considered
cultural; the subsequent items are not.
The last of the CETMK teachers, E is the behind-the-scenes man. An
accomplished gardener and carpenter, E is the maintenance person for the CETMK,
supervisor of carpentry, and assistant to PGC in horticulture. E does not have a primary
education either, but does not let this get in the way of his work. He has some reading
skills and good Spanish-speaking skills. He has been instrumental in organizing parents
and students to create the CETMK classrooms, library, and dormitories (see Figure 6.1).
Apart from classroom teachers, the CETMK organization also includes a network
of padres de familia (parents) of its students who meet at least once a month. In CETMK
culture, parents are the threads that hold the school together, for without their support and
4 Whenever possible, I have attempted to leave grammatical constructions in their
original spoken manner. Many people, particularly those without formal education, have
their own limited Spanish dialect.


121
1. That students learn about and come to know the significance of their
culture
2. That the student first begin to learn about his/her community,
municipality, and combining these with the national culture, take what is
really found to be useful to him/her
3. That the children dont go to the city. To promote the seed so that
children learn about the needs of their own community
4. That the children become strong when they are older, and also united in
their culture and in autonomy
5. To give classes in Huichol and recuperate Huichol forms of expression
6. To integrate the school with the community and the UC1HJ
7. To teach elements that serve one to confront his/her surroundings in an
integrated manner. Autonomy has to be seen as a way that nobody can
direct us, neither outsiders nor ourselves. (CETMK 1996)
From these mission objectives for the CETMK, it can be seen that the objectives
of teachers and those in the actual community-mission of the CETMK are largely the
same. The school was constructed with a political self-determinist agenda from the
beginning. It was also largely critical of the outside world that the Huichol felt were
eroding away at their lives. Using critical educational theory, the Huichol macro
situation fits a pedagogy of the oppressed (Freire 1993) whereby the interests of the
oppressors lie in changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which
oppresses them (de Beauvoir, in Freire 1993:55). According to this rationalization, the
oppressed have internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines
(Freire 1993:29).
The traditional bilingual-bicultural program of education used by the SEP among
the native peoples of Mexico falls within an attempt by the dominant society to
incorporate native peoples into the mainstream society by affecting their consciousness of


64
4?
suspicious of uninvited visitors in the Sierra since that time.6 Because of their dealings
with the Huichol, the non-governmental association AJAGI has been threatened on
numerous occasions, including the attempted kidnapping of the child of one its directors.7
Despite these threats, AJAGI continues to help the Huichol with legal counseling in land
disputes and development projects within the community of Tateiki.
Tied in with discussions of autonomy for the indigenous peoples of Mexico are
the ideas of self-determination and regional autonomy. Diaz-Polanco (1996:15) says
that it is not possible to understand the indigenous problem of Latin America without
understanding the regional-national context in which it exists. As such, the origins of
quests for autonomy must be placed within the socio-political foundations of the nation
state. We must also understand the difference between autonomy and self-determination.
According to Diaz-Polanco (1997:98), the distinction between self-determination
and autonomy is usually based on an identification of the former with the right to
political independence and the establishment of a nation-state, while the latter is reserved
for the assumption of certain special faculties (such as self-government) without
statehood or political independence. He believes that many indigenous peoples are
afraid of the International Labor Organizations resolutions from Convention 169, passed
in January 1989. These resolutions, ratified into the Mexican constitution in December
of 1992, gave the indigenous peoples of Mexico the right to practice their religious and
social traditions, but at the same time, the wording is not clear and can be interpreted in
different ways. The vague wording is the very thing that plagued Lenin during the 1930s
61 personally witnessed the explusion of a pair of anthropologists from Tateikita in the
Fall of 1999. Despite good intentions, they did not follow proper authoritative channels
in requesting to do their research on dance and symbolism in the village.
7 Personal Communication with Angeles Arcos, March 1999.


157
True as tu paisano (your fellow countryman) or tu hermano / eku matsika (your elder
brother) whenever his name was brought up.13 From the perspective of intracultural
variation, the Huichol did not acknowledge the murderers as characteristic of typical
Huichol individuals. Instead, the Huichol immediately branded them as outsiders
within their own culture (by dress and actions).
A second case in point about stereotypical Huichol distrust is self-deprecated
coming from the vantage of Franciscan missionaries. The first story comes from a
student soccer trip to play against the Franciscan mission team at Santa Clara; the
second, from a community assembly meeting in Tateiki in Spring 1999.
In the first instance, after the soccer teams had played, they were invited back to
the mission for a meal. With myself and two other Huichol teachers as chaperones, we
arrived back at the mission where all were escorted inside to eat pozole (a soup-like pork
and corn dish). Students rushed inside to eat, but there was some apprehension on the
part of the two teachers to partake of the meal. They remarked:
Quieren convertimos . hacemos catlicos.
They want to convert us . turn us into Catholics.
La comida mata. Te hace enfermo.
The food kills. It makes you sick.
Los padres . son padres de familia. Tienen mujeres y quieren ms.
The fathers ... are parents. They have women and want more [of them].
13 Newsweek did not publish the authors written rebuttal of the negative media image
portrayed of the Huichol since it attributed Trues death to unethical conduct and lack of
common sense.


156
conceptions that True had not followed proper protocol by visiting a remote region
without obtaining all the proper permissions, without speaking the language, and without
a native guide. Moreover, he had camera equipment openly about him and was taking
pictures as he went along. A seasoned hiker as True claimed to be, should have
known better, according to Huichol sources. I compared Trues demise to someone
visiting an unknown urban neighborhood or hiking alone in the mountains of the United
States. No one would do that there, so why would True think he could do so in Mexico?
Figure 5.2. Philip True Murderers as Portrayed by the American Media (Source:
Newsweek 1998:12).
What this case illustrates is the perpetuation of the myth by the media, particularly
the American media, of the Huichol Indian as uncivilized. Those who knew of the case
and then saw how they (the Huichol) were presented by the media were upset with the
whole affair, seeing their misrepresentation as yet another form of cultural domination
by the dominant Mexican culture and American society. As locals learned that I did not
condone Trues conduct, the case became a joking matter for them as they referred to


15
preschool in the village and a recently remodeled primary school with dormitories
operated by INI and with direct assistance from the Secretara de Educacin Pblica
(SEP) and the Departamento de Educacin Indgena (DEI) in Guadalajara. The primary
school covers grades one through six (there is no equivalent of kindergarten in the
Mexican public education system). Due to increasing attendance of students in recent
years, the primary school now provides education to over 300 students from throughout
the local area. Because primary education has been mandatory for many years, those
students who are from more remote ranches often stay in the dormitories at the school
during the week, returning home to their families on the weekends.
Figure 1.9. The Local Agency of Tateikita.
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi fCETMK)
In 1991, the Mexican government passed legislation making secondary education
mandatory in Mexico. The 1997 figure for the state of Jalisco places the level of post
primary level education at only 47.6% of the general population (INEGI-ENADID 1997).
Because of such low figures, the state concentrated first on establishing secondary


186
community) are a model for the attitudes of the Tateikita community itself, which I
believe they are, then the divisions between the two schools will remain as long as there
is no contact between the two environments.
The external relations with the local village community of Tateikita mimic those
with the primary school, largely due, in part, to the fact that primary teachers have such a
strong presence within Tateikita via their shops and relatives. The school retains support
from the immediate families of the teachers and some from a couple of the local
shopkeepers in the village, mainly ones who are close relatives or have had students
graduate from the CETMK in the first generation (Spring 1998). Support, however, is
not without its price, as assistance with travels for hauling materials, or with transporting
people, will require payments, sometimes exuberant ones.
Apart from shopkeepers, students do not feel that they are a part of the local
community, unless they are boarding with relatives. In the case of the student body
president:
No nos respetan en la comunidad. Hacemos mucho y nunca nos aprecian.
Arreglamos la pista, la carretera, y limpiamos la comunidad. Ellos [de la
comunidad] tiran basura y no cuidan a la comunidad.
The community doesnt respect us. We do a lot and they never appreciate
us [what weve done]. We fixed the airstrip, the road, and we clean the
community. They [those of the community] throw garbage and dont care
for the community.
The students comments appear to reveal the truth about the disarticulation of the
school culture with the local community. I have observed, and participated in, efforts to
clean up the village, construct a path to the corral for a community rodeo, fix cracks in
the airstrip, and trips into the Sierra to repair the dirt road. Never once was there
community recognition of these activities. Failure to recognize CETMK efforts for the


160
occurrences. The case of the Huichol murderers illustrates that rural Huichol have not
come to grips with their own diversity. Are these individuals really Huichol, or are they
something else? By clinging to limited definitions of identity based on appearance and
actions, the members of Tateikita showed their disapproval of what happened.
At the same time that they are portrayed as distrustful and a closed society by
Franciscans, the media, and other outsiders, the Huichol self-declare their own distrust of
the outside world by their reactions to happenstance occurrences such as people
becoming ill from food, or the story of why the police came to the assembly meeting
being attributed solely to the Franciscans. As will be explored in the next chapter, the
school becomes a location for the negotiation of Huichol identity, particularly among
youths who are confronted with traditional values that they must sort out with foreign
ideas.


307
Nimni, Ephraim
1991 Marxism and Nationalism: Theoretical Origins of a Political Crisis.
Concord, MA: Pluto Press.
Noddings, Nel
1994 Philosophy of Education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press
Norman, James
1977 The Huichols: Mexicos People of Myth and Magic. In National Geographic,
151(6):832-853.
Olmos, Jos Gil
1999 The San Andrs Accords: Three Years of Non-implementation. La Jornada.
February 16, 1999. Mexico.
Oppenheim, Matt
2001 Why Community Reform and Educational Development are One Project.
Paper Presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) Meetings,
Merida, Mexico. April 1.
Outhwaite, William
1994 Habermas: A Critical Introduction. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Pacheco Salvador, +r+temai (Gabriel)
1995 Encuentros. In Reflexiones sobre la identidad tnica. Jos Luis Itturioz
Leza, et al., eds. Pp. 205-224. Guadalajara, Mxico: Universidad de
Guadalajara.
Pewewardy, Comel
1998 Our Children Cant Wait: Recapturing the Essence of Indigenous
Schools in the United States. Cultural Survival Quarterly 22(l):29-34.
Pike, Kenneth L.
1967 [1954] Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human
Behavior. The Hague: Mouton.
Ramrez de la Cruz, Xitakame (Julio)
1995 Nosotros los huicholes. In Reflexiones sobre la identidad tnica. Jos
Luis Itturioz Leza, et al., eds. Pp. 71-77. Guadalajara, Mxico: Universidad de
Guadalajara.
Rajsbaum, Ari
1994 Los huicholes. In Etnografa contempornea de los pueblos indgenas
de mxico: regin occidental. Mxico, D.F.: Instituto Nacional Indigenista.


57
to looking at the future of ethnic groups and cultures in America, it has use in cultural
revitalization and preservation movements for indigenous peoples. I argue that much of
the pan-Indian movement relies on a peoples ability to create connections with other
individuals based on perceived cultural similarities, when in reality there may be a lot of
difference between a persons behavior and the traditional cultural practices of his or her
ethnic group. By creating and using symbolic ethnicity, ethnic lines are dissolved and
people can be united based on common beliefs and goals.
When talking about the Huichol, symbolic ethnicity may explain one way in
which the intelligentsia think and act when they create a school culture. By aligning
themselves with the common goals of all indigenous peoples, they see the ability to fight
for the common good of all. At the same time, constructing a new collective social
identity may act as a device to alienate traditionalists within the community, causing
conflict and political side-taking when it comes to conflict resolution. Creating a
collective symbolic ethnicity, however, may help to maintain group identity by justifying
some acculturative (or assimilationist) aspects of culture change, such as changes in ones
dress or language to that of the dominant culture as non-indigenous. Pacheco Salvador
(1995:209) writes about this from the point of view of a traditionalist when she speaks of
the Huichol children of today who combine traditional festivals with Christian ones,
play the same games as the Mestizo children, and swear off the Huichol language by
not speaking it with other Huichol when there are mestizos present for fear of being
criticized. I have been fortunate in a rural setting to have not seen this linguistic drop
off to habitual Spanish use when in the presence of teiwaritsie (outsiders). Huichol
appeared to be comfortable shifting between their native language and using a translator


12
of the power of nature and the way of the past. The Saludos family founded the village in
the 1920s.2 They continue to be the main caretakers of the village. One of the local
features in the village that reinforces this notion is the painting of the words Puro Saludos
(Pure Saludos) on the side of one of the prominent buildings near the village plaza.
Figure 1.6. Plane of the Franciscan Missionaries.
Figure 1.7. View of Airstrip and Surrounding Mesas from Tateikita.
2 All names have been altered, when necessary, to protect individuals from possible harm,
or the community from unnecessary (and undesired) visitation.


264
CETMK, teachers use Huichol nearly exclusively in the classes, but authority mandates
are made by teachers (unconsciously or subconsciously) in Spanish.
As with any educational environment, there is room for improvement within the
CETMK. In response to my findings in the course of research and evaluation of the
secondary school in Tateikita, I made the followed recommendations:
1. Greater elder consultation and involvement in the school.
2. Better networking with the local community and primary school.
3. Formation of artisan cooperatives associated with the school.
4. Use of the school and the new library as a community center with art,
music, and literary activities that bring involvement of the local
community into the school culture.
5. Realization that alcohol abuse is the primary cause for deterioration of
traditional values within the local community and that its persistence
negatively impacts the attitudes of student peers towards the local
community and their own culture.
6. Literary encouragement in Huichol for all levels of the secondary
schools activities so that the written language receives reinforcement in
daily activities of youth and so that they can see its potential use for
artistic expression and communication, as well as cultural preservation.
Each of these six recommendations was a suggestion of ways to mend the
diverging cultures of the primary and secondary schools, as well as to keep the dialogue
of identity renegotiation and culture change open. Bringing elders into the classroom
would involve the local community, making them feel that they had something to give to
the future of their people, rather than the ideas dictated by intellectuals. Networking with
the primary school and community can be done with a regular series of weekly or
monthly meetings that bring together teachers from both environments to discuss
approaches towards bilingual intercultural education. It may also heal wounds between
teachers, so that they can better understand why each school has a separate agenda that


APPENDIX A
NOTES ON THE USE OF HUICHOL AND SPANISH ORTHOGRAPHY
All references to the Huichol people are made using the term Huichol for both singular
and plural case representations. For example:
He is Huichol.
They are Huichol.
The Huichol are...
This is now the acceptable self-referent form, identical to that used for the Maya and
other indigenous peoples (e.g., the Navajo, the Hopi, the Tarahumara). The use of non-
anglicized plural forms for native peoples is derived from the translations of the names of
indigenous peoples as the people, which, in itself, is a plural noun. Huichol is also
used as the adjective form as in:
The Huichol culture...
Huichol history is...
In rare instances, I have used the term Wixaritari, the indigenous plural noun, to refer to
the Huichol people. The word wixarika used in this dissertation is the adjective form
meaning roughly of or pertaining to the Huichol people. This adjective is used for two
courses offered at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK): cultura
wixarika (Huichol culture) and escritura wixarika (Huichol writing). These indigenous
terms are also abbreviated by native speakers as simply wixa.
Throughout this dissertation I have used the original Spanish or Huichol whenever
possible, followed by English translations. All words inserted in Spanish are provided
with parenthetical English translations thereafter.
Huichol Phonology and Orthography
Vowels are pronounced identical to those in Spanish, except that Huichol does not have
the o replacing it instead with the tonal +.
The + is a high, tense sound, half-way between the u and an i. It is a very difficult
sound for non-native speakers to approximate. Among children and young people, the
+ is losing its tonal significance, and in many cases meaning is derived from context.
269


94
difficulty gaming voice among the general populace because the avenue of information
dissemination is written rather than in a traditional oral form (Iturrioz et al. 1995).
Because indigenous educators and community members saw that bilingual
education was not reducing culture and language loss, they pushed within the SEP a
move towards what is called bilingual intercultural education. Already noted by
scholars such as Freedson and Prez (1998), the bilingual-bicultural model was not
working. Elders were often ambivalent about it, and community divisions were created
between those who thought the native language was holding them back as opposed to
those who wanted to preserve it (progressives and teachers).
In Paraguay, Corvaln (1989:601) stressed the importance of regular use of
Guarani language in the classroom by teachers, finding that using a different language in
the classroom other than what students used regularly outside the classroom caused
literacy problems for native students. They were becoming literate in neither language
because the structure of the educational experience did not enable them to gain a grasp on
their native literacy skills before introducing foreign concepts and ideas in an unfamiliar
language.
The bilingual-intercultural education model was meant to erase the negative us
vs. them bipolar distinctions in education. Instead of teaching two separate systems of
education, the bilingual-intercultural model sought to equally divide time between native
concepts and foreign ones. Its goal was also to recognize the dynamic nature of Indian
peoples. Instead of seeing Indian peoples as only traditional, the model realized that their
life was in a constant state of flux. According to Mondino, bilingual-intercultural
education is:


208
however many items they could list), declaring its importance to them. The third task for
each free listing theme was to order each of the items. For example, if a student listed
four items under theme one, he or she was first to rate the importance of each on an
ascending scale of importance from one to ten and then put them in ranked order of
importance according to the theme.
The second section to the surveys included a number of semantic scales pertaining
to four themes: school experience, ethnic identity, traditions (Huichol culture), and
technology. Each theme included fourteen semantic scales in which students placed an
x on the appropriate location within each scale, ranking their perceptions in bipolar
comparisons that included political-apolitical, important-not important, special-
common, and useful-not useful.
The third section involved the ranking of a series of twenty-one material culture
domains. These included everything from a watch, to music, the city, traditional and
non-traditional alcoholic beverages, and a preparatory and university. I asked students to
rank each of these items in a descending order of importance from one (very important)
to five (not important at all), with a three being a marker of neutrality (indifference) on
the part of the student.
The forth and final section of the questionnaire consisted of thirty open-ended
short-answer questions in which students were asked everything from demographic data
(sex, age, place of home residence) to their perceptions of their indigenous language,
Spanish, English, and desires to remain in the Sierra or travel elsewhere for employment
or education.


95
An education planned to impart knowledge in two language and two
cultures. It is meant to increase value in native language and culture;
Spanish is gradually introduced utilizing in it special materials adapted to
the user (1993:129).
and that the following should be taken in mind when analyzing it:
The traditional is important. It isnt the only trait that should be
considered as part of a culture. Denial of culture change is to deny that it
(the culture) is living and found in a constant process of transformation
(1993:130).
Intercultural education stresses the ability to become fluently literate in both
languages as the best way to preserve a culture (Bernard 1985; Ramirez de la Cruz 1995).
It is argued that the community must take an active role in the school for it to survive.
The third area of concern in indigenous anthropology in Mexico has to do with
language and culture preservation. In contrast to the revitalization programs occurring
across the U.S., in Mexico the focus is on cultural preservation. Bernard (1985, 1995)
believes that if you can teach someone to read and write his or her language, it will
survive. Establishing the Centro Editorial de Literatura Indgena, A.C. (CELIAC) in
Oaxaca in 1993, Bernards project aims to encourage indigenous authors to write and
publish in their native languages. This project has assisted over 150 indigenous writers in
over a dozen indigenous languages to preserve their languages (Bernard 1997).
Bums (1998) has written as well about the influence of pan-Maya ideology on
Maya education in the Yucatn of Mexico. Like Oaxacas 1996 intercultural education
law, numerous Yucatec-speaking Maya banded together to demand legalization of their
language for all government institutions, as well as for mandatory Maya education.
Acting as a consultant to Yucatec Maya teachers, Bums saw that group consciousness
aided indigenous teachers to discuss and develop curriculum relevant to Maya language
and culture.


153
(Furst and Schaefer 1994; Iturrioz Leza 1995:83, Von Groll 1997). From my
observations of the use of the term among those of Tateikita, it appears best to use
outsider or not one of us. I have only heard it used with myself on a few occasions,
and it is often used in a derogatory way to refer to that person or in a plural sense as
teiwaritsie (those other people).10 The use of the concept helps define the in-group and
out-group boundaries of Huichol membership, and is therefore fundamental to
understanding Fluichol identity negotiation. The following section discusses the use of
distrust as a boundary defining mechanism between Huichol culture and the outside
world.
Huichol Distrust: Reporters, Franciscans and Ethical Conduct
I have mentioned previously that the Huichol are particularly suspicious of
outsiders. It is not caused so much by the fact that one is not Huichol, as it is by a self
protection mechanism. Unless one is connected with a state or government organization,
people are generally silent and keep to themselves, choosing not to involve themselves in
the concerns of the outsider. After the secretive work of anthropologists and reporters
who have visited the Sierra and written about the romanticized primitive and savage
Huichol over the decades, the Huichol have made it especially difficult for anyone as an
individual to penetrate their life. Distrust and suspicion of visitors run rampant among
elders and adults, though less so among naturally curious children. The media,
accentuating and propagating rumors that the rural Huichol are indeed savage and
10 In my case, a primary teacher who was upset that I had reserved a seat on a flight to
Tepic from Tateikita used it once. Just before the planes departure, he had decided to
take his wife and child with him on the flight, yet there was not room for all of us. He
was expressing his disgust by asking the pilot to leave the other one and come back for
him later. I promptly relinquished my seat.


190
will hold practices to ensure that things are done correctly according to custom, much
like a religious ritual (see Figure 6.2).
When asked why the flag procession is so important, a student responds:
Lo hacemos como es de costumbre. Es importante porque el guila es de
nosotros. El smbolo ... es nuestro, de los aztecas.
We do it according to custom. It is important because the eagle is ours.
The symbol... is ours, of the Aztecs.
The teacher of Huichol culture (AS) adds the following:
Los dioses nos miran ... el cristo tambin, (sonriendo) Tenemos que
soportarlo bien. Es importante para la escuela que tenemos orgullo en
nuestra creacin . nuestra vida.
The gods are watching us . Christ too [smiling].10 We have to support it
[the flag] well. Its important for the school that we have pride in our
creation . our life.
Following the national anthem, important news of the day is given. The student
president first makes any announcements of interest, usually plans for sports competitions
or preparing for upcoming fiestas.11 Afterwards, faculty enter the middle of the
horseshoe shape, adding any comments or announcements as necessary. Today, the
student body president mentions that there will be a tournament on Friday and that he
wants to have a dance to follow it. All the announcements are made in Huichol as he
directs his voice to the others. It is only when he makes an emphatic point that language
shifts to Spanish. He does this to be sure that all understand him completely.
10 On the side of a mesa opposite the river from Tateikita there is a spot of dead
vegetation that at certain times of the year appears to resemble a cross or human figure
with outstretched arms. It is easily visible from the mission and where the CETMK is
located below the village.
11 Plans for student-directed tournaments, fiestas, and activities compose the majority of
extracurricular activities at the CETMK.


APPENDIX C
EZLN DECLARATION OF WAR
(Source: http://flag.blackened. net/revolt/mexico/ezln/ezlnwa.html)
First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle
EZLN's Declaration of War
"Today we say 'enough is enough!'
(Ya Basta!)"
TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:
MEXICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, then during the War of
Independence against Spain led by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed
by North American imperialism, then to promulgate our constitution and expel the
French empire from our soil, and later the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz denied us
the just application of the Reform laws and the people rebelled and leaders like Villa and
Zapata emerged, poor men just like us. We have been denied the most
elemental preparation so they can use us as cannon fodder and pillage the wealth of our
country. They don't care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a
roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are we
able to freely and democratically elect our political representatives, nor is
there independence from foreigners, nor is there peace nor justice for ourselves and our
children.
But today, we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
We are the inheritors of the true builders of our nation. The dispossessed, we are millions
and we thereby call upon our brothers and sisters to join this struggle as the
only path, so that we will not die of hunger due to the insatiable ambition of a 70 year
dictatorship led by a clique of traitors that represent the most conservative and
sell-out groups. They are the same ones that opposed Hidalgo and Morelos, the same
ones that betrayed Vicente Guerrero, the same ones that sold half our country
to the foreign invader, the same ones that imported a European prince to rule our country,
the same ones that formed the "scientific" Porfirsta dictatorship, the same
273


277
TEMADOS: TRADICIONES
Lista de cosas 1 a 10 (importancia)
TEMA TRES: EDUCACION
Lista de cosas 1 a 10 ('importancia')
Orden
Orden


16
education in the cities, reserving rural areas for last. With this resolution in mind, it was
not until 1995 that the first secondary school opened its doors in the Huichol region of the
Sierra. The location of the school, by agreement of authorities, parents, and coordinators,
was Tateikila because of its large educated, and mostly sedentary, population. Also, the
resultant availability of teachers and specialists that could meet the needs of forming a
rural secondary school existed.
Before the CETMK, the only option available for secondary education was to
travel away from the homeland communities, usually to Tepic or Guadalajara. These
migrations were thought to be further alienating the younger population from their
Huichol identity, since in the city schools, Huichol children could not use their language
or learn about their own traditions. Instead, they were forced to learn and speak Spanish
on a daily basis. Children were also taught traditions that were alien to their own cultural
heritage. These traditions urged them to shed off their Huichol identity and become
Mexican as the only way to succeed.
The Mexican states resorted to a cost-effective solution to providing education to
rural areas. Using telesecundarias (video schools), the various state entities of the
Secretary of Public Education (SEP) opted to provide a bare minimum of instruction to
rural areas. Telesecundarias often have only one or two instructors on site who give all
subject matter. At the time of the CETMKs founding, there were no telesecundarias
available locally to the Huichol. While this has changed in the past two years, their level
of instruction is considered inferior to that of a regular secondary school. Teachers are
poorly trained, provide a minimum degree of service (usually one year), and have many
difficulties dealing with the native environments in which they are placed. They also


27
countless tribes to relocate, many joining and becoming assimilated into Cora and
Huichol peoples of the Sierra. The difficulty of the terrain made conquest of the Sierra a
troublesome endeavor. It was not until 1580, roughly 50 years after uo de Guzmns
first contact with the peoples of the Gran Nayar coastal region, that missionary activity
began in the Gran Nayar because the Sierra region was very inaccessible from the North,
East, and South (Furst 1996).
Soon after the Franciscans entered the Sierra, mining operations began and
continued until 1700. These mining operations coincided with a series of territorial
conflicts between the Huichol and Chichimeca. The Huichol still proved to be elusive,
although the much more easily accessible Cora were rounded up into eleven Jesuit-
controlled villages in 1722 (Franz 1996:79). Eleven years later in 1733, the Franciscans
established a catholic mission in Waut+a, leading quickly to the founding of missions in
several other key Huichol communities. Shortly thereafter, the Franciscans entered, on
several occasions, the heart of the Huichol territory, each time being unsuccessful in
converting the Huichol from their primitive pagan ways and, ultimately, forcing them
into retreat.
According to Franz (1996:80), the Huichol were apparently the least affected of
all the Sierra tribes, since they were never congregated into nucleated mission
settlements. Their seasonal patterns of migration and geographic dispersion made
religious conversion among them a difficult task. Whereas the neighboring Cora Indians
fought aggressively to resist acculturation, the Huichol response was primarily to flee,
thereby having as little contact with their aggressors as possible. This fleeing activity,
Vogt (1955:253) believes, is the impetus for the Huichol being withdrawn and reticent
in direct relations with Mestizos in the historical era.


296
Cleary, Linda Miller, and Thomas D. Peacock
1998 Collected Wisdom: American Indian Education. Needham Heights, MA:
Allyn and Bacon.
Consejo Nacional de Poblacin (CONAPO)
2000 Situacin demogrfica de Mxico. Mxico.
Corona, Sarah
1999 Teatro huichol. Rituales de interaccin mestizos/huicholes.
Sinctica 15:43-48. July-December. Guadalajara, Mexico: Revista del
Departamento de Educacin y Valores del ITESO.
Corson, David
1997 Language Policies for Indigenous Peoples. Pp. 77-87. In Encyclopedia of
Language and Education, Volume 1: Language and Political Issues in Education.
R. Wodak and D. Corson, eds. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Corvaln, Graziella
1989 Bilingismo y rendimiento educativo en paraguay. Amrica Indgena 49(3):
581-604.
Crawford, James
1996 Seven Hypotheses on Language Loss: Causes and Cures. /Stabilizing
Indigenous Languages. Gina Cantoni, ed. Pp. 51-68. Flagstaff, AZ:
Northern Arizona University, Center for Excellence in Education.
Cruz Burguete, Jorge Luis
1998 Identidades en fronteras, fronteras de identidades. Elogio de la intensidad de
los tiempos en los pueblos de la frontera sur. Mxico, D.F.: El Colegio de
Mxico.
Cullman, Willy, Erich Gtz, and Gerhard Grner
1986 The Encyclopedia of Cacti. Sherborne, England: Alphabooks.
Dawson, Alexander
2001 Without it, Our World Would Be Lost: The Problems and Promise of
Mexicos Internados Indgenas. Paper Presented at the First Meeting of the
Mapping Race and Ethnicity in Latin America Discussion. Center for Latin
American Studies, University of Florida. February.
De Aguinaga, Roco
1996 De cmo un venado es la figura central en una escuela. Sinctica 8:65-70.
January-June. Guadalajara, Mexico: Revista del Departamento de Educacin y
Valores del ITESO.


68
from outside the village who came to warn villagers of the evils of assimilation into
mainstream society.
Perhaps, because of their prolonged isolation in the Sierra, or because of their
present situation of sudden contact with outsiders, the Huichol in this study do not
conform to the same set of attitudinal beliefs mentioned by Friedlander among the
Hueyapan villagers. Instead, the Huichol do not reject their indigenous identity. I do not
argue that there are not those among the Huichol who consider their state as being one of
underdevelopment, but rather that the overall attitudes among the Huichol appear to be
ones anchored in preservation of their traditional ways of life. In contrast to other rural
peoples in Mexico who have sought urban migration as a way to escape the poverty and
underdevelopment of their surroundings, the Huichol are most interested in preserving
their traditional language and customs, and this requires them to stay in their rural
homeland.
In Friedlanders study, it was the outsiders who influenced the actions of local
extremists among Hueyapan villagers. Among the Huichol, the outsiders are only
solicited as political puppets for their interests. The pan-Indian movement, mobilized
chiefly through the actions of the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacin Nacional (Zapatista
National Liberation Army), shows that the Indian peoples of Mexico are not the closed-
corporate communities that they were once thought to be. The Huichol, despite their
geographic isolation, are quite aware of the larger political climate in Mexico. Some of
this can be attributed to the movement of intellectuals into and out of the various Huichol
villages and communities; still other awareness can be attributed to their current legal
struggle to reclaim more than 4000 hectares of land which they consider to have been
stolen by cattle ranchers and logging and farming industries.


204
further reinforce the regional Huichol culture of the area, much as Sindell (1997) found
among Mistassini Cree children.
Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk
The biographical stories of the teachers and students experiences from the
CETMK, together with the example of daily life at the school, paint a picture of the
complicated role that all social actors immediately connected with the school play in its
mission to preserve Huichol language and culture. How do these visions of Huichol
identity compare to those shared by the surrounding community? Are the Huichol in
Tateikita and other ranches as unified in their perceptions of what should be going on at
the school? I have already pointed out the optimistic stance of students and faculty about
their personal goals and those of the school, but when it comes to perceptions of the
school from the outside, are they nearly as positive?
The answer to these questions is one of mixed sentiment. When critiquing the
CETMK, the following comments were evident by members of the primary school and
the local village:
La escuela es escuela particular. Por eso no recibe el apoyo como la
primaria. Carmelo dice tal vez quieren telesecundaria por que no puede
ser political. (maestro de primaria #1)
The school is pariticular [private]. For that reason it doesnt receive
support [from the community] like the primary. Perhaps they want
telesecundarias because it cant be political, (primary teacher #1).
No es escuela de la comunidad. Es de [la coordinadora], (maestro de
primaria #2)
It isnt a community-school. It is [the coordinators], (primary teacher
#2)


298
Eger, Susan
1978 Huichol Women's Art. In Art of the Huichol Indians. Kathleen Barrin, ed.
Pp. 35-53. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Eger Valadez, Susana
1989 Problem Solving in a Threatened Culture. In Mirrors of the Gods.
Kathleen Bernstein, ed. Pp. 17-32. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Man.
Erickson, Frederick, and Gerald Mohatt
1982 Cultural Organization of Participation Structures in Two Classrooms of
Indian Students. In Doing the Ethnography of Schooling: Educational
Anthropology in Action. George D. Spindler, ed. Pp. 132-174. New York:
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Eriksen, Thomas Hylland
1993 Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives. Boulder, CO:
Pluto Press.
Fikes, J. Courtney
1992 Huichol Indian Identity and Adaptation. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of
Michigan.
Fishman, Joshua
1980 Social Theory and Ethnography. In Ethnic Diversity and Conflict in Eastern
Europe. Peter Sugar, ed. Pp. 84-97. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.
Fischbacher, Theodore
1967 A Study of the Federal Government in the Education of the American Indian:
A Dissertation. San Francisco: R and E Research Associates, 1974.
Fogelson, Raymond D.
1987 American Indian Holocaust and Survival. Norman, OK: University of
Oklahoma Press.
1998 Perspectives on Native American Identity. In Studying Native America:
Problems and Prospects. Russell Thornton, ed. Pp. 40-59. Madison, WI:
The University of Wisconsin Press.
Foster, George M.
1965 Peasant Society and the Image of the Limited Good. American
Anthropologist 67:293-315.
1966 [1942] A Primitive Mexican Economy. Seattle: University of
Washington Press.
1967 Tzintzuntzan: Mexican Peasants in a Changing World. Boston:
Little, Brown and Co.


CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSION AND FINAL DISCUSSION
Renegotiating Huichol Identity
This dissertation has been an applied anthropological study of education and
language and culture preservation among the Huichol of Tateikita, Jalisco, Mexico.
From ethnographic data collected within the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi, the
first indigenous designed and directed secondary school among the Huichol, and the local
community in which it is located, I have attempted to document the community-school
relations surrounding the implementation of indigenously-controlled education in
Mexico, most especially among the Huichol. Qualitative and quantitative ethnographic
methods were combined in order to uncover both the political climate of school-
community relations and to measure the attitudinal perceptions of secondary school
students at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi regarding their language and
cultural heritage. Data were presented from the oral recounts of teachers, students,
parents, and community members of Tateikita and the secondary school as a way to
understand the present precarious situation of Huichol ethnicity amid newly emerging
forms of ethnicity that place those involved in the culture of the school at the border of
decisions regarding cultural preservation and culture change and modernity. Quantitative
data from third year students of the secondary school, collected through a questionnaire,
were used to show that students believed strongly in their own language and cultural
252


274
ones that opposed the Petroleum Expropriation, the same ones that massacred the railroad
workers in 1958 and the students in 1968, the same ones that today take everything from
us, absolutely everything.
To prevent the continuation of the above and as our last hope, after having tried to utilize
all legal means based on our Constitution, we go to our Constitution, to
apply Article 39 which says:
"National Sovereignty essentially and originally resides in the people. All political
power emanates from the people and its purpose is to help the people.
The people have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter or modify their form of
government."
Therefore, according to our constitution, we declare the following to the Mexican federal
army, the pillar of the Mexican dictatorship that we suffer from,
monopolized by a one-party system and led by Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the maximum
and illegitimate federal executive that today holds power.
According to this Declaration of War, we ask that other powers of the nation advocate to
restore the legitimacy and the stability of the nation by overthrowing the
dictator.
We also ask that international organizations and the International Red Cross watch over
and regulate our battles, so that our efforts are carried out while still
protecting our civilian population. We declare now and always that we are subject to the
Geneva Accord, forming the EZLN as our fighting arm of our liberation
struggle. We have the Mexican people on our side, we have the beloved tri-colored flag
highly respected by our insurgent fighters. We use black and red in our
uniform as our symbol of our working people on strike. Our flag carries the following
letters, "EZLN," Zapatista National Liberation Army, and we always carry our
flag into combat.
Beforehand, we refuse any effort to disgrace our just cause by accusing us of being drug
traffickers, drug guerrillas, thieves, or other names that might by used by our
enemies. Our struggle follows the constitution which is held high by its call for justice
and equality.
Therefore, according to this declaration of war, we give our military forces, the EZLN,
the following orders:
First: Advance to the capital of the country, overcoming the Mexican federal army,
protecting in our advance the civilian population and permitting the people in the
liberated area the right to freely and democratically elect their own administrative
authorities.


123
how cultural imperialism and exploitation marginalize ethnic minority school youth
into violent forms of resistance within the school, largely because of shared feelings of
powerlessness in the educational environment.
The conclusion is that the Huichol macro-situation shares the goals of a critical
pedagogy of education. If the objectives of the schools mission and that of its teachers
are to be met, there must be some degree of autonomy, decision, and collective unity
within the school itself that will listen to the voices of community members, teachers,
students, and parents.
Democratic Socialism
A type of democratic-socialism proposed by Dewey (1938, 1989) and Habermas
(1984, 1990) explains the ideal situation of Huichol society and the CETMK. While
Habermas is normally placed in the Marxist critical social theorist camp, his intentions
for a communicative action theory of education are largely social, democratic and
ideal. Democratic-socialist educational theory calls for a philosophy of education that
can achieve the discourse balance sought by critical theorists.
John Dewey has carried various labels in the history of educational philosophy,
from idealist to pragmatic liberal and democratic communitarian (Noddings
1995:164). He was also an egalitarian (Hutchins 1953:49). It can be said, however,
that Dewey was instrumental in pointing out the individual and social connections
necessary for participation in a democratic society. For the Huichol, the ultimate goal of
self-empowerment in education is to achieve a democratic ideal that will give them voice
and control over their own future. For them, equation of learning with their own cultural
agenda constitutes freedom in the sense advocated by Dewey (1989). Instead of taking


54
Indians in Corn is Our Blood (1991), the Huichol make it a point to stress their Indian
identity when it may be advantageous to do so. In essence, they are carefully weighing a
cost-benefit analysis when choosing which identity to place forward.
Arguments about the biculturality of Native American identity can be used to
point to consistent parallels between identity negotiation among U.S. American Indians
and those of Latin America. There is, however, one additional factor in identity
determination among the indigenous peoples of Latin America: Indigenous peoples of
Latin America do not have blood quantum criteria that can legitimize their status as
indigenous peoples. Instead, they must rely on notions of self and group identity. For the
Huichol, as will be pointed out in later discussions, relations to the land appear to be of
primary importance in determining Huichol membership. Other factors include use of
the native language and participation in ceremonies, but these are of secondary
importance. One can be urban and still be Huichol, but one must retain familial ties to
the ancestral homeland in the Sierra. Once that pattern is broken, urban Huichol would
no longer be considered to be Huichol by some rural members, regardless if they still
spoke the language.3
Distinctions between identity and ethnicity lead to a discussion of ethnic
identity. What are the components that make up ones ethnic identity and how do these
components factor into the Huichol situation? According to Keefe (1992:38), the
domain of ethnic identity consists of: the perception of differences between ethnic
groups; the feelings of attachment to and pride in one ethnic group and cultural heritage
3 The experiences of one Huichol teacher at the CETMK who had considerable difficulty
reintegrating into ranchera society after a period of prolonged upbringing in an urban
setting, helped reveal this aspect of Huichol identity. For second and third generation
urban Huichol, the divisions between urban and rural Huichol are even more apparent.


90
academic shift has been towards better ways to teach Indian languages rather than on
classroom and school ethnography.
Recent studies of Native American education in the U.S. have concentrated on
two areas: learning styles research and language revitalization. Learning styles research
looks at the reported special ways that Native people live, work, and think. In addition,
these studies aim to provide special training for teachers both native and non-native who
work with Indian children (see Gilliland (1992); Walker, Dodd and Bigelow (1989); John
(1972); Moore (1989); and Swisher (1991)). These studies have focused on the special
visual, oral, and holistic education needs of American Indian children when placed in a
formal educational environment (Cleary and Peacock 1998). Indigenous teachers argue
that Native peoples order their world differently, focusing on mutual collaboration and
stressing values of the family, humor, and time that are radically different from white
mans values (Cleary and Peacock 1998:21-46).
Language preservation and revitalization studies, on the other hand, examine the
connection between native modes of thought and school performance. The focus of
research by Kraus (1996), Crawford (1995) and Hale (1992) has been on what can be
done to save the remaining strands of indigenous languages that are left. In these studies
they argue for lived in indigenous language use and the presence of elders as mentors
for Indian children.
Anthropologists have finally begun to collaborate with those in the field of
education and linguistics to come to an understanding of the complexity of issues


34
another matter entirely. Those picked to hold public office, because of the financial
constraints involved, are therefore either those with some public debt, or those who the
community believes can economically bear the hardship of serving in public office.
The current Huichol political system originated in the late eighteenth century
under the Franciscans who introduced the comunidad (community) political structure
(Weigand 1979). I have mentioned earlier that there are three Huichol traditional
communities. There are, however, five gobernancias, which remain from earlier civil-
religious hierarchies. Further complicating these political divisions are the presence of
temple districts (Weigand 1979:13). Each temple, or kalihuey, has its own religious
authorities connected with maintaining it.
Huichol political organization is usually discussed at the level of civil-religious
hierarchy. According to this system, the highest traditional office is the gobernador
(governor). This individuals functions have been reduced to that of a figurehead in
current Huichol organization. Ffis principal role has been as an arbitrator to mediate
disputes with the assistance of a panel of judges. He is generally the eldest member of a
community and serves a term of one year (Weigand 1979:107). The community
governor is the head of a council that includes a number of other positions, among them
the capitanes (captains), alguaciles (political representatives) and their assisting topiles
(police-servants). Alongside the Governors council are the mayordomos who are
responsible for overseeing that particular ceremonies, in the various pueblos (towns or
villages) and rancheras, are conducted according to tradition (Weigand 1979).
The members of the council that hold the highest authority and prestige are the
kawiteros, who are the elder esteemed members of the community. They are the experts
of tradition. According to Weigand (1979:108), a man becomes a kctwitero through


ETHNO-NATIONALIST POLITICS AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION:
EDUCATION AND BORDERED IDENTITIES AMONG THE
WIXARITARI (HUICHOL) OF TATEIKITA,
JALISCO, MEXICO
By
BRAD MORRIS BIGLOW
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Copyright 2001
by
Brad Morris Biglow

Dedicated to the Wixciritari of Tateikita and the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi
(CETMK): For teaching me the true meaning of what it is to follow in the footsteps of
Tatutsi, and for allowing this teiwari to experience what you call tame tep+xeinuiwari.
My heart will forever remain with you.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank my committee members-Dr. John Moore for being ever-
supportive of my work with native peoples; Dr. Allan Burns for instilling in me the
interest and drive to engage in Latin American anthropology, and helping me to discover
the Huichol; Dr. Gerald Murray for our shared interests in language, culture, and
education; Dr. Paul Magnarella for guidance and support in human rights activism, law,
and intellectual property; and Dr. Robert Sherman for our mutual love of educational
philosophy. Without you, this dissertation would be a mere dream.
My life in the Sierra has been filled with countless names and memories. I would
like to thank all of my friends and family at the CETMK, especially Carlos and Ciela,
Marina and ngel, Agustn, Pablo, Feliciano, Everardo, Amalia, Rodolfo, and Armando,
for opening your families and lives to me. In addition, I thank my former students,
including los chavos (Benjamn, Salvador, Miguel, and Catarino), las chicas (Sofia,
Miguelina, Viviana, and Anglica), and los msicos (Guadalupe and Magdaleno). From
the community, I thank the autoridades iradicionales/kawiteros and mara akatesDon
Ricardo, Samuel, Faustino, Gerardo and family, Chalio, Manuel, and Lucio.
Professionally, I thank Roco de Aguinaga, Sarah Corona, Carlos Chvez and ngeles
Arcos of Asociacin Jalisciense de Apoyo a Grupos Indgenas (AJAGI), Mike Finerty,
Oscar Hagerman, Hctor Hernndez, Dago and Karen, and los pilotos. Lastly, I wish to
thank my family and fiends for helping me through the critical stages of this researchthe
IV

Biglows around the world, Mike and Sandy Iski, Steve Mizrach, James Bosworth, Ken
Sturrock, Sebastian Romero, and Gordon Weaver.
v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES x
LIST OF FIGURES xi
ABSTRACT xiii
CHAPTERS
1. INTRODUCTION 1
Research Questions and Hypotheses 1
Research Site 4
The Huichol Homeland Communities 4
Tateikita 11
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK) 15
Dissertation Outline and Layout 18
2. HUICHOL HISTORY AND IDENTITY STUDIES 22
Historical Setting of the Huichol 22
Prehistory and General History 22
Contemporary Huichol History 29
Social and Political Organization 31
Contemporary Religious Organization 36
Tateikita'. A Community Profile 41
Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy 41
The Material Life of Tateikita 46
Tateikita Geography 47
Gender Roles in Tateikita 49
Nationalism and Ethnic Identity 50
Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples 50
Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Formation 58
Autonomy, Self-Determination, and Resistance 61
Questions of Ethnicity and Nationalism 65
vi

3.EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION
70
Indigenous Educational History 70
A General History of U.S. Indian Education and Policy 71
A Brief History of Indigenous Education in Mexico 79
Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation 86
Border Pedagogy and Cultural Diversity 86
Cultural Preservation vs. Cultural Revitalization 87
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A U.S. Perspective 88
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A Latin American
Perspective 91
Educational Research and the Huichol 97
4. THEORY AND METHODS 103
Theoretical Perspectives 103
Ethnicity and Identity 106
Pan-Indianism and Regional Cultures 106
Native Epistemology and Cosmology 109
Political Theory and the Aims of Indigenous Movements 112
Dialectical Materialism and Anomie 112
Power-Knowledge Relations in Historical Materialism 115
Educational Theory: Developing a Philosophy of Education for the Huichol 118
Critical Theory in Education 119
Democratic Socialism 123
Research Methods 127
Formal Interviewing of Key Personnel 127
Population Demographics and Sampling 129
Student Questionnaires and Huichol Cultural Values 130
Informal Interviewing and Oral History Reconstruction 131
Participant Observation 133
5. DOING APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AMONG THE HUICHOL 137
Applied Anthropology and the Question of Researcher Roles 137
Doing Anthropology in a Huichol Community 144
Living WixarikaBeing Teiwari 147
Working in a Closed Corporate Community 151
The Concept of the Teiwari (other) in Huichol External Relations 152
Huichol Distrust: Reporters, Franciscans and Ethical Conduct 153
vii

6.HUICHOL FORMAL EDUCATION AND THE CETMK
161
Building the Dream: The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK) 161
Personnel and Organization 161
External Relations 181
Life at the CETMK: Living the Dream 187
A Day in the Life of. 187
We are All Nunutsi 200
Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk 204
7. QUANTITATIVE DATA AND OBSERVATIONS 207
Introduction 207
Survey Results 207
Demographic Data 209
Indigenous Controlled Schooling and Educational Attitudes 211
Student Beliefs of Cultural Identity and Change 211
The Politics of Traditionally and Modernity in Tateikita 220
What Does It Mean to be Huichol? 220
Observations in Language and Culture Preservation 226
Confronting Alcohol and Foreign Values 232
Culture and Knowledge Preservation 238
Socialist Education and Identity Preservation 240
Schooling and Acculturation Reversal 241
Politics and School-Community Relations 242
The Case Against Educacin Teiwaritsie and Telesecundarias 244
Community-Centered Schooling and Community (Dis)articulation 247
The CETMK and the Intellectual Movement 250
8. CONCLUSION AND FINAL DISCUSSION 252
Renegotiating Huichol Identity 252
Indigenous Control and Community Schooling 257
Living Rural and Being Modern: Some Recommendations for Huichol Education.. 262
Suggestions for Future Research 267
APPENDICES
A. NOTES ON THE USE OF HUICHOL AND SPANISH ORTHOGRAPHY 269
B. HISTORIA CRONOLOGICA DE TATEIKITA 271
C. EZLN DECLARATION OF WAR 273
D.RESEARCH QUESTIONNAIRE
276

E. COURSE SCHEDULES OF THE CETMK 287
F. GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND ACRONYMS 291
REFERENCES 293
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 313
ix

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
Table 4.1. The Comparison of Theoretical Positions to Macro and Micro Levels of
Analysis 126
Table 7.1. R-Scores (Pearsons Correlation Coefficients) of Traditional Practices 212
Table 7.2. Factor Analysis of Variables-Language, Dress, Religion, Family, and
Traditions, Irrespective of Sex 214
Table 7.3. Percent of Variance Explained for Males by Principle Components Analysis 215
Table 7.4. Percent of Variance Explained for Females by Principle Components Analysis..215
Table 7.5. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Males 216
Table 7.6. Component Loading Values of Cultural Variables for Females 217
Table 7.7. Descriptive Statistical Comparison of Alcohol and Tehuino 237
x

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
Figure 1.1. The Huichol Homeland 5
Figure 1.2. The Huichol Communities 6
Figure 1.3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixtita 8
Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita 8
Figure 1.5. Student Banner Promoting the UCIH 10
Figure 1.6. Plane of the Franciscan Missionaries 12
Figure 1.7. View of Airstrip and Surrounding Mesas from Tateikita 12
Figure 1.8. The almacn at Completion in November 1999 13
Figure 1.9. The Local Agency of Tateikita 15
Figure 1.10. CETMK Classrooms 18
Figure 2.1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background 30
Figure 2.2. Child in Tateikita at the Fiesta del Tambor, December 1999 33
Figure 2.3. Huichol Political Organization 35
Figure 2.4. The Peyote Cactus 37
Figure 2.5. Maraakame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo 39
Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings 40
Figure 5.1. Huichol Cancer Advisory 148
Figure 5.2. Philip True Murderers as Portrayed by the American Media 156
Figure 6.1. Construction Meeting of padres de familia 172
xi

Figure 6.2. Esculta (Honoring the Flag) 191
Figure 6.3. CETMK Teacher Addressing Students 193
Figure 6.4. COPUSI Dining Facility of the CETMK 196
Figure 6.5. Derechos Indgenas Debate at the CETMK Clausurax July 1999 198
Figure 6.6. Carpentry at the CETMK 199
Figure 7.1. Percentages of Third Year CETMK Students by Age 210
Figure 7.2. Pie Chart Indicating Student Home Residences 210
Figure 7.3. Histogram of Family Importance 213
Figure 7.4. Histogram of Tehuino Value 213
Figure 7.5. Overlaid Plot of Factor Components for Ethnicity and Technology 218
Figure 7.6. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Males 219
Figure 7.7. Factor Plot of Ethnicity and Technology Components for Females 220
Figure 7.8. Student Career Aspirations 224
Figure 7.9. Male Rankings of Native Language Importance 228
Figure 7.10. Female Rankings of Native Language Importance 229
Figure 7.11. Male Ranking of Spanish Importance 230
Figure 7.12. Female Ranking of Spanish Importance 231
Figure 7.13. Male Rankings of the Importance of English 231
Figure 7.14. Female Rankings of the Importance of English 232
Figure 7.15. Overlaid Graph of Students Rankings of Alcohol Types by Importance 238
Figure 7.16. Model of School-Community Relations and the CETMK 249
Figure 8.1. Student Notice for End-of-Year Banquet 259
Figure 8.2. Los Viejitos, Regional Dance at the Clausura, June 1999 268
xii

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
ETHNO-NATIONALIST POLITICS AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION:
EDUCATION AND BORDERED IDENTITIES AMONG THE
WIXARITARI (HUICHOL) OF TATEDCITA,
JALISCO, MEXICO
By
Brad Morris Biglow
August 2001
Chairman: John H. Moore, Ph.D.
Major Department: Anthropology
This dissertation examines the relationship between indigenously controlled
education and cultural preservation among the Wixaritari, or Huichol, of the Sierra Madre
Mountains of Jalisco, Mexico. Studies of indigenous identity and schooling are still
lacking in anthropological fieldwork. While such studies have, in the past, focused on
native education in the United States, there has been little research done on the impacts of
indigenous-controlled education on the enculturation process of Indian youth, particularly
in Latin America, and whether such educational environments really serve to fortify
indigenous identity, and if so, how it is done. Recently, there has been resurgence in
ethno-nationalism or self-determination among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and
Latin America. This study examines the role of so-called indigenous-controlled
community schooling in light of these larger pan-Indian movement goals, showing that
xiii

indigenous people are themselves divided over the process of cultural preservation due to
their own changing sense of ethnic identity. Conflict results, creating a reliance on
notions of an imagined community to unify social actors in a drama of power-
knowledge relationships in which intellectuals, not traditionalists, control the educational
process, channeling knowledge to meet the goals of the imagined community which
may or may not be shared by all social actors.
xiv

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Research Questions and Hypotheses
This dissertation research is an addition to the existing literature on indigenous
language and culture preservation. It is also an analysis of community-school relations
and the politics of ethnic identity transmission and transformation within the context of
formal education in an indigenous community in Mexico. The results of this research
help to explain the social and ideological processes of ethnic culture change, and, in so
doing, may be used to improve indigenous-directed education, and language and culture
preservation programs worldwide.
The principal research question is: What happens when indigenous people create
their own school, define its role, and teach according to their own agenda? And,
subsequently, does indigenous-controlled education lead to preservation of ethnic
identity, or is there little to no difference between this kind of education and that of
schools that are not run by indigenous people? Moreover, Is there a unified concept of
cultural identity among indigenous peoples, or are they really composed of ethnic
factions with varying degrees of what it means to be traditional or modem.
In examining the central question, a number of secondary questions arise: 1)
What are Huichol attitudes toward formal education, especially at the secondary level (a
recent government mandate), when it is indigenously (locally) controlled? Do these
1

2
attitudes differ from the attitudes of those attending telesecundarias (video schools) or
non-indigenously controlled schooling? 2) Is there any internal conflict that results from
indigenously controlled education? If so, how are opposing definitions of cultural
identity accommodated (or not) by indigenous schooling? 3) What role does Huichol
formal education play in the enculturation process of Indian youth? 4) Do the Huichol
have a uniform sense of cultural identity? 5) Lastly, what exactly does indigenously
controlled education mean?
The case of Huichol education first interested me, when prior to beginning field
research I learned that there was little to no record of anthropological research dealing
with education and culture change among the Huichol. Dr. Salomn Nahmad conducted
research in the late 1960s and early 1970s while he was the regional director of the
National Indigenous Institutes development projects for the Cora, a neighboring
indigenous group, and Huichol. In subsequent articles, he called for a need for further
educational research among the Huichol (Nahmad 1981, 1996). Because of the problems
involved in Huichol integration into the national infrastructure of a collective Mexican
identity, the choice to work among the Huichol appeared ideal, as there were significant
gaps in Huichol ethnography other than research pertaining to archaeology or religion.
The scope of applied anthropology today comprises issues of local control of
indigenous affairs, from development projects (Mathur 1989, Sodusta 1993), to
environmental management (Hornborg 1998) and education (Bernard 1985, Cleary and
Peacock 1998, Szasz 1999). It is generally thought by those working in native education
that indigenous control will lead to higher retention rates for students, better student
performance, and greater community involvement (Cleary and Peacock 1998; De

3
Aguinaga 1996; Freedson and Prez 1998). But is this really the case, especially in
situations of rapid culture change? Do indigenous peoples in their homelands possess
enough of a unified sense of their own cultural identity to be able to determine their own
direction without outside assistance and/or intervention?
The sorts of questions mentioned above become particularly important when
discussing a people who have traditionally lived in an isolated environment, in so-called
closed corporate communities (Wolf 1957). As a result of such an environment, the
indigenous people were able to practice their religious traditions, speak their native
language exclusively, and in general, live with little or no outside influences upon them.
Recent development projects under proposed aims of improving accessibility to
remote areas in Mexico are, however, quickly putting an isolationist lifestyle in jeopardy,
leading to a state of confusion, distrust, and fear among some native inhabitants of
previously undeveloped regions, such as the Huichol (Chvez and reos 1998; Nahmad
1996; Rojas 1993; Schaefer and Furst 1996). The Huichol believe the nationalist
Mexican agenda is to create a collective national identity with a language, values, and
traditions foreign to the indigenous peoples it ostensibly wishes to unify (Ramrez de la
Cruz 1995; Stavenhagen 1994; Von Groll 1997).
The research conducted for this dissertation shows that there are in actuality many
factors that determine the success or failure of indigenous education programs. It will be
shown that some factors, such as the boarding of students in ethnically indigenous areas,
can have a positive influence on the educational attainment and attitudes of Indian youth
within threatened cultures, and also serve as a mechanism for creating a sense of
community continuity among students, teachers, and local community members. Other

4
factors, such as identity fragmentation and conflict in the local community, can inhibit
programs in cultural preservation. How the culture of the school community is directed
and advised become crucial for understanding the effectiveness of the school culture in
meeting the goals set forth in its mission. Power and the control of information flow,
principally knowledge, determine the schools path and, ultimately, its success or failure
in language and culture preservation.
Research Site
The Huichol Homeland Communities
The Huichol homeland encompasses roughly 4,000 officially recognized
kilometers (of some natively claimed 90,000 square kilometers) located in the Sierra
Madre Mountains of what are the modem day Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and
Durango (see Figure 1.1). Within this area, or kiekari, live approximately 18-20,000
Huichol divided between three communities: San Andrs Cohamiata (Tateiki), San
Sebastian Teponahuaxtln (Waul+a), and Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitln (Tuapurie),
although sometimes the peripheral areas of Tuxpan de Bolaos (Tutsipe) and Guadalupe
Ocotn (Xatsitsarie) are included by the Huichol because of their historical significance.1
The most numerous settlements are located in Northern Jalisco and Eastern Nayarit (see
Figure 1.2).
1 While three communities are noted in contemporary analysis, there were historically as
many as five Huichol communities. Due to land loss to Mestizos and Huichol population
decline, these geographic areas are no longer officially recognized as Huichol
communities, though Huichol people may constitute a majority of the inhabitants in the
regions.

5
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a very isolated, yet beautiful, area that straddles
the coastline of western Mexico. It varies in elevation from several thousand feet to well
over 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). Perhaps two of the most striking characteristics of this
region are the climate and topography.
Figure 1.1. The Huichol Homeland
The climate of the region is extremely dry. Apart from the summer monsoon
season, the area receives little or no rain. Climate is largely a factor of altitude, varying
from a subtropical zone with lush vegetation at lowest elevations, to pine-clad forests at
its highest. Topography within the homeland consists of a series of mesas jutting up
several thousands of feet, cut by the powerful Chapalagana River. Between the mesas
lies a wealth of canyons and valleys. The Huichol populate the mesas for the most part,
like the Hopi Indians in Arizona, preferring to migrate with the seasons, from the villages
during the winter months, to family ranches located at higher elevations during the
summer, while retaining their agricultural plots at a slightly lower altitude. The Huichol

6
utilize runoff rainfall to cultivate their fields, locating many of them on steep slopes
leading down hillsides (see Figure 1.3). At these altitudes, the principal crops that can be
grown are corn and some squash, using a type of slash-and-burn horticulture on collective
familial plots. The hillsides are very slippery and covered with volcanic rock. Trails
wind over, down, and around canyons and mesas. They are difficult to traverse for
humans, and nearly impossible for horses and pack animals (see Figure 1.4).
1
1
iv;
I
TATEUCDE .Harakuna (lal-ogun)
(San Andrs Columbia) Cohamiara
/ #
Maxatnu U (Cabeza de Venado)
(gS* y TUAPUREE
(Santa Catarina Cuexcomaririin)
Maramanawc
(Lis Pirayas)
p ftarawariya m / WAUHA
$$i ^anta Gertrudis) f ipitsapa (Popotita.) (San Sebastin Teponahauxdn)
}** 1
Taretkica (San Miguel Huaixtita)
Mczquiticu
* Cabecera
Ranchera of Comunidad Indgena pfTateikie
o Regional Town
T. Outer Boundary of Comunidades Indgenas
rev
i
i
1
a
M

;; ;
Figure 1.2. The Huichol Communities (Source: Liffman and Coyle 2000:4)

7
When not in village settlements, the Huichol generally migrate in summer to
family-owned ranches at much higher elevations within the pine-clad forested region of
the Sierra. There they maintain cattle ranches. But, unlike their Mestizo neighbors, the
Huichol do not kill their herds for meat. Rather, they use their cattle for producing milk.
The milk is then turned into cheese so that it can be stored and used throughout the winter
months when the ranches are no longer occupied.
A further complication to the Sierra Madre region is a lack of water. There are no
streams at the higher elevations, making life difficult. What water that does exist,
bubbles to the surface at ojos de agua (waterholes) that dot the region. While not
plentiful, these waterholes sustain what life there is in the region, and limit the location of
permanent human settlements.
At riverside, the climate is hot and extremely humid year-round. Settlements are
generally abandoned during the summer months at these elevations for the cooler ranches
of the highlands. The advantage to lower elevations, however, is that a variety of crops
such as squashes, fruits, and beans can be grown. Water is also readily available, as are
opportunities for fishing.
The Sierra Madre region is home to not only the Huichol, but also several other
indigenous peoples, including the Cora, Tepehun, and Mexicanero peoples.
Collectively, they are referred to as the cuatro pueblos (four peoples). The various
peoples of the region generally keep to themselves and, only occasionally, primarily
through trade, becoming involved with others. This strategy has assisted the peoples in
maintaining their own identities with separate traditions and languages. Yet, at the same
time, this has hindered their ability to build pan-ethnic alliances.

8
Figure 1.3. Hillside Cornfields at Huaixhta.
Figure 1.4. Burros Carrying Corn from Huaixtita.
The Huichol do not make use of the term comunidad (community) in the same
manner as the modern political conventions used today by geographers, demographers,
and development planners either in the U.S. or Mexico. A comunidad for the Huichol is

9
a politico-territorial distinction having pre-Hispanic significance. Each Huichol
community comprises a geographic area equivalent to that of a U.S. county, but running
directly in conflict with the Mexican municipio system which divides Huichol
communities under the jurisdiction of different municipios, and even states. Like a
Mexican municipio, each comunidad contains a number of principal village settlements
that is home to several rancheras (extended family households). Each of the three
Huichol comunidades (communities) is considered to be autonomous, electing its own
political leaders according to the historic gobernador colonial system remaining from the
days of Spanish occupation of Mexico, and also choosing its own religious leaders.
Although the three communities are autonomous, they are loosely bound together
by a governing board known as the Unin de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholas (Union
of Huichol Indigenous Communities or UCIH) (see Figure 1.5). All members are elected
and appointed democratically by the Huichol communities. The UCIH does not directly
intervene in the daily affairs of any of the Huichol communities, but rather serves as a
mediator for disputes at state and national levels over indigenous affairs. The UCIH also
serves to disseminate information among the various communities and acts in collective
bargaining agreements with other organizations such as the Procuradera de Asuntos
Indgenas (Agency for Indigenous Affairs or PAI) of Jalisco and the Instituto Nacional
Indigenista (National Indigenous Institute or INI).
The largest of the three communities in both geographic area and population is
Tateiki. This community contains approximately 1750 adult Huichol members
according to Rojas (1993:19). This figure, however, dates from 1950, and there is no
current breakdown of Huichol population by indigenous community since that time.

10
More recent statistics released from the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) in 1993
indicate that there are 19,363 Huichol, irrespective of residency within the three
communities (Instituto Nacional Indigenista 1993). Two years later, however, this
number jumped to an astonishing 28,001 Huichol speakers, a figure that no doubt
includes urban Huichol as well (Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e
Informtica 1995). The fact is that no one is exactly certain how many Huichol there are,
since birth records, in many cases, are inaccurate or nonexistent. Only if people attend
school or obtain some form of official employment do they usually obtain a Cdula
nica de Registro de Poblacin (CURP) number, analogous to U.S. Social Security
Numbers. Also, many children do not attend school, at least according to the Instituto
Nacional de Estadstica, Geografa e Informtica (INEGI), which states that greater than
40.1% of those six years of age or older do not attend school (INEGI 1990). Another
52.7% or more of the general population are illiterate (INEGI 1990).
Figure 1.5. Student Banner Promoting the UCIH

11
Tateiki is located on the Northern edge of the Chapalagana River, bordering the
community of Tiicipurie on one side, and the state of Nayarit on the other. It is the
community that has experienced the most land loss of the traditional communities -some
4,000 hectares since the start of agrarian reform legislation in the 1960s.
Tciteikita
Tateikitci is the Huichol name for the village where I conducted my research.
Literally, it means small place of our mother, since it is located in the Huichol
community of Tateiki (Place of our mother peyote). Containing a number of rancheras
(extended family households), Tateikita is one of the principal small villages within the
Huichol community, and is home to 280 people. Tateikita is located approximately five
hours from Tateiki via a newly constructed road completed in April 1998, and eight
hours from the town of Huejuquilla el alto, the town that serves as the northern gateway
to the Huichol communities. Until the existence of the road, the only way in or out of the
village was by foot or by air. Due to the time required to use the road, and its seasonal
impassibility, the most efficient, and costly, method to reach Tateikita is by plane (see
Figure 1.6). While not an option for most Huichol, because of the expense, planes can be
contracted from locations in the state of Nayarit to reach the Sierra communities. There
are also occasional flights available from missionaries who operate within the region.
Flights take from 30-45 minutes depending on the points of departure and origin.
Tateikita is located at the edge of a small plateau overlooking the Chapalagana
River at an altitude of some 5,500 feet (see Figure 1.7). Like much of the Sierra region,
the climate is dry eight to nine months of the year, with only seasonal rains striking the
region from June till mid-September. As a result, the topography is dry and rocky.
Annual monsoon rains make the road impassable, and this serves as a constant reminder

12
of the power of nature and the way of the past. The Saludos family founded the village in
the 1920s.2 They continue to be the main caretakers of the village. One of the local
features in the village that reinforces this notion is the painting of the words Puro Saludos
(Pure Saludos) on the side of one of the prominent buildings near the village plaza.
Figure 1.6. Plane of the Franciscan Missionaries.
Figure 1.7. View of Airstrip and Surrounding Mesas from Tateikita.
2 All names have been altered, when necessary, to protect individuals from possible harm,
or the community from unnecessary (and undesired) visitation.

13
Tateikita has eight small shops or stores that sell a variety of goods such as coffee,
eggs, canned goods and Maseca (a brand-name com flour baked with lye, used for
making tortillas in the absence of ones own corn). Most are goods that cannot be readily
obtained by those within the village and surrounding ranches. These items must be
trucked in from Huejuquilla. The small stores are family ran, except for the Compaa
Nacional de Subsistencias Populares (CONASUPO), a state-subsidized general store,
and the recently constructed almacn (cooperative store) built with assistance from the
Jaliscan Association for the Support of Indigenous Peoples (AJAGI) in Guadalajara (see
Figure 1.8). Because most shopkeepers have other employment (many are teachers),
there is rarely more than two to three shops open at any given time.
Figure 1.8. The almacn at Completion in November 1999.
The CONASUPO sells necessary foodstuffs, mostly flour, com, and other
necessities per its connection with the national Secretara de Desorrollo Social
(SEDESOL) office. All foodstuffs are sold at a reduced price to families through this
store.

14
In contrast to the CONASUPO, the almacn focuses on selling necessary
hardware items such as barbed wire for ranches, sewing items, and tools. Items are
shipped on a scheduled basis from Guadalajara, an eighteen hour trip by road.
The central buildings in the village are constructed around a plaza, much like the
pattern seen in other Mexican towns and villages. In Tateikita, the plaza consists of a
combination basketball-volleyball court and an open area used for gatherings and
meetings. The local agency of the traditional Huichol authorities is located at one end of
this plaza and a health clinic at the other (see Figure 1.9).
Tateikita, because of its remote location and only recent access via road, does not
possess many of the amenities taken for granted in more urban areas. There is no
electricity in the village or phone service.3 Water is provided by a series of plastic tubes
that route water from a holding tank near the village, where it is collected from a water
hole in the Sierra. Its availability, however, is often reduced due to leaks and other
complications with the system that may leave the village without water for days at a time.
Tateikita has been home to a number of educational development projects in
recent years. Rural education in small ranch settlements near the village is controlled by
Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (CONAFE) which offers the first three years of
primary education to children in areas that have fewer than ten students, and in areas
where attendance at a regular primary school might prove difficult. CONAFE also
donates scholarships and materials to students in the region. In addition, there is a
3 In the spring of 2000 a cellular tower was constructed on a high mesa overlooking the
Chapalagana region. It offers access to local numbers only. Prior to this, all cell calls
had to be placed from the highest peaks of the Sierra region, ones that provided line-of-
sight to the Cerro de Tepic, adjacent to Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit.

15
preschool in the village and a recently remodeled primary school with dormitories
operated by INI and with direct assistance from the Secretara de Educacin Pblica
(SEP) and the Departamento de Educacin Indgena (DEI) in Guadalajara. The primary
school covers grades one through six (there is no equivalent of kindergarten in the
Mexican public education system). Due to increasing attendance of students in recent
years, the primary school now provides education to over 300 students from throughout
the local area. Because primary education has been mandatory for many years, those
students who are from more remote ranches often stay in the dormitories at the school
during the week, returning home to their families on the weekends.
Figure 1.9. The Local Agency of Tateikita.
The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi fCETMK)
In 1991, the Mexican government passed legislation making secondary education
mandatory in Mexico. The 1997 figure for the state of Jalisco places the level of post
primary level education at only 47.6% of the general population (INEGI-ENADID 1997).
Because of such low figures, the state concentrated first on establishing secondary

16
education in the cities, reserving rural areas for last. With this resolution in mind, it was
not until 1995 that the first secondary school opened its doors in the Huichol region of the
Sierra. The location of the school, by agreement of authorities, parents, and coordinators,
was Tateikila because of its large educated, and mostly sedentary, population. Also, the
resultant availability of teachers and specialists that could meet the needs of forming a
rural secondary school existed.
Before the CETMK, the only option available for secondary education was to
travel away from the homeland communities, usually to Tepic or Guadalajara. These
migrations were thought to be further alienating the younger population from their
Huichol identity, since in the city schools, Huichol children could not use their language
or learn about their own traditions. Instead, they were forced to learn and speak Spanish
on a daily basis. Children were also taught traditions that were alien to their own cultural
heritage. These traditions urged them to shed off their Huichol identity and become
Mexican as the only way to succeed.
The Mexican states resorted to a cost-effective solution to providing education to
rural areas. Using telesecundarias (video schools), the various state entities of the
Secretary of Public Education (SEP) opted to provide a bare minimum of instruction to
rural areas. Telesecundarias often have only one or two instructors on site who give all
subject matter. At the time of the CETMKs founding, there were no telesecundarias
available locally to the Huichol. While this has changed in the past two years, their level
of instruction is considered inferior to that of a regular secondary school. Teachers are
poorly trained, provide a minimum degree of service (usually one year), and have many
difficulties dealing with the native environments in which they are placed. They also

17
experience problems related to the limited Spanish proficiency of local inhabitants. As a
result, the SEP is slow to construct these schools and has problems finding replacement
teachers who usually do not like the harshness of life presented in the Huichol
communities.
The CETMK was organized to be an indigenous school in the strictest sense of
the word. Instructors were chosen from among the Huichol themselves, instead of
relying on Mestizo teachers who would know little to nothing about the Huichol way of
life or language. While genuinely certified teachers were desired, teachers were selected
based on special skills they could contribute to the school, some with little or no formal
education experience. The school began initially as a joint project between the Huichol,
with assistance from the coordinator Roco de Aguinaga oAJAGI, and the Instituto
Technolgico y de Estudios Superiores del Occidente (ITESO) as the only secondary
school in the Sierra. Under de Aguinagas guidance, the Huichol obtained permission for
the school as an experiment in bilingual-intercultural education within the SEP. De
Aguinaga also organized teacher training seminars and workshops, with a group of
assistants at the ITESO, as a way to help Huicol teachers earn their full credentials.
The founding of the CETMK was not without controversy. Initially the CETMK
was housed in buildings demanded from the local Franciscan mission, starting with a
small base of students and borrowed plazas (paid positions) from the local municipio.
With assistance of parents, new sets of classrooms were constructed below the mission
(see Figure 1.10). The name of the school, Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi,
means, in translation, Educational Center of the Tail of Our Grandfather Deer. It

18
employs eight full-time faculty and staff and 108 students divided among three grade
levels. I was employed, by parental approval, as one of faculty at the Center.
v:::
Figure 1.10. CETMK Classrooms.
Dissertation Outline and Layout
Chapter 2 begins a review of the relevant Fluichol and identity studies literature.
The first section deals specifically with the history of the Huichol people. By examining
the history of the Huichol people, the conditions leading to the present-day political,
religious, socio-economic, and educational situations can be better understood. The chief
authors of Huichol history, namely Phil Weigand and Beatriz Rojas, illustrate the
growing tensions leading to a culture of resistance among the Huichol. Modern historys
responses to outside pressures in such areas as rural development, religious conversion or
education reform, have deep roots in the historical record and its 500+ years of effects
upon the Huichol.
The second section of chapter 2 concerns nationalism and ethnic identity. The
present status of the Huichol is one where local interests may often conflict with those of

19
the state or nation. The nationalist literature of Stalin and Diaz Polanco are key to
understanding the roots of nationalist movements as they affect the ethnicity of people in
Latin America. In this growing age of globalization and the fragmentation of ethnic
groups in Europe and Latin America, many of the same issues that confronted ethnic
groups following the outset of World War I are arising once more: What constitutes a
nation of people? Do ethnic groups have a right to autonomous organization by claiming
they are nations of people? Or do nation-states have a right to assimilate indigenous
peoples in the fight for a symbolic national identity? The concepts of autonomy and
sovereignty lead to a discussion of indigenous identity from the opposing viewpoints of
view of the scholars Michael Kearney (1996) and Bonfil Batalla (1987,1996).
Chapter 3 is the second half of the literature review, this time focusing on
educational research, principally among indigenous peoples of the U.S. and Mexico.
This dissertation is about the steps involved in building and running an indigenous
school. The model followed by the school is one designed to promote a celebration of
Huichol identity through cultural preservation that aims to combine the best of
indigenous schooling with that of the dominant society in a bilingual/intercultural
methodology. In Chapter 3, the histories of indigenous education in the U.S. and Mexico
are compared.
Chapter 4 is a breakdown of the theoretical concepts and research methods used
in this study of Huichol education and identity. The prevalent theories are those
involving the negotiation of what I call bordered identities, or fragmented collectives
that are unified by a native cosmology that is radically different from the individualist-
centered cosmologies of the dominant society. The bordered identities of the Huichol are

20
the result of confusion and uncertainty at the onset of rapid culture change and
development, and are explained within theories of sociological anomie and materialism.
Lastly, I combine political and educational theory to discuss macro and micro level
processes of identity negotiation from the views of Foucault, Habermas, and Gramsci.
Chapter 4 concludes with a discussion of the various methods used in the research
for this dissertation. These included questionnaires of third year students at the CETMK,
measuring their attitudes toward the indigenous school, their identity and traditions, and
sense of their own future. Formal and informal interviewing, as well as participant
observation of students, faculty, parents, and community members, contributed to a
holistic perspective on the present educational situation among the Huichol in Tateikita.
Chapters 5 and 6 comprise the actual fieldwork observations and reflections.
Chapter 5 discusses the complicated nature of doing applied anthropology among the
Huichol. The Huichol are generally suspicious of all outsiders, particularly
anthropologists and researchers. Distrust of researchers who have, in the past, written
about the Huichol, usually with good intentions but unverified information, has created
an atmosphere that is especially difficult for current and future anthropologists to
penetrate. 1 discuss in Chapter 5 my own process of integration into Huichol society, and
highlight the delicate balance between being an outsider, living in a rural area, and
gaining trust and acceptance through example.
Chapter 6 comprises observations and interviews at the CETMK. I begin by
examining the history behind the schools construction and its place within the village
and community. I follow this historical account by reconstructing a day in the life of the
school and pointing out the various activities that surround its existence in the minds and

21
actions of its social actors. I conclude chapter 6 by placing the schools mission and its
daily activities within the light of the imagined community through the telling of tales
revealed during the years 1998-2000.
In chapter 7,1 summarize the observations and quantitative data from chapters 5
and 6. The results of surveys are tabulated, and results are stated. I conclude chapter 7
with the politics surrounding the results of interviews and surveys. I also demonstrate in
what ways the culture of the CETMK contributes to its successes or failures in meeting
its mission.
Lastly, chapter 8 includes a discussion of the conclusions and results, with
implications for the future of Huichol identity and indigenous education. I conclude with
a discussion of suggestions for future research on the issues.

CHAPTER 2
HUICHOL HISTORY AND IDENTITY STUDIES
My prayers fly, my prayers rise with the wind; They were bom in the place of
the rain message, They were born in the blue space. We are the seed of the
people, and the gods remain among us in the abode of the gods. . Huichol
marci akame chant. (Source: Norman 1977:848).
Historical Setting of the Huichol
This purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the historical data
contributing to the creation of the Huichol people as they are today. I mention the
prehistory and general history from archaeological, mythological, and ethnological
viewpoints, all of which are interwoven into the fabric of Huichol history. This chapter
concludes with a section addressing the identity studies literature, reflecting back upon
Huichol history to explain the foundations of Huichol identity and the reasons for its
present delicate state.
Prehistory and General History
The reconstruction of Huichol prehistory is a complicated affair. The exact
prehispanic origins of the people who became the Huichol are, at best, uncertain. One
prominent author, Beatriz Rojas (1993:24), says that we must wait until at least the end of
the 16th century to understand the Huichol as a people. Due to the lack of information
surrounding Huichol origins, the bulk of research concerning the Huichol begins with
history since colonial times. There are, however, a few things known about Huichol
origins derived mainly from mythology, accented with archaeology and linguistic data,
where possible.
22

23
According to Rajsbaum (1994), the Huichol have their origins in the history of
several prehistoric Indian peoples who came together in the Sierra Madre Occidental
region of Mexico. Moreover, it has been widely speculated that these tribes were
probably of Aztecan origin (Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). This appears to be consistent
with Huichol self-declarations. I have even heard the Huichol point westward towards
the coast when mentioning Aztlan, the mythological homeland of the Aztecs. If the
Huichol did indeed form as a result of a melding of several tribes, this could explain the
duality of Huichol mythology whereby Eastern Huichol are more oriented toward desert-
centered emergence stories in Wirikuta, land of the sacred peyote cactus, a point at which
there is a convergence of the five cardinal directions (north, south, east, west, center)
(Furst 1969a).
In opposition to these stories, Huichol along the Western edge of the Sierra Madre
Occidental associate their emergence stories with Haramaratsie, the Huichol name for
San Bls, Nayarit. Weigand (1981) believes this conglomeration of aboriginal peoples to
be a reason for the diversity of Huichol mythology. These various connections, or
associations, coupled with sacred sites associated with the other cardinal directions,
determine Huichol cosmology in its broadest sense. Liffinan (2000) likens these
attachments between sacred sites and sense of place (kiekari) to gourdvines, illustrating
how Huichol historical territoriality is rooted in an open cosmology that includes over
90,000 square kilometers as opposed to the officially recognized 4,000 square kilometers
that encompass the Huichol homeland. It is due to this very open patterning of Huichol
territoriality that it becomes most difficult to situate the origins of the Huichol, especially
with a lack of archaeological evidence to support or deny such allegations.

24
The foremost authority on Huichol archaeology, Phil Weigand, himself
acknowledges that archaeological investigations in the areas where rural Huichol
Indians now reside are nearly nonexistent (Weigand 1981:9). Using data collected from
several surrounding areas, Weigand believes that the present-day Huichol have their
origins in four distinct prehistoric influences: los nayaritas (the people of the Western
Coast, including the Cora), the Huajimic-La Yesca archaeological cultures for the
southern Chapalagana Huichol, the Chalchihuites culture of Zacatecas for the
northernmost Chapalagana Huichol, and, finally, the Bolaos valley sites for the eastern
and central Chapalagana Huichol (Weigand 1981). Many of these conclusions are drawn
from the similarities in the construction of circular ceremonial structures and centers, as
well as settlement patterns throughout the region. These circular ceremonial centers, so
he believes, served as models for the circular kalihuey temple of the modern Huichol, and
date to the early Classic period of 200-700 A.D. (Weigand 1979:101).
In his work, Weigand refutes another popular theory held by Furst (1996) that
places Huichol origins in the Chichimec desert complex, along with ancestors known as
the Guachichil people. It is Weigands (1981, 2000) belief that this analogy is based on
inconclusive evidence from small linguistic similarities between modern Huichol
phonology and that of these purported ancestors.
Linguistic data from the Sierra region shows that there are significant linguistic
similarities among the Pima, Tepehun, Tarahumara, Yaqui, Cora, Huichol, Nahuatl, and
Mexicano speaking peoples (Grimes 1964). Reconstructed through glottochronology,
these similarities are most pronounced between Huichol and Cora, suggesting an accurate
depiction of these languages as a subfamily (Grimes 1964). If these inferences are

25
accurate, than the Huichol and Cora are not only neighbors linguistically, but also could
share a common kin ancestry.
In classes I observed in Tateikita, indigenous instructors taught that the
Guachichil were one of several ancestral groups to the Huichol. They also acknowledged
the role of the Tepecanos and Teochichimecas in forming the present-day Huichol. This
illustrates Huichol uncertainty with their own origins and support for Fursts model.
The collection of Huichol mythology as it relates to cultural origins was largely
the work of Peter Furst (1969a, 1969b, 1972, 1974, 1989, 1993; Furst and Anguiano
1976; Furst and Myerhoff 1966) and Barbara Myerhoff (1970, 1974). Through the
collection of origin myths and migration stories, Furst connected East with West in the
formation of modem Huichol society. Variations in mythological accounts were said to
be the result of the orality of Huichol culture, with regional variations developing across
time as other influences affected the stories. In fact, Fikes (1985) wrote a dissertation on
variations within Huichol myths in the community of Tuapurie, illustrating the fluid
nature of these stories in Huichol oral culture.
The real problem in dealing with uncertain origins is the tendency to rely
exclusively on one domain (linguistic, archaeological, or cosmological) to reconstruct
Huichol origins. Like Weigand (1981), I argue that these domains must be taken
collectively to paint as accurate a picture as possible of Huichol origins. This is also the
position adhered to by Williams (1990), who has traced archaeological data from maize
cultivation and temple construction to place Huichol origins to about AD 200. He has
also uncovered figurines of early forms of Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), also mentioned
by Lumholtz (1902), during his late nineteenth century travels throughout the Sierra and
meticulous classification of the symbolic material culture of the Huichol, Cora, and

26
neighboring tribes. If these speculations carry even an inkling of truth, then they are
further proof for early and continuous occupation of the Sierra by the Huichol.
The Huichol, according to Ramrez de la Cruz (1995), were practically unknown
before the famous Norwegian traveler Carl Lumholtz visited the Sierra region. In his text
Unknown Mexico (1902), Lumholtz was one of the first ethnographers, along with Lon
Digiiet (1899), to document the cultures of the Sierra region. While comments about the
Huichol being unknown was an exaggeration of the elusiveness of the Huichol, it is
true that the Huichol did little to make themselves known to the outside world. It was not
until the sixteenth century that the Huichol were discovered by the Franciscan
missions. In an attempt to avoid contact with Spanish colonial authorities, the Huichol
moved higher and deeper in to the Sierra Madre. In fact, they have existed in their
present location for a little over 500 years by this theory.
From the viewpoint of mythology, the Huichol encountered Majakuagy (Maxa
Kwaxi, or Grandfather Deer Tail) who was a white spirit person from the heavens (Digiiet
1899). Maxa Kwaxi then taught the Huichol people the ways of the peyote and showed
them a place to settle in the Sierra Madre (Furst 1996). For quite some time, this story
was thought to be of a white man, perhaps of Spanish descent, who taught the Huichol
their current way of life. The reference to Majakuagy being white is, in fact, a
reference to the white tail of the deer (Schaefer and Furst 1996).
If we take the most restrictive dating considering Huichol prehistory, they have
occupied their present-day location for at least 500 years. The first European contact
with the Huichol was in 1531 by the Spanish conquistador uo de Guzmn and soon
thereafter the Franciscans set up the first missions (Furst 1996; Rojas 1993). uo de
Guzmn was relentless in his march through the coastal regions of the Sierra, causing

27
countless tribes to relocate, many joining and becoming assimilated into Cora and
Huichol peoples of the Sierra. The difficulty of the terrain made conquest of the Sierra a
troublesome endeavor. It was not until 1580, roughly 50 years after uo de Guzmns
first contact with the peoples of the Gran Nayar coastal region, that missionary activity
began in the Gran Nayar because the Sierra region was very inaccessible from the North,
East, and South (Furst 1996).
Soon after the Franciscans entered the Sierra, mining operations began and
continued until 1700. These mining operations coincided with a series of territorial
conflicts between the Huichol and Chichimeca. The Huichol still proved to be elusive,
although the much more easily accessible Cora were rounded up into eleven Jesuit-
controlled villages in 1722 (Franz 1996:79). Eleven years later in 1733, the Franciscans
established a catholic mission in Waut+a, leading quickly to the founding of missions in
several other key Huichol communities. Shortly thereafter, the Franciscans entered, on
several occasions, the heart of the Huichol territory, each time being unsuccessful in
converting the Huichol from their primitive pagan ways and, ultimately, forcing them
into retreat.
According to Franz (1996:80), the Huichol were apparently the least affected of
all the Sierra tribes, since they were never congregated into nucleated mission
settlements. Their seasonal patterns of migration and geographic dispersion made
religious conversion among them a difficult task. Whereas the neighboring Cora Indians
fought aggressively to resist acculturation, the Huichol response was primarily to flee,
thereby having as little contact with their aggressors as possible. This fleeing activity,
Vogt (1955:253) believes, is the impetus for the Huichol being withdrawn and reticent
in direct relations with Mestizos in the historical era.

28
The Huichol retreat into the Sierra created a region of refuge (Aguirre Beltrn
1967). As a natural geographic boundary, the Sierra enabled the Huichol to resist the
acculturative pressures around them. Huichol avoidance of Mestizo aggression, however,
assisted them in developing a more open style of relationships with outsiders. This style
is in direct opposition to the Cora, who through the aggression of missionaries and
settlers turned into a closed society.
I often draw an analogy to cultural distinctions between the Navajo and Hopi.
The Hopi are quite closed in their relations with the outside world, whereas the Navajo
have constantly been adapting to the outside world by taking in various aspects of the
dominant societys material culture and ideology and adapting them to a Navajo style of
life. Vogt (1955) compares the Huichol and Cora acculturative struggles with that of the
Navajo and the Zuni of the American Southwest. He makes the contention that Navajo
hogan settlements are much like the scattered extended family rancheras of the
Huichol (Vogt 1955:254). Moreover, whereas Navajo social organization is dependent
on a matrilineal clan system, Huichol social organization is not, making their society
even more mobile and flexible than that of the Navajo.
Missionary and Mestizo aggression began in the early nineteenth century and
continued until the Cristero revolt of 1930 when many Huichol fled the Sierra for the
cities or the basin of the Lerma River.1 These periods of aggression, however, had little
impact on traditional Huichol religion. In the late 1930s, the Huichol were able to return
to their home region, but with a considerable loss of ancestral lands to which they no
longer held title. The cultural consequences of the loss of these ancestral lands still
1 The Cristero Revolt was a mostly peasant based Catholic revolt against the
revolutionary government in western Mexico in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Cristeros fought under the motto Viva el Cristo Rey (Long live Christ the King).

29
plague Huichol society today, with lack of land entitlements being key to why the
Huichol continue to struggle to reclaim these lands. Of the nearly 67,000 hectares that
are in dispute, the Huichol have successfully regained 10,320, though several key
ancestral areas near Tierra Blanca and San Juan Peyotn remain difficult to reclaim
(Chvez and Arcos 1998).
Contemporary Huichol History
Contemporary Huichol history continues to be muddied by struggles to reclaim
ancestral lands. This section explains the most recent history of the Huichol, particularly
of Tateiki and Tateikila. It is meant to outline the various development projects within
the community and village.
Much of Huichol contemporary history is shaped by the efforts of the National
Indigenous Institute (INI), founded in 1949. Under plans for rural development, INI
offices were located throughout the various indigenous regions of Mexico, and each was
headed by an anthropologist charged with training workers how to conduct development
projects among indigenous peoples. In 1960, the Cora-Huichol Coordination Center
(HUICOT) was created to direct development within the Sierra (Nahmad 1996). The
Plan HUICOT was the program instituted to add roads, assist agro-production, create
schools, and generally improve living conditions in the Sierra. It was under the Plan
HUICOT that the first airstrips were created in the various Huichol communities,
including Tateikita (Nahmad 1996). It wasnt until 1968, however, that formal non
religious schooling was first brought to the Huichol under Salomn Nahmad, coordinator
of the Plan HUICOT.
No formal history of Tateikita has ever been constructed other than that recorded
by Fray Hugo and the Franciscans at their mission in Tateikita. In March 1999, during

30
an indigenous rights workshop held at the CETMK, students, together with instructors
and parents/eiders, attempted to reconstruct a chronological timeline for the history of
Tateikita (see Appendix B). The timeline was constructed to put the development of the
local village in parallel with developments in land reclamation and indigenous rights.
Highlights of this reconstruction are noted in this section.
Although they reached the Sierra in the sixteenth century, the first arrival of the
Franciscans to Tateikita occurred in 1963, shortly after the construction of the first
airstrip. Arriving on mule, they established the local mission (see Figure 2.1).
Development in Tateikita was rapid after that. The local agency was constructed in 1964,
and in 1971, water was piped in from the Sierra to a holding tank outside Tateikita near
the Rancho Robles. Two years later, a health care center was constructed and the airstrip
was improved.
Figure 2.1. Franciscan Mission with CETMK Library in the Background.
The Franciscans started the first school in Tateikita in 1976. Local resistance
abounded, and shortly thereafter, a primary was built, along with a boarding dormitory
for students. Most of these structures were completed during the time of the Plan

31
HUICOT of the Instituto Nacional Indigenista. Current projects have aimed to get a road
to Tateikita, linking it, at least seasonally, to the outside world. This project was
completed in April 1998. Also, Missionaries of various faiths have penetrated the Sierra,
disguising religious conversion under seemingly legitimate development projects.
Social and Political Organization
Huichol social organization is best perceived at three levels: the household
ranchera, the village or pueblo consisting of several rancheras, and the traditional
politico-religious comunidad (community). At the smallest of these levels, the household
is typically a nuclear family with husband, wife, and unmarried children (Grimes 1962).
More common in the traditional homeland, however, is the ranchera, or extended family
household that consists of a matrilocal family with husband and wife, their married
female childrens families, and any unwed male children. The male children remain in
the household of their parents until such time as they are wed, at which point a couple
will establish residency with the husbands wifes family (Grimes 1962:104). This
differs from Weigand (1979:112) who says that the ideal pattern of postmarital residence
is patri- or neopatrilocal.
Huichol marriages are traditionally arranged, and this practice continues to this
day (Weigand 1981). In recent times, however, individual choice has replaced arranged
marriages as the dominant marriage system. In the case of those still practicing arranged
marriages, however, they are bilateral and often between first cousins from within the
same community (Schaefer and Furst 1996:8). Marrying and staying within the same
community decreases the risk factors associated with subsistence farming, since families
are within accessible distance from one another, should sharing of crop harvests or labor
become necessary.

32
Although social organization is matrilineal, the male is still the religious and
social head of household. It is no doubt that much of this is probably due to the infusion
of Mexican machismo into Huichol society. Women usually control the land, however,
with men tending to any cattle they may own. Inheritance is unilineal, with daughters
receiving from their mothers and sons from their fathers. Sometimes, women receive
cattle through inheritance, in which case they may come to control ranch land and all
animals on it over time (Weigand 1979). It may be possible that these changing
inheritance patterns are why patrilocal residence is not as common as it once was.
Huichol children live in the nuclear household, though caring for them is a
communal affair involving all members of the childs extended family. Huichol children
are enculturated through a series of formal ceremonies and informal maternal instruction.
The most important of these ceremonies for a child is what is known as the Fiesta del
tambor (Festival of the drum) that coincides with the annual harvest festival in the fall
(Schaefer and Furst 1996). Only after the completion of five of these ceremonies is a
child truly considered whole, showing the importance of the number five in Huichol
cosmology. At each of these annual ceremonies, lasting roughly two days, children are
positioned on blankets before their mothers and are blessed by the gods. A series of
offerings are made and a constant vigil is maintained through the aid of a cantador
(shaman-chanter) and the incessant beating of the tepu (drum). At the end of the
ceremony, all families with participating children offer a feast to attendees. In the feast,
other kin and guests are treated to tortillas, tamales, and traditional tehuino drink. This
ceremony serves for many children and adults as a mechanism to solidify social bonds
(see Figure 2.2).

33
The historical significance of the ceremony lasting five years for each child is
probably rooted in high infant mortality rates (Schaefer and Furst 1996). It was common
in the pre-development era for many children to die before their fifth birthday. The
conclusion of the ceremony therefore marks an important passage for Huichol children
into participating members of Huichol society.
Figure 2.2. Child in Tateikita at the Fiesta del Tambor, December 1999.
At a collective level, Huichol society is egalitarian, but as noted by Schaefer and
Furst (1996:11), increasing participation in the market economy has inevitably created
some inequalities, especially in differential access to certain economic and social
advantages. The same market factors are applied to social status. Traditionally, social
status is based on age (Schaefer and Furst 1996). At the highest rankings in political
organization, this continues to be the case. At the village level, however, a market
economy is beginning to show its face. At two village asambleas (community meetings)
I have observed in Tateikita, it was not uncommon to see the most economically
prosperous picked to serve a term in public office at the January cambio de varas (change
of local authorities). Whether or not they accepted such gestures of appointment was

34
another matter entirely. Those picked to hold public office, because of the financial
constraints involved, are therefore either those with some public debt, or those who the
community believes can economically bear the hardship of serving in public office.
The current Huichol political system originated in the late eighteenth century
under the Franciscans who introduced the comunidad (community) political structure
(Weigand 1979). I have mentioned earlier that there are three Huichol traditional
communities. There are, however, five gobernancias, which remain from earlier civil-
religious hierarchies. Further complicating these political divisions are the presence of
temple districts (Weigand 1979:13). Each temple, or kalihuey, has its own religious
authorities connected with maintaining it.
Huichol political organization is usually discussed at the level of civil-religious
hierarchy. According to this system, the highest traditional office is the gobernador
(governor). This individuals functions have been reduced to that of a figurehead in
current Huichol organization. Ffis principal role has been as an arbitrator to mediate
disputes with the assistance of a panel of judges. He is generally the eldest member of a
community and serves a term of one year (Weigand 1979:107). The community
governor is the head of a council that includes a number of other positions, among them
the capitanes (captains), alguaciles (political representatives) and their assisting topiles
(police-servants). Alongside the Governors council are the mayordomos who are
responsible for overseeing that particular ceremonies, in the various pueblos (towns or
villages) and rancheras, are conducted according to tradition (Weigand 1979).
The members of the council that hold the highest authority and prestige are the
kawiteros, who are the elder esteemed members of the community. They are the experts
of tradition. According to Weigand (1979:108), a man becomes a kctwitero through

35
lifelong study of the customs, history, religion, and myths of his comunidadKawiteros
are often mara akame, though they may no longer be practicing healers. They
traditionally were responsible for overseeing the numerous kalihuey temples throughout
the communities. Figure 2.3 illustrates the traditional political hierarchy in the mid-
1970s. The structure is roughly the same today, though the Plan HUICOT, as indicated
in the diagram, is no longer in existence.
jk#,wero ,
TUK
MUHtH
>H*S!K KAHUEH
fswiej
HUICOT 1M
mSDME
*
r
1 __5L_: *
CJ -ggi. J
r*~L
~~r
n
GOBERNADOR
T
JUTZ
T
>1
ITmAYOROmO
1
ALfXiACn.
-1-
XPIU!
:x
COMIT j
ESCOtAfcJ
itedereft :
MAYORDOMOS
H&OSTtS
Figure 2.3. Huichol Political Organization. (Source: Weigand 1979:103).
At the village level, the head authority is the comisario (commissioner) who
serves a joint role as mayor and police chief of a village settlement and temple district. It
is his responsibility to mediate local disputes, wed couples, and provide for the general
upkeep of the pueblo. The comisario is normally chosen from among the people in the
village who are most prosperous or owe a term of service. This is because the position
has a lot of responsibilities that can be economically taxing during the one-year term.
Someone must also be chosen who holds some knowledge of the rules and regulations of

36
traditional and civil law. To help him in his duties, the comisario is assisted by topiles
who are his message carriers and police force. Their responsibilities include policing the
district and keeping the comisario informed of political and social doings in the region.
Contemporary Religious Organization
Huichol spirituality, at least for the past 500 years, has been based on a
cosmology centered on the ritual use of the peyote cactus. The peyote cactus (see Figure
2.4) is the place from which life emanates, and from which it will return upon ones
death. Furst, the foremost authority on Huichol ceremony, says in his documentary of a
Huichol peyote pilgrimage, It is the doorway to the fifth dimension (Furst 1969a).
Annually, sometimes biannually, the Huichol from various communities will make trips
to the sacred land called Wirikuta located in the desert near San Luis Potos. It is there
alone that the sacred peyote cactus grows. It must be harvested by those entrusted to do
so, the peyoieros, and brought back to the many village communities for use in rituals
and ceremonies.
In the past, pilgrimage trips would involve considerable personal hardship, as the
pilgrimage would take up to a full month to accomplish on foot, during which time
fasting from salt intake is obligatory. In recent times, personal hardship has changed to
economic hardship. No longer are the pilgrimages conducted on foot, but rather by bus
and truck, vehicles that must be contracted to carry the people to and from the various
sacred sites along the journey, and assist them in returning to their communities with the
harvests of peyote cactus (Muller 1978). The major expense has become transportation.
These problems with expenses have limited the Huichol ability to make pilgrimages in
anything other than organized temple district groups. It is now the plan of INI to assist
the Huichol economically in conducting pilgrimages.

37
Figure 2.4. The Peyote Cactus (Source: Cullman, et al. 1986:202)
Each pilgrimage group is led by a metra akame (shaman, or healer) who acts as a
spiritual guide to the followers (see Figure 2.5). Maraakate (pi.) may be male or female,
though I have yet to hear or see a female mar a akame, even though Valadez (aka Susan
Eger 1978, 1989) has equated female master weavers and artists with maraakame status.
Moreover, Schaefer (1990, 1996) says that women weavers historically underwent an
initiation ceremony much like a rite of passage. She acknowledges, however, that
these ceremonies did little for a womens ability to enter the religious-political hierarchy.
This is consistent with Schaefer and Furst (1996), who say that the role is chiefly a male
occupation. Were Valadezs statements to be correct, there would be many more female
mara akate than their male counterparts, as most all women embroider, sew, weave, or
use chaquira (beads) to make necklaces and bracelets. These items are chiefly for
personal or family use, though there are some rural Huichol, and many urban Huichol,
who do make crafts to sell to dealers and tourist shops in Puerto Vallara, Tepic, or
Guadalajara.

38
To be a mara 'akame is a multifaceted role. Spiritually connected with the gods,
one must be a diviner, a healer, and an expert in myth and lore (Fikes 1985).
Furthermore, a mora akame must be willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve
prominent status within a given community. A good mara akame is observant, humble,
and personable. To be otherwise may label one a witch. One earns the status of a
mara akame only by example. It is necessary for a potential mara 'akame to complete the
peyote pilgrimage at least five times to be honored and respected as such. Many have,
however, completed the journey numerous times beyond the bare minimum. Because
being a mara akame is not a paid position, these spiritual leaders are dependent upon
donations from those they serve. It is not uncommon these days to see a mara akame go
from family to family seeking monetary donations for a pilgrimage, a journey to acquire
materials for a ceremony, or for travel funds to perform a ritual in outlying areas of the
Huichol homeland (Muller 1978:92).
Huichol cosmology includes a view of the world that interconnects all people and
places. The ritual use of peyote is for the purpose of receiving messages from the gods,
as well as for honoring them. It is one way to make a direct spiritual connection with the
ethereal world. Unlike images portrayed by the popular media, Huichol use of peyote is
strictly sanctioned. There are certain contexts when it is permissible to use peyote and
others when it is not. Permissible contexts usually involve the presence or guidance of a
mara akame at ceremonies and the occasional use by artisans to receive divine
intervention in artistic creations. Individuals, to prevent or cure sickness and ill health,
may also use it. Peyote is present at most ceremonies, though in no way is it as prevalent
as it once was in the historical accounts of Schaefer and Furst (1996), Mata Torres
(1970), and Benitez (1994). In fact, the modern media continues to present a watered-

39
down and stereotypical view of Huichol religion and the people in general.
Representations such as those portrayed by Ibez and Lavidon (1997) and Zarembo
(1999) promote inaccurate images of contemporary Huichol society and religion. In an
age of global information exchange, views of the Huichol as peyote consuming secretive
people who are distrustful of outsiders are detrimental to external relations.
Figure 2.5. Mara akame and Village Elder at Tateikita Rodeo.
Huichol spirituality revolves around a series of ceremonies performed on an
annual cyclical basis. These ceremonies are connected with events such as the planting
of corn {fiesta de la limpieza) in the late spring, and the harvest season (fiesta del tambor)
in the late fall (Muller 1978). Some are connected with the peyote pilgrimage. At any
given time within the year, the Huichol may visit sacred locations located throughout
Western Mexico. These visits are often informal and family-centered, whereas major

40
events in the ceremonial calendar involve many relatives and families who come together
to celebrate an event (see Figure 2.6).
Figure 2.6. Huichol Woman Leaving Offerings. (Source: Geomundo 1997:76)
According to Huichol mythology, peyote, maize, and the white-tailed deer form a
trinity in much the same way as the Holy Trinity serves as a unifying dimension of
Western Christian religion (Schaefer and Furst 1996; Myerhoff 1970). Many names are
assigned to each of the three items, as they are constantly associated with deities in the
spirit world and are interchangeable, easily confusing the amateur interpreter. For
example, peyote, apart from being called hikuri, is also referred to as Kauyumari (Mother
Deer). Because peyote flowers possess white tufts of hair atop them, they are also called
Mecca Kwaxi (Deertail). The mythological deer that showed the way to the peyote is
reverentially called kauyumari (Mother Deer), but may also be called Tatutsi Maxa
Kwaxi (Grandfather Deertail), representing the gender-neutral nature of the figure. In
these intersecting themes, the Huichol trinity is inseparable.
Huichol religion is pantheistic (Muller 1978:91). All deities are personified by
associating them with kinship terms, the most prominent of which are Tau (Father Sun),

41
Tatewari (Grandfather Fire), Kauyumari (Brother or Mother Deer), Nakaw
(Grandmother Growth), Tatei Yuriancika (Mother Earth), Tatei Niwetsika (Mother Maize)
and Tukakame (God or Goddess of Death). Each of these deities is honored in ways to
manipulate the natural world. These honoring rites usually involve offerings or sacrifices
to the deities. Travel to sacred sites is also common. Among the cardinal directions
associated with deities are Haramaratsie (San Bias, Nayarit) in the West, Xapawiyemcita
(Lake Chapala, Jalisco in the South), Wirikuta (near San Luis Potosi in the East), Teikata
(the Huichol homeland) and Hanxa Manaka (a site to the North) (Liffinan 2000). Prayers
and rituals frequently are for a good harvest, rain, and success in peyote rituals.
Taking the five key directional locations in mind, the number 5 plays an
important role in Huichol cosmology. Not only are there five sacred directions, but also
Furst (1969a) says there are five levels to the underworld, five stages and colors to the
corn, and, frequently, five parts to an average peyote button. It can be said that five
directions add centrality to the here and now orientation of Huichol space and time.
Tateikita. A Community Profile
Tateikita Land Tenure and Economy
The village of Tateikita is more reminiscent of recent urbanization trends within
the Huichol territory than as representative of traditional Huichol economics. While in
outlying ranches the Huichol rely more on traditional subsistence, those within Tateikita,
much like other centralized villages, such as Tateiki or Tuapurie, are now dependent on
a foreign economic system that requires them to purchase foodstuffs they are unable (or
unwilling) to grow themselves.
The Huichol within each community possess land collectively and families work
plots of land using cooperative labor from family members, friends, and more distant kin

42
(Weigand 1979:109). The fact that land is collective means that the territorial lands
cannot be individually bought and sold. It is communal in that individual titles to plots
of land within the overall unit are not granted (Weigand 1979:111). Weigand
(1979:111) continues, however, lack of title does not imply lack of very strong and
inheritable use rights. Instead, individual families retain possession of plots of land
within tracts that are cleared annually utilizing a slash-and-bum technique. Within each
cleared tract of land, several different families may have planted crops. Boundary
divisions between familial plots are delineated by color of corn that has been planted. In
addition, there is little population pressure on the land, so disputes are not common.
Not only may several families share a tract of land, but also each individual
family may possess multiple locations where they have a right to plant. These may be at
different elevations so as to maximize the types of crops that can be grown. For instance,
while some crops, such as corn and squash, still grow well at higher elevation, other
crops, especially beans, do not yield at such elevations. These crops, instead, will be
planted at lower elevations, interspersed amongst com stalks, if they are planted at all.
Because land is considered womens property, men do not ordinarily clear,
plant, and harvest their own tracts of land, but instead will be responsible for preparing
and harvesting crops from the lands of their spouses, if married, or those of their mother,
sisters, or other female kin. Land is passed on matrilineally, meaning use rights will pass
from a mother equally to each of her daughters. Upon the death of a female, her portion
of the land will pass directly to her surviving daughters. If none are present, the land will
be subsumed and reallocated to another family by the traditional authorities. These
observations are in contrast to Weigand (1979:111), who says farm plots and
farmsteads, however, also go to the eldest son of the first wife if he is capable of

43
managing them and is present to do so. It may be that, in many cases, the absence of the
eldest male, due to urban migration, has resulted in females becoming more in control of
land than they were in the past. Males are still, however, preferred to female children,
and receive considerable more economic input from their parents than female children.
This is noticeable especially in clothing and food allocation.
Use rights for women are very strong, and preserved through inheritance
(Weigand 1979:112). This is probably a secondary factor determining the collective
nature of families, particularly sisters, in maintaining access to lands for planting. So,
while official roles may show a plot of land as belonging to a male, because of use rights,
women will actually be the owners of the land, delegating labor for maintenance of the
land and crop tending to male ldn.
Within Tateikita, most families still use their familial plots. The variety of
individual crops planted, however, has greatly diminished from the past. Families still
plant the traditional five varieties of corn, but this is more ceremonial than practical in
nature, as families prefer blue, red, and yellow corn to the other varieties. The planting of
additional crops is usually limited to squash. Other smaller crops, such as radishes and
cucumber are planted, if at all, within individual ranch homesteads. Some families also
have fruit trees in their family compounds, especially orange, lemon, and lime varieties.
The Huichol mainstay continues to be subsistence farming, as noted in the
literature (Nahmad 1996; Schaefer and Furst 1996; Weigand 1981). By subsistence
farming, I mean that food production is for familial use, and that surpluses are not
ordinarily generated. If so, surpluses are traded with relatives who may not have had a
very productive year. In this way, the system maintains equilibrium. A Huichol
subsistence economy does not mean, however, that the Huichol produce the entire realm

44
of food varieties necessary for their diet. This is especially true when it comes to protein
intake. Huichol families, for the most part, are very nutritionally deficient. Families
have a difficult time clothing their children, let alone worrying about a proper diet.
Protein intake within Tateikita comes mainly from eggs, beans, and canned tuna fish.
These items are brought in by truck from Huejuquilla, where they are sold in local shops
or distributed at a discounted price through the government-subsidized Compaa
Nacional de Subsistencias Populares (CONASUPO). Poorer families will restrict their
diet to beans and tortilla, while those who can afford to, will purchase the extra items.
The Huichol of Tateikita are not skilled, trained, or educated in small animal
husbandry. They do, however, supplement purchased items by the occasional chicken,
pork, or, in rare instances, lamb. These animals are allowed to run wild throughout the
rancheras and villages, feeding on garbage and human waste. Chickens are not raised
from birth, but are purchased at a discounted rate through promotional programs of the
Departamento de Infancia y Familias (Department of Infants and Families or DIF).
Others contract truck owners and/or shopkeepers to bring in animals from outside the
Sierra.
While Huichol families will have tracks of land to plant through the collective
system of communally owned lands within each of the three rural Sierra communities,
many also possess separate family ranches. In contrast to the areas used for planting
crops (which are located on the steep hillsides or inter-mesa areas of the region), families
from Tateikita will possess individual ranchos located outside the village, at higher
elevations within the Sierra. These ranches are the primary place of residence for many
families during the rainy summer months, when they will leave their homes in the village.
Within the ranches, families will possess cattle and small animals, with the cattle being

45
used for milk production. The milk is then processed into cheese, which, when
preserved, will keep for many months. Cattle are not normally killed for their meat,
except when they have become old or no longer can be used for breeding purposes.
Cattle are allowed to wander freely on the ranches during the day to graze, and returned
to their corrals in the evening. Families from Tateikita will only return to the village if
they need additional supplies or if foodstuffs are depleted.
The rural ranch homesteads, unlike the planting fields, are regularly referred to as
male property (Gerardos ranch; Agustins ranch). Women will work with the cattle
during the summer months, but because these ranches are used almost exclusively for
cattle (mens property), they are labor intensive, something requiring regular maintenance
by males. Several families may come together on a ranch, working together for a share
of the dairy products, and these groups are always centered on female kin networks (a
wifes sisters).
Each of the eight shops in Tateikita is a general store, and all are independently
owned, except the CONASUPO (state discount store) and the newly created almacn
(hardware store) that is run by a womens collective. Being general stores, they all carry
largely the same items. Foodstuffs include eggs, canned goods, pasta, oil, sweets, sodas
and beer, Maseca (a commercial ground corn-flour mix), flour, salt, beans, rice, canned
milk powder, coffee, and a limited selection of fruits and vegetables (chiefly apples,
cabbage, and peppers). In addition, stores carry pesticides (bug sprays and insect
powders) and general items (sandals, batteries, flashlights, candles, cigarettes, sewing
items, and writing materials for the schoolchildren). All of these items are brought in by
truck from outside the Sierra, resulting in prices being high for most items.

46
Not all families can afford to purchase items at the local shops. While most
families receive some sort of assistance either from INI and the Departamento de
Infancia y Familias (DIF), for children attending school, or the Secretara de Desorrollo
Social (SEDESOL) (for planting particular crops), malnourishment still runs rampant,
emphasizing economic differences between have and have-nots. The nutrition of those
who can afford to provide additional essential vitamins, minerals, and protein
supplements to their diet is much different from that of poorer families who may only be
able to provide one meal a day to their children, and this may only be a monotonous daily
consumption of beans and tortilla.
The Huichol are very reluctant to try new foods, which makes introducing new
foods into their diet quite difficult. Weigand notes:
Huichols have shown little enthusiasm for other introduced plants, such as
carrots, lettuce, radishes, and the like. The scanty use of these garden
crops is less a matter of adaptation to soil than one of taste (1979:11).
I found Weigands observations to be trye. Attempts by the biointensive
agriculture project at the CETMK at introducing lettuce and carrots to students resulted in
little interest in their consumption, despite successful yields. The Huichol prefer cabbage
to lettuce, because of its durability. Lettuce is also more delicate than cabbage, making it
an easy target for hungry ants and other insects.
The Material Life of Tateikita
The Huichol of Tateikita, due to their unusually high income levels compared to
those in outlying areas, have developed an interest in material goods. These range from
battery-operated radios and tape players, to expensive television sets and videocassette
recorders. In the case of the former, cheap radios now abound throughout the Sierra,
allowing people to listen to news on an INI-sponsored AM radio station, or to one of

47
several Spanish-only ranchero stations available at night. FM signals do not reach this
portion of the Sierra. As for the fetishism for high tech gadgets such as televisions and
VCRs, people with a regular source of income will purchase these items de crdito (on
long-term loans of two to three years). The items will continue to sit in boxes as status
items for many months because electricity has not yet reached Tateikita, nor will it
probably be available any time in the foreseeable future.
Although there is no electricity in Tateikita, homes of the economically
advantaged (teachers and shop owners) have solar units. These units are panels mounted
atop poles that convert the suns energy into a 16-volt current, which, when run through a
regulator unit, is downgraded to 12 volts in order to charge batteries. At night, these
industrial-strength 12-volt batteries provide enough electricity to run fluorescent lighting
within the homes and outside kitchen areas. Two families now possess AC/DC power
invertors that enable them to show an occasional video. The local health clinic does the
same, on occasion, but uses a gas-powered generator to create the necessary electric
current to run a television and VCR.
Tateikita Geography
Tateikita is more developed than the average Huichol village. Located at the end
of a newly created road, Tateikita has become an educational mecca for many remote
rancheras and group settlements in the area. Education exists at preschool, primary, and
secondary levels. Most recently, in January 2000, an open preparatory school was
founded. In addition to educational advantages, Tateikita also serves as a health center
for other small settlements in the area. With these recent developments in mind, the
geography of Tateikita represents that of a Mestizo plaza-style settlement as opposed to a
traditional Huichol settlement that would be dominated by the local kalihuey (religious

48
temple). Tateikita possess a small kalihuey along the edges of the plaza, but the main
religious and ceremonial center is located about two kilometers away.
The geography of Tateikita consists of a central plaza, dominated by a concrete
court used for basketball and volleyball by local residents and students. Surrounding the
plaza, are several of the local shops, with others located down nearby side roads. The
prominent feature of the plaza is the health clinic. Its chain link fence and concrete
foundation make it stand out compared to the adobe brick and weathered appearance of
the other buildings in the plaza. The local agency is located opposite the plaza from the
health clinic, consisting of no more than a two-room adobe structure with dirt floors.
The spacing of buildings in Tateikita is such that the most centralized area of the
village is where most of the wealthy families live. They stay close to their shops,
managing them themselves during the day and into the evenings. As one approaches the
fringes of the village, approximately 100 meters in any given direction from the central
plaza, the homes tend to include small plots of land, whereas those living close to the
plaza do not have any immediate land at their disposal. Those who live at the fringes of
the village, however, are the most economically disadvantaged of the Huichol citizenry.
They generally keep to themselves, preferring to only come to the village when it is
necessary to purchase supplies, attend meetings, receive government assistance, or
participate in ceremonies.
Located within the boundaries of Tateikita, but near the roads departure from it,
is the primary school albergue, or dormitory, and across from that, a one-room pre
school. As one heads east out of the village, the road approaches the airstrip, newly
constructed primary school classrooms, and, finally, the secondary school, located below
the village next to the soccer field (just prior to the edge of the mesa). In-between the

49
primary school and the secondary school is the Franciscan mission. Its doors stay locked,
save for the presence of a Franciscan friar who continues to live within the missions
confines. One rarely, if ever, finds any Huichol attending or making use of the services
of the mission. While once an important landmark, tensions with the local Huichol over
evangelism and land-use rights have resulted in its activities talcing place in seclusion.
Mass is still held nightly, but one will not find any Huichol in attendance. Only visitors
and the local doctor attend mass.
Gender Roles in Tateikita
Gender roles within Tateikita are strictly defined. Women are the primary
caregivers of children, while men take a more peripheral role. Womens work consists of
preparing meals, making and embroidering clothing, and tending to small animals. It is
not a womans place to be vocal publicly. Traditionally, women did not hold political
offices. While this continues to be the case within Huichol society, some women within
Tateikita are more vocal as advisors, though they do not hold public office. This is
especially true of those who are teachers at the primary and secondary level (a
traditionally male occupation for the Huichol), the local indigenous nurse, and those
whose husbands are economically advantaged shopkeepers. These women will freely
express their opinions in public (something very rare traditionally), and tend to be
younger, educated women. Sex segregation continues to be common, however, as
womens social networks do not intermingle with those of males. This division of sexes
has an important historic basis as a means of discouraging adultery.
It is men, not women, who are the most concerned about their childrens
education, particularly that of their male children. Fathers are very protective of their
daughters, however, due to traditional marriage occurring shortly after menarche (ages 13

50
to 15). The education of female children is considered a substantial economic
investment, because the early marriage of a female child will bring more labor into the
family economic unit. Men are expected to contribute financially to the well-being of
their nuclear and affinal extended families. As a result, migrant labor is common,
although within Tateikita, the population is not as fluid as in more remote rancheras.
This is because several economically advantaged kinship networks (e.g., the Saludos
family) dominate the local economy.
Nationalism and Ethnic Identity
The remainder of this chapter is about the connections between nationalism and
ethnic identity among indigenous peoples. I will define the terms ethnicity and
identity, showing how they are interrelated in discussions about indigenous peoples in
the modern world. I will then discuss how the themes of autonomy, self-determination,
and resistance have generated arguments among indigenous peoples, particularly in Latin
America. These debates serve as arenas for the assertion of ethnic identity at national and
transnational levels. I conclude here by discussing the literature concerning the
relationship between freedom and culture, and how indigenous peoples associate their
reasons for mobilization with rights of sovereignty to control their own internal affairs
and cultural traditions.
Who are We? Defining Ethnic Identity Among Indigenous Peoples
No discussion of indigenous peoples and culture change could be constructed
without first going to the roots of what indigenous people are and how they perceive their
world. At the heart of ideology for indigenous people lie discussions of their identity and
ethnicity. What are these concepts, and what roles do they play in defining the daily life
of indigenous peoples? Moreover, how are these notions created and recreated?

51
According to Eriksen (1993), a sensitivity to these types of questions has been
common in cultural anthropology since at least the 1960s, and perhaps earlier. These
questions continue to be important in the late twentieth century and early twentieth as
well, because groups of indigenous peoples are continually striving to define who they
are and where they see their future taking them. Constructions of identity and ethnicity
serve political and social functions for people to control their own livelihood. As such,
they are core attributes in the life of a people.
When one speaks of identity, it is usually heard in conjunction with ethnicity
as ethnic identity. Identity, in its most common definition, pertains to the distinct
personality of an individual. Defined more broadly, identity is the collective aspect of
the set of characteristics by which a thing is recognizable or known (American Heritage
Dictionary 1989). This second definition encompasses the vast number of individual
traits that make an individual who he or she may be. On the other hand, ethnicity is the
perception of oneself as a member of a social group which allows the culture to exist as
a meaningful entity, make sense of the past and present, and give direction to the future
(McBeth 1983:19).
What makes ethnicity distinct from identity is that it is both an emic and an etic
construction.2 Emic self-ascription enables people to create a personal sense of
belonging, a connection if you will, with others. Ethnicity is also etic as it requires
others, such as social scientists, to recognize that one pertains to a particular group of
people. These joint emic-etic constructions of ethnicity are what Barth (1969:13) calls
2 Borrowed from the linguist Kenneth Pike (1967) from the terms phonemics and
phonetics and further elaborated upon by the anthropologist Marvin Harris (1990,
1999), emics and etics serve to define the differences between insider and outsider
domains of perception in anthropology.

52
self-ascription and ascription by others, and are consistent with those found by other
scholars, including De Vos (1995), Hutchinson and Smith (1996), and Mead (1995).
Ethnicity is a social category as opposed to a personal-psychological one. As a
social category, ethnicity is defined by one possessing certain cultural or linguistic
characteristics that serve to form boundaries between ones reality and that of others. It is
probably Weber (1996) who first pointed out the exclusionary basis of ethnicity through
its delimiting of social groups. He said, it is primarily the political community, no
matter how artificially organized, that inspires the belief in common ethnicity (Weber
1996:35). Moreover, Weber saw that there was a distinction between ethnic membership
and a purely kinship definition, because ones ethnicity is based on a series of perceived
similarities with some individuals, yet differences from others.
The point I have been trying to make regarding ethnicity and identity is the
way in which they are almost always considered synonymous, yet there still remain
important differences between the two. These differences are important when one begins
to look at representations of identity in ethnic variation. There is a dynamic interplay
between self and group that may cause an individual to behave one way in some social
contexts and still another way in others. As a result of these connections, most scholars
consider ethnicity and identity as inseparable parts of a two-sided coin. When one looks
at Native American peoples, however, the link is not so simple because we must include
social definitions of native peoples as a race.
Creating a race of Indian peoples has its own complications because to be
American Indian, in the U.S. at least, one must possess a certain blood quantum that
meets the minimum requirements for tribal enrollment. As Fogelson says:
It is assumed that there exists a linkage forged by a chain of blood and
continuous social interaction between historical tribes and their modern

53
descendants, even though there may be such radical discontinuity that
present-day Yoruks or Sioux would have a difficult time recognizing, let
alone identifying with, the culture of their ancestors (1998:43)
Upon proving one possesses, in most cases, at least one-quarter Indian blood as
reflected by generational kinship charts from historical lists of Indian tribal enrollment,
one can be officially enrolled as a member of a particular tribe with various membership
cards. Because of a growing concern that requirements are too strict, many tribes are
now reducing the percentages required for affiliation to one-eighth or even one-sixteenth
(National Public Radio 2001). These legal definitions of American Indian race using
biology are problematic. As Fogelson (1998) pointed out, one may be affiliated with a
tribe even though s/he may not practice or even be aware of his/her cultural heritage
within a particular Indian tribe.
In order to more clearly define indigenous identity in the United States, Fogelson
(1987, 1998) has proposed three characteristics by which Native American identity is
constructed: blood and descent; relations to land; and sense of community. These
broader definitions of native identity characterize the other ways that definitions of Indian
identity can be constructed. Relations to land and sense of community lie at the heart of
arguments about ethnic group membership, particularly in what is known as symbolic
ethnicity among individuals who no longer have any direct familial and/or traditional
ties to ancestral homelands. It is an issue especially affecting urban Indians in the U.S.
and elsewhere who in response to continual contact with a dominant culture and society,
must negotiate their identities, becoming truly bicultural as has been argued by those
who study contemporary Indians (Furst and Havighurst 1973; Moore 1998; National
Public Radio 2001; and Thornton 1978). These bicultural identities are in constant
renegotiation as one adapts to societal change. Uike Sandstroms Aztec-descendent

54
Indians in Corn is Our Blood (1991), the Huichol make it a point to stress their Indian
identity when it may be advantageous to do so. In essence, they are carefully weighing a
cost-benefit analysis when choosing which identity to place forward.
Arguments about the biculturality of Native American identity can be used to
point to consistent parallels between identity negotiation among U.S. American Indians
and those of Latin America. There is, however, one additional factor in identity
determination among the indigenous peoples of Latin America: Indigenous peoples of
Latin America do not have blood quantum criteria that can legitimize their status as
indigenous peoples. Instead, they must rely on notions of self and group identity. For the
Huichol, as will be pointed out in later discussions, relations to the land appear to be of
primary importance in determining Huichol membership. Other factors include use of
the native language and participation in ceremonies, but these are of secondary
importance. One can be urban and still be Huichol, but one must retain familial ties to
the ancestral homeland in the Sierra. Once that pattern is broken, urban Huichol would
no longer be considered to be Huichol by some rural members, regardless if they still
spoke the language.3
Distinctions between identity and ethnicity lead to a discussion of ethnic
identity. What are the components that make up ones ethnic identity and how do these
components factor into the Huichol situation? According to Keefe (1992:38), the
domain of ethnic identity consists of: the perception of differences between ethnic
groups; the feelings of attachment to and pride in one ethnic group and cultural heritage
3 The experiences of one Huichol teacher at the CETMK who had considerable difficulty
reintegrating into ranchera society after a period of prolonged upbringing in an urban
setting, helped reveal this aspect of Huichol identity. For second and third generation
urban Huichol, the divisions between urban and rural Huichol are even more apparent.

55
as opposed to others; and, at least where there are perceived physical differences, the
perception of prejudice and discrimination against ones own ethnic group. Indigenous
peoples in Mexico, including the Huichol, have struggled to remain distinct from the
collective mestizaje (Mestizo or mixed) national identity that indigenous peoples see as
assimilationist and therefore destructive to their survival as a people.
Until recently, research on the role of ethnicity in indigenous cultural
identification and preservation was limited to American Indian peoples of North
America, even though the concept of ethnicity was applied to immigrant groups
worldwide, including the African Diaspora, and the former Yugoslavia and Soviet
republics (Alba 1990). Studies dealing with indigenous ethnicity in North America
concentrated on the importance of blood quantum and an emerging concept known as
symbolic ethnicity (Gans 1979; Roosens 1989; Sprott 1994). It was for quite some
time that researchers struggled with how or whether to remove blood quantum percentage
as a necessary component to defining ethnicity among indigenous peoples. The main
problem with doing so is that in the opinion of many indigenous scholars, removing
blood quantum from discussion of indigenous peoples ethnicity would dilute their
ability to remain distinct peoples and make it easier for their rights to be gradually
stripped away (Nagel 1996; Thornton 1987). Among the Huichol, and others of Latin
America, historical classifications of ethnic identity have been based on appearance
alone, as no clear biological links have been established. It was not unusual to hear racial
stereotypes of gradations of skin pigmentation factored into identification of people as
indigenous. And the dominant Mexican ideology favors light skin over dark skin in
social constructions of superiority-inferiority (Amselle 1998; Nassau 1994). Coupled
with geographic residence and language, appearance helped label someone as indigenous

56
or not. Such generalizations, based on attributes often measured independently of one
another, caused confusion and inaccuracy in historical demographics of indigenous
peoples in Latin America.4
One way to counteract the removal of blood quantum as a determinant for ethnic
identity has been to concentrate instead on self-identification and degree of involvement
in what are called traditional cultural practices. Weigand (1981) and Keefe (1992), like
myself, claim that the cultural component to ethnic identification is much more important
than blood quantum. Fishman (1980) used participation as an important component to
his being, doing, and knowing model of ethnicity. The reasoning here is: If you dont
participate in your heritage, how can you claim it? By focusing on participation as a
necessary component of ethnic identity affiliation, categorizing people based on levels of
melatonin in the skin (appearance) is limited, and we shift from racial definitions of
identity to cultural distinctions. For the Huichol, participation in a multitude of religious
practices is inseparable from daily existence. By intertwining the daily with the spiritual,
a complex cosmology emerges that defines ones social and spiritual relations.
A final theme needs to be discussed when considering ethnic identity among
indigenous peoples: symbolic ethnicity. If one can become a member of an ethnic group
without blood affiliation, but instead through cultural participation and self-declaration,
what is the secret ingredient that brings together this ability? Gans (1979) proposes that
symbolic ethnicity is one way to look at ethnic identity among people who are several
generations, third or forth, removed from their ancestors. While he applies this reasoning
4 The population enumeration procedures for indigenous peoples in Latin America have
varied from one census to the next, explaining why there is a lot of variability in the
figures. The most recent population estimate of the Huichol by INEGI was done
independently of ones use of a native language, relying instead on self-declaration and
place of residence.

57
to looking at the future of ethnic groups and cultures in America, it has use in cultural
revitalization and preservation movements for indigenous peoples. I argue that much of
the pan-Indian movement relies on a peoples ability to create connections with other
individuals based on perceived cultural similarities, when in reality there may be a lot of
difference between a persons behavior and the traditional cultural practices of his or her
ethnic group. By creating and using symbolic ethnicity, ethnic lines are dissolved and
people can be united based on common beliefs and goals.
When talking about the Huichol, symbolic ethnicity may explain one way in
which the intelligentsia think and act when they create a school culture. By aligning
themselves with the common goals of all indigenous peoples, they see the ability to fight
for the common good of all. At the same time, constructing a new collective social
identity may act as a device to alienate traditionalists within the community, causing
conflict and political side-taking when it comes to conflict resolution. Creating a
collective symbolic ethnicity, however, may help to maintain group identity by justifying
some acculturative (or assimilationist) aspects of culture change, such as changes in ones
dress or language to that of the dominant culture as non-indigenous. Pacheco Salvador
(1995:209) writes about this from the point of view of a traditionalist when she speaks of
the Huichol children of today who combine traditional festivals with Christian ones,
play the same games as the Mestizo children, and swear off the Huichol language by
not speaking it with other Huichol when there are mestizos present for fear of being
criticized. I have been fortunate in a rural setting to have not seen this linguistic drop
off to habitual Spanish use when in the presence of teiwaritsie (outsiders). Huichol
appeared to be comfortable shifting between their native language and using a translator

58
or switching to Spanish when something was said for the non-Huichol speaker to
understand.
Peasant Economics and Indigenous Class Formation
Kearney (1996) and Hale (1996) suggest that the identities of indigenous peoples
of Latin America historically have been cast in terms of a domination-exploitation model
that restricts the dynamics of a peasant economy and casts them in a series of core
periphery relationships first identified by Wallerstein (1976). By labeling indigenous
peoples as peasants, they are stripped of their collective identities. The reality is that
these very peasants have become a sort of post-peasant, something that Kearney
(1996:141) refers to as polybians. Imbedded in this term, argues Kearney, are the
multiple identity roles that peasants must negotiate. They are not only living biculturally,
but have learned multiple coping strategies that enable them to shift comfortably within
an economic system that has recast our thinking of Wolf s (1957, 1986) closed corporate
community. Indigenous peoples, including the Huichol, have maintained two distinct
economic systems that act parallel to one another, one is communal, and the other is
capitalist. By keeping these systems distinct, the Huichol have been able to resist
acculturative pressures on their ethnicity, preventing what Stavenhagen (1963) saw as the
disappearance of distinct Indian cultures and separate identities due to capitalist
expansions into formerly indigenous regions. While the Huichol and other indigenous
peoples of Latin America do partake of the capitalist economy, their communal economy
(subsistence horticulture) remains largely intact and separate from capitalist ventures.
Stavenhagen has since taken an interest in ethnic resurgence among the
indigenous peoples of Mexico. He believes the ethnic resurgence is the result of
indigenous organization, pan-Indian transnationalism, and the formation of the

59
intelligentsia class (Stavenhagen 1994). These forms of collective organization are yet
another aspect of identity politics that Hale (1997:568) calls collective sensibilities
and actions that come from a particular location within society, in direct defiance of
universal categories that tend to subsume, erase, or suppress this particularity. Identity
politics then serve as a form of resistance to national policies, such as Mexican
indigenismo that seeks to marginalize indigenous peoples to promote the existence of
national culture (Aguirre Beltrn 1970;.Diaz Polanco 1997; Giroux 1983; Stavenhagen
1994).
The studies of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America have been
significant since Redfield (1941) first examined Chan Kom and espoused his idea of a
folk-urban continuum where he saw peasants at the mid-point of a continuum between
traditionality and modernity, receiving modem traits, which, via their acceptance, would
transform the peasantry out of existence, killing off traditions considered to be backward
or no longer necessary. Redfields idea of a changing peasantry is synonymous with the
pristine view of indigenous peoples of Mexico that do not acknowledge intracultural
variation.
The Huichol, and other Indian groups, are often portrayed as disarticulated from
the economic systems of the dominant society. Fosters theory of the limited good
(1965) sees disarticulated peasant economies as the determining factor in peasant
behavior. Based on his research in Tzintzuntzan (Foster 1967), Foster has expressed
peasant communities as closed systems whereby, except in a special but extremely
important way, a peasant sees his existence as determined and limited by the natural and
social resources of his village and his immediate area (Foster 1966:296). Although he
views peasant economics as a closed system, Fosters model of the limited good

60
recognizes that an individual or a family can improve a position only at the expense of
others (Foster 1966:297). These types of economics explain how one may be
predisposed to use capitalist economics in order to transcend the level of poverty present
in a community. In Tateikita, those who appear to possess the most capital (i.e.,
participate in a market economy) are becoming those with local and regional political
influence. In an area of rapid culture change, these associations with a capitalist
economy are creating divisions within Huichol society between what I call here
Traditionalists and Progressives. To be traditional entails practicing subsistence
horticulture on communally held plots of land. It also means participation in religious
practices and livelihood. The progressives, on the other hand, appear to be those that
straddle the line between traditionality and modernity, embracing aspects of both
economies, and following Chayanovs (1966) theory of peasant economies. Some have
primary labor responsibilities that lie in teaching or shopkeeping, while still others have
turned to selling traditional arts and crafts to vendors for profit, or travel to coastal fields
to pick tobacco for money. The selling of surplus food has yet to be established as a
viable economic option for the Huichol, as a precarious mountainous environment has
too much annual variability in crop production for anything other than subsistence, and,
perhaps, the selling of homemade tamales or tacos at local gatherings.
The gradual expansion of a market economy among the Huichol has had the
impact of creating classes through these social distinctions. These class distinctions are
emerging in contrast to traditional ranking systems that emphasized prestige as a
prescribed status earned by kawiteros (elders) and mara 'akates (shaman). The new
distinctions are creating a two-class system among the Huichol, which, according to
Marxs (1906) critique of a political economy, are between the capitalists or bourgeoisie

61
(those who own and control capital) and the proletariat (those who must earn their living
by selling their labor).
Marxs class divisions are not only existent at micro-scale levels, but are most
apparent between that of the dominant society and that of the indigenous peoples. These
principal economic relations are rooted in a history of domination by colonial Spanish
forces down to the present day exploitation of indigenous peoples by national
governments. The idea is that by destruction of indigenous lifeways, a dominant market-
style economy will prevail that will strengthen the legitimacy of the nation-state.
Autonomy, Self-Determination, and Resistance
Relations that fall into domination-subordination characterize the history of
indigenous peoples in Mexico and elsewhere. The Huichol, and others, have long
recognized that economically, religiously and territorially they have been denied the
ability to continue traditional cultural practices in a system that, in their eyes, has
historically stripped them of their homelands and fields, limited their ability to practice
their own religion and language, and exploited them economically. Moreover, the
indigenous regions have been regions of drastic undervelopment in the areas of health
care and education.
Five hundred years of conflict recently came to a head in January 1994 in
Chiapas, Mexico when an organized uprising by the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacin
Nacional (EZLN) took control of key villages within the state of Chiapas in Southern
Mexico as a way to protest actions by the government against the indigenous peoples of
the region. Government offices were occupied and there was a cry of ya bastaY
(enough!) throughout the state. The Zapatistas, named after Emiliano Zapata, a peasant
hero of the Mexican revolution, sought autonomy for the people of the region as a way to

62
counteract the oppressive measures of the Mexican military and government.5 By
seeking autonomy, the EZLN called for the ability to be recognized as an autonomous
people with the right to elect their own government officials and control their own affairs
in the highlands region of Chiapas (Diaz-Polanco 1998). The Zapatista uprising resulted
in a period of warfare throughout the region, with EZLN forces remaining elusive and
strong throughout the conflict. For 25 months the battle continued, finally officially
ending with the signing of The Accords of San Andres by the EZLN and the
Commission for Concord and Pacification (COCOPA) on February 16, 1996. The
accords awarded the indigenous people of the region the right to practice their own
religion and control their own internal affairs. Within seven months of the signing of the
accords, however, they were nullified by President Ernesto Zedillos refusal to implement
the changes addressed in the accords. Violence erupted once more in the region,
culminating in 1997 with the massacre of 45 indigenous people by paramilitary forces in
the town of Actel and the ultimate displacement of more than 15,000 indigenous people
from the highlands and northern region of the state of Chiapas, according to non
governmental sources (Olmos 1999).
It did not take long for the repercussions of the EZLN uprising and the
militarization of Chiapas to extend beyond the confines of the state. Among the
intellectual indigenous community, the news spread quickly. Soon, knowledge of what
was going on in Chiapas spread nationally and internationally. The indigenous
communities of Mexico identified with the Zapatista cause, and the Mexican government
feared an uprising in many of the indigenous regions of Mexico.
5 See Appendix C for a copy of the EZLN Declaration of War.

63
The Huichol were among those to identity with the causes of the Zapatistas.
While generally a passive people, they had experienced periods of harassment by
authorities during their pilgrimages to sacred sites, and in carrying peyote back to their
villages. Most recently, in March 1998, a group ofpeyoteros (those on the peyote
pilgrimage) from Taeiki was detained at a military outpost outside Huejuquilla del Alto,
Jalisco and charged with drug trafficking, a federal offense (Valadez 1998). These
actions were considered to be in direct violation of Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution,
which says that the Huichol use of peyote is legally protected. Moreover, according to
Valadez (1998), in the International Vienna Treaty of Psychotropic Substances, ratified
by Mexico in 1961, there is a clause that specifically states that indigenous groups who
use psychotropic plants in their magicoreligious ceremonies are exempt from legal
prosecution. After a public outrage, the peyoteros were released, but the peyote was
confiscated, creating anger and distrust among locals in the town and within the Huichol
communities. Up until that time, the Huichol had mostly been passive. The state of
Jalisco has been primarily friendly toward the Huichol, which has enabled them to
maintain a limited degree of autonomy within the homeland region. The Huichol feared
that this friendly period was coming to an end.
Since the incident of March 1998, the militarization of the Sierra region has
increased significantly. There are now military forces present at community assembly
meetings, bags are checked for contraband (principally arms) when flying in or out of the
Sierra, and intellectuals are watched closely. The killing of the American reporter Philip
True in December 1998 did not help the situation, and the Huichol have grown extra

64
4?
suspicious of uninvited visitors in the Sierra since that time.6 Because of their dealings
with the Huichol, the non-governmental association AJAGI has been threatened on
numerous occasions, including the attempted kidnapping of the child of one its directors.7
Despite these threats, AJAGI continues to help the Huichol with legal counseling in land
disputes and development projects within the community of Tateiki.
Tied in with discussions of autonomy for the indigenous peoples of Mexico are
the ideas of self-determination and regional autonomy. Diaz-Polanco (1996:15) says
that it is not possible to understand the indigenous problem of Latin America without
understanding the regional-national context in which it exists. As such, the origins of
quests for autonomy must be placed within the socio-political foundations of the nation
state. We must also understand the difference between autonomy and self-determination.
According to Diaz-Polanco (1997:98), the distinction between self-determination
and autonomy is usually based on an identification of the former with the right to
political independence and the establishment of a nation-state, while the latter is reserved
for the assumption of certain special faculties (such as self-government) without
statehood or political independence. He believes that many indigenous peoples are
afraid of the International Labor Organizations resolutions from Convention 169, passed
in January 1989. These resolutions, ratified into the Mexican constitution in December
of 1992, gave the indigenous peoples of Mexico the right to practice their religious and
social traditions, but at the same time, the wording is not clear and can be interpreted in
different ways. The vague wording is the very thing that plagued Lenin during the 1930s
61 personally witnessed the explusion of a pair of anthropologists from Tateikita in the
Fall of 1999. Despite good intentions, they did not follow proper authoritative channels
in requesting to do their research on dance and symbolism in the village.
7 Personal Communication with Angeles Arcos, March 1999.

65
as he struggled to define the self-determination of ethnic minorities as independent of a
right to form a federation (Nimni 1991:75-76).
For the Huichol, the road has been mostly one of limited autonomy, rather than
the more radical picture of self-determination that implies the formation of an
autonomous Huichol state. Diaz-Polanco (1997:151) says that autonomy must include
three elements: 1) political-territorial foundation; 2) autonomous self-government; and,
3) competences (skills and knowledge that allow the political decentralization essential to
autonomy). The Huichol have already banded together to form various associations with
political objectives.8 At this point in time, the Huichol are content with negotiations
aimed at reclaiming lost territory and preserving their language and cultural traditions. It
is not their prerogative to be militant and to risk losing the largely positive negotiations
they are currently experiencing. In the past, the Huichol generally kept to themselves,
and this remains to be the case today. They are, at least at a certain mental level, free.
Questions of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Emancipation and freedom are inherent qualities of mobilization in a quest for
ethnic autonomy. In explaining the status of emancipation as liberating, we are left,
however, with the national-ethnic question. The national-ethnic question arises from
how autonomous ethnic groups and regions fit into the national image of a nation-state.
It was Stalin (1953:300-301) who first defined a nation as an historically constituted,
stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory,
economic life and psychological make up, manifested in a common culture. By this
definition, it is possible to see that a nation of peoples can be quite distinct from a
8 The Unin de Comunidades Indgenas Huicholas de Jalisco (UCHU) and the
governments Procuradera de Asuntos Indgenas (PAI) and Departamento de Educacin
Indgena (DEI), mentioned in Chapter 1, are examples of this phenomenon.

66
nation-state which includes a political dimension. If an indigenous ethnic group, such
as the Huichol, can be considered a nation of people, such as is common among the
many indigenous peoples of Native North America, then without freedom, how can they
be autonomous? The term nation-state, on the other hand, expands the idea of freedom
to the formation of an almost idealistic state. This idealistic state then possesses a
political dimension that is seen as the liberating force for the freedom they seek. The
ethnic group uses their political power to retain their culture.
Cruz Burgette (1998:98) refers to these political dimensions as methods of
resistance by which an ethnic group can maintain itself as a distinct nation of people.
She further states that these ethnic traits are present in three dimensions: social, cultural,
and historical that act as legitimizing factors in quests for ethnic autonomy (Cruz
Burgette (1998:99-100). Lastly, she also points out that native language use is one of the
most important strategies for survival of an ethnic group (Cruz Burgette 1998). Along
with its loss, she believes, comes the loss of an understanding of traditional religious
symbolism. The Huichol believe that their language reflects their reality and equate loss
of it with loss of their native ways of thought (Gmez Lpez 1995). This is further
supported by Altamirano and Hirabayashi (1997:10) who define the uses of a native
language, in conjunction with religion, common conceptions of time and space, and
music and dance as significant characteristics in defining regional identities needed for
ethnic mobilization of nations of people.
In Mexican indigenismo policy of the past, the identity of indigenous groups in
Mexico was diminished. The idea of being Indian was stigmatized into being
something negative. The nationalistic movement among indigenous peoples of Mexico is
now changing this idea, especially since the Zapatista uprising in 1994. Friedlander

67
(1975), in her classic study of forced identity in Hueyapan, Mexico, noted at the time the
negative stigma attached to being Indian. At that time, the dominant ethos among
Hueyapan villagers was to deny their indigenous identity as something shameful and
backward. She writes, early in my stay I learned that villagers were embarrassed about
their Indian identity (Friedlander 1975:72). To be Indian meant that one was lazy, did
not speak Spanish, or was poor. Friedlander found villagers referred to the term indio
(Indian) as a synonym for backwardness. According to her interviewees, being Indian
was closely connected with the idea of underdevelopedness, and was the result of
progressivist propaganda that equated modernity with adoption of an identitdad mestiza
(Mestizo identity). Conditions of a Mestizo identity included fluency in Spanish,
conversion to Catholicism, and movement from an agrarian society to a society that
included centralized social agencies and their respective services (Friedlander 1975). The
identidad mestiza would, in turn, create an illusion of unity among Mexican peoples,
despite social class divisions.
In Friedlanders (1975) study, Traditionalists and Progressives were virtually
unanimous in their rejection of being labeled indios. Among the Huichol, there is no
apparent rejection of indigenous identity. The conflict between the two is more centered
on what it means to be indigenous, or, more to the point, how much of the other can we
accommodate into our own culture and still consider ourselves to be Huichol. One
cannot rely on Friedlanders study alone, however, without realizing the historical
situation from which it arose. At the time of her study, nationalist propaganda ran strong.
In fact, she labeled those that espoused Indian identity as extremists. She was also
quick to point out that those that advocated cultural preservation were primarily Mestizos

68
from outside the village who came to warn villagers of the evils of assimilation into
mainstream society.
Perhaps, because of their prolonged isolation in the Sierra, or because of their
present situation of sudden contact with outsiders, the Huichol in this study do not
conform to the same set of attitudinal beliefs mentioned by Friedlander among the
Hueyapan villagers. Instead, the Huichol do not reject their indigenous identity. I do not
argue that there are not those among the Huichol who consider their state as being one of
underdevelopment, but rather that the overall attitudes among the Huichol appear to be
ones anchored in preservation of their traditional ways of life. In contrast to other rural
peoples in Mexico who have sought urban migration as a way to escape the poverty and
underdevelopment of their surroundings, the Huichol are most interested in preserving
their traditional language and customs, and this requires them to stay in their rural
homeland.
In Friedlanders study, it was the outsiders who influenced the actions of local
extremists among Hueyapan villagers. Among the Huichol, the outsiders are only
solicited as political puppets for their interests. The pan-Indian movement, mobilized
chiefly through the actions of the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacin Nacional (Zapatista
National Liberation Army), shows that the Indian peoples of Mexico are not the closed-
corporate communities that they were once thought to be. The Huichol, despite their
geographic isolation, are quite aware of the larger political climate in Mexico. Some of
this can be attributed to the movement of intellectuals into and out of the various Huichol
villages and communities; still other awareness can be attributed to their current legal
struggle to reclaim more than 4000 hectares of land which they consider to have been
stolen by cattle ranchers and logging and farming industries.

69
Lastly, another trend in ethnic identity and nationalist literature, particularly in
education, is the use of the term intercultural. Used by indigenous scholars, chiefly
Nahmad (n.d.), Mondino (1993), Acevado Conde, et al. (1996), and Rojas (1999a,
1999b), this term has been applied to the blending of native and non-native educational
systems, and proposed as a solution to defining indigenous people in the context of social
change. This process, while seemingly beneficial on the surface, trivializes the degree of
ethnic variation within a group and irresponsibly used can actually serve as integrationist
and assimilationist propaganda that gradually introduces aspects of a dominant culture,
down to language use, into the lives of indigenous peoples. The proposal is that
indigenous control can counteract any misuse of intercultural education, and that more
research needs to be done in this area to determine the long-term positive or negative
affects on an ethnic group.

CHAPTER 3
EDUCATION AND CULTURAL PRESERVATION
La escuela me da chanza de aprender del mundo ajeno mientras
quedarme igual. No me pueden cambiar [los mestizos]. Ya s quin soy
yo1
The School gives me the chance to learn about the outside world while
remaining who I am. They [the Mestizos] cant change me. I already
know who I am.
Indigenous Educational History
Indigenous education is a recent area of concern in educational philosophy. This
chapter begins with a general history describing the historical developments leading to
the creation of indigenous education programs in the U.S. and Mexico. Despite
geographic separations and different governments, the historical timelines of federal
Indian education policies in the U.S. and Mexico are surprisingly similar. As of yet,
there do not appear to be any comparative approaches to studies of indigenous education
programs in the U.S. and Latin America, with reasons lying in linguistic, geographic, and
political-territorial distinctions. In each of the subsequent sections, I mention the various
forms of legislation leading up to the present state of indigenous self-control of public
and private Indian education on both sides of the border. I do so in order to show that the
shifting tides of political climate have influenced claims for Indian sovereignty that now
appear to be entering a new era emphasizing local control of education.
1 Personal Communication with 3rd year Huichol student of the CETMK, July 2000.
70

71
Native peoples, regardless of geography, have been at the whims of federal
policies. For Mexico, the slower progression towards Indian self-empowerment may, in
part, be due to their limited understanding and views of the imperfect success of native
attempts at self-empowerment in the U.S. On the U.S. side, tribal efforts at indigenous
self-control developed faster because of shifts in federal policy towards Native
Americans, while in Mexico, two parallel (and competing) systems developed, one
marked by federal assimilationist policy, and another marked by community development
(Nahmad 1998). Both U.S. and Mexican dominant-subordinate cultural histories began,
however, with religious conversion agendas by missionaries. With a strong basis of
indigenous activism in education approached from a U.S. perspective, I conclude this
chapter by looking specifically at previous educational research among the Huichol,
explaining how knowledge gained from U.S. studies of Indian education can assist in
understanding the present situation in Tateikita. Much can be learned about effective
Indian education program implementation in Mexico by looking at the successes and
failures of indigenous programs in the U.S. and applying what is useful to analyze and
improve upon indigenous education in Mexico or elsewhere.
A General History of U.S. Indian Education and Policy
The history of American national policy towards the education of indigenous
peoples dates to a treaty signed in 1794 between the federal government and several
Indian elders (Pewewardy 1998). Although this treaty called for Indian children to be
educated, it did not include any specifics for policies determining the methodology of
such education. The history of Native Education as it relates to current classroom and
institutional processes cannot be discussed without first relating the different stages in

72
Native American history and putting the development of reservation schooling within
that context.
Little is known about American Indian education before the American
Revolution. What is known, however, is that the start of Western education and the
concept of formal schooling were first brought to Native Americans by Roman Catholic
priests who arrived with the first missionaries to the Americas (Fuchs and Havighurst
1972). The Midwest and East were primarily under the territory of the Jesuits, while the
Southwest was the territory of the Franciscans who organized the many Indian peoples
into settlements near missions. The Jesuits concentrated on teaching French language
and customs, whereas the Franciscans were more concerned with practical skills such as
agriculture and carpentry. There was, as McBeth (1983:75) states, no clear distinctions
between separation of Church and State with respect to Indian education in the 1700s and
early 1800s. It must not be forgotten, however, that apart from teaching practical skills,
Indian education served little purpose. Fuchs and Havighurst note the following trend:
The school was established as an agent for spreading Christianity and the
transmittal of Western culture and civilization. No consistent attempts to
incorporate Indian languages, culture, or history were made in the
curriculum offered. The issues raised by the white mans efforts to extend
the benefits of his educational tradition to the peoples of the new World
were clearly defined at an early dateand still endure. (1972:3)
The impact of education on the Indian peoples of North America was quite
limited at this point in time. Indians strongly resisted attempts at conversion, and there
were frequent periods of violence and unrest.
There are five generally accepted historic cultural periods of importance in U.S.
national policy towards Indian peoples. They are: 1) extermination; 2) assimilation; 3)
separation / autonomy / sovereignty; 4) termination; 5) separation / autonomy once again.

73
Each of these periods influenced the development of reservation schooling today, as well
as native attitudes toward national Indian policy. These indigenous policy periods differ
slightly from the official designations, outlined by Fischbacher (1967:201-203): the
Reservation Period (1870-1887); the Allotment Period (1887-1934); the Reorganization
Period (1934-1952); the Termination Period (1953-1972); and the Self-Determination
Period (1970s to the present).
The first period, which I call extermination, occurred during the 1860s and was
marked by repeated attempts to subdue and eliminate Native American peoples by U.S.
forces stationed in the Southwest. Native Americans were considered a threat to the
territorial expansion of the United States under the manifest destiny program, and the
prevailing attitude was that they should be eliminated because they were savages
incapable of being civilized (Berkhofer 1979, Morris and Weaver 1990). The Fort
Fauntleroy massacre of 1861 and Navajo slave trade were examples of this policy, as was
the attack on Fort Defiance in 1860 that led to the "Long Walk" in which Navajos were
removed from their homes and retained at Fort Sumner (Roessel 1983). The government
had no intention of educating Native Americans at this time, but only of terminating their
existence according to what Duran et al. (1998:63) call cultural genocide and a
holocaust (1998:66).
The Second period, assimilation, lasted from 1868 into the 1920s and reflected
a policy change from one of extermination of Indian peoples to one that involved an
attempt to assimilate Native Americans into the general population by destroying their
culture and lifeways. With the treaty of 1868, the Navajo reservation was established,
and, soon thereafter, came the first regulations requiring mandatory Indian schooling and

74
attendance. In addition, the first major treaty affecting Indian education was passed,
effectively allocating $100,000 for creating educational programs for Indian peoples. It
was quickly followed, however, by congressional action that prohibited the creation of
further treaties with Indian peoples.
This period also saw the production of the first federal boarding school at Fort
Defiance in 1881, and it quickly led to a proliferation of such institutions by the 1920's
(Roessel 1983). Federal boarding schools were intentionally placed long distances from
Indian communities, if possible. Students were actively discouraged from, and often
beaten for, expressing their heritage and language publicly, and the schools were
organized around the concept of producing "productive citizens" out of "savages."
Boarding schools were established in major urban centers and students were shipped in
from remote locales, separated from their families to partake of a foreign formal
education. Students frequently fled from these schools, experiencing "culture shock" and
wishing to return to their families and old ways of life (Johnston 1988, Szasz 1999:22).
The educational situation for Native peoples was further complicated by the
passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 that broke up communally-held Indian lands into
individual allotments which could freely be bought or sold (Fischbacher 1967:222). By
breaking up communally held lands, the federal government saw yet another avenue into
gaining control of Indian-occupied lands. With the dissolution of Indian lands, there was
reason to push Indians into mainstream society and into trade occupations. Students were
encouraged to attend coeducational facilities by the start of the 20th century, and these
types of coeducational facilities sprung up throughout the Midwest, where Indian peoples
were not as isolated as those of the Southwest. McBeth (1983:74) writes that there were

75
twenty-five off-reservation schools by the start of the 20th century. In the Southwest,
institutions were few and far between. A congressional act of 1918 led to large numbers
of Indian children who had no way to attend school because they were either considered
state citizens or of less than one quarter Indian blood (Fuchs and Havighurst 1972:9). By
making Indians citizens of the United States, the U.S. could escape honoring previous
treaties and legislation regarding Indian education and federal policy.
The next historical stage was separation / autonomy / sovereignty, which began
in the 1920s and continued until 1953. With results of the 1928 Meriam Report, the
problems with the under-funding of Indian boarding schools were brought to light (Fuchs
and Havighurst 1972). These revelations were studied hard when John Collier became
Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1933, appointed under President Franklin D.
Roosevelt. He held the position until 1945. During Colliers tenure, the Indian
Reorganization Act of 1934 was passed, returning much local control to tribes that were
subsequently encouraged to develop their own tribal governments (Adams 1971:75).
This act eliminated individual allotment of tribal land and made native peoples
responsible for their own economic rehabilitation.
It was during this era that many of the boarding schools were converted into "day
schools." Day schools enhanced the learning experience for Native Americans by
allowing students to complete their schooling in much closer proximity to their families,
with the privilege to return home at night. It was also at this time that the government
pushed Indian tribes into public school attendance. Many of the Indian boarding schools
had met their quota, making it difficult for other Indian children to be educated without

76
constructing more federal schools, or by what seemed to be the easiest solution the
transfer of Indian children into the state public school systems.
The Johnson-O'Mally Act of 1934 also gave special monies to public schools that
had Indian students in attendance (DeJong 1993:178). Most public schools receiving
funds through the Johnson-OMally Act, however, were much more interested in the
federal funds they would be receiving than in the acts true purpose, monetary assistance
to public schools to help them to better accommodate Indian students (Szasz 1999:92).
Transportation proved to be extremely difficult in some rural areas, particularly of the
U.S. Southwest where lack of roads and sporadic-seasonal variations made accessibility a
troublesome endeavor.
The turnover at the federal level to the Eisenhower administration in 1953
produced a drastic change in federal policy toward Native Americans in general.
President Eisenhower did not support Indian self-empowerment, and as such, there were
cuts in federal assistance programs and progress came to a near standstill. Once again,
the policy had returned to one of termination, though not as drastic as the previous
period of the 19th century had been. President Eisenhower believed that Native
education should not be actively encouraged as "separate," but instead proposed an
integration of Native Americans into the contemporary public school systems. Under the
Eisenhower administration, what little funding was appropriated to the federal boarding
schools was insufficient to keep many of them running, forcing them to close their doors.
It was not until the late 1960s that the tide turned, yet again, towards Indian
separation, autonomy, and self-empowerment, where it has remained ever since. One
of the main reasons for this shift was the American Indian Movement (AIM) that

77
considered tribal control of education as crucial to their goals of gaining tribal
sovereignty for all Indian peoples (Pewewardy 1998:31). This current period in Indian
education has seen the creation of public school districts, private tribally run and
controlled schools, contract schools, and the growth of community colleges.
The start of Rough Rock Demonstration School in 1966, the forerunner of Navajo
Community, was just one such example of this period's accomplishments. Rough Rock
was essentially built from the ground up as a community school. As such, the school
board and dormitory attendants were all local Navajo residents (Szasz 1999:172). The
school was the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S. A core curriculum was built around
Navajo history and culture. Teachers were encouraged to develop curriculum within this
content area. Conflicts erupted between the states and upstart schools because the
states felt that the tribal schools were not meeting the state-mandated curriculum.
Moreover, in order to obtain experts in local language and culture, tribal schools such as
Rough Rock and the subsequent Ramah Indian school in New Mexico, employed
individuals who did not hold state teaching credentials. As a way to compete with these
upstart tribal schools, public schools attempted to improve their image, but subsequent
research conducted by the National Study of American Indian Education (NSAIE) in the
late 1960s found much of the public school curriculum to be stereotypical (Fuchs and
Havighurst 1972; Riner 1979).
The focus since the 1970s has been on increasing the numbers of Indian teachers
and exploring issues in Native American Learning Style research. The education of
Indian youth, while having been impacted by changes in national policy regarding Indian
peoples in general, primarily remained in the hands of non-indigenous teachers and

78
administrators. It was not until the first Native peoples became educated, and began
practicing in the classroom, that anyone approached problems related to language and
culture in a formal academic setting. Several pieces of federal legislation passed during
the 1970s aided the Indian self-determination movement, including the Indian Education
Act of 1972, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, and
the Title XI of Education Amendments Act of 1978. These amendments assisted Indian
peoples to gain contracts over federal schools formerly controlled by the Bureau of
Indian Affairs. At the same time, the 1980s were especially difficult for Indian
education. Indian peoples and Bureau officials, because of cuts to federal education
grants and contracts, have heavily criticized the Reagan administration. These cuts
resulted in the eventual closure of many tribal schools in the late 1980s (Szasz 1999:203).
The Indian Nations at Risk Task force (INAR) reported in 1991 that there was
little change in the conditions of Indian education (Szasz 1999:217). Despite the growth
of Indian self-control of education, the huge national debt built during Reagans
administration is blamed for causing the subsequent closure of many tribal schools during
the 1990s. Luckily, by the 1990s, argues Szasz (1999:203), there was an effective
network of Indian educators who had the skills and abilities to reform Indian education.
There just was not much in terms of funding. Native political interest groups such as the
National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) and the Office of Indian
Education Programs (OIEP) were crucial to the survival of Indian-controlled education.
Using their political power, indigenous educators pushed for more monetary assistance,
resulting in the passage of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of
1987 and the Native American Languages Act of 1990. While the former act aided tribes

79
in obtaining funds to control their own schools, the latter piece of legislation said that the
U.S. government had a duty to promote and preserve the indigenous languages of the
USA (U.S. Congress 1990).
The trend of the 1990s has been towards establishing programs to teach, preserve,
and revitalize indigenous languages (see Rehyner 1995, 1997). Indigenous scholars
stress the importance of native ways of knowing and different cosmologies that
influence how Native American students relate to and experience the educational
environment (Cleary and Peacock 1998). I will talk more about this in the section on
contemporary Indian education.
Despite the passage of these legislative acts, some indigenous scholars have
remained critical of the intentions of these self-determinist acts, chief among them being
Vine Deloria (1995) and Ward Churchill (1998). It is the view of these individuals that
passing national amendments with little or no monetary assistance to tribes was a way to
make the Indian peoples responsible for their own demise, should their attempts at
educational self-determination fail. One interesting rebuke to a debatable scenario such
as this is that since the proliferation of tribal gaming and state compacts, the numbers of
tribal community centers and language revitalization programs have grown immensely.
Native people are now exploring issues that they deem to be relevant in manners
consistent with their own cultural epistemologies.
A Brief History of Indigenous Education in Mexico
Indigenous education in Mexico has historically been caught up in the same types
of conflict as U.S. Indian education. Since Spanish colonial times, a system of education
was implemented with the primary goals of converting the Native peoples to Catholicism
and teaching them the Spanish language (Nahmad 1998). Both the Jesuits and

80
Franciscans established mission outposts in the indigenous areas of Mexico in order to
Christianize the Indian peoples and extend their sphere of cultural influence worldwide.
Rippberger (1992:34) has divided indigenous education in Mexico into three distinct time
periods that prove useful for a study of shifting policies towards indigenous education:
Spanish colonization, the Mexican revolution, and since the founding of the National
Indigenist Institute.
We know from various historical sources and codices that Indian education before
the time of colonization was both informal and formal. For the non-nobility, education
was in the home, stressing the values of loving the gods, modesty, honesty, sobriety, hard
work, love of virtue, and respect for elders (Acevado et al. 1996:17). While the general
populace was not separated for special instruction, among the Aztec and Mixtees,
children of the nobility were trained in special schools controlled by the religious
hierarchy (Acevado et al. 1996:17). In these special schools, the nobility received
cosmological, religious, and mathematical instruction. In contrast, the general populace
learned trades informally in the homes. It is important to note that both women and men
of the nobility received special instruction, meaning that it was in no-way gender-biased.
Indigenous education at the time of Spanish occupation of the hemisphere was not
much different from the prior integrated religious education. In 1523, the Franciscan
friar Pedro de Gante founded the first elementary school for Indians in Texcoco
(Acevado et al 1996:18). The primary duties of the school were the evangelization of the
Indians as well as the formation of a literate populace because the Franciscans taught the
Indians the ability to read and write Latin. Soon thereafter, other schools opened

81
throughout the New World, including a school especially for the education of women in
1534 by the Jesuits, who were deeply involved in womens education.
While these early colonial schools focused on making the indigenous peoples of
Mexico knowledgeable about Christianity, they also performed an important function that
would impact the goals of indigenous education in much more recent times: by making
people literate, they aided indigenous peoples in the recording of their literary works for
future generations. While education was principally in Spanish and Latin with a practical
orientation, the ability of indigenous peoples to read and write allowed them to record
their customs and mythology, contributing significantly to our understanding of these
peoples. The period of promoting indigenous scholarship was short lived, however, for
in 1688, under King Carlos V, the mandate was for Spanish-only instruction (Acevado et
al. 1996:19). This stance has continued in many areas, even into the present day, through
Indigenist Mexican national policy.
The period from 1833-1910, prior to the Mexican revolution, was a period of little
preoccupation with indigenous education. Education continued to be primarily religious,
and a decree was made in 1842 declaring education to be both free for all, and
compulsory as well (Acevado et al. 1996:20). Educations purpose was beginning to
shift from religious education to education in skills and crafts for the general populace.
The time of the Mexican revolution saw the first significant changes in the
Mexican educational system. In 1910, barely into the start of the revolution, a school for
the Indians of the Sierra Nayarita was established in El Zapote, Nayarit (Acevado et al.
1996:21). Although there is little documentation about this school, it was probably for
the Cora and not the Huichol, because of the difficulty in penetrating the heart of the

82
Sierra, and because Huichol settlements were dispersed as opposed to those of the Cora
that were clustered into densely-packed villages due to relocation by missionaries. This
school marked the first non-missionary school (public) within the Sierra region. A year
later, federal decree in 1911 declared a national campaign to establish schools throughout
the rural regions of Mexico for indigenous peoples (Acevado et al. 1996:21). The extent
of the growth of these rural schools was limited, however, due to the revolution.
A significant turn of events began with the conclusion of the Mexican revolution
in 1917, and the writing of the Mexican constitution. Several years later, in 1921, the
Secretara de educacin pblica (SEP) was created (Vaughn 1997:4; Nahmad n.d.:3). Its
primary purpose was an action policy used to create federal rural schools to educate
and discipline the peasant population (Vaughn 1997:27). It was thought that by
channeling their energy into other endeavors rather than rebellion, Mexico could begin to
focus on national cultural formation. The purpose of schools was to give a primary level
education to everyone, principally through teaching basic literacy skills.
The SEP maintained its original mission in building a national collective by
establishing the Department of Education and Indigenous Cultures (DEIC) in 1923. One
of the first projects of the department was the formation of the Casa del Estudiante
Indgena (the Indigenous Student School) (Nahmad Sittn 1980:4). The indigenous
student boarding school eventually became the Escuela Nacional Rural (National Rural
School) that aimed to better the life and literacy of the 27 different ethnic groups
represented at the school (Acevado et al. 1996:21). In addition, the DEIC created 690
rural schools in indigenous areas and attempted to educate teachers to become experts in
the regions to which they were assigned. The purpose of these schools, however, was

83
identical to the overall national agenda of raising literacy levels and training students for
trade professions. Indigenous identity was ignored.
The post-revolution period of 1934-1940, under the administration of President
Lzaro Crdenas, was probably the most substantial for the growth of public education in
Mexico. During this time period, the public education agenda was significantly socialist
in nature, following the labor-dominated PNR party that chose to educate teachers as
political actors (Vaughn 1997:5-6). The new government administration made good on
its efforts to study the problema indgena by initiating studies of rural Indian education at
this time. During the 1930s, the SEP entered Yaqui territory and Michoacn,
appropriating former military and state run schools, and first learning of the problems of
alienation and boredom in the classroom by Indian students whose teachers knew nothing
of local languages and customs. These studies led to the transfer of control of federal
schools to the Department of Indigenous Affairs whose job was to improve indigenous
educational relations (Vaughn 1997:153; Nahmad Sittn 1998:59). At the same time,
President Crdenas founded the National School of Anthropology and History to study
the social and linguistic issues of Mexicos indigenous peoples. The decade culminated
with Crdenas holding the first Pan-American meeting to discuss the issue of the
incorporation of the Indian into the Mexican nationality.
It was from this point on that education took a decidedly assimilationist stance in
all endeavors, at about roughly the same time as the post-WWII administration of
President Eisenhower took a similar position. The Department of Indigenous affairs was
dissolved in 1946 and capacitation for teachers was passed directly to the SEP where it
took on a secondary importance in the SEPs mission under the Direccin General de

84
Asuntos Indgenas (General Office of Indigenous Affairs or DGAI). According to
Nahmad (1998:59), the National Indigenist Institute (INI) was formed in 1949 in direct
opposition to this policy, creating two contradictory agendas in the direction of
indigenous education in Mexico, one via the avenue of assimilation, the other geared
towards accommodation.
At the national level, a number of moves were taken that limited the ability of the
INI to better the conditions of indigenous peoples. This began in the 1950s, becoming
labeled indigenismo. Indigenismo, contrary to the suggestion of indigenist as meaning
self-directed, was an educational and political propaganda aimed specifically at
monolingual Spanish instruction and nationalist history, neglecting the diversity of the
indigenous peoples of Mexico. In 1968, the SEP eliminated the DGAI, following this
with a national program aimed at decentralizing education that continued up until 1994
(Freedson and Perez 1995:384). Included in this decentralization process were the 1973
Federal Law of Indigenous Education and the 1974 National Plan of Castillianization that
limited the curricular options available to indigenous schools.
Within the INI, argues Nahmad (1998), a different agenda was taking place. INI
promoted indigenous education, including the active recruitment and training of
indigenous teachers who lived in the various communities. The idea was that these
teachers would be bilingual. In 1978, the General Directorate of Indigenous Education
(DGEI) was created specifically to introduce the concept of bilingual education into the
indigenous communities of Mexico (Nahmad 1998:59).2 By 1979, INI was operating in
2
There is some confusion over an accurate date for the DGEI, as Bums (1998) equates
the establishment of the DGEI with the making of bilingual-bicultural policy official in

4
85
85 indigenous regions with 918 escuelas-albergues (boarding schools) (Nahmad Sittn
1980:28). INI continues to offer scholarships to top students in both primary and
secondary indigenous schools in Mexico.
Despite INIs strong interest in preserving indigenous cultures in Mexico, national
policy has proven to be quite inconsistent in its approaches to indigenous education.
Recent accomplishments, such as the 1990 constitutional article number 4 and the 1993
Federal Education Law, still sought Spanish as the primary language of instruction for
primary schools, even though they officially recognized bilingual-bicultural education
(Freedson and Prez 1995:392-393). The national free text program at that time still
was limited to Spanish-only texts, with histories that did not recognize the contributions
of Indian peoples to Mexican national society. This was in contrast to primary schools in
the indigenous regions of Mexico where many children were still monolingual.
Bilingual-bicultural education was never meant to build full fluency in both languages by
indigenous students, but rather, to serve to form a bridge to eventual monolingual
Spanish use. In addition, teachers in the indigenous regions were poorly educated.
According to Freedson and Prez (1995:398), by 1995, 61% of teachers in Chiapas had
not completed a preparatory level education and only 24.76% a secondary level.3
1955. Freedson and Prez (1995) and Nahmad (1983) originate the DGEI in the DGAI
that was founded in 1946 and dissolved in 1968.
3 Although Freedson and Prez do not elaborate on whether the survey was of primary
and secondary teachers, I suspect, because of the conservative nature of the statistics, that
they were primary school teachers. Mandatory secondary education was still something
new in Mexico at that time, and a shortage of teachers in rural areas would be likely.

86
Indigenous Language and Culture Preservation
Recent trends in indigenous education have focused in the areas of language and
culture preservation. The remainder of this chapter will look at the issues related to
language and culture preservation studies, particularly in the context of the indigenous
self-determination movement. I will compare the relevant literature in U.S. native
education to that of Mexico and Latin America. I will conclude with a discussion of
current research in Huichol education and how it impacted my decision to do the research
for this dissertation.
Border Pedagogy and Cultural Diversity
The lot of indigenous educational research belongs mainly to educators and not
anthropologists. In fact, there has rarely been collaboration between the two disciplines.
The interdisciplinary studies of anthropology and education is something that has been
limited to several key authors, Margaret Gibson, Allan Bums, and Elizabeth Eddy among
them. In looking at the perspective from which studies of indigenous education have
come, it is from what the critical theorist Henry Giroux has coined a border pedagogy.
By border pedagogy, he means an understanding of how the relationship between power
and knowledge work as both the practice of representation and the representation of
practice to secure particular forms of authority (Giroux 1992:29). Moreover border
pedagogy attempts to develop a democratic philosophy that respects the notion of
difference as part of a common struggle to extend the quality of public life ... a radical
democratic society (Giroux 1992:28).
Critical educational theorists root the troubles of indigenous education worldwide
in an aura of oppression by dominant philosophies that silence the voice of minorities.
They are concerned with the political aspects of agency, voice, and control (Cleary and

87
Peacock 1998). Philosophies of dominance-submission have marked educational critical
theory for decades, and ultimately determined the direction of Marxist and neo-Marxist
approaches to educational assessment.
Cultural Preservation vs. Cultural Revitalization
When studying indigenous education, a distinction must be made between cultural
preservation and cultural revitalization. Cultural preservation, as pertaining to this
dissertation, is the ability to maintain a culture at its present status without losing any
additional characteristics, be they linguistic or cultural. Cultural preservation is the norm
for ethnic peoples where there has been little to no acculturative effects caused by contact
with a dominant society. Ethnic peoples who have lost much of their heritage, yet seek to
retain what is left for future generations, may also use it. Cultural preservation is
characteristic of indigenous peoples or ethnicities where the native language and customs
are still practiced by a majority of the group. It is particularly relevant to studies of
indigenous education in Mexico because there are 62 officially recognized indigenous
languages spoken in Mexico today (Consejo Nacional de Poblacin 1998:116).
According to the 2000 census, 6.8% of the population speaks an indigenous language,
while 29% of the national population is considered to be indigenous {Instituto Nacional
de Estadstica, Geografa y Informtica 2000). This is greater than in any other country
of the Western Hemisphere. With such a high number of indigenous people, many of
whom are concentrated in rural areas where monolingual language use is the norm, it
appears to make sense why cultural preservation is the educational direction.
Cultural revitalization, on the other hand, pertains to the efforts of indigenous
peoples and societies to reclaim their heritage. Revitalization is the goal of most
indigenous language and culture programs in the United States because of the significant

88
impact of the dominant society on indigenous ways of being and knowing. In cultural
revitalization, there are frequently few people left, usually elders, who are competent in a
native language or heritage of an indigenous nation. Cultural revitalization is concerned
with disseminating the knowledge and providing ways to facilitate its continuance within
mainstream indigenous societies. Both preservation and revitalization position share,
however, the common theme of maintenance of a pluralistic society that values
difference.
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A U.S. Perspective
Native education in the United States, as shown by the historical section, has,
until the recent self-determination period, focused on the conversion of native peoples
lifeways to fit into a national concept of American identity. In this new collective
identity there was no place for the Indian child as Indian. In describing his own
experiences growing up in public schools, Professor Thomas Peacock at the University of
Minnesota, Duluth recalls:
My own schooling had reminded me that American Indians were a
neglected part of the American story. My Minnesota history was the
history of non-Indian settlement. American history began with the landing
of Columbus. During Thanksgiving we decorated our classrooms with
pilgrims, turkeys, and Indians. That was the only time it was good to be
an Indian. There were no American Indian teachers, teacher aides, or bus
drivers. There wasnt even an American Indian janitor. Once I got on the
bus for school each morning it was like taking a trip to another country, a
place that bore no resemblance to my own world. It was as if American
Indians were invisible. We didnt count. We werent important. (Cleary
and Peacock 1998:16-17).
These types of experiences were commonplace in the Wisconsin Northwoods as
well as other parts of the country. I recall as late as the 1980s receiving no Native
American history despite being within 50 miles of three Ojibwa reservations, one being

89
only 10 miles away. Dropout rates for Native American students were very high as they
struggled to find a bicultural balance between being Indian and being White.
Historically, anthropology, unfortunately, did not take an active role in the
preservation of native peoples, but rather a documentation stance that aimed to record the
material culture (Boas, Kroeber, Kluckholm, Reichard), linguistic (Whorf, Hymes), and
cultural data of native peoples before their inevitable disappearance. The Bureau of
American Ethnologys founding in 1879 was specifically for this purpose of documenting
indigenous lifeways, rather than on actively seeking to preserve them. In addition,
anthropologists always had a fetish for the exotic, and as such, focused mainly on
religion, often neglecting the other aspects of a peoples cultural heritage. Such backlogs
of data collection in the mind of some Indian peoples have done nothing to better their
situation and have caused resentment by Native peoples of anthropologists (Biolsi 1997;
Deloria 1995; Mizrach 1999).
What little work done in the area of anthropology and education, however, proved
useful in establishing an understanding of community-school relations (Riner 1979; Wax
et al 1964; Wolcott 1967). The recruitment of anthropologists was also crucial in federal
assessments of Native American education (Havighurst 1970; Indians at Risk Task Force
1991) and local studies of classroom ethnography (Erickson and Mohatt 1982; Rohner
1965). Unfortunately, there has been little work by anthropologists in recent years
dealing with the Native education situation. Due to the global Indian self-determination
movement, these studies have been left in the hands of the indigenous peoples themselves
to conduct their own assessments of progress and change, and as previously stated, the

90
academic shift has been towards better ways to teach Indian languages rather than on
classroom and school ethnography.
Recent studies of Native American education in the U.S. have concentrated on
two areas: learning styles research and language revitalization. Learning styles research
looks at the reported special ways that Native people live, work, and think. In addition,
these studies aim to provide special training for teachers both native and non-native who
work with Indian children (see Gilliland (1992); Walker, Dodd and Bigelow (1989); John
(1972); Moore (1989); and Swisher (1991)). These studies have focused on the special
visual, oral, and holistic education needs of American Indian children when placed in a
formal educational environment (Cleary and Peacock 1998). Indigenous teachers argue
that Native peoples order their world differently, focusing on mutual collaboration and
stressing values of the family, humor, and time that are radically different from white
mans values (Cleary and Peacock 1998:21-46).
Language preservation and revitalization studies, on the other hand, examine the
connection between native modes of thought and school performance. The focus of
research by Kraus (1996), Crawford (1995) and Hale (1992) has been on what can be
done to save the remaining strands of indigenous languages that are left. In these studies
they argue for lived in indigenous language use and the presence of elders as mentors
for Indian children.
Anthropologists have finally begun to collaborate with those in the field of
education and linguistics to come to an understanding of the complexity of issues

91
affecting the contemporary Native American.4 Ethnolinguistic collaboration by
anthropologists with educational and aboriginal scholars, however, has been limited to
the U.S., and being a new and emerging area, there is still considerable room for future
research. Battiste states the following:
Little classroom research has been done on the effects of teaching students
about their culture, history, and languages, as well as about oppression,
racism and differences in world views, but consciousness-raising classes
and courses at the elementary and junior high school levels, and at the
college and university levels, have brought to the surface new hopes and
dreams and have raised the aspirations and educational successes of
aboriginal students (Battiste 2000:206)
Battistes comments call for longitudinal research to determine whether the
effects of these new and emerging indigenous language and culture programs really
impact indigenous peoples in the ways that she suggests. The lack of classroom school
ethnography can be seen both in the U.S. and in Latin America as the polarization of
disciplines accelerated, with teachers and administrators primarily concerned with
practical educational assessment tools, and educational philosophers left writing about
problems in education without the assistance of applied anthropologists to work in
schools. Anthropologists chose to leave academic studies to educators, and so the rift
between the disciplines grew wider.
Recent Trends in Native Education and Anthropology: A Latin American Perspective
A study of the current climate of indigenous studies in the U.S. has been
important to understanding the politics regarding doing anthropology, particularly
educational anthropology, among the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Latin America.
4 See Reyhners (1997) Teaching Indigenous Languages and (1995) Stabilizing
Indigenous Languages for a articles from ongoing symposiums regarding indigenous
language preservation.

92
The previously stated timeline of educational policy in Mexico shows that since the
revolution two distinct sets of policies have governed the actions of development projects
in Mexico. Whereas anthropologists took very non-applied approaches to the study of
the indigenous situation in the U.S., this has not been the trend in some other countries.
In Mexico, there have been three foci in studies of anthropology and education:
bilingual-bicultural education, intercultural and interethnic education, and language and
culture preservation.
In contrast to the U.S., there is little documentation of the lifeways of indigenous
peoples of Mexico other than those done by American anthropologists, such as Redfield
(1935), Foster (1965), and Lewis (1951), to name a few. These studies are largely
contemporary, focusing on the issues of culture change affecting the indigenous peoples
of Mexico under the policies of indigenismo, previously mentioned in this chapter. They
were also works done principally by American anthropologists without collaboration with
Mexican researchers. As a result of these studies, American anthropologists, just as in
the U.S., created an atmosphere of distrust and ambivalence on the part of Indian peoples
toward their work. American anthropology conducted in Mexico has been labeled
individualist (Kemper 1997:479). There is, however, an oft-neglected parallel between
the national policies in both countries, one that sought to eliminate or assimilate
indigenous peoples into the national infrastructures of their respective countries. Aguirre
Beltrn, a Mexican activist, has said:
The entire process of national formation demands the assimilation of
regional populations that participate from a distinct culture than that of the
population that forms the dominant national character (1973:251).5
5 Translation from the original Spanish.

93
Fortunately, several studies of anthropology and education exist throughout
Mexico and Latin America. The bulk of the research in Mexico, however, has been
limited to Chiapas, although others are now trying to change this limitation. Several of
these studies prove useful to an understanding of Huichol education, especially the work
of Bernard (1985, 1995, and 1997) in Oaxaca, Bums (1998) among the Maya, and
Freedson and Prez (1995, 1998), Modiano (1973), and Rippberger (1992) in Chiapas. In
addition, research in other Latin American countries by Gustafson (1998) and Corvaln
(1989) on Guarani in Bolivia and Paraguay, and Mondino (1993) among the Ashninka
of Peru ,deal specifically with indigenous education and language and culture issues.
In Mexico, as previously mentioned, federally instituted bilingual-bicultural
education programs were for acculturative purposes. The lack of credentials of Indian
educators, as well as ambivalence about the educational process made finding quality
native teachers difficult. The situation began to change in the early 1990s. Rippberger
(1992) noted that native Tzotzil-speaking Maya teachers were the first ones to make
significant headway in Indian education in Mexico. Much like their American
counterparts, these indigenous teachers worked gradually to bend bilingual-bicultural
education to fit local needs as best as possible given the national agendas scope and
limitations. By bending the mies, indigenous teachers were trying to truly make their
educational experience intercultural.
The first generation of college-educated native peoples are beginning to change
decades of previous policybut at an expense to local communities. Rather than
entering anthropology, native people are becoming critical theorists who reflect upon
their cultures problems, but leave the problem-solving to an intellectual class that has

94
difficulty gaming voice among the general populace because the avenue of information
dissemination is written rather than in a traditional oral form (Iturrioz et al. 1995).
Because indigenous educators and community members saw that bilingual
education was not reducing culture and language loss, they pushed within the SEP a
move towards what is called bilingual intercultural education. Already noted by
scholars such as Freedson and Prez (1998), the bilingual-bicultural model was not
working. Elders were often ambivalent about it, and community divisions were created
between those who thought the native language was holding them back as opposed to
those who wanted to preserve it (progressives and teachers).
In Paraguay, Corvaln (1989:601) stressed the importance of regular use of
Guarani language in the classroom by teachers, finding that using a different language in
the classroom other than what students used regularly outside the classroom caused
literacy problems for native students. They were becoming literate in neither language
because the structure of the educational experience did not enable them to gain a grasp on
their native literacy skills before introducing foreign concepts and ideas in an unfamiliar
language.
The bilingual-intercultural education model was meant to erase the negative us
vs. them bipolar distinctions in education. Instead of teaching two separate systems of
education, the bilingual-intercultural model sought to equally divide time between native
concepts and foreign ones. Its goal was also to recognize the dynamic nature of Indian
peoples. Instead of seeing Indian peoples as only traditional, the model realized that their
life was in a constant state of flux. According to Mondino, bilingual-intercultural
education is:

95
An education planned to impart knowledge in two language and two
cultures. It is meant to increase value in native language and culture;
Spanish is gradually introduced utilizing in it special materials adapted to
the user (1993:129).
and that the following should be taken in mind when analyzing it:
The traditional is important. It isnt the only trait that should be
considered as part of a culture. Denial of culture change is to deny that it
(the culture) is living and found in a constant process of transformation
(1993:130).
Intercultural education stresses the ability to become fluently literate in both
languages as the best way to preserve a culture (Bernard 1985; Ramirez de la Cruz 1995).
It is argued that the community must take an active role in the school for it to survive.
The third area of concern in indigenous anthropology in Mexico has to do with
language and culture preservation. In contrast to the revitalization programs occurring
across the U.S., in Mexico the focus is on cultural preservation. Bernard (1985, 1995)
believes that if you can teach someone to read and write his or her language, it will
survive. Establishing the Centro Editorial de Literatura Indgena, A.C. (CELIAC) in
Oaxaca in 1993, Bernards project aims to encourage indigenous authors to write and
publish in their native languages. This project has assisted over 150 indigenous writers in
over a dozen indigenous languages to preserve their languages (Bernard 1997).
Bums (1998) has written as well about the influence of pan-Maya ideology on
Maya education in the Yucatn of Mexico. Like Oaxacas 1996 intercultural education
law, numerous Yucatec-speaking Maya banded together to demand legalization of their
language for all government institutions, as well as for mandatory Maya education.
Acting as a consultant to Yucatec Maya teachers, Bums saw that group consciousness
aided indigenous teachers to discuss and develop curriculum relevant to Maya language
and culture.

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The Huichol direction in language and culture preservation has been shaped by
relations with the University of Guadalajaras Centro de Investigacin de Lenguas
Indgenas that has published several works in the 1990s, mostly in Spanish, dealing with
aspects of Huichol language and culture preservation. Until recently, these works
included writings by intellectuals about the state of their culture and some translated
poetry. Recently, the first work entirely in Huichol for the Huichol was published:
Wixaritari Wayeiyari (+kix+ and Lpez de la Torre 1999) that recounts the Huichol
peyote pilgrimage as well as talks about the location of various sacred sites throughout
the kiekari (traditional Huichol homeland). It is hoped that this book will stop the decline
in traditional practices and ensure that they are conducted correctly in the future. While
this book is designed for use by older Huichol, especially those at the secondary level, a
series of five books for teaching Huichol have also been developed for the primary school
level and marketed under the free text program of the SEP. These texts mix elements
of the natural environment with word concepts, hoping that by attaching language
learning concepts to the natural world, Huichol children will learn faster.
A central problem for language and culture studies among the Huichol has been
the standardization of a written form of the language. Despite an elaborate orthography
developed by Grimes (1964), there are inconsistencies in the scripts used by various
agencies. In some, crucial diacritical marks are neglected; in others, orthographic
inconsistencies impair rather than assist Huichol to become literate in their own language.
In 1984, Bums (1998:51) says, the Yucatn adopted a standardized Spanish writing

97
system for Maya. This has not occurred yet for the Huichol, and the dialectical
differences make it difficult to establish orthography consistent with that of Spanish.6
Educational Research and the Huichol
Contemporary, educational research among the Huichol has chiefly been by those
involved in the CETMK project. Rural education for the first three years of primary
education is conducted by the Consejo Nacional de Fomento Educativo (CONAFE). A
division of the SEP, CONAFE has been instrumental in bringing education to rural areas
where otherwise there would be no opportunity for schooling. At the secondary
educational level, Huichol educational research has been done by Corona (1999), De
Aguinaga (1996), Rojas (1999a, 1999b), and Von Groll (1997, 1999). All of these
writings and publications deal exclusively with the CETMK project, and from a positivist
orientation.
De Aguinaga, the coordinator of the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Mecca Kwaxi
project, is the figura mestiza (Mexican person) most instrumental in helping the Huichol
to establish a secondary school. After having examined several different projects in other
parts of Mexico, the Huichol from the community of Tateiki together with various
authorities from the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI), the Unidad de Comunidades
Indgenas Huicholes de Jalisco (UCIHJ), the Asociacin Jaliciense de Apoyo a Grupos
0 One common difference in Huichol orthography is the x, which may be pronounced
like a Spanish rr, yet in other dialects it is pronounced as an sh. Spanish scribes have
written these characters in different ways depending on the dialect observed by the
researcher. Huichol also contains a vowel sound that is incompatible with the Spanish
vowel system. It has been transcribed as everything from an iu to a u, causing
confusion in word meaning because important contrastive phonemic distinctions are not
accurately recorded. See appendix A for an explanation of Huichol orthography and
important contrastive vocalizations.

98
Indgenas (AJAGI), the Secretara de Educacin Pblica de Jalisco (SEP-Jalisco), and
others, voted to establish a secondary school in Tateikita to begin during the 1995-1996
school year.
The first year of the schools existence was full of conflict. De Aguinaga (1996)
writes about the formative pre-CETMK years of the school and the struggle involved in
bringing the school to the Huichol. Before the CETMK, she writes, a culture of the
West dominated for 20 years (De Aguinaga 1996:65). She adds that there were 35
primaries, 14 of which were dormitory-schools. There were also 21 Unitarian schools
with 1380 students on scholarship, bringing the total to 2880 students in the Sierra
(De Aguinaga 1996:66). At the secondary level, there was only one telesecundaria
(video school) that was struggling to survive in the Sierra, but suffered from attrition and
only had 20 students in attendance at the time in 1996. De Aguinaga (1996) mentions
that many parents were sending their children away to be schooled, but the results were
more detrimental than advantageous for the students and their parents. Besides being
expensive, it alienated children from their culture and family. The current bilingual
curriculum stressed Spanish in the curriculum, much more so than anything indigenous.
The Huichol, in founding the CETMK, wanted to move away from this model (De
Aguinaga 1996:67).
The first ethnographic work involving the CETMK was done by Maren Von Groll
(1997). As a candidate for licenciatura in psychology from the Universidad Nacional
Autonoma de Mxico (UNAM), Von Groll wrote about the construction of self and other.
Her main thesis was to explain the construction of space between self and other that was
to serve as a meeting place between Huichol and the dominant Mestizo culture. Focusing

99
primarily on the formative process of the CETMK, Von Groll spent portions of several
months during the Spring of 1996 doing qualitative ethnography in the school,
interviewing primarily teachers to gain through their voices of perspective on how the
Huichol construct their collective identity that then emerges through stories of conflict
with Franciscans and Mestizos that have historically exploited the Huichol. She then
applies her psychological model to a series of observations in the Sierra, from the conflict
with Franciscans and the media when the school was first constructed, to describing how
environmental education and the kiekari form crucial parts of Huichol self-identification.
She concludes, by recounting through brief stories from the teachers, how the Huichol are
not static but rather, divided themselves over change and how to deal with it. She leaves
the question open about whether the CETMK can really be a space of intercultural
communication.
Sarah Corona (1999), investigator, coordinator of the Masters program in
Journalism at the University of Guadalajara, and an assistant to the CETMK project,
expanded upon Von Grolls negotiation of self and other through an ethnographic
account of a series of student plays. In her account of a Huichol theatrical performance,
presented by CETMK students, Corona says negotiation of the other can be seen
through the dress and actions of various Mestizo characters in student-created plays.
She discuses the plays as habitus, where we are able to see how we think the other
n
constructs us. She says that students describe the Mestizo as immoral, paternalistic,
legalistic, and very powerful and that we can see these attributes in the Mestizo
7 Habitus, according to Pierre Bourdieu (1990), are locations of meaning that can be
analyzed as scenarios of being and knowing.

100
characters they create for their plays (Corona 1999:44-47). Through these images, the
Huichol show their preoccupation with historical domination by Mestizos who are
smart, because they know how to manipulate scenarios to their advantage when dealing
with the indigenous peoples of Mexico.
The last ethnographer to write about the CETMK was Anglica Rojas (1999a,
1999b). She was also the first anthropologist to look at the CETMK and discuss the daily
life of the school, most especially from the point of view of its students. In her Masters
thesis in social anthropology, Rojas described the daily life of students at the CETMK,
recounting through their stories, how (or if) they experienced the intercultural space
that Von Groll (1998) was hinting about in her own work. Her primary goal was:
to reach an understanding of the development of the educational process
of the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxakwaxi and if possible find the
intercultural aspects of its daily life (Rojas 1999:4)
and
to show how the educational process of the secondary school is reflected
in its praxis, with an ending effect of identifying how the students live. It
is an ethnographic study of sociocultural focus that allows a retroanalysis
of the educational practice of the center, and gives the Huichol teachers, or
at least the Mestizo aides, elements to better their collaboration with the
secondary school (Rojas 1999:5).
Rojas thesis was released at the end of my first academic year in the Sierra
(Summer 2000) and presented to the community in the Fall of 2000. Rojas chose to play
the roll of observer more than participant, although she said she played volleyball,
embroidered, and made tortillas with her informants.8 Her research was conducted for
two months between September and November 1997, with a break of ten days. She then
8
These are all exclusively womens activities. I argue for a balanced gender stance to
gain a better understanding of the complexity of social interactions that take place in a
school environment.

101
returned for fifteen days during the month of February, and for three days during the
closing ceremonies of the school year in late June of 1998 (Rojas 1999a:58, 1999b:29).
These periods were during the year immediately preceding my own arrival, and I had no
knowledge of her or her work prior to my arrival for long-term fieldwork in the Sierra in
the Fall of 1998.
Despite Rojas limited time in the field, she did attend at least one of every class,
a couple of community assemblies, and interviewed primarily third-year students. It was
a classic systematic approach to qualitative ethnography of education. Her results show
the way students experience the school culture, focusing mainly on their aspirations.
One significant part of Rojas work was a portion of her thesis on the student
assemblies of the school, published as a separate article by the revista Sincica of the
ITESO University in Guadalajara (Rojas 1999b). In this article she talks about the oral
experience of the assembly meetings and how they allow students to take political roles
in leadership through the election of officers, abilities to speak, and the overall
communitarian nature of problem solving that is nearly entirely student-directed.
Although this work was released during my time in the field, I feel that doing
short-term ethnographic fieldwork in indigenous communities missed a number of
important considerations. From experiences I have had in Native American research
among the Navajo, it is a particularly lengthy process to become accepted into an
indigenous community (although one will never truly become part of it). Von Groll
(1997:22) believes that it took her a month to become accustomed to the culture. Rojas
experienced considerable problems of integration at first too. She writes that she was

102
viewed as an antroplogo by the Huichol community, and for these reasons people
maintained a cautioned distance from her at first (Rojas 1999b:28).
When I began to work among the Huichol, I knew that performing longitudinal
research was a better method to truly get at an understanding of school-community
relations. Although this was one of Rojas principal goals, I feel that one could not have
gained a true understanding of conflict and community dynamics over such a short period
of fieldwork. Rojas did, however, make it her point to work primarily with students. For
my role, to be discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 of this dissertation, I was to take a three-fold
role as a teacher, community resident, and applied anthropologist. It is my belief as well,
that being a male, in contrast to recent trends in female ethnography, as well as serving as
a teacher at the school, allowed greater rapport with community leaders and school
personnel. Contrary to both Von Groll and Rojas, I did not experience such long-term
problems getting close to the culture of the school. Being asked to teach various courses,
I was immediately thrust into being a participant within it.9 I also did not present myself
openly as an anthropologist, although many knew me to be one, instead trying to
downplay the category, showing my dislike for the ethics of some anthropologists in the
past, and through being a social activist for indigenous preservation.
9 The scenario of insider anthropology and action anthropology creates its own set of
problems in the eyes of some who see one as being unable to distinguish emic from
etic social categories of meaning.

CHAPTER 4
THEORY AND METHODS
Theoretical Perspectives
The theoretical perspectives for this dissertation fall under three main headings::
ethnicity and identity, political, and educational theory. In this chapter, I introduce each
perspective with its corresponding theories as it pertains to the Huichol at macro and
micro levels of social organization. Only then, by taking these perspectives together, can
the current status of Huichol education and community-school relations be understood. I
conclude this chapter with a discussion of the qualitative and quantitative research
methods used in my research.
At macro (societal) level for the Huichol, pan-Indianism, the collective binding of
indigenous peoples together as a minority people based on perceived cultural similarities
with other Indian peoples defines who the Huichol are collectively vis--vis the dominant
Mestizo socio-political hierarchy. In addition, the macro-cultural situation of the Huichol
can be defined by using Marxist dialectics and historical materialism. Opposing
economic systems (capitalism and social egalitarianism) are in competition due to newly
emerging social classes holding different political and material ideologies that affect the
Huichol way of life in the rural Sierra. Lastly, I feel that the type of educational theory
that fits the Huichol situation of traditional informal education is one shaped by
democratic-socialist theory from the philosophical perspectives of Jrgen Habermas
(1990, 1992) and John Dewey (1938, 1966).
103

104
At the level of micro theory, the theories that fit my findings and observations fall
under those that explain how overarching beliefs of autonomy and differing notions of
Huichol ethnicity are accommodated within the immediate school and community. This
is why power-knowledge, Foucaults (1982) equation of power with knowledge, and its
limiting of discourse strategies, plays such an important role in describing the control
mechanisms involved in the struggle between educational factions within Tateikita
brought about by the rapid culture change within the Huichol community.
The theoretical stances that explain Huichol identity(ies) appear to grow from a
dominant/subordinate frame wherein the Huichol situation is explained as one with a
history of self-inflicted isolationism as a response to political and cultural exclusion by,
initially, the Colonialist regime and, more recently, the dominant Mestizo culture, which
sees the Huichol as an underdeveloped people (Weigand 1981; Nahmad 1996). In terms
of their indigenous identity in Latin America, indigenous scholars emphasize the pan-
Indian trend whereby the Huichol cannot be considered as an isolated people but, rather,
as a people who share common goals with other indigenous people and possess a shared
consciousness of identity with them that extends beyond being Huichol (Ramirez 1995;
Nahmad 1998). While among intellectuals, particularly urban and educated Indians, this
may be the case, among the average rural Huichol citizenry, lack of rural development
that facilitates communication has made such measures difficult.
Despite the intelligencia, the Huichol still possess their traditional native
cosmology that is rooted in a small-scale horticultural society with egalitarian methods of
social control (Weigand 1981). From the perspective of their cosmology, then, there can
be no separation between their subsistence economy and their religious practices and

105
traditions. They are intimately woven together, as evidenced in various ceremonies
surrounding an annual horticultural schedule (Schaefer and Furst 1996). Huichol
cosmology comes to represent the groundwork for explaining other aspects of the
Huichol condition, such as their desire to remain separate and autonomous.
In Huichol traditional society, status was accorded based on age and experience
and was largely egalitarian (Schafer and Furst 1996:11; Weigand 1981:17). That model
is now being replaced by one based around those who are members of the petit-
bourgeoisie who control access to resources, or, in the case of neo-Marxist micro-level
theory, those who control knowledge and access to it (Weigand 1979:113, 1981:18). The
situation in this dissertation is one in which the macro-scale oppressive economic and
political situation of the Huichol has begun to filter down to micro societal (ranchera)
level. This micro (school-community level of social interaction) is where I observed the
fragmentation of Huichol identity taking place.
While there appears to be a unified sense of Huichol identity, there is individual
and intercommunity variation homogeneity of Huichol culture is often an artifact
created by anthropologists relying upon urban informants (Weigand 1979:102). There is
such a competing set of actors at the local level that only those with the real control over
knowledge can determine the direction the school takes. Student attitudes about formal
education, as evident from questionnaires and interviews, closely reflect the ideals
instilled by their teachers (an emerging intelligentsia class), but the reality of traditional
norms (early marriage for females, a need for cooperative field labor, etc.) is at odds with
some of these ideals desired by Huichol teachers and Mestizo intellectuals.

106
Ethnicity and Identity
Theories of ethnicity and identity lie at the heart of Huichol collective social
organization. It is only through collective social and religious organization that the
Huichol can form the in-group / out-group distinctions necessary to create boundaries that
distinguish them as a unified ethnic group from the rest of society. Already mentioned in
Chapter 2 by Barth (1969), the creation of ethnic boundaries is one of the primary factors
for delineation of an ethnic group. Combining self-imposed identity formation with
greater indigenous nationalistic political objectives is what has led to the self-
determination movement among the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The following two
sections show how a theory of ethnic identity among the Huichol is formed, how it is
propagated, and what purpose it ultimately serves.
Pan-Indianism and Regional Cultures
The idea of the existence of a pan-Indian ethic is central to discussions of
indigenous quests for self-determination and autonomous regions within Latin America.
According to pan-Indian rhetoric, there is a collective notion of Indian identity that
transcends cultural differences. Pan-Indianism has been variously used to justify
collective mobilization by native peoples based on a shared ideology that includes the
belief in a common history of oppression that has destroyed or limited the plurality of
cultural ways of knowing and being in a global world-system (Battiste 2000; Burns 1998;
Ramrez de la Cruz 1995). Through the spread of information and general awareness of
the similar position of other native peoples, an ethnic group may see pan-Indianism as a
consciousness provoking ethic that can serve as a catalyst for accelerating tribal
concerns over ethnic, political, religious, linguistic, and human rights matters to national
and international levels.

107
Pan-Indianism is useful to an understanding of Huichol language and culture
preservation because the intellectual community shares its goals. In Tateikita, the
majority of influential residents in the social hierarchy are also teachers, be they primary,
secondary, or educacin inicial (preschool). As teachers, they are in positions to control
information (Apple 1995, 1996, McLaren 1998). They can propagate or limit the
dissemination of thoughts and ideas regarding ethnicity and culture, and they can also be
markers of traditionality or agents for social change. Since teachers are the ones who
receive payment on a regular basis for their instruction, they are also the most likely
individuals to be literate and travel outside the Sierra. Bums (1998) found the native
Maya teachers he assisted in curriculum development in the Yucatn to be primary agents
of voice in discussions of pan-Indian ideologies. With this in mind, they were also the
most in control of traditional educational values that were now shifting from informal to
formal educational institutions, be they in encouraging the use of the local Maya dialect,
or in regulating the school year cycle (Bums 1998). When looking at the educational
atmosphere in Tateikita, one must not neglect the power of teachers as both agents of
change and social discourse moderators in discussions of pan-Indian goals of self-
determination that the Huichol share with neighboring indigenous peoples. Huichol
acknowledgement that they share common goals with EZLN mandates, those of the
International Labor Organization, and COCOPA resolutions is further proof that they are
not as ideologically isolated from the outside world as they may, at first, appear to be.
Anthropological discourses on pan-Indianism seem to fall short at the level of
regional cultures. According to Lomnitz-Adler (1991:198), regional culture is the
internally differentiated and segmented culture produced by human interaction within a

108
regional political economy. He further states, .within a given region one can discover
similarly constituted identity groups, whose senses of themselves (their valued objects
and relationships, their boundaries) are related to their position in the power region.
Likewise, a regional culture implies the construction of frames of communication within
and between various identity groups, and these frames also have their spaces (Lomnitz-
Adler 1991:198). When applying the concept of regional culture to pan-Indianism, the
realm of intercultural variation is exposed which would otherwise be masked. Likewise,
the concept of regional culture blurs the lines of distinction between ethnic groups,
returning one to a discussion of economic and intellectual similarities that extend across
ethnic lines. It returns the discourse to Marxist and Weberian notions of power called for
by Roseberry (1997) and mentioned in the identity politics of Hale (1997). It is
therefore useful for discovering underlying infrastructural materialist conditions that lead
to social and intellectual class differentiation among native peoples and peasantry who
may share common sentiments for factional organization and historical rebellious
uprisings in rural areas of Mexico.
During the course of my research I was repeatedly drawn aback at the level of
intercultural variation seen within the culture of the school as well as that of the
community. I was forced to ask myself whether there might be intercultural hierarchies
of power that had developed within Huichol society. Once again, Lomnitz-Adler
(1991:201) lays the groundwork for a discussion of regions of power that she says leads
to hegemony that is a fundamental concept for the study of regional cultures.
Moreover, these regions of power refer to culture as it exists and operates in a space that
is organized by... and articulated through... class domination (Lomnitz-Adler 1991:201).

109
As alliances between community members and teachers are forged (or broken), I began to
wonder if there were not ideological differences that were closely tied to class formation
which had, in turn, resulted from the emergent capitalist economy that had so quickly
invaded Huichol society. These resulting class cultures when applied to a particular
setting, such as a school, are what Lomnitz-Adler (1991:202) calls intimate cultures,
which are the cultures of classes in specific kinds of regional settings. When one intimate
culture gains control over localist ideology in a particular setting, it is likely to become
the consensus creating mechanism for how identification of the pan-indian movement is
expressed on a regional level.
Native Epistemology and Cosmology
A second component to ethnicity and identity theory as it pertains to the Huichol
is in the area of native epistemology and cosmology. An understanding of these areas is
particularly useful in explaining Huichol world-view. Moore (1998) argues that Native
American epistemologies are inherently bound by religious cosmologies. As such, they
cannot adequately be described by Western philosophies using such core terms as
nominalism, idealism, empiricism, and realism. Instead, he argues that Native
American philosophies are radically different from European philosophical epistemology
because they rely on a spatially constructed native cosmology (Moore 1998:272). In
**
constructing his argument, Moore presents evidence from Cheyenne and Mvskoke
philosophies where secular questions of reality cannot be separated from the religious.
He clearly states that he bases his reasoning on smaller-scale egalitarian societies living
north of Mexico before the coming of the Europeans (1998:271). I argue, however, that
Moores contentions can be applied as well to native peoples south of the border (i.e.,
Mexico). While some may argue that this cannot be done due to the significant impact of

110
European, namely Spanish, colonialism on the indigenous peoples of Latin America, I
fmd that the indigenous peoples of Latin America have much more in common with their
kin north of the border than either Mexican or American anthropologists care to admit.
Much can be learned about Native peoples on either side of the border by opening up the
grounds for comparative research between them.
Huichol epistemology, as discussed in chapter 2, is one that is concerned with the
entire life cycle. Bound closely to agricultural cycles and to the environment, to not
engage in these practices, which are often communal, would be not to live as a Huichol.
While other anthropologists, namely Grimes (1964) and Vogt (1955), emphasize the
individualist nature of Huichol culture, I tend to disagree. It is my belief that ceremonies
have become ritualized and formalized to the point that they are communal activities
that take precedence over individual acts (such as traveling to sacred sites to leave
offerings). The primary residence shift from cultural dispersion to concentration in
small-scale village centers further accentuates the gradual change towards more
formalized communal religious rituals as clinging mechanisms to traditional Huichol
identity. Whereas elsewhere in the world residence shifts from rural to urban centers
resulted in individualism, at least in Tateikita religion appears to have become more
communal. As for economic considerations, however, there is now a shift from
communal property to the idea of personal property, which previously had been
unknown to the Huichol. The only personal type of religious experience that appears to
remain is that associated with ceremonial peyote consumption. Ones experience, much
like that shared by Cheyenne and Lakota vision seekers, is personal. Its use, however, is
closely linked to communal ceremonies, and the experience is frequently evaluated by a

Ill
mara 'akame (shaman).1 Like Moore (1998:285) noted among the Cheyenne, there is a
distinction between personal religious knowledge and collective religious
knowledge. While individual knowledge gained in visions is ones own business,
collective ceremonies demand a different type of behavior that limits the options
available to the self. Roles, attitudes, and expected behaviors are closely regulated.
On a native cosmological level, Huichol personal-identity is inseparable from a
collective identity. Interactions take place in a natural environment that limits individual
actions. A pantheon of gods control the environments actions on the group, and poor
individual behavior can cause serious environmental consequences for the self and / or
group. The role of Huichol native cosmology in the daily life of the school and
community is important. If Huichol cosmology does, in fact, emphasize communal
rather than individualistic behavior, one would expect to see its importance central to
describing the school culture of the CETMK. Furthermore, a native cosmology that
emphasizes the power of the natural environment over the self would, in theory, mean
that student attitudes towards traditional cultural values would remain strong at the
school.2 Likewise, if there were a shift away from traditional cultural values (Huichol
cosmology) in the school or the community, this would be observable in the daily life of
each.
1 While it is not my intention in this dissertation to analyze Huichol religious matters, a
general discussion of their epistemological role in the overarching Huichol cosmology is
necessary.
2
One aspect of using questionnaires among a student sample population was to
determine exactly what they thought these traditional values were and then to compare
these to researcher observations made at the school.

112
Political Theory and the Aims of Indigenous Movements
The second component to the theoretical perspective taken in this dissertation is
political. The process involved in language and culture preservation for indigenous
peoples is inherently political, because it involves a process whereby the culture
seeking to preserve its traditions feels that it is necessary to do so, feeling that there is
some political justification for their actions. Political theory can be used to explain the
actions of individuals within the school and community as they seek to define their own
positions vis--vis the dominant society. I have chosen to use political theory to explain
the various actions of the social actors in the struggle for Huichol identity and ethnic
change both within the CETMK secondary school and within the context of the village of
Tateikita. Political theory uses the positions of Marx, Merton, Foucault, and Gramsci to
explain the holistic scenario of relationships between micro and macro levels that cannot
be adequately explained using any one theoretical approach.
Dialectical Materialism and Anomie
The first subset of political theory is that of dialectical materialism and anomie.
Most political theory about indigenous peoples in Latin America that is not concerned
with ethnicity and identity is derived from either classical Marxism or neo-Marxism
(Hale 1997). In analyzing the Huichol political-economic climate within the Sierra
(namely, Tateikita), a dialectical approach is useful for explaining class differentiation
and interethnic political boundaries.
According to dialectical materialism, reality is not a static substance in
undifferentiated unity but a unity that is differentiated and specifically contradictory, the
conflict of opposites driving reality onwards in a historical process of constant
progressive change, both evolutionary and revolutionary (Bottomore 1983:120). In the

113
Huichol economic model, there are two competing modes of production: the traditional,
and an emerging petty-commodity production that harbors the seeds of capitalism. The
traditional Huichol economy is what Nash (1976:163) refers to as a quasi-tribal system.
As such, they are a people that are characterized as primarily egalitarian subsistence
farmers who produce material goods for the home or exchange, but not generally for
profit. Household food resources are shared, when necessary, and full-time craft
specialization or lack of participation in subsistence agricultural practices is rare.
The competing developing system in Tateikita appears to be petty-commodity
production that fits the model developed by Chayanov (1966) in which families may be
engaged in horticulture, crafts, and trades. What appears to be happening among the
historically isolated Huichol is a sudden shift towards capitalist activities within the more
concentrated village centers. The primary points for contact with the outside world are
limited to the village centers, where some have shifted their primary responsibilities,
particularly since the arrival of a road in Spring 1998 (in Tateikita), from horticulture to
shopkeeping.3 These additional sources of income have created economic divisions
between have and have-nots where there was previously little difference. Moreover,
shopkeepers tend to follow dual roles as teachers at the primary level as well, so that in
some instances they may be collecting considerable income and choosing a plant less
and purchase more scenario.4 They may also delegate planting to their children or more
Before the arrival of the dirt road to Tateikita, there were two stores, one being part of
the federal rural assistance program (COPUSI). There are now nine, although the
population of Tateikita has remained largely constant the past several years.
4 I was shocked during the course of my research in Tateikita by the quantities of Maseca,
a brand-name nixtamalized corn mix, which was purchased by some individuals in the
community.

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distant kin. In addition, at least three of the shopkeepers in Tateikita are members of the
political-ruling family faction within the traditional ascribed hierarchy status system.
The implications of this shift away from a quasi-tribal system creates constraint
on time that must be balanced between traditional cultural participation and that
necessary to obtain a profit, so that food may be purchased for the self and family. In
terms of educational considerations, since the concept of money invaded local power
hierarchies, a class system has begun to emerge, placing primary teachers and
shopkeepers at the top of the hierarchy, followed by secondary and pre-school teachers
who obtain a quincena (twice monthly) salary from the state. In the middle are those
who specialize in crafts and who may travel to the coast or city to sell them to a dealer.
At the bottom are those who have little to no occupational specializations or who only
subsistence farm. The result is that as traditional occupations become increasingly
devalued, an anomic state results.
The sociological theory of anomie was first developed by Durkheim (1951) and
was enhanced upon by Merton (1968). In the theory of anomie, more recently referred to
as structural-strain theory, stresses developed by lack of cultural adjustment to
changing social conditions manifest themselves in deviant behavior. Anomie, in
Durkheims Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1965) refers specifically to a state
of normlessness or lack of social regulation that promotes higher rates of suicide (Akers
1999:119). Merton (1968) expanded upon this notion of normlessness, applying it to
modem society, where there is dissociation between valued cultural ends and legitimate
societal means to reach those ends (Akers 1999:120). Discrepancies between means and
ends can result from class divisions. These discrepancies, for Merton (1938), are

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accommodated via fives modes of adaptation to strain. He called these: conformity,
innovation, rebellion, retreatism, and ritualism. Each of these modes of adaptation, in
Mertons opinion, is an individual way to cope with the pressures of society (anomie).
Turnbull (1987) used anomie theory to explain the violent and dissociative
behavior of the Ik in Uganda. According to Turnbull (1987), Ik relocation resulted in
starvation and sickness. The presence of these life-threatening conditions led to a
breakdown in Ik social order. Similarly, for the Huichol, anomie theory may help explain
the various forms of identity adaptation to rapid culture change and development in
Tateikita. In Tateikita, retreatism and ritualistic conformity serve as ways to hide from
rapid change, whereas rebellion and innovation drive the culture change process.
Power-Knowledge Relations in Historical Materialism
The second section of political theory is composed of neo-Marxist discussions of
power-knowledge derived from the philosophical positions of Michel Foucault and
Antonio Gramsci. It is my belief that the micro-culture of the school functions within a
framework that converts knowledge into a form of cultural capital. Community
factions within the school and Tateikita begin to emerge around selected discourses that
control the flow of information, rather than create an ideal egalitarian educational
environment.
Foucault (1982), like Habermas (1984, 1990, 1998), is concerned with discourses.
But unlike Habermas, he removes the Hegelian historical nature of critical theory and
instead uses a presentist focus that reconstructs historical geneaologies of discourse
from the present. He is concerned with the rationale of why one particular discourse
comes to dominate other discourses. In his principle of discontinuity, Foucault says:

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We must make allowance for the complex and unstable powers whereby
discourse can be both an instrument and effect of power, but also a
hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for
an opposing strategy (1982:101).
In relation to the CETMK, teachers and the intellectual community advocate a
particular discourse strategy. Ball (1990:3) stresses that educational institutions control
the access of individuals to various kinds of discourse. This is an important
consideration for the CETMK, because the schools purpose and mission arose from
supposed community consensus and is deeply rooted in a political agenda. Teachers, as
members of the intellectual community, propagate this agenda that may be at odds with
some of the ideas of the local community. Marshall, in applying Foucault to institutions,
identifies the school as an institution in the following way:
In institutions, knowledge has been developed about people, and their
behavior, attitudes, and self-knowledge have been...used to shape
individuals. These discourses and practices have not only been used to
change us in various ways, but are also used to legitimate such changes, as
the knowledge gained is deemed to be true. (Marshall 1996:15)
Foucaults (1972) approach is that you have to construct historical genealogies of
opposing (conflicting or dialectical) discourses and only by doing so is it possible to
discover why one particular discourse has taken political hegemony over another, thereby
silencing the positions of some members of a culture or ethnic group. He is not
concerned with macro-levels of political power, but rather with discovering how power is
exercised at micro-levels (Marshall 1996:120). For Foucault, knowledge is a function of
human interests and power relations (Marshall 1996:120). Moreover, power is a mode
of action which does not act directly and immediately on others ... [but] ... instead it acts
upon their actions ... on existing actions and on those which may arise in the present or
in the future (Marshall 1983:220).

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While Foucault discusses many themes in his political philosophy, it is his
concept of power-knowledge relations that can be applied to the CETMK and Tateikita
as a way to explain questions about the schools effectiveness for uniting (or disuniting)
the Huichol in their efforts at language and culture preservation. I, like Roseberry
(1999), do not consider Foucaults ideas as a break from traditional Marxist theory, but
rather, see it as a complement to micro-scale levels of cultural analysis, and as a way to
achieve a generality for Marxism in explaining different historical time periods and their
prevailing ideologies. Foucault, however, did not see power-knowledge as necessarily
repressive (Marshall 1996:135). Instead, it only dictates the current of a prevailing
discourse.
Gramsci takes the ideas of Foucault one step further, having a wider focus than
Foucault. According to Kenway,
[Gramscis] interest is in the processes through which hegemony in
society as a whole is achieved, sustained, adjusted, and challenged. He is
particularly concerned with the forms of domination associated with social
class, with the ways in which ideology binds together classes and class
factions in domination and subordination. (1990:176-177)
Gramsci also believes that there is intracultural variation that can serve as the
basis for conflict. Gramsci asserts that there is no such thing as a pure class ideology
(Jessop 1982:193). He also believes in ideology is the cement upon which hegemony
is built (Gramsci 1971:324). Lastly, he believes that intellectuals serve as the key
figures in the development of class ideologies.
Gramscis ideas prove fruitful in application to the daily life and culture of the
CETMK. If the culture of the school is broken down, different social actors struggle to
control the course of education at the institution. Some may come from more traditional
elements of society and possess differing notions of ethnic identity. These various

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positions in an ideal atmosphere could be argued out as Habermas (1992) contests. At
the CETMK, these discourses may be accommodated at assembly meetings, and
discussed at village gatherings. But the question really remains of which discourse is the
prevailing one, and, how, if at all, opposing views of schooling are accommodated within
the school and the community.
Educational Theory: Developing a Philosophy of Education for the Huichol
The third theoretical perspective for this dissertation comes from the realm of
educational theory. Much of educational theory about indigenous peoples and
educational pedagogy in general are concerned with empowerment issues in the
classroom for both teachers and students (Apple 1975, 1995, 1996; Ball 1990; Cleary and
Peacock 1998; Dewey 1989; Giroux 1992; Levinson 1998; Lima and Lima 1998;
Marshall 1996; McLaren 1998). As an inseparable part of educational theory, an
overarching philosophy of education is critical to understanding the emancipatory nature
of education. A philosophy of education is, in effect, a general mission statement made
up from group norms and aims that determines the purpose and function of education
within a given population or community (Whitehead 1967). A sound analysis of Huichol
education would not be complete without addressing the larger philosophy of education
that dictates its mission and function within the greater Huichol society.
In the following two subsections, I will introduce the central ideas involved in a
critical pedagogy of education, and ultimately tie them together as socialistic means to
achieve an idealistic scenario of social egalitarianism that revolves around discussions of
voice, agent, and action. The critical educational theory that shapes this area is derived
from the positions of Paulo Freire (1993), Henry Giroux (1992) and Peter McLaren

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(1998). The second subsection, democratic socialism, is a position taken from the works
of John Dewey and Jrgen Habermas.
Critical Theory in Education
The educational theory position taken in this dissertation is one that addresses the
connection between micro-culture and macro-culture. On a general level, Huichol efforts
to control their own educational destiny are influenced by critical theory because of its
emphasis on information control and power. Huichol education, until recently, was
dominated by a system that did not recognize the value of indigenous languages and
cultures (De Aguinaga 1996; Ramirez 1994; Rojas 1999a, 1999b; Von Groll 1997, 1999).
As seen in Chapter 3, various national titles only masked the true agenda of Mexican
national education, one which sought the assimilation of Mexicos indigenous peoples.
Even national programs in bilingual-bicultural education continued to focus on Spanish
fluency and a denial of a pluralistic state. This is despite official recognition in the
Mexican constitution, since 1992, which states:
The Mexican nation has a pluricultural composition based originally on its
indigenous peoples. The Law will protect and promote the development
of their languages, cultures, uses and customs, resources and specific
forms of social organization, and will guarantee their members effective
access to the jurisdiction of the state. Injudicial and agrarian proceedings
to which they are a party, their legal practices and customs shall be taken
into account in the manner established by law (Stavenhagen 1994:80).
In addition to macro dominant society-indigenous society relations, a critical
philosophy of education is useful in describing why the Huichol developed a macro-level
ethnic position that emphasizes traditional communitarian cultural values as opposed to
dominant individualistic ideologies commonly associated with capitalism. At a macro
ethnic level then, an ideal Huichol educational philosophy would be socialistic and
egalitarian, emphasizing values that include respect, honoring commitments to others,

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maintaining the family, and truthfulness. These values are in contrast to the competing
philosophy of education presented by the dominant Mexican society that includes self
development and achievement, and neglects the family. Furthermore, for the Huichol,
the school is not considered to be an isolated environment. The idea of a community
school emphasizes a connection between the school and the community on ideological
and practical levels.
At the micro level of analysis, the culture of the school itself, the CETMK seeks
to be a model for indigenous education. From the outside, schools like the CETMK
appear to be egalitarian environments where various discourses about education come
together and consensus is achieved that creates an educational environment that is
advantageous towards achieving shared goals. The CETMKs objectives reflect the
idea of presumed shared set of goals. These objectives are:
1. To recognize the trunk [group] so that the branches [children] may
grow
2. To fill the center [CETMK] with the Huichol culture
3. To give classes in Huichol
4. To learn about ones people in order to learn about the world
5. To promote and fertilize the seeds, and to learn to solve the needs of
the community
6. To create unity for autonomy
7. To integrate the school with the community and the UCIHJ
8. To get parents to become involved and disseminate information to the
community in general
9. To ferment [develop] autonomy and decision
In addition, teachers felt the objectives of the school should be:

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1. That students learn about and come to know the significance of their
culture
2. That the student first begin to learn about his/her community,
municipality, and combining these with the national culture, take what is
really found to be useful to him/her
3. That the children dont go to the city. To promote the seed so that
children learn about the needs of their own community
4. That the children become strong when they are older, and also united in
their culture and in autonomy
5. To give classes in Huichol and recuperate Huichol forms of expression
6. To integrate the school with the community and the UC1HJ
7. To teach elements that serve one to confront his/her surroundings in an
integrated manner. Autonomy has to be seen as a way that nobody can
direct us, neither outsiders nor ourselves. (CETMK 1996)
From these mission objectives for the CETMK, it can be seen that the objectives
of teachers and those in the actual community-mission of the CETMK are largely the
same. The school was constructed with a political self-determinist agenda from the
beginning. It was also largely critical of the outside world that the Huichol felt were
eroding away at their lives. Using critical educational theory, the Huichol macro
situation fits a pedagogy of the oppressed (Freire 1993) whereby the interests of the
oppressors lie in changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which
oppresses them (de Beauvoir, in Freire 1993:55). According to this rationalization, the
oppressed have internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines
(Freire 1993:29).
The traditional bilingual-bicultural program of education used by the SEP among
the native peoples of Mexico falls within an attempt by the dominant society to
incorporate native peoples into the mainstream society by affecting their consciousness of

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their situation, or, essentially, getting them to accept their situation as something that is
unsurpassable. Freire says that some come to see freedom as an impossibility because of
the risks involved in achieving it. Others, however, have not accepted their submissive
status and, according to Freire (1993:49), it is their responsibility to raise the
consciousness of others and organize collective action towards liberation.
Girouxs (1992) development of a theory of border pedagogy attempts to
answer the means by which a community, as a whole, can address the effects of a
dominant societys pedagogy upon them. Border pedagogy is more a philosophy than a
theory. According to Giroux (1992:33), a theory of border pedagogy needs to address
the question of how representations and practices that name, marginalize, and define
difference as the devalued Other are actively learned, internalized, challenged, or
transformed. It must also provide the conditions for students to engage in cultural
remapping as a form of resistance (Giroux 1992:33). Giroux believes that the way to
attain a democratic (free) education is through the avenues of discourse and voice that
include the positions of teachers, students, and community members. It is an issue of
representation that involves moving marginalized discourses to a position such that
they become central discussions (Giroux 1992:218-226).
McLaren (1998:168) summarizes the position of the critical theorists when he
says, critical educational theorists are united in their objectives which are to empower
the powerless and transform existing social inequalities and injustices. McLaren goes
on to discuss the intricacies of hidden currculums and agenda that impose foreign forms
of thinking, being, and acting, that Bourdieu (1986) refers to as cultural capital. Using
the discourse of youths and teachers in suburban Toronto, Ontario, McLaren tells a tale of

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how cultural imperialism and exploitation marginalize ethnic minority school youth
into violent forms of resistance within the school, largely because of shared feelings of
powerlessness in the educational environment.
The conclusion is that the Huichol macro-situation shares the goals of a critical
pedagogy of education. If the objectives of the schools mission and that of its teachers
are to be met, there must be some degree of autonomy, decision, and collective unity
within the school itself that will listen to the voices of community members, teachers,
students, and parents.
Democratic Socialism
A type of democratic-socialism proposed by Dewey (1938, 1989) and Habermas
(1984, 1990) explains the ideal situation of Huichol society and the CETMK. While
Habermas is normally placed in the Marxist critical social theorist camp, his intentions
for a communicative action theory of education are largely social, democratic and
ideal. Democratic-socialist educational theory calls for a philosophy of education that
can achieve the discourse balance sought by critical theorists.
John Dewey has carried various labels in the history of educational philosophy,
from idealist to pragmatic liberal and democratic communitarian (Noddings
1995:164). He was also an egalitarian (Hutchins 1953:49). It can be said, however,
that Dewey was instrumental in pointing out the individual and social connections
necessary for participation in a democratic society. For the Huichol, the ultimate goal of
self-empowerment in education is to achieve a democratic ideal that will give them voice
and control over their own future. For them, equation of learning with their own cultural
agenda constitutes freedom in the sense advocated by Dewey (1989). Instead of taking

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up violent resistance to cultural hegemony, they seek to preserve a socialist-cooperative
culture, reinforcing these values through the objectives and mission of the CETMK.
The CETMKs objectives are not to promote individuality, but rather, collective
unity. In traditional Huichol society, that which the school intends to preserve, furthering
ones own interests at the expense of others does not benefit the group. Deweys
philosophy of education was critical for a social democracy in this same regard, as he
implied that conduct in which individuals were essentially furthering their own interests
was morally unacceptable, not because such conduct goes against moral law, but because
it does not further the well-being of society. (Morros 1978:45). The individual is,
consequently, under obligation to the community of which he was a member to perform
his function as expected. (Dewey 1967:327).
Dewey not only saw the importance of the individual to the maintenance of a
society, but also believed that society was in a constant state of change, and was, in
essence, evolutionary in that regard. It was evolutionary because he believed that
values would change over time. Ends, in Deweys reasoning, do not exist. Noddings
(1995:104) states, For Dewey, ends are always ends-in-view and not finalities.
For the Huichol, Deweys ideas of flexible ends and a focus on means have
important theoretical implications. First, the Huichol cultural situation is one that is
changing from isolation to one of constant contact with the dominant society. Cultural
values are beginning to change from communal toward more individualist endeavors.
The objectives of the CETMK are made to be flexible to changes in the overall culture of
the Huichol, stressing that students take and maintain from their educational experiences
that which is useful (CETMK 1996).

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Second, a focus on means leads to a processual position that concentrates on
experience and the complexity of social interactions that ultimately define educational
praxis at individual and group levels. Dewey (1938, 1966) introduced the concept of
experiential learning that was to be done cooperatively and not with the competitive
nature of capitalism. He stressed collective activities such as gardening or occupational
work.
Part of the mission of the CETMK is to reduce flight to the cities. Students at the
CETMK are encouraged to participate in artistry, construction, and carpentry as skills
they can use at home. The atmosphere is both cooperative and environmental. It is for
the betterment of the group, and not for the sake of the sole individual.
A second useful tool for helping to explain the democratic-socialism of Huichol
education is the communicative action theory of Habermas (1984). Communicative
action theory (Habermas 1984) involves social actors as self-interpreting subjects who
acquire and reproduce their identities through communicative interaction. Moreover,
communicative action requires shared norms of validity and legitimacy that are
established according to ethical standards. For Habermas, at the back of every act of
communication is the implication that we could reach a consensus on the validity of these
claims (Outhwaite 1994:40). It is his position that of all the various discourses, the one
that is best and true will prevail over the others through a process of argumentation. The
very nature of argumentation, in which various discourses are presented, will ultimately
show that language as communicative discourse is emancipatory (Rasmussen 1990:18).
Communicative action theory is useful towards understanding the ideal culture of
the CETMK, one that is rooted in a shared moral consciousness of what a community

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indigenous school ought to be. Habermas subsequent works, Moral Consciousness and
Communicative Action (1990) and Inclusion of the Other (1998), turn communicative
action theory into a political theory, pulling out the idea that sometimes the historical
legitimacy of a prevailing discourse takes a strategic-action position that may not be
accepted by some members of the discourse community.
Returning to historical materialism, as presented by Marx (1970) in his A
Contribution to the Critique of a Political Economy, Habermas also took an evolutionary
perspective towards the development of normative discourse, yet, at the same time, he
acknowledged that the rules for discourse cannot be separated from the infrastructure that
gives rise to them (Habermas 1994:82). The discussion for Habermas of the Huichol
situation, then, boils down to the possibility that on a collective level, the favorable
discourse has been socialistic while, at the same time, being emancipatory for its
participants. The social institution of the school can serve as a location for the
argumentation of competing norms and values that are challenging the traditional
Huichol way of life.
A summary of the three theoretical perspectives (educational, political, and
ethnicity and identity) and their potential matching at macro and micro levels of analysis
for the Huichol is as follows:
Table 4.1. The Comparison of Theoretical Positions to Macro and Micro Levels of
Analysis.
Educational
Political
Ethnicity & Identity
Macro
Egalitarian and
Emancipatory
Oppressive
Pan-Indianism and
Regional Cultures
Micro
Egalitarian?
Oppressive?
Anomic and with
Power hierarchies
Native Epistemology

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The educational theory that best fits the micro level of analysis is left ambiguous
on purpose. Its true nature lies at the intersection of competing discourses that determine
the role of the CETMK within the local community, and the culture of its adherents. The
following section on research methods discusses the various approaches I used to assess
what might actually be the true nature of the micro-culture of the CETMK school and the
community dynamics of education in Tateikita.
Research Methods
The research methods used in my research were a combination of qualitative and
quantitative ethnographic methods. I began my fieldwork knowing that by combining
both techniques I may be able to see if there are any similarities between what people say
and what they actually do. Because I was asked to teach at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi
Maxa Kwaxi by the school director, assistant director, and parents, I knew that I would
have an opportunity to be involved inside and outside the classroom on a regular daily
basis.
Formal Interviewing of Key Personnel
I began my work a year in advance in the Summer of 1997 by visiting the school
coordinator, Roco de Aguinaga, in Guadalajara. Put into contact with her through
Salomn Nahmad, an anthropologist from CIESAS, it was at that time that I first learned
about her school project with the Huichol. In a series of several chats, she taught me
about the difficult process in bringing a secondary school para los huicholes, de los
huicholes (for the Huichol, by the Huichol).5 Visiting with her, I could tell how
enchanted she was with the Huichol. Whereas, at that point in time, I had actually only
5 Personal Communication from Roco de Aguinaga, July 1997.

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read about the Huichol, she had spent four years during the 1970s in Tateiki, the
traditional community that includes the village of Tateikita. I could tell from the
interviews that she was excited about the CETMK and the potential she saw that it had to
prevent culture loss. Our email communications continued for the next year, during
which time I had mailed her copies of my proposals and my initial solicitude. This
permitted her to act as a liaison between the Huichol community and myself.
During the same trip to Guadalajara, I met with the other personnel of AJAGI. I
interviewed the director, Carlos Chvez, formally in two different hour-long sessions. In
these interviews he gave me the background on the Huichol struggle to reclaim portions
of their traditional homeland that were stripped away by cattle ranchers and government
projects. I also met with lawyers involved in the legal litigations with the state of Jalisco
and met my first Huichol youth through them.
Upon my arrival in the community of Tateikita in September of 1998,1 began by
formally meeting with the director and assistant director of the CETMK.6 Each of these
individuals was instrumental in introducing me to the school and village communities.
Meeting with them, I learned about the school organization and discussed my proposal
for research within the school. At the same time, I offered my assistance to the project.
Through their guidance, I was allowed to sit in on my first classes and discuss my
objectives with students and the other teachers. Discussions about school organization
led to my formal presentation of my proposal to the padres de familia (school-parent
society) at one of the weekly-held meetings at the school. Whereas community personnel
6 CSD was to become first acting director and eventually the director of the school
during my first year of teaching at the CETMK.

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were normally reluctant to allow research to be done, these two individuals acted as
initial gatekeepers into the Huichol culture for me.
Population Demographics and Sampling
One of the most difficult endeavors proved to be finding accurate population
statistics for the Huichol in general, let alone, for Tateikita. Rojas (1999a) says that there
are 250 plus boarding-school students living in the primary dormitory. This makes the
number approximately a conservative 490 (factoring in 40 students per year of the
primary). The number recognized by local inquiry was 275 residents.
One of my first tasks was to make a map of the local community indicating who
resided in each building. Due to the mobility of people, this was no easy task. Some
included students who stayed with them in the sample; others included kin who were
rarely present in the village. A second problem was in marking the boundaries of the
village, as some nearby ranches were not included in Tateikita samplings. Quickly
learning that such measurements were considered invasive, I decided to stop my
sampling in the community by accepting a rough figure constructed from official Centro
de Salud (health center) figures and my own sampling, placing the number of local
residents at 292 for 1999. If surrounding ranches are included, the number jumps to 402
over the age of 18.
For interviewing purposes in Tateikita, I used a snowball sampling approach
(Bernard 1994). In snowball sampling, the researcher makes use of anyone willing to
approach and talk to him or her. Because gaining trust in field research is difficult,
particularly in indigenous communities suspicious of outsiders, the best way to find out
about a peoples responses to questions was merely to ask them through the course of
casual conversation.

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The school chose to be a much better environment, statistically speaking. In this
environment, I had a large sample of students, faculty, and parents from whom I could
elicit attitudes about the school, the community, and their culture. Among teachers, I
conversed with all seven at the school, whenever possible, and visited their homes on
numerous occasions. I also lived with one of the teachers and a member of CONAFE in
a community house for my first five months in Tateikita, before relocating to the
village center. Among the students, I worked primarily with those in their third year of
attendance at the CETMK, numbering twenty-three. In addition, through teaching at the
CETMK, I was in contact with the first and second year students as well. For
interviewing purposes, I made use of snowball sampling within the school as well. As I
spent more time involved in school activities, ethnographic informal interviewing
A
expanded to include many first and second-year students.
Student Questionnaires and Huichol Cultural Values
My only formal questionnaire interviewing was done among third year students at
the CETMK in March of 1999. Using a questionnaire composed of open-ended
questions, free-listings, and a series of Likert scales, I solicited student attitudes about the
effectiveness of the school, what they valued most about their culture, and career and
future goals. I chose to administer these questionnaires to third year students because I
had been informed by teachers and students alike that limited Spanish proficiency of first
and second year students might prove to be a barrier to their ability to use the
questionnaires. I also chose third year students because they are the ones who could best
assess the totality of three years experience at the CETMK, and they were the most
7 See appendix D for a copy of the Spanish questionnaire and variables used for statistical
analysis.

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extroverted of the student body, making them the most favorable sample for acceptance
of such a test. As for first and second year students, I knew that they had limited Spanish
proficiency and would be reluctant to ask me for assistance if any of the instructions or
questions were unclear to them.
The students, as a group, agreed to help me with my research, resulting in
questionnaires being administered anonymously to twenty-three individuals all at once.
I explained the questionnaires to them, including their ability to opt out of participating
should they so choose to do so. I justified the questionnaires by explaining their
significance to understanding Huichol culture change from the students perspective. I
also said that their responses would help teachers to assess the schools mission and make
any necessary adjustments that could be discussed by everyone (parents, teachers, and
students) at a future school assembly meeting.
Informal Interviewing and Oral History Reconstruction
As mentioned above in the sampling section, informal interviewing was an
extremely important technique involved in this research. After I administered
questionnaires to students and had formally interviewed key personnel involved in the
CETMK project, informal interviewing became the primary data collection method.
Informal interviewing was conducted in the course of daily participation within the
secondary school and community, involving teachers, students, parents, and various
members from the community who were shopkeepers, primary teachers, or otherwise
involved in community affairs within Tateikita and the surrounding area. As an effective
tool for qualitative data collection, informal interviewing is both reciprocal and building.
By reciprocal, I mean that both questions and answers are mutually contributed to the
process by those involved in a conversation. As such, the conversation builds so that

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more information can be obtained over time through many conversations. These
interviews were recorded in field journals, primarily through using traditional pen-and-
paper. Some observations were immediately recorded, while others were recorded
shortly thereafter.
Informal interviewing has a disadvantage in that it requires an unspecified period
of time to establish rapport with informants. Working in indigenous communities,
particularly ones that do not welcome outsiders and are suspicious of the intentions of all
researchers and anthropologists, can be a difficult task. It is for this reason that I
argue that longitudinal research is necessary to adequately use this method in indigenous
communities. Short-term residence is disadvantageous to building long-term social
bonds necessary for people to freely share aspects of their lives with outside researchers.
By combining long-term residence with participant observation, one can gain a better
understanding of the socio-political mechanisms that contribute to culture change within
a given community. For research in Tateikita, I cannot stress enough the importance of
observing change over time, rather than in snapshot anthropology that does not lend the
researcher to establish any potentially permanent-bonds within the community. Short
term ethnography also limits the ability to seek out answers to emerging questions during
the course of the research process.
A still further advantage of informal interviewing is shown among non-literate
societies (or at least those that rely chiefly on an oral tradition). The Huichol, as a
traditionally oral society, have not preserved a written record of their existence and
accomplishments. They have been described as possessing a presentist orientation, and
therefore not concerned with either the past or the future (Grimes 1962). Considered to

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be the result of subsistence agriculture, the Huichol present-time orientation is attributed
to seasonal concerns that may restrict or assist in a productive growing season and
harvest. In the course of informal interviewing, a timeline for historical incidents in
Tateikita was created by the Huichol at the school. As part of the informal interviewing
process, I elaborated upon this timeline and presented it to various individuals for their
critique. This oral history reconstruction perspective ended up proving useful for
developing written accounts of activities within the school and community (see Appendix
B).
Participant Observation
Participant observation was the primary ethnographic technique used in my
fieldwork. My roles were threefold: teacher, resident, and applied anthropologist of
education (consultant). Each of these roles provided the ability to observe daily
occurrences within the school and the village. Participant observation took place during
the following time periods that roughly correspond to one and a half school year cycles:
September 5-10, 1998; November 22nd to December 17, 1998; January 11 to March 11,
1999; March 31 to July 8, 1999; September 1 to December 20, 2000; and a week from
June 24 to July 5, 2000. The longer periods from January to July 1999, and September to
December 2000, were complimented with three days of departure to the city, usually
Guadalajara, every four to five weeks for making copies of fieldnotes, obtaining supplies,
and keeping abreast of news at home in the U.S.
At the school, I had been asked by teachers, parents, and students to offer English
classes at the CETMK to students. In complying with this obligation, I was directly
involved in the daily activities of the school. While bringing me closer to the teachers at
the school, being in the dual role of teacher-researcher did not alienate me from an ability

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to gain rapport with students so that they would freely talk to me about their lives and
aspirations. As a tetwari (outsider) I was in a position that I was both part of the school
community, yet not part of the community. Having come to the Sierra from so far away
to be with the people of Tateikita, made people curious and generally friendly in their
relations with me. I also gained rapid rapport with students through telling stories about
el otro lado (the other side). This dual-role relationship of insider-outsider would be
important during the course of my tenure in Tateikita and at the CETMK.
Through the course of being a teacher at the CETMK, I was able to observe
student behavior in my own classes as well as those of others. I interacted with other
teachers on a daily basis and became involved in sharing the administrative duties with
other teachers and the directors when it became time to fill out various reports for the
SEP and other state organizations. Working on an administrative level also gave me the
opportunity to understand the number of organizations involved in sustaining the
CETMK and better understand its mission, and potential limitations on its power from
that perspective.
After an initial period of five months, I decided to move my primary residence
from the community house into the greater village community. The impetus for this
change was threefold: to move closer to the village community itself and away from the
school culture in order to gain a better understanding of its role within the village; to
remove myself from a community house that had become cramped with the arrival of the
other resident teachers wife and regularly used as a meeting place by CONAFE,
therefore having a considerable number of people who came and went on a regular basis;
and lastly, to show my appreciation for a well-respected teachers offer of another

135
residence within a ranch compound. In that location, I would have my own room in a
building shared with a family of four.
Apart from daily contact at the school that included attendance at all student
assemblies, faculty meetings, and regular reports on the status of my investigations
during the research period, I attended a large number of community events. These
included: five fiestas del tambor traditional child ceremonies (two in Tateikita, two in a
neighboring ranch cluster known as Robles with a teachers family, and another in yet a
third ranch known as Ocolote)\ participation in two Mexican Flag Day festivals within
the village, one Independence Day celebration, two celebrations for the patron Saint of
the village; attendance and participation at two traditional community-wide assembly
meetings in the community head of Tateiki; four assembly meetings in Tateikita, two
graduation ceremonies of the primary school, and one of the CETMK school in
Tateikita,b and finally, one despedida (parting ceremony) of peyoteros from Tateikita and
subsequent festivities surrounding their arrival back in Fall 1999.
In addition to occurrences within Tateikita, I also went along with one other
teacher from the school as chaperones for a trip by second year students to Mexico City
during an eight-day period, in May 1999. It was during this trip that I was to learn that it
was the second year group of students rather than those in the third year who were the
most outgoing. Over the course of the trip, I was able to closely observe the actions of
Huichol youth with the outside world, as many of them had never been outside the Sierra
before, and had not previously seen the city and its lifestyle. I established close bonds
Q
The closing of a second school year was missed, but I was able to interact with newly
graduated students from the CETMK shortly thereafter in July 2000.

136
with them that would endure throughout my remaining time in the Sierra, especially
during the fall semester of the following academic year. Lastly, I traveled to several
remote ranch clusters by family and student invitations during the period from 1998-
2000. These visits allowed me to observe similarities and differences between lifestyles
in Tateikita and those in outlying remote areas.

CHAPTER 5
DOING APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY AMONG THE HUICHOL
Applied Anthropology and the Question of Researcher Roles
The research conducted for this dissertation and data collected are the result of
doing applied anthropology. Because of the nature of applied anthropology versus
traditional anthropology, a brief discussion of its meaning and impact on my fieldwork
are necessary.
Applied anthropology, as expressed by van Willigen (1993:7), is simply
anthropology put to use. It is a synthesis between theory and practice in cultural
problem solving. It is also known as the service of anthropology to organizations,
businesses and other groups because the anthropologist is frequently contracted by one of
these affiliates. When it is done as a fulltime occupation, it is known as practicing
anthropology (Van Willigen 1993:7). In applied anthropology, the researcher usually
fills a consulting or collaborative role that may be paid or unpaid. The assumption is that
the history of anthropological ethics is such that the anthropologists of new must atone
for the sins committed by anthropology in the past. It is believed that anthropological
research has historically exploited indigenous peoples and other ethnic groups purely for
the sake of research itself. Any research results were either not shared with informants
and cultural groups, or in no way contributed to their own benefit. The knowledge
retrieved from these types of traditional research is often considered stolen by locals
who considered it sacred intellectual property. Many local people felt as though the
137

138
results of anthropological research did not accurately represent their beliefs and often
used marginalized informants who contributed lies, suspect, or misleading information to
anthropologists. This information was subsequently recorded as fact. The resulting
information then contributed to the creation of cultural stereotypes and biases used by
dominant society to exploit a minority culture, or to maintain its subservience.
Recently, those who feel they have been exploited, particularly indigenous
activists and intellectuals, have acted out in ways that cry for reforms in the way
anthropology is done. Among some peoples, steps were taken to prevent the further
exploitation of indigenous knowledge by restricting access to it as intellectual property
and traditional cultural property, thereby putting the property under localized control.
Some societies outright prohibited anthropologists from conducting research, while still
others demanded something in return, a compensation, for their information (Greaves
1995).
The Huichol are quite suspicious of anthropology and anthropologists in general.
Most all anthropology among the Huichol has focused on the religious aspects of the
culture (its ceremonies and practices, particularly, the peyote pilgrimage).1 Because of
this specialized focus and lack of attention to other cultural details, most especially
intracultural Huichol variation, the Huichol hold very opinionated views of this type of
work that explains bits and pieces of their own private knowledge to the outside world,
but does little for their own benefit, especially when the transcripts and publications of
1 See Furst (1969), Ibez and Lavidon (1997) Mata Torres (1970), and Myerhoff (1974)
for examples of the religious-dominated themes of Huichol ethnography. Also, a
Japanese film crew recently came to Tateikita to film peyoteros in what locals say was a
payoff of traditional authorities with alcohol and other luxury items.

139
these ceremonies are frequently not accessible to them, or are in a language they cannot
understand.
When I first approached the Huichol in Tateikita about doing anthropology on
culture change and formal education, I pointed out that I was not just another foreign
anthropologist who was interested in becoming rich through writing and selling books
containing Huichol lies.2 In a school and open community meeting in September 1998,
1 announced my intended research to all who came to listen. I made it clear that I in no
way intended to profit from any of my work and that the results were to be fully shared
with the school and community. It was at this meeting that I was given permission to
pursue my research. The community was certain, however, to place a number of
demands and restrictions on my research. These included my duties as an English
teacher at the CETMK and assistant to the directors for the following year. In addition, I
was restricted from writing about anything religious, taking pictures that did not involve
my research at the school, using video, and was restricted in my travels.3 I was to keep
the local comisario informed of my comings and goings and was not allowed to travel
outside the village on my own. I was told that these restrictions were for my own safety.
Although these restrictions were eventually relaxed, they were taken very seriously. At
the same time, I offered my assistance in helping to keep the school going and specified
2 While in Tateikita, I repeatedly heard criticism of the work of several authors by
teachers of the CETMK who referred to anthropologists as liars who do not record the
truth, and only wish to make a profit.
3 Local Huichol traditionalists, marakate in particular, believe that video and pictures
remove portions of their spiritual power. Even when eventually permitted, photos of
people and ceremonies were limited to specific requests to do so by the subject or at my
prior request.

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that I would seek to find materials that could benefit the school. I had intentions from the
beginning that were to help them succeed in their language and culture preservation
efforts by working collaboratively and acting as a consultant for any problems they might
see in the school. I made it clear that I had previously worked with indigenous cultural
education while obtaining my Masters degree at Northern Arizona University. I told
them about various Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni projects that I thought could assist the local
Huichol in their pursuit of self-determinist education.
One of the difficulties in doing applied anthropology is that the researcher must
fill a variety of roles that may include consultant, impact or needs assessor, planner,
manager, or therapist (Van Willigen 1993:3-5). While at the same time aware that I was
labeled as an anthropologist, I made it a point to stress my concentration in education,
as a teacher more than as an anthropologist. I told them that the bulk of my past research
had to do with indigenous language and culture education, and that I was all but a few
courses shy of holding a doctorate in education, as well as my pursuit of a doctorate in
anthropology at the University of Florida.
It is a well-known fact in applied anthropology that an anthropologist may work
under titles that obscure his or her anthropological specialization (Chambers 1989; Van
Willigen 1993). While I was an anthropologist, I was at the same time a teacher and a
student, willing to accept criticism along the way. An important part of professional
development is that an applied anthropologist realizes that he or she must be versatile by
possessing training in multiple areas, be it in education, business, or, as I was for years
myself, technology and computer information systems. Not only was I confronted with

141
the role of research, but also I was being called on to fulfill the additional roles of
teacher, consultant, and administrative assistant.4
The type of research called for in order to work with the Huichol is what is known
as advocacy anthropology. Community advocacy anthropology can be summarized in
the following way:
Community advocacy anthropology is a value-explicit process by which
the anthropologist as researcher acts to augment and facilitate
indigenously designed and controlled social action or development
programs by providing data and technical assistance in research, training,
and communication to a community through its leadership. Although
community advocacy is primarily a research activity, the anthropologist is
also involved in change-producing action. The anthropologist serves not
as a direct change agent but as an auxiliary to community leaders (Van
Willigen 1993:109).
As a teacher within the school, I worked within the mission of the school and
greater community to promote indigenous-centered development. Advocacy
anthropology, however, was not the only method used. Along with the role of an
advocate, as a teacher and researcher I was thrust into the role as a culture broker
internally within the school between teachers and students, and also between factions
within the local community, as I attempted to build communication channels between
social and ideo-political classes of people that make programs more open and responsive
to the needs of the community, and of improving the communitys access to resources
(Van Willigen 1993:126). Important to this role is an understanding that factions are
equal or cocultures, and that the anthropologist is a mediator or link between these
groups (Van Willigen 1993:127). The role of culture broker is especially difficult, as the
4 I clarified directions and assisted in filling out paperwork for numerous state agencies,
headed grade calculations, edited and revised a music and dance program grant, and
typed memos and reports with the CETMK director.

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mediator must be familiar with the positions of competing cocultures and serve to unify
them based on a shared mission. It is an extra complexity when the mediator is working
in an indigenous community and is not indigenous his or herself, as was my case.
Longitudinal work and rapport-building become key contributors to the success or failure
of such a role.
Traditional anthropology is usually at odds with applied anthropology when it
comes to being paid for research, conducting research with a specific agenda already
in mind, or by seeing the applied anthropologist as unable to maintain research
objectivity. These issues make the study of ethics and ethical research conduct of
particular importance for applied anthropologists (Van Willigen 1993:41-54). While
these are valid areas of concern in applied anthropology, I feel I must clarify my position
in regards to each.
First, I was not paid for my research. As part of an agreement with a host family,
I was given a place to stay in Tateikita and would eat with household members of a
teacher at the CETMK. In return, I would offer manual labor and contribute to a kitchen
cooperative that consisted of the teachers immediate family, three CETMK students
staying at their residence, and one other teacher from the CETMK. All contributed food
items to the maintenance of the kitchen and bought necessary items, or contributed
monetarily to it. Over time, I learned that locals were impressed that I had come from
so far to be with them, without compensation of any sort. Because I was there of my
own free will and accord, people were open to me that might not otherwise have shared
their thoughts and opinions quite so openly.

143
Second, goal-specific research is a criticism of traditional anthropology. On both
conscious and subconscious levels I wanted the school to succeed. If that had not been
the case, I do not believe anyone would have given me the opportunity to do my research.
Everyone knew that the CETMK held a probationary status within the SEP and that
anything written that spoke negatively of the school might damage the Huichols ability
to maintain it. As a part of my research dealt with identifying problems seen in the
schools daily activities, I was to give regular informes (reports) on my research and what
I saw occurring at the school. I informed the school and community that these analyses
were to identify current problems as well as potential problems so that they could decide
any necessary actions that should be taken.
Third, my role as a teacher at the CETMK, as well as researcher and teiwari
(outsider), contributed to my ability to obtain a grasp on both emic and etic aspects of
school culture. The anthropologist Marvin Harris (1980, 1990) has expressed that a
researcher can never truly understand the emic aspects of culture because he or she is not,
and never can be, a member of the subjects being studied. In his opinion, etic research
techniques can only lead to an understanding of etic structures. But this, in his opinion, is
part of doing scientific research.
In applied anthropology, the lines between emic and etic become blurred. An
anthropologist is thrust into a position that makes one a subject, as well as an object, of
the research process. By being a teacher at the CETMK, I became part of the school
culture itself, no-doubt affecting the very environment I was attempting to research by
my presence within it. At the same time, I was an outsider, soliciting information about
culture change and education. On a personal level, I did not see my dual status as

144
problematic. I knew that while I was teaching, I would still never be one of them. At
the same time, I could use my regular involvement at the school to ease my integration
into the life of the participants in the school. I was identified as an educator, a researcher,
and a friend at the same time. My status as an outsider, especially one who was friendly
and involved himself in as many activities in the life of the school as possible, greatly
eased my ability to get to know students, teachers, and parents. I was openly critical of
anthropology that did not benefit the needs of the community, and little by little, people
took notice of this fact. By the end of my research time in the Sierra, I had changed
internally through the various people I had met and who had shared their lives with me.5
Doing Anthropology in a Huichol Community
I have already mentioned the importance of approaching anthropology among the
Huichol from an applied anthropological focus. One of the most difficult endeavors was
gaining rapport with community members, as opposed to those involved in the school.
Because anthropologists were considered distrustful, I tried to downplay this aspect of
myself as much as possible, while still remaining true to my research intentions. As I
was soon to learn, the Huichol regard honesty, respect, and integrity above all else.
After my initial presentation in Tateikita in September 1998,1 arrived once again
in the village in November of the same year. I took up residence in what was called the
casa de la comunidad (community house). This house was to become my primary
residence for the next five months. Consisting of two rooms and being only one of two
houses in Tateikita with an indoor toilet, it was considered lavish by local standards.
5 The Huichol, in general, are understanding of mistakes. Conduct must be watched at all
times, however, and will be noted by others. If something is done wrong, the accused
will likely be group sanctioned.

145
There was still no running water or electricity, but the community house was well built.
It was previously the home of a woman by the name of Kata and was sometimes
referred to as the house of Finerty. A woman by the name of Kathryn Finerty
constructed it during the 1980s. She had come to the village as a nurse and religious
missionary. At the time, Tateikita had no health center or medical doctor and she cared
for many patients, becoming a friend of the local community and immortalized in
Huichol lore as la seora kata (Ramirez de la Cruz 1995). She and her son Mike were
instrumental in preventing a smallpox outbreak in Tateikita and Tateiki through
vaccination in 1989. This same outbreak killed approximately 400 children in the
community of Tutsipe. Her son Mike has spent parts of more than twenty years in
Tateikita, and resided in the house while working as a biologist in the area.6 He
subsequently passed the house to the local community during the 1990s, whereupon
researchers and visitors used it over the following years.
At the CETMK, I began holding beginning English classes for all three grade
levels at the secondary school. In contrast to the classes of the other seven teachers at the
school, my classes were held chiefly in Spanish. It was interesting to note that I was
using my second language (Spanish) with limited Spanish proficiency students who also
N
held Spanish as a second language, in order to teach them a third language (English). I
was surprised with the ease with which they grasped a third language, especially when I
took an approach that solicited the students themselves for things they wanted to learn
6 Mike continues to visit the community annually and assist them in science projects. He
was instrumental in helping me maintain my connections with the outside world during
long periods of isolation in the Sierra, as well as supplying me with his long-term
knowledge of community members and relations in Tateikita.

146
how to say. As time progressed, we moved from common salutations to a more thematic
approach involving getting about in a city and shopping. The classes turned into
more than just English classes, but were discussions about life in the United States and in
Mexico. I used these classes to dispel myths about American life and economic success.
We talked about the reality of families and city life. Students did not know that there
were also native peoples in the United States, nor did they know about the similarities in
their own history with that of native peoples across the border. English classes became a
way to interact with students both formally and informally as we learned more about each
others cultures. Teaching English also helped me to build up a vocabulary in Huichol by
asking students how something was said in Huichol as compared to the Spanish and
English equivalents.
Aside from my English classes at the CETMK, I became as involved as possible
in the affairs of the school. The school is best considered as a unique community in and
of itself. School days are long, running from eight in the morning until five-thirty or six
in the evening, with only a two-hour recess in the afternoon for lunch. Teachers and
students have many duties to perform apart from being in the classroom, and these duties
build strong alliances between teachers and students that go beyond their respective
formal educational roles. All work is done cooperatively, rather than individually,
stressing the importance of sharing and working together for everyone. Sports take an
important role among the culture of the school, and teachers, if able, are expected to
supervise and participate in recreational events and tournaments. For boys, this is soccer;
for girls, it is volleyball. Both play basketball. Team competition is important for

147
fortifying group solidarity. Boys teams, especially, travel regularly to other Huichol
villages to compete against mission and telesecundaria teams throughout the Sierra.
Living WixarikaBeing Teiwari
One of the most difficult tasks for anyone wishing to integrate into a foreign
culture or community lies in the ability to adjust ones lifestyle to be compatible with the
culture at hand. The Huichol lifestyle in Tateikita, because of its educational focus,
enables people to be much more sedentary than in other homeland villages, including the
community head of Tateiki. Tateikita is still uniquely Huichol despite the infusion of
educational centers, a largely ignored Franciscan mission, and a health-care center.
Huichol is the language of choice and is used exclusively in daily conversation. It is only
in the presence of an outsider, a teiwari, that Spanish may be spoken, and then, only
when the speakers wish the teiwari to understand.
Although Huichol is used exclusively, some Spanish words, primarily for items or
concepts that have no Huichol equivalent, have been adopted. Children, teachers, and
those who have traveled or spent time in the city are most likely to be bilingual, although
degrees may vary significantly from one individual to another. Among non-teachers and
students, men are more likely bilingual than women. When it comes to literacy rates,
most Tateikita residents are not literate (i.e., cannot read or write) in their own language
or in Spanish. Due to recent standardization efforts in Huichol orthography and phonetic
transcription, including an aggressive effort to provide medical information in Huichol
for monolingual speakers, it is now not uncommon to see advisories posted in Wixarika
(Huichol) (see Figure 5.1).

148
PETIKUYE?
awiweyametsie CANCER X-f KA
0XE1YANI, PUYU UAYEMARIN+A
Figure 5.1. Huichol Cancer Advisory. (Source: Secretary of Health, Jalisco).
Life in Tateikita revolves around both religious and school, or secular, calendars;
otherwise, there is not much difference between any given weekday. Saturdays continue
to be work days and will often involve community projects such as fixing the road to
the village or mending the barbwire fence around the airstrip in order to keep out animals.
All local communal projects come under the jurisdiction of the comisara (commissary or
mayors office). While community improvement projects generally take place on
Saturdays, this is no hard and fast rule. Women must clean (sweep) the plaza area on a
rotating schedule a couple of times per week, including Sundays, and after, or before, all
public ceremonies or meetings.

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For residents of Tateikita, life begins at the crack of dawn where women will arise
to begin to prepare tortillas for the morning meal.7 The most frequent accompaniments at
8
breakfast are eggs or beans purchased from one of the locally owned shops in Tateikita.
For some this will be their only meal all day, apart from a few tortillas in the afternoon
and evening. Other students of the CETMK eat with their families at their home ranches
and then will walk to school. Otherwise, those students who are being boarded with local
families will eat with them. Those who do not have a host family in Tateikita will
frequently go without breakfast until a break in morning classes, when they will have a
type of school lunch provided by a cooperative kitchen for a small fee of several pesos.
For primary students, boarding is almost exclusively at an INI-sponsored albergue
(dormitory) that provides three meals a day to students.
To live the Huichol way means to be at harmony with ones surroundings.
There is no electricity, and, oftentimes, running water, in Tateikita. The sun and the
seasons therefore determine the length of a productive day. The Huichol are quite open
among themselves. Because labor is usually cooperative, there is little room for
individualism. To be independent is looked down upon because no one can survive
under such harsh living conditions without the assistance of family and friends. As a
result, kin play an important role in daily affairs. It is not unheard of for distant kin to
7 Although com is usually nixtamalized (boiled with lime) in the evening, the resulting
mix must be ground, watered, pressed, and baked on a comal. A typical adult will
consume 6-8 tortillas at a meal.
8 The Department of Infants and Family (DIF) has unsuccessfully tried to get the Huichol
to raise chickens. Most obtain small amounts of money monthly for food from various
development agencies, student scholarships from INI or CONAFE, family planning
through PROGRESA, and agricultural assistance agencies such as SEDESOL.

150
visit and stay for unspecified periods of time. They may help relatives with chores or
horticulture in exchange for a share of the coming harvests returns. Along with a dislike
for individualism comes a dislike for the values associated with it: greed or self-
indulgence, extravagance, and exploitation of others. To be Wixarika (Huichol, or of the
Huichol way), one must realize that all space is shared space and all property is
communal property. Although you may be the one who purchased something, others
have a right to its use. Concerns of the family, in progressing levels of importance
starting with more distant kin, are more important than personal endeavors.
In integrating myself into the village and culture of the school, I chose to
participate as much as possible in village daily life. I ate the same foods as the villagers,
worked on cooperative group projects with locals, and assisted in the chores of several
families whether preparing tamales for a ceremony, working on a ranch, or picking com
in the harvest season. Because of my involvement with parents during the construction
of one of the CETMK classrooms, I was given a Huichol name, Xaureme, which was to
stick with me throughout my time in the Sierra.9 Learning Huichol proved to be a very
difficult task, and few non-Huichol have ever achieved fluency in it. For that matter,
Spanish was generally used with me in my daily workings in the community, although I
made an effort to gradually introduce more and more Huichol into my own speech over
the year and a half in Tateikita. By the end of my research period, I could grasp a general
9 The name, in keeping in line with Huichol humor, carries a double meaning. It refers to
the stage of the com when it is mature, ripe, dry, and ready to be picked (referring to my
time of arrival in the Sierra). It also referred to my baldness (the husk has begun to fall
away).

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understanding of conversations in Huichol, especially when Spanish words were
substituted, but my own speech remained limited.
The Huichol tend to be impressed by someone seeking to live as they do rather
than worry about the conveniences of the city. They refer to people who can do so as
strong, which is not sex-determined, but rather comes from an internal strength that
most Huichol feel Mestizos do not possess. The local doctor lisa, whose husband was in
Tateiki, was the only woman other than Kata to live for an extended period of time in
Tateikita. Her replacement, a male, did not last even a year, despite regular departures to
the city.
Working in a Closed Corporate Community
I have previously stated that on the surface Huichol society appears to be typical
of Eric Wolfs (1957, 1986) concept of a closed corporate peasant community. In
order to appear to the outside world as a closed community, the Huichol have constructed
a number of mechanisms for solidifying their cultural integrity. Linguistically, the term
teiwari (other) serves as a way to reinforce us and them distinctions. Similarly,
distrust can serve as both a positive way to reinforce self-identity, yet at the same time
function in a negative fashion to reinforce ethnic boundaries and stereotypes from the
outside.
Huichol identity negotiation appears to revolve around the construction of internal
and external stereotypes regarding culture. The propagation of myths and stories
surrounding different cultures serve to solidify ethnic membership by distancing oneself
from foreign values, concepts, and ideas. It can be regarded as a coping mechanism to
the anomie coping mechanisms of the Huichol. The situation, then, becomes one of

152
whether or not the Huichol can maintain their illusion of being a closed corporate
community in order to retain a separate identity, as long as possible, amid a changing
cultural scenario.
Tateikita, while once more remote than it now is, has been the focal point of
educational reform and experiments for the past decade. The recent arrival of the road, as
previously mentioned, has changed the economy of the region and brought outsiders to
the village by plane and vehicle. News is still sparse in the village, as newspapers and
magazines only rarely reach the region, but battery-operated radios have become a staple
in nearly every household. The presence of a radio station broadcasting from Jesus
Maria, a Cora settlement at the Western edge of the Sierra Madres in Nayarit, has brought
world and local news to the Huichol homeland. Sponsored by the Instituto Nacional
Indigenista, the Voz de los cuatro pueblos (The Voice of the Four Peoples) broadcasts
news in Spanish and four different indigenous languages throughout the day. For most, it
is their only contact with the news.
The Concept of the Teiwari (other) in Huichol External Relations
A fundamental concept in Huichol relations becomes that of the teiwari (other).
Von Groll (1997) explored this notion in her psychological thesis about the founding and
first year of the CETMK. In contrast to Rojas (1999a), who found the CETMK as an
experiment in finding an intercultural space, the idea of the negotiated other still
figures prominently into Huichol reasoning. Barth (1973) and Erickson (1993) discuss
the importance of boundaries in ethnic group formation. One of the fundamental
anthropological concerns to ethnic identity reinforcement involves the ability to
distinguish ones self from that of the other. The Huichol term teiwari has been loosely
translated by various sources as other, neighbor, and Mestizo or non-indigenous

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(Furst and Schaefer 1994; Iturrioz Leza 1995:83, Von Groll 1997). From my
observations of the use of the term among those of Tateikita, it appears best to use
outsider or not one of us. I have only heard it used with myself on a few occasions,
and it is often used in a derogatory way to refer to that person or in a plural sense as
teiwaritsie (those other people).10 The use of the concept helps define the in-group and
out-group boundaries of Huichol membership, and is therefore fundamental to
understanding Fluichol identity negotiation. The following section discusses the use of
distrust as a boundary defining mechanism between Huichol culture and the outside
world.
Huichol Distrust: Reporters, Franciscans and Ethical Conduct
I have mentioned previously that the Huichol are particularly suspicious of
outsiders. It is not caused so much by the fact that one is not Huichol, as it is by a self
protection mechanism. Unless one is connected with a state or government organization,
people are generally silent and keep to themselves, choosing not to involve themselves in
the concerns of the outsider. After the secretive work of anthropologists and reporters
who have visited the Sierra and written about the romanticized primitive and savage
Huichol over the decades, the Huichol have made it especially difficult for anyone as an
individual to penetrate their life. Distrust and suspicion of visitors run rampant among
elders and adults, though less so among naturally curious children. The media,
accentuating and propagating rumors that the rural Huichol are indeed savage and
10 In my case, a primary teacher who was upset that I had reserved a seat on a flight to
Tepic from Tateikita used it once. Just before the planes departure, he had decided to
take his wife and child with him on the flight, yet there was not room for all of us. He
was expressing his disgust by asking the pilot to leave the other one and come back for
him later. I promptly relinquished my seat.

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unfriendly toward outsiders, has played up Huichol distrust of the outside world. The use
of media stereotypes justifies an apathetic attitude toward the Huichol, and subsequent
reluctance of organizations to become involved in their assistance. The following cases
illustrate cultural misunderstandings of the Huichol.
Shortly after my arrival into the heart of Huichol territory, an incident involving
an American reporter was to quickly make the world aware of this isolated region of the
world. In early December 1998, the American reporter Philip True wandered into the
Sierra with little more than a fancy camera and hiking gear. His goal was to penetrate the
Huichol world and document their culture for a future story in the San Antonio Express
Times newspaper. Ten days into his solo sojourn into the rugged world of the Huichol,
he was reported missing. Shortly thereafter, his body was recovered in a riverside grave
not far from Tateikita, near the village of Yoata.
Trues death became a matter of international intrigue, bringing reporters,
government officials, and military personnel from both the United States and Mexico to
the region, many stopping in Tateikita. The rumors surrounding his death were
numerous: he had stumbled upon a marijuana-growing operation and was murdered; he
had accidentally fallen off a cliff, was found and buried; he was murdered for his
expensive accoutrements; he was killed for trespassing in homesteads and sacred sites
(Zarembo 1998).
Rumors aside, the event sparked an international outcry to find the truth
surrounding the incident. In a media frenzy, the Huichol were variously described as
uncooperative and unfriendly. How could an American reporter have died in such a
pristine locale? As the stories and autopsy unfolded, he had indeed been murdered and

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the police apprehended two Huichol suspects in the case. Although the true story may
never be known, the brothers tried for the murder contested that the reporter had been
drinking, snapping photos of places, and trespassing in and around their ranch (Zarembo
1998:11).
Talking with locals and showing them photos of the suspects (see Figure 5.2),
members of Tateikita immediately responded with the following statements:
No son huicholes. Son cholos. [CETMK estudiante]
They arent Huichol. Theyre cholos.11 [CETMK student]
¡Mira como son! Son narcos . su ropa, todo. [Dueo de una tienda]
Look at how they are! Theyre drug dealers.. .their clothes, and
everything. [Shopkeeper]
No representan a nosotros. Son de un rancho aislado. A veces hay.
[CETMK maestro]
They dont represent us. Theyre from an isolated ranch. Sometimes
there are people [like that]. [CETMK teacher]
The initial Huichol reaction appears to be much the same as my own initial
reaction to the photograph and story. The overwhelming reaction was that Chivarra and
Hernndez, the accused murderers of Philip True, were not characteristic of their own
culture, but rather marginalized members of Huichol society, or urban Huichol who
had very limited ties to traditional Huichol society.12 In a discussion at the CETMK, I
publicly denounced the tactics used by True in his research, affirming their own
11 For the Huichol, the term cholo represents gangbangers and others involved in the
illicit drug trade, usually urban Mestizo youth.
12 This is in spite of the fact that the brothers-in-law reported to authorities that they were
in the process of making a visit to a shrine to leave offerings when they encountered True
on the road.

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conceptions that True had not followed proper protocol by visiting a remote region
without obtaining all the proper permissions, without speaking the language, and without
a native guide. Moreover, he had camera equipment openly about him and was taking
pictures as he went along. A seasoned hiker as True claimed to be, should have
known better, according to Huichol sources. I compared Trues demise to someone
visiting an unknown urban neighborhood or hiking alone in the mountains of the United
States. No one would do that there, so why would True think he could do so in Mexico?
Figure 5.2. Philip True Murderers as Portrayed by the American Media (Source:
Newsweek 1998:12).
What this case illustrates is the perpetuation of the myth by the media, particularly
the American media, of the Huichol Indian as uncivilized. Those who knew of the case
and then saw how they (the Huichol) were presented by the media were upset with the
whole affair, seeing their misrepresentation as yet another form of cultural domination
by the dominant Mexican culture and American society. As locals learned that I did not
condone Trues conduct, the case became a joking matter for them as they referred to

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True as tu paisano (your fellow countryman) or tu hermano / eku matsika (your elder
brother) whenever his name was brought up.13 From the perspective of intracultural
variation, the Huichol did not acknowledge the murderers as characteristic of typical
Huichol individuals. Instead, the Huichol immediately branded them as outsiders
within their own culture (by dress and actions).
A second case in point about stereotypical Huichol distrust is self-deprecated
coming from the vantage of Franciscan missionaries. The first story comes from a
student soccer trip to play against the Franciscan mission team at Santa Clara; the
second, from a community assembly meeting in Tateiki in Spring 1999.
In the first instance, after the soccer teams had played, they were invited back to
the mission for a meal. With myself and two other Huichol teachers as chaperones, we
arrived back at the mission where all were escorted inside to eat pozole (a soup-like pork
and corn dish). Students rushed inside to eat, but there was some apprehension on the
part of the two teachers to partake of the meal. They remarked:
Quieren convertimos . hacemos catlicos.
They want to convert us . turn us into Catholics.
La comida mata. Te hace enfermo.
The food kills. It makes you sick.
Los padres . son padres de familia. Tienen mujeres y quieren ms.
The fathers ... are parents. They have women and want more [of them].
13 Newsweek did not publish the authors written rebuttal of the negative media image
portrayed of the Huichol since it attributed Trues death to unethical conduct and lack of
common sense.

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Reluctantly, all eventually went inside to eat. While the Franciscan brothers
oversaw the meal, student musicians performed, as did a group of students from the
mission school. Apart from the music, there was no observable intermingling with either
the Franciscans or the mission students. After the meal, and subsequent return to
Tateikita, some students fell ill from the food (more likely from consuming too much),
but it was attributed by the CETMK director to Franciscan desires to do away with the
Huichol:
Los franciscanos nos quieren matar. Ponen veneno en la comida. Por
qu la comieron?
The Franciscans want to kill us. They put poison in the food. Why did
they eat it?
While this appeared to be the judgment of the school director, it was not that of
the students. I, myself, became ill later, but from lombrices (intestinal worms), probably
resulting from poorly prepared pork. It is interesting to note the purveyance of distrust by
the Huichol director. If there was such resistance against the Franciscans, it seemed odd
that students would be permitted to travel and compete against them in sport. Students
even had made cross necklaces that they wore to the mission, and during competition.
Some students had already self-proclaimed themselves as Catholics, while yet others
merely wore the crosses as a sign of friendship and good luck.14
The second event involving the Franciscans comes from the General Community
Assembly in Tateiki. At this meeting, held over four hours away by truck from
Tateikita, everyone arrived to find a state police presence at the meeting. Traditional
14 Huichol religion has appropriated Christian symbolism and iconography. For example,
Huichol gods eyes used in offerings and ceremonies are similar in design to Christian
crosses, but the eye represents tau (the sun god) or tatewari (grandfather fire), rather than
the Christian god.

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community-wide meetings by authorities are held twice annually. The presence of police
at the meeting seemed out of place. Although generally just observing, they did harass
some Huichol by searching their possessions and the area near the airstrip for peyote and
other contraband.15 When people asked why the police were there for a community
meeting, the response was that the Franciscans had seen truckloads of Huichol passing
in the night with their faces covered and probably carrying arms to Tateiki. Everyone
joked about this during the two-day meeting, as what had really been seen were people
arriving from the far comers of the community to attend the meeting. Attendance is
mandatory for all adult males (though exception is made for those who are away or
otherwise occupied, for which a hefty sum can be paid in lieu of attendance). In order
to arrive at Tateiki, the roads pass through the highest portions of the Sierra on the North
side of the Chapalagana River. At night it is especially cold and the road is treacherous,
dusty, and unpaved. What was probably seen was the fact that forty to fifty people will
crowd into the back of each truck, often standing. They will also cover their mouths with
bandanas to avoid choking on the dust. The Franciscans had referred to the arriving
Huichol as Zapatistas, which brought fear of an uprising and had ultimately resulted in
the arrival of police to monitor the community assembly meeting.
These stories illustrate both self-imposed and external distrust scenarios. They
show that the Huichol are aware of happenings outside the Sierra, yet at the same time,
they are coming to grips with their own history of domination by external forces. One of
the coping mechanisms for rapid culture change appears to be denial of these
15 This is despite possession of peyote by Huichol being constitutionally protected, most
especially in the traditional homeland.

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occurrences. The case of the Huichol murderers illustrates that rural Huichol have not
come to grips with their own diversity. Are these individuals really Huichol, or are they
something else? By clinging to limited definitions of identity based on appearance and
actions, the members of Tateikita showed their disapproval of what happened.
At the same time that they are portrayed as distrustful and a closed society by
Franciscans, the media, and other outsiders, the Huichol self-declare their own distrust of
the outside world by their reactions to happenstance occurrences such as people
becoming ill from food, or the story of why the police came to the assembly meeting
being attributed solely to the Franciscans. As will be explored in the next chapter, the
school becomes a location for the negotiation of Huichol identity, particularly among
youths who are confronted with traditional values that they must sort out with foreign
ideas.

CHAPTER 6
HUICHOL FORMAL EDUCATION AND THE CETMK
Building the Dream: The Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi (CETMK)
This chapter paints a picture of the organization of the CETMK, drawing from the
dialogue of Huichol faculty, students, and local community members of Tateikita.
Through narrative, I approach the daily life of the school, illustrating a typical days
classes and activities in the school. The chapter concludes by situating the school culture
within the context of a life-long learning cultural initiative and then comparing this to the
perceptions of the CETMK by the greater community. The articulation, or
disarticulation, of the school culture with the local community is exposed in a way that
offers insights into culturally directed educational development projects.
Personnel and Organization
The CETMK is organized with eight faculty/staff members, an advisory board of
padres de familia (parents), and an outside coordinator, Roco de Aguinaga, who
oversees the schools progress from within the ITESO (Instituto Tecnolgico de Estudios
Superiores del Occidente), its primary sponsor. Along with the coordinator exist a
number of administrative assistants in Guadalajara that serve as curriculum development
advisors for the teachers at the CETMK or serve other administrative functions such as
ensuring that proper forms and information reach the Sierra, and that teachers receive
their quincenas (biweekly salaries). She insists that her only role is as an advisor to
assure that that things go smoothly so that the SEP does not decide to close the school
161

162
or reorganize it in a way that takes the locus of control out of the hands of the Huichol, by
placing it under administrative scrutiny that might remove teachers or courses. The other
advisors are to help teachers with their shortcomings in standard academic areas such as
mathematics and science. They are especially useful when Huichol teachers must teach
these courses without laboratory equipment, electricity, or books. In addition, AS,
teacher of Huichol culture, has an aide who helps ensure that he has copies of important
materials to lecture from and that his lesson plans are complete and useful at all three
levels of the secondary school. As AS has the least amount of formal education of all
teachers at the CETMK, his advisors assistance is especially helpful for him to organize
his lectures on traditional culture, identity, and religion into an acceptable classroom
format.
Each of the eight teachers at the CETMK is responsible for two or three subject
areas at the CETMK. The following coded names and responsibilities are the teachers at
the CETMK from the fall of 1998 tthrough the fall of 2000:
CSD: Director of the CETMK. He teaches what is known as Actividades
Comunitarias, a catchall phrase for history, geography, and civics.
ADS: Director of the CETMK in 1998-1999. Though he stepped down as
director, he continued to be an important teacher of music, dance, and
theater at the school.
AD: Teaches first and second year mathematics and writing in Huichol at
all three levels. She is the only female instructor at the CETMK and
oversees womens physical education.
FDS: Local comisario in 1998-1999, FDS teaches indigenous rights to
second and third-year students, teaches three levels of Spanish, and
overseas daily journal writing in Spanish. He is also the schools musician
and teaches music classes.
RS: Taught two levels of mathematics and physics and chemistry to
second and third year students at the CETMK until his departure in
summer 1999 and subsequent replacement by L.

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L: Replacement teacher for RS during the 1999-2000 school year. L is
also the overseer of male physical education.
PGC: A Former teacher from Nayarit, PGC specializes in biology and
was educated by scholarship in biointensive agriculture at a course in
California. He teaches three levels of biology and biointensive agriculture
using a natural-organic view.
AS: The least educated of the CETMK faculty, but perhaps the most
adored father figure or elder for the school. He teaches three levels of
Huichol culture, and oversees daily journals done by students in Huichol.
E: Teaches carpentry and is in charge of school maintenance projects.
The cultural background of each teacher contributes to the unique teaching style
of each of the instructors. A brief biography of each one is important to understanding
their roles in the school culture of the CETMK.
Many family members in the local community are related to one another, and
therefore teachers are related to one another as well. At the CETMK, familial relations
between teachers are more distant. CSD, the director of the CETMK, was raised in the
city (Guadalajara). When commenting about his youth, he stresses how alienated he was
from his cultural identity, leading to why he chose to be a teacher.
En la ciudad, estaba muy pobre. A veces no com. Por eso me puse
diabtico. Tuve clases durante el da en la secundaria ... la prepa, la
normal... y a noche trabaj hasta muy muy tarde. Tuve mucha[o]
problema en la ciudad porque no habl espaol muy bien. Estudi ms
que los otros. Cuando regres a la Sierra, no me aceptaron ... ni mis
propios parientes . porque yo fui. Solo despus de unos aos
empezaron a aceptarme en la comunidad, y todava, a veces, tengo
problemas
In the city, I was really poor. Sometimes I didnt eat. For that reason, I
became diabetic. I had classes during the day in the secondary school. .
the preparatory, the normal [teachers school] . and at night I worked
until really really late. I had a lot of problems in the city because I didnt
speak Spanish very well. I studied more than the others. When I returned
to the Sierra, they didnt accept me . nor did my own relatives . .
because I left. Only after a few years did they begin to accept me in the
community, and still, at times, I have problems.

164
CSDs story illustrates his difficulty in dealing with the external culture of the
city. When he left, he was Huichol. But upon returning, he had to prove himself in
order to regain acceptance by his own people. The most fluent in Spanish and
knowledgeable about Mestizo culture and life, CSD uses his experience gained from the
city to explain the importance of education to understanding who you are as a culture.
He reinforces his belief in the CETMK through the poor experiences he had in the city.
CSD is also the most accepting of new ideas and student cultural variability at the
CETMK. His experience is that the best way to bring about changes in the system is to
work internally from within it.
ADSs story is similar to that of CSD, but instead of teaching about the dominant
culture, he instead focused on learning about traditional human rights, and on regional
dance and music. He also became actively involved in politics, even running as a
suplente with a representative on the PRI ballot in the mid 1990s. A forceful voice for
tradition, ADS is highly educated, with a university degree in the humanities. His duties
required him to be absent from the Sierra during much of his tenure as director of the
CETMK, a reason for complaints by some. ADS is knowledgeable about political
processes and procedural law, however, and for this he is admired within the local
community.1
AD is married to a local in Tateikita. She is especially interested in art, spending
much of her free time stitching bags, embroidering outfits, making beaded jewelry, and
caring for her children. She is popular among female students, who generally segregate
themselves from the male student population, forming their own cliques. It is not
1 Several shops within Tateikita have posters of ADS with the PRI candidates.

165
uncommon to find students trading patterns and designs with her. Without a secondary
level of education, AD, like all teachers at the CETMK, is gradually working to obtain
her official certifications to teach. She uses her artistic background to illustrate
mathematical concepts to students, and uses Huichol nearly exclusively in the classroom.
By working with the Center for Indigenous Languages at the University of Guadalajara,
AD became literate in Huichol, and now teaches this to students at the CETMK.
FDS is both a serious and a joking character at the same time. Always pointing
out that he is from Los Lobos (another ranch settlement four hours walk away), FDS is
charismatic, educated, eloquent, and highly musical.2 He could not have been appointed
local comisario without such skills. Always interested in indigenous rights, he is the
voice of activism at the CETMK. Like ADS, his responsibilities as comisario and
musician sometimes required periods of absentia from the school, calling for criticism of
his behavior at times. But his ability to return with stories and news about activities
outside the Sierra were important to the school and local community.
FDS is instrumental in teaching the skills necessary for educated, eloquent
speech, perpetuating the oral traditions of the Huichol culture. He encourages literary
skills in students, and helps them develop theatre and oral presentations to illustrate
concepts about indigenous rights and law, especially pertaining to ancestral lands and
sacred sites. Also, FDS organizes musical groups of female students, and has recently
recorded a commercial cassette with several graduates of the CETMK.
2 Huichol distances are always expressed in terms of how long it takes one to walk to a
location. When converting Huichol time and distances to Western ones, all numbers
should be multiplied by a factor of 1.5, since most Huichol under approximate time
without watches, and are familiar with terrain that is difficult for outsiders to traverse.

166
At the same time that FDS is a teacher at the CETMK, he must negotiate his
duties with the surrounding local community, feeling each often unfairly criticizes him.
FDS is the most closed individual of the CETMK as well (outside his school duties).
While other teachers frequently maintain relations with students inside and outside the
classroom, FDS does so with only a select group of musicians. In negotiating his roles as
comisario and teacher, FDS was never reluctant to show his disinterest in outsiders,
particularly Mestizos and anthropologists:
Por qu vengan aqu? Escriben sus libros de mentiras. Nunca nos
consultan. Yo los veo, estoy observando que hacen. Aqu es nuestro
territorio, kiekari. Vienen y compran cosas pero en secreto estn
escribiendo [haciendo movimientos de escribir en cuaderno], Y usted.
Qu escribes en tu cuarto? Te conocimos, pero los otros, no.
Why do they come here? They write their books of lies. They never
consult us [afterwards]. I see them. Im observing what they do. Here is
our territory, homeland. They come and buy things, but in secret they are
writing (making writing motions as if in a notebook). And you. What are
you writing in your room? We know you, but the other people, no.
RS was (is, because he continues to serve as an advisor while in the city) the most
openly Mestizo-ized of the Huichol teachers, but only on the surface. Instead of
dressing in traditional garb, RS, like his older half-brother CSD, preferred to wear non-
Huichol clothing. For RS, this was ranchera style clothingboots, shirt, and jeans.
Because of his youthful age, he was most aggressive in Huichol sports. Yet at the same
time, he endured the same harsh times in Guadalajara as his elder half-brother CSD, since
they were raised together. RS spoke and understood both Spanish and Huichol very well,
and was highly educated in mathematics. Married to his sister, a condition permitted
under unrestrictive Huichol marriage taboos, RS served as a role model for young male
students, in particular, who saw that they could be educated and still be Huichol. RS
frequently helped me with translations at meetings. Many faculty and students were sad

167
when RS left the school for the city once more. He had spent the previous year unpaid
due to contractual problems and was deeply in debt. Taking a scholarship to become a
licensed architect, RS enrolled in a five-year program for certification in Guadalajara. He
continues to serve as a curriculum advisor to the new teacher that replaced him and still
visits his family in Tateikita periodically.
L came to Tateikita after having recently gained certification in mathematics and
the sciences from a remote village in the community. Young, like RS, L easily took over
as a role model for younger males. He did not arrive until several weeks before my
departure in the fall of 1999, relieving me from teaching third-year mathematics, and I
did not get a chance to know him well. Student reactions implied that he was tough
and expecting, but at the same time, I heard no complaints about him as a role model.
PGC has a long past as a primary teacher in Nayarit and Waut+a prior to his
arrival to Tateikita in November 1999. With specialized training in biology and natural
sciences, PGC became the spearhead of an effort to expand the biointensive agriculture
program at Tateikita. Educated by one of the premier biointensive agricultural programs
in the World, Ecology Action in Willits, California, PGC learned all about biointensive
organic farming, and was brought to the CETMK to teach others how to make their soils
more productive.
PGC was my housemate for the first five months in the field, residing in the
community house with a CONAFE rural coordinator and myself. At the same time that
he is one of the most approachable individuals at the CETMK, he is the most elusive to
truly understand. Despite two years of knowing PGC, there are still things about him that
I do not understand. He has a long history of involvement with anthropologists, starting

168
with his filming by an anthropologist as a child when he first went on a peyote hunt
pilgrimage. He has also traveled extensively both in Mexico and in the Southwestern
United States, both legally and as a mojado (illegal transient). He admits that he could
have been a mara akame but never desired to be so, despite having made many trips to
Wirikuta (the site where the peyote grows).
The anomie of Huichol identity is perhaps best represented by PGC. He
struggles to accommodate his Huichol sense of self with the part of him that knows of
ways beyond the local level. He repeatedly would refer to anthropologists as liars,
much like FDS, and would tease me with such remarks all the time. Yet while he was
distrustful of outsiders, he was always the first to welcome visitors who arrived by plane
on the airstrip. He was always clever, looking for a chance to make a situation turn out
advantageous, yet at the same time PGC was always the brunt of bad luck.
Si me llevan a la ciudad, voy a la iglesia para rezar. Eso es que quieren.
If they [evangelists] take me to the city, I go to the church to pray. Thats
what they want.
Yo sal del mercado y pas por una calle. Es una calle prohibida ...
[nombre borrado]. Ah hay las viejas ... las prostitutas. La polica me
secuestraron y me llevaron a la crcel. Tuve que pagar y sin mi sueldo me
detuvieron. Decan, Tu ojo. Por qu est hinchado? Te peleaste? No
me creyeron. Les pagu todo que tena y en 24 horas, me dejaron en otro
lugar.
I left the market and passed down a street. Its an illegal street. .. [name
deleted]. There ... there are old women .. prostitutes. The police
kidnapped me and took me to jail. I had to pay, and without my paycheck,
they detained me. They were saying, Your eye. Why is it swollen? Did
you get in a fight? They wouldnt believe me. I paid them everything
that I had and 24 hours later they released me in another location.
Upon hearing such a story, I was suspicious about its accuracy. No one ever did
find out the truth, but at the same time, PGCs story did not sound at all unfamiliar to the

169
stories of other people who had traveled to the city. Regardless the accuracy of PGCs
story, it reflected Huichol distrust in the greater system, and these types of stories
abounded in an oral culture such as the Huichol. Such stories inflicted fear in students
and those unfamiliar with places outside the Sierra, strengthening group solidarity. The
same went for those who had encountered problems on a previous years peyote hunt,
where they were detained and the ceremonial harvest confiscated by the military
(Valadez 1998).
There is recognition among students and community members that teachers are
not infallible themselves, but are imperfect individuals who will sometimes make
mistakes. PGC mentioned that he used to have an alcohol problem, but that he does not
drink anymore because it makes him sick. Even a drop. Yet, on several occasions,
PGC or FDS would slip up and go on week-long drinking binges where they would be
absent from courses at the school. Such happenings provoked an atmosphere of sadness
at the school, and jeers from students and faculty alike. Through social pressures,
problems of this sort were usually quickly resolved at the CETMK, and alcohol was not
as much a problem there as it was in the general community and primary school.3
AS is the CETMKs elder-in-residence. With only a few years of primary
education, AS has remained committed to life-long learning, having taught himself to
read and write both Spanish and Huichol. A quiet and reserved man, AS always prefers
to think things through before voicing his opinion or making judgments. A voice of
3 One community meeting tried to make alcohol sales to teachers illegal in Tateikita. It
was voted down, largely by the voice of primary school teachers and shopkeepers who
were making money off the debts of teachers. CETMK members made a pact amongst
themselves not to openly consume alcohol because of its negative effect on students self
esteem.

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tradition, AS teaches Huichol culture and religion at the CETMK. At the same time that
he prefers traditional dress and conduct, AS remains open to new ideas and insights. An
avid news hound, AS is constantly reading and studying when not tending to his home
gardens, or raising cattle on his summer ranch. Despite being in his late 50s, AS still
commutes daily from his home on the ranch known as Robles and is probably the
strongest of all the CETMK teachers. He is a philosopher, poet, and mara 'akame
(thought he insists he is not officially one). Through his studies of Huichol mythology,
he probably knows more than the average mara akame, yet he is humble, accepting a role
in ceremonies only when asked by the presiding personnel.
Yo mismo me ense a leer y escribir. Nunca termin la primaria. No
acept a su sistema ... de los franciscanos. [Burlndose] Quieren
sentarme junto con los nunutsi. Yo leo muy despacito. Est difcil de
entender (refiriendo a un libro de historia wixarika que est leyendo).
I taught myself how to read and write. I never finished the primary. I
didnt accept the system... of the Franciscans. [Laughing] They want to
put me with the little children [babies]. I read very slowly. Its difficult to
understand [referring to a book on Huichol history that he is reading].
At the same time that AS knows that he is lacking in formal education, he knows
he is strong in other areas.
Los nios no saben de los dioses. No los conocen. Por eso recitamos los
nombres antes de cada clase. Para adorarlos . que sepan que les
apreciamos.
The children [students] dont understand the gods. They dont know
them. For that reason we recite their names before each class. To adore
them . that they know that we appreciate them.
AS is not without his critiques, which come mainly in the form of words from
local community members:
Cmo puede [l] dar clases en Wixal No participa [en las ceremonias].
No fue a Wirikuta con nosotros. Yo fui 15 veces, tal vez sta es mi
ltima vez. Soy viejo. (mara akame mayor de la comunidad)

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How can he give classes in Huichol? He doesnt participate [in the
ceremonies]. He didnt go to Wirikuta with us. I went 15 times; perhaps
this is my last time. I am old. (eldest mara akame and healer of the local
community)
AS becomes very emotional at such comments, responding in near tears:
Yo s participo en mi cultura. Voy a las fiestas. Estudio. No tomo peyote
porque me hace dao. Una vez cuando fue nio, lo tom . com
mucho.4 Me sent mal, mareado. Despus vi unas figuras . una vbora
en el camino. Me asust mucho.
I, yes, participate in my culture. I go to the festivals [ceremonies], I
study. I dont take peyote because it makes me ill. One time when I was a
child ... I ate a lot. I felt bad, dizzy sick. Afterwards I saw some figures.
. a snake on the path. It scared me a lot.
Along with CSD, AS is the most outspoken proponent of abstinence from alcohol
for teachers, students, and community members. He makes a strong separation between
tehuino (a maize beer used ceremonially) and beer and liquor. The first is considered
cultural; the subsequent items are not.
The last of the CETMK teachers, E is the behind-the-scenes man. An
accomplished gardener and carpenter, E is the maintenance person for the CETMK,
supervisor of carpentry, and assistant to PGC in horticulture. E does not have a primary
education either, but does not let this get in the way of his work. He has some reading
skills and good Spanish-speaking skills. He has been instrumental in organizing parents
and students to create the CETMK classrooms, library, and dormitories (see Figure 6.1).
Apart from classroom teachers, the CETMK organization also includes a network
of padres de familia (parents) of its students who meet at least once a month. In CETMK
culture, parents are the threads that hold the school together, for without their support and
4 Whenever possible, I have attempted to leave grammatical constructions in their
original spoken manner. Many people, particularly those without formal education, have
their own limited Spanish dialect.

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willingness to allow their students to attend, there would be no school. A significant
difference between the Huichol parent-teacher association and that of standard secondary
schools, both in Mexico and the U.S. is the level of involvement of parents within the
school.
Figure 6.1. Construction Meeting of padres de familia.
The padres de familia of the CETMK number about 75, with some parents in
charge of multiple students. What is immediately noticed is the commitment of fathers to
the educational process. At reunion meetings, it is the males who speak up and express
their concerns, sometimes in consultation with their spouses, but usually this is not the
case. The comments added by women are frequently ignored, unless they come from
single mothers who may be in charge of multiple children attending the school. As a way
to maintain close contact with the school during the long periods between meetings
(some parents travel by foot from as far as twelve hours away in order to attend
meetings), the president of the parents network is usually present at the school on a daily

173
basis, observing classes and giving reports to parents at the monthly meetings. Because
parents cannot always be there to oversee the activities of their children, the presidents
role requires a great deal of care, attentiveness, and discipline. He is frequently the brunt
of criticism when there are parents complaints about their childrens education or
conduct.
The president of the padres de familia happened to be the same individual during
1998-2000, although it is a position elected annually by parents. Antonio says:5
Yo. Yo no tengo dinero. Soy pobre. No me pagan. No puedo trabajar
bien, pero estoy aqu porque creo en los nios. Esta posicin no tiene el
respeto de la comunidad, de nadie. Est difcil. No tengo otra cosa. Para
m, la escuela tiene que ser Huichol, de nosotros. Wixa cien porciento.
I. I dont have any money. Im poor. They dont pay me [for this
position], I cant work very well, but I am here because I believe in the
students. This position [president of padres de familia] isnt respected by
the community, by anyone. It is hard. I dont have anything else. For me,
the school has to be Huichol, ours. 100% Huichol.
Antonio reiterates that he does not love the politics of the position, but loves to be
close to the children. He cannot always see everything that is going on, but parents
sometimes blame him for things when they go wrong. At one of the fundraising dances
for the queen candidates for the school, there were problems. Many community members
became intoxicated and demanded dances with the female dancers from the school. They
made a lot of money in two nights, but at the same time, the effects were devastating.
One girl was robbed off to the city to be wed; others felt very tired and used by the
solicitors. When Antonio refused to sell tickets to several drunk individuals, a scuffle
ensued, at which point Antonio resigned as head of the padres de familia, only to resume
tasks several days later at the insistence of teachers and students.
3 Not his true name.

174
Also vital to the life of the CETMK is the organization of students who use the
school as an experiment in youth-directed self-government. Because teachers leave the
internal organization to come from a student perspective, the student body determines
most extracurricular activities. These activities are primarily sports-oriented, including
soccer, basketball, and volleyball. They are team sports that foster cooperation over
individual achievement. By channeling student activity into cooperative sports and
activities, no one is meant to feel left out. If one is not part of a particular team for one
reason or another, that person generally is expected to provide a supportive sideline role
by helping to organize the event, providing music or commentary, or through serving
food or beverages.
As mentioned by Rojas (1999a, 1999b), student assembly meetings serve as
arenas for the practice of oral communication skills. The oral climate of participation has
also been compared to greater community assembly meetings (Corona 1998). One aspect
not mentioned by previous research, is the use of the assembly as a mechanism for
reinforcing social control and traditional values. At each assembly meeting, a regular
pattern includes the following:
1. Lista de asistencia (attendance roll call)
2. Eleccin del [de la] mesa de debate (the choosing of officers)
3. Lectura del acta anterior y anlisis, (recap of the previous meeting)
4. Puntos (several points pertaining to happenings at the school)
5. Asuntos Varios (assorted points of concern to all)
Within a Roberts Rules of Order structure, the actual meeting takes place.
Regular assembly meetings are held on Fridays, beginning at 11 or 11:30 am. It is not
unusual for them to continue until three or four in the afternoon. At each meeting, all

175
students and teachers are both expected and required to attend unless they have special
permission to be absent. They crowd into the classroom of the third year students (who
also comprise the yearly elected officers). All teachers take seats outside the classroom,
paying attention to the progress of the meeting and intervening when they feel it is
necessary, either to speed up the progress or to express a point of importance. Lastly, the
head of the padres de familia is also expected to be in attendance so that he can inform
the other parents about the meeting, as well as express any opinions on behalf of the
parents who cannot be in attendance.
The meeting begins with the reading of all class and teacher lists. Oral
0
confirmation is required to show ones compliance with compulsory attendance. The
next step is the selection of the officers of the debate table for that particular meeting
alone. These individuals are selected by tallying votes from students, and their positions
are expected to rotate so that the same person will never be the secretary, for instance,
on a regular basis.
After the selection of the meetings officers, the secretarys notes of the previous
meeting are read aloud to the entire student body. From this point, the meeting
progresses to reports from the yearly elected committee officers, such as the Treasurer,
who must report on the status of funds for the school store where refreshments and
snacks are kept. Once the avenue of communication shifts from written to oral, the
language shifts back to Huichol once again. At this point, there may be any number of
important points to be discussed at the assembly meeting. For instance, proposals for an
upcoming sports tournament or dance may be introduced. These points also include
matters for general consideration by all such as reflections on upcoming examinations,

176
classes, teachers, and project updates, such as progress on biointensive horticulture and
the building of the new library.
Like any democratic meeting, the debate table personnel control the pace of the
meeting, but no topic is dropped until it has been thoroughly addressed to exhaustion.
Teachers and parents are generally passive listeners, letting students sort out their own
plans and activities. The pattern changes, however, when students have introduced items
into the debate list that may include a discussion of upcoming examinations or some
other point that may affect more than just the student body.
The last item in the presentation is, perhaps, the most important of them all. This
is the Asuntos Varios (Miscellaneous Topics). This item, usually the longest, includes
considerable mediation and arbitration on the part of teachers and parents. Under
Asuntos Varios, the socialistic aspects of social control emerge. Each student, parent, or
teacher can introduce any topic for discussion. These are sometimes complaints by
students about the conduct of others at the school, or a parent may enter to publicly
reprimand his or her son or daughter for inappropriate behavior. For example:
Miranda enters the room with a stem look on her face. She proceeds to
reprimand her daughter in front of everyone for having run off with
another girl and disappeared for a couple days during which she didnt
attend school. The two had been down at the river picking fruits, but they
didnt inform anyone of their whereabouts and the family had been
concerned. She comments:6 Didnt you think about your mother? Your
brother? He didnt sleep because he didnt know where you were! How
could you do such a thing [run off]? At this point, YS begins to cry,
covering her face with her multicolored scarf. The rest of the room is
silent, realizing the graveness of YSs infraction.
These types of reprimands, while not a weekly occurrence, do serve to publicly
embarrass the student while at the same time making the group aware that the behavior is
6 Paraphrased translation with the assistance of the teachers PGC and RS.

177
inappropriate and will not be tolerated. The same occurred with the conduct of a
CETMK teacher who had to publicly admit his behavior after a week of drinking:
The student body president introduces the discussion of the absence of a
certain teacher during the past week. All know that he had been drinking,
as he had been seen wandering in the community listening to loud music
at all hours of the day and night. The students are upset and they call the
accused teacher into the room to explain the reasons for his behavior.
Upon entering the room, he begins to speak in a mix of Spanish and
Huichol: Yo estoy muy triste. No tengo dinero. Netumini. Me deben
por la hortiliza y no me pagan. La seora dice que quiere salir. (I am
really sad. I dont have any money. My money. They owe me for the
crops, but they dont pay me. My wife says that she wants to leave.) The
teacher is in near tears at which point the students and teachers begin to
ask why he chose to drink. Why didnt he ask someone for money?
they ask. The teacher responds that it is a problem for him, that he has
been borrowing for too long. He owes money to his kids in Tepic, but he
also has his family here [in Tateikita].
The problem was resolved by group effort whereby teachers offered to loan
money to the individual and provide free meals until the teachers payment situation was
resolved. In much the same way that the student was reprimanded, people showed then-
disparagement through disappointment in the teachers conduct, reinforcing the need to
be a positive role model for students.
The assembly system represents both the principles of Deweys notion of a
democracy of education (1938) and Habermas theory of communicative action (1992),
in which social actors are allowed to express their opinions freely without fear of
repercussions. Although not an ideal environment that Habermas admits himself is
necessary for a true emancipatory speech community, it is an avenue for discussion of
discourses and achievement of consensus. The portion pertaining to Asuntos Varios is
especially relevant because it is the point at which unwritten itinerary items can be
introduced into the conversation by anyone, whether student, teacher, parent, or local
community member.

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The selection of candidates for the yearly elected student council positions is by
democratic vote. An individual is chosen for a particular position not by wealth, but
through ones effectiveness in oral skills, mathematics, or in planning. It is not a
popularity contest. Since sports take an important role in student activities, one would
expect that a popular figure would become the school president.
In 1998-1999, the president was not a star on the soccer or basketball playing
fields. He was a musician who, while not the best student in his class, was quite skilled
orally. He was probably chosen because his neutral status made him an excellent
arbiter for matters erupting between student cliques.
Student council positions at the CETMK are not limited to males, either, as they
are in the general community. The vice-president for 1998-1999 was a female from
Tierra Blanca, a remote ranch settlement more than a days journey away. The president
for 1999-2000, BDD, was an exception to the previously chosen presidents. He was an
athlete, but he was also the most intelligent of the students (i.e., highest exam scores in
the CETMK) and an excellent speaker. Also, he was seen just as often with other
athletes, as he was with the general student body, and was always watching teachers
work, and helping out whenever he could. Although some might call him a teachers
pet, he never singled himself out for special treatment. He just performed well.
The role of the student council president as mediator is especially complicated, as
noted by the president, BDD, from 1999-2000:
No me gustan. Los hombres ni las mujeres. No tengo novia. No tengo
amigos. Esta posicin est difcil. Quiero renunciarla pero no me
permiten.
They [the students] dont like me. The guys or the girls. I dont have a
girlfriend. I dont have friends. This position is difficult. I want to
resign, but they wont let me.

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At the same time that BDD complained about the stress of his position, he also
freely talked about his beliefs and identity:
Yo soy catlico, pero soy Huichol tambin. Creo en Jess y creo en los
dioses. La escuela me ensea del mundo ajeno mientras soy quien soy.
No me pueden cambiar [los mestizos]. Ya lo s quien soy.
I am catholic, but I am also Huichol. I believe in Jesus and I believe in the
Gods. The school teaches me about the outside world while [still]
remaining who I am. They [the Mestizos] cant change me. I already
know who I am.
BDD, along with one other athlete, had been friends together at a Catholic
mission school prior to coming to the secondary school at Tateikita. BDDs mother was
also a teacher in La Cienega, a nearby ranchera of Tateikita. His educational upbringing
had no doubt affected his perceptions of education. In contrast to the others, however,
BDD was highly competitive in his academic endeavors, a position that may have
eventually caused some friction between himself and his colleagues. He avoided most of
his criticisms by maintaining close ties with sports. Interestingly, the highest averaging
student from the previous year also had a Catholic upbringing, and faced alienation from
the others. He did not hold a council position, however, instead remaining a loner, for the
most part. Upon graduation he attended a Jesuit Preparatory School, San Juan Coseln,
outside Guadalajara. This is the same institution both BDD and his closest friend desired
to attend.
Apart from social and administrative organization, the CETMK possesses a
dormitory system that may serve as an important impetus for maintaining group solidarity
among students and promoting the existence of a collective school culture. I have
previously mentioned that students, if they have the opportunity to do so, often will board
with relatives while attending the CETMK. Paying their way with any scholarship

180
money they may receive or by their parents, CETMK students who come from distant
locations will stay locally in Tateikita. Some, who do not have relatives in the area, stay
in the newly constructed dormitories at the CETMK that hold approximately five to six
students each. While male students used these, females, principally for safety
considerations, did not. Another group of four students from more distant settlements
rented a small vacant two-room ki (adobe house) and remained there during the week,
and sometimes on the weekends.
The local boarding of students has a positive effect on the school culture.
Because they are present within the community on a continuous basis throughout the
academic school year, they have the chance to bond both inside and outside the
classroom. The ability to stay together fosters identity formation and preservation in two
ways.
First, students do not make distinctions between their academic culture and their
daily lives. School culture becomes, in essence, part of their lives and ways of being,
thinking, and knowing. Students are not thrust into an atmosphere where they must
participate in one cultural behavior within the school and another outside of it. Native
language is used inside the school and at home, rather than being limited to one
environment or the other. For those who are not boarded, or come from more remote
locations that require travel to and from the school on a daily basis, group solidarity is not
as strong, since family obligations may take precedence over academic performance and
participation.
Second, the boarding of students at the school and in the village make them learn
to cooperate with others in order to survive. Similar to Johnstons Indian School Days

181
(1988) and Israels research on the Jewish kibbutz (1983), students use the collective
environment to experiment with roles and work together cooperatively on academic and
nonacademic work. Student collectives can also use such an environment to resist forms
of social control. In a case of possible resistance to their presence by the local
community, students can effectively engage in activities that do not involve the greater
community, such as organizing their own sporting events, playing music, and holding
dances. At the same time that such student cooperatives may cause a separation of school
culture from community culture, it can also help them resist rapid sociocultural change at
the local level (such as the infusion of a capitalist economy and individualist values).
Indigenous boarding of their own students differs significantly from off-
reservation boarding of students that previously occurred both in Mexico during the time
of the Casa del Estudiante Indgena from 1926-1932 and in the U.S. until the 1940s.
Both of these approaches towards indigenous education were assimilationist and
ethnocidal. In the case of the Casa del Estudiante Indgena, in particular, native students
were taken from their homes and sent to Mexico City to be educated where they were
stripped of native dress and values in an attempt to send them back to their homelands as
model teachers to encourage the same in their companions (Dawson 2001).
External Relations
The external relations of the CETMK can be broken down into three chief areas
of consideration: funding, the primary, and the greater local community. The funding
for the CETMK comes from a complex list of sources that include the Instituto Nacional
Indigenista (INI) along with the SEP, PROGRESA, the ITESO, and various donation
organizations.

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In terms of the ENI relationship with the CETMK, their actions come in the form
of scholarships to students who perform well academically. Bimonthly examinations
determine the top students who score, roughly, a B or higher (8 out of 10) average. These
students then become eligible for money from the INI for their good performance. The
money is distributed to parents through CONAFE, a rural education assistance
organization. CONAFE also distributes school materials such as notebooks, dictionaries,
and pens and pencils to students annually, but only to those who qualify through their
examination scores. While the idea behind the money is that it is to be used to reimburse
parents for their children attending school, this is not always the case. Some parents will
not use the money for their children, but instead will make use of it themselves. The
scholarships, as they are called, are about $20 U.S. / month / student.
One of the main problems with this system is that the students who perhaps most
need assistance do not receive it. While they are rewarded for performing well, the
Huichol value system is not based on individual competitive performance, which these
scholarships reward. Instead, introducing some sort of reward to those who are not
performing as well academically and may need incentive to perform better might help
reinforce Huichol traditional values. The lowest academic performing students usually
lack materials as well, having to borrow them from other students because no free
distribution system exists for classroom materials within the school, other than for texts
that students are not permitted to take home.7
7 Students at the CETMK can sign out texts through the library for use outside school,
but infrequently do so. It is not unusual to see only three or four names on the library list,
though more books may be missing. Students are not distributed texts to take home
because of the irregularity of the SEP delivering free texts to the CETMK. Texts arrive

183
A second source of funding comes from national cultural assistance organizations
such as SEDESOL (Secretary of Social Development), through its PROGRESA
(National Program of Education, Health, and Nutrition) program, and DIF (Department
of Infants and Family), that, while not direct educational institutions in and of
themselves, are responsible for child and family welfare and security. PROGRESA
awards mothers scholarships to assist in the nourishment of their children while the
students attend both primary and secondary school. In addition, DIF provides food items
and incentives to families in order to convince them to adopt a healthy diet for
themselves and their children.
A third source of funding for the CETMK is from the ITESO, the Jesuit
University of which the schools coordinator is from. With the insistence from the
CETMK coordinator that the university does not have catholicizing intensions behind it
(which I do not suspect as well), the ITESO does not directly provide money to students
or the school, but rather assists in teacher development through seminars, the payment of
curriculum and teacher aides, and assistance in negotiations with the Department of
Indigenous Education (DEI) of the SEP for the payment of CETMK personnel.8
The most complicated of the funding sources for the CETMK comes from
donations. These come from both private individuals and from NGOs (Non-
Governmental Organizations) or other civilian groups. The CETMK receives assistance
irregularly and change titles frequently, confusing both instructors and students who see
no coherency between one years materials and the next.
o
The CETMK does not possess its own set of faculty positions. Instead, positions are
borrowed from vacant positions at other primary schools throughout the municipality.
There is always the constant fear that a position may have to be eliminated because there
is a shortage of teachers in other areas.

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mostly from Europe (Finland) and from an Adventist missionary organization known as
the Amistad Foundation. Amistad has been responsible for securing the materials for
the new library and cultural center, one of the classrooms, and for sponsoring both the
education of PGC in biointensive agriculture in California, and start of the horticulture
project at the CETMK.
The funding of the CETMK is not without its criticisms. The problem from an
administrative position is that the SEP naturally favors a telesecundaria video school
model for rural areas. As a result, the CETMK is in a constant struggle to maintain funds
to continue to operate and develop new programs. Criticism arises when the funding
sources are beyond the hands of the Huichol themselves.
In the case of Amistad, their director and regional representative in Mexico
offered to assist the director of the school with obtaining funding for the new library,
most recently by acquiring books and materials. The decision to involve them was
accepted as long as any work was done in good faith. Their participation in the project
came with some resistance from the coordinator, and others, who saw the school
becoming externally, rather than internally, controlled. While some students have been
offered full scholarships to attend an Adventist preparatory school after graduation, the
tension remains strong among locals who know they need assistance and the fears that
may result from losing control over their own dream.
Fears are especially evident in the eyes of the coordinator and some teachers and
community members who say they are keeping a close watch on what is going on. But
criticisms also reach the level of the local community, those who are not integrated into
the culture of the school and, therefore, cannot understand the reasons why certain

185
decisions are made within the school. These non-participating members see the school as
a model that began with a Huichol dream of education that has now moved to an ITESO-
controlled bureaucracy and experimental plan. Illustrations of this include the bringing in
of a Mexico-city based film crew to produce a video for school fundraising efforts
through Europe and the ITESOs desire to use the CETMK as an environment to send
teachers-in-training on their semesters de campo (semesters of practice teaching).9
A significant problem in the CETMKs external relations stems, not only from
funding difficulties, but also, from the perspective of whom possesses the locus of control
over the educational environment. In relations with the primary school, there is little to
no association with its teachers and students, apart from a realization that students will
eventually graduate from the primary and pass into the secondary school. Divisions
appear to be based on economic models and misconstrued information or rumors that
develop because of the lack of social connections between the social actors at the two
schools.
As mentioned previously, many of the teachers at the primary school participate
in the market economy, either as shopkeepers, or as consumers who have already
integrated themselves more into a capitalist economy than those of the secondary school.
If primary teachers (those with a much longer established residency in the local
9 Although the video was made, it was not used in the U.S. for fundraising because it was
felt by the coordinator that U.S. organizations always have ulterior motives and
requirements rather than freely giving to an organization such as the CETMK. The film
crews appearance was permitted but not understood by students who called them the
fantasmas (ghosts) because they came, did as they pleased, and then vanished without a
trace. Some students objected to being marketed in this way. In the case of semestres de
campo, it is this authors feeling that such proposals, while read to teachers, are not fully
understood when approval is consented. These practices will further enhance the
divisiveness of the community from the school.

186
community) are a model for the attitudes of the Tateikita community itself, which I
believe they are, then the divisions between the two schools will remain as long as there
is no contact between the two environments.
The external relations with the local village community of Tateikita mimic those
with the primary school, largely due, in part, to the fact that primary teachers have such a
strong presence within Tateikita via their shops and relatives. The school retains support
from the immediate families of the teachers and some from a couple of the local
shopkeepers in the village, mainly ones who are close relatives or have had students
graduate from the CETMK in the first generation (Spring 1998). Support, however, is
not without its price, as assistance with travels for hauling materials, or with transporting
people, will require payments, sometimes exuberant ones.
Apart from shopkeepers, students do not feel that they are a part of the local
community, unless they are boarding with relatives. In the case of the student body
president:
No nos respetan en la comunidad. Hacemos mucho y nunca nos aprecian.
Arreglamos la pista, la carretera, y limpiamos la comunidad. Ellos [de la
comunidad] tiran basura y no cuidan a la comunidad.
The community doesnt respect us. We do a lot and they never appreciate
us [what weve done]. We fixed the airstrip, the road, and we clean the
community. They [those of the community] throw garbage and dont care
for the community.
The students comments appear to reveal the truth about the disarticulation of the
school culture with the local community. I have observed, and participated in, efforts to
clean up the village, construct a path to the corral for a community rodeo, fix cracks in
the airstrip, and trips into the Sierra to repair the dirt road. Never once was there
community recognition of these activities. Failure to recognize CETMK efforts for the

187
betterment of the local community only served to further fragment and polarize the two
cultures.
Life at the CETMK: Living the Dream
The following narrative introduces the daily life of the CETMK. Drawing from
fieldnotes from many daily observations at the school, the following is a pieced
reconstruction of a typical school day. The firsthand narrative is accented with research
reflections. Following the narrative, the Huichol idea about learning is exposed and
examined in light of community definitions of appropriate education.
A Day in the Life of...
It is the start of another week of classes at the CETMK. Students begin their daily
progression down the winding dirt road from the village and surrounding ranches. Some,
like Sofia, have already been up for hours, having helped to prepare the morning meal for
their host family; others, like Mauricio and Migul, have spent that time walking from
their remote ranch in order to arrive in time for classes; still others, like Anglica and
Salvador, have not seen their family in a couple months. They were sent to the CETMK
by their families, feeling it a worthwhile educational investment and much cheaper than
the alternative of the city. It is more likely for males than females to be sent from afar to
be educated. This is because in traditional settlements women usually marry between the
ages of 13 and 17. If parents from remote areas are going to invest in the education of
their children, they are more likely to do so with males, since they are the ones who must
work and obtain employment, by traditional roles.
It is 8:00 am and the third year students have already arrived at school. For the
next half hour they have Biointensive Agriculture class with PGC. PGC is already inside

188
the classroom, sitting looking over his notes. PGC informs me that today students are
going to learn about proper spacing of seeds in the beds. For what seems like months,
students have been working diligently at digging out a series of sixteen camas
(agricultural beds). The soil is hard, PGC informs me. Looking out at the fields, the
soil is rocky and dry. It is hard to believe that anything can grow under such conditions,
but PGC is still optimistic Dago says that it will. He says that G in Tuxpan already
has ten planted. But he has help. I dont, PGC trails off.
We are interrupted by a group of students entering the classroom, girls tugging at
the back of each otherspatiacales (head bandanas). They giggle and take their seats.
This isnt phys. ed, grumbles PGC. The two students just look at each other and laugh.
I move outside as a last-minute flurry of students comes flying into the room, twenty-four
in all, taking their seats.
PGC begins lecturing from his seat at a table in front of the class. He addresses
them in Wixa, reserving Spanish for the measurements of the spacing in the beds between
plants, or the names of the different plants he is illustrating in his speech. Everyone is
copying down the notes intently, except H, who sits in the back of the room. She is
staring out the window, watching some of the other students who have arrived and are
wandering around in the agricultural beds. H has a particularly hard time at the school.
Her brother is the comisario, yet she is a single parent and sometimes misses classes to
stay with her baby. She starts to write again, looking a little puzzled. PGC approaches
the board and makes some diagrams of the lifecycle of a radish plant. When he does so,
most pay attention, but in particular, a couple of female students in the back are busy
fiddling with a tape recorder and giggling. PGC continues on as if he does not hear them,

189
but he probably does. The two students start looking at each others notebooks and peek
at one of the male students notebooks. PGC lets them copy without any hesitation.
That is the way most students are here. The system encourages them to succeed
on an individual basis, and the students know they have examinations the next week.
Much like finals at a college in the U.S., they all must take examinations in two-hour
blocks in the following week. While sometimes examinations involve group projects,
especially in Derechos Indgenas, students also know that they must perform well on
these examinations individually, or face recuperation exams at the end of the year, or
even having to repeat the whole academic year. The formal examination schedule to
which the school culture must adhere appears at odds with traditional Huichol values that
stress cooperation and group participation over individual achievement.
It is now 8:30 am and students line up by year in front of their classroom
buildings while faculty form a line near the back. All the women are dressed traditionally
in skirt, blouse, and headscarf; about 65% of men are dressed traditionally, the remainder
in jeans and t-shirt. All have white sombreros or baseball caps. At this time every week,
classes begin with saluting the Mexican flag and reciting the national anthem, sometimes
in Spanish, other times in Wixa. The organization is militaristic, as the bandera (flag) is
marched around the central plaza by the esculta (flag bearers). Following the national
anthem, the flag is placed in a classroom where it will remain throughout the week.
Students, faculty, and staff at the CETMK honor the Mexican national flag, much
as in any Mexican school. While the procession is foreign, the character is uniquely
Huichol. They take great pride in honoring the flag correctly. The esculta (flag bearers)

190
will hold practices to ensure that things are done correctly according to custom, much
like a religious ritual (see Figure 6.2).
When asked why the flag procession is so important, a student responds:
Lo hacemos como es de costumbre. Es importante porque el guila es de
nosotros. El smbolo ... es nuestro, de los aztecas.
We do it according to custom. It is important because the eagle is ours.
The symbol... is ours, of the Aztecs.
The teacher of Huichol culture (AS) adds the following:
Los dioses nos miran ... el cristo tambin, (sonriendo) Tenemos que
soportarlo bien. Es importante para la escuela que tenemos orgullo en
nuestra creacin . nuestra vida.
The gods are watching us . Christ too [smiling].10 We have to support it
[the flag] well. Its important for the school that we have pride in our
creation . our life.
Following the national anthem, important news of the day is given. The student
president first makes any announcements of interest, usually plans for sports competitions
or preparing for upcoming fiestas.11 Afterwards, faculty enter the middle of the
horseshoe shape, adding any comments or announcements as necessary. Today, the
student body president mentions that there will be a tournament on Friday and that he
wants to have a dance to follow it. All the announcements are made in Huichol as he
directs his voice to the others. It is only when he makes an emphatic point that language
shifts to Spanish. He does this to be sure that all understand him completely.
10 On the side of a mesa opposite the river from Tateikita there is a spot of dead
vegetation that at certain times of the year appears to resemble a cross or human figure
with outstretched arms. It is easily visible from the mission and where the CETMK is
located below the village.
11 Plans for student-directed tournaments, fiestas, and activities compose the majority of
extracurricular activities at the CETMK.

191
Figure 6.2. Esculta (Honoring the Flag).
A teacher enters the ring, following the student presidents comments. He
reminds the students in Wixa that they have examinations approaching in the following
week, and that if they are going to have a tournament, they should postpone it until after
the examinations. He switches almost randomly between Wixa and Spanish; code
switching to emphasize that students should perform well on the examinations. He is
concerned about the dance as well. He emphasizes that the students need to obtain

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permission from the padres de familia for the bailadoras.12 There is a sigh of disgust
among the students and cries of waiku (no) from different sides. The teacher backs off,
letting students begin to discuss the tournament and dance openly (see Figure 6.3). The
president looks to his counsel and remarks that it will be the following Friday so that they
have time to get the invitations out to the other teams and receive responses, otherwise
someone will have to run to the remote villages and hand-deliver the invitations on short
notice. There is a brief moment of silence and shouts of hu (yes) enter the discussion.
The student president announces that the tournament and dance will be a topic of debate
for the coming Fridays assembly meeting.13 He makes no mention of the involvement of
parents. The current comisario and CETMK teacher FDS is not present and can provide
no input at the moment. He is doing paperwork at the agency, as frequently occurs. No
one seems preoccupied at his absence.
At this point in time, students are becoming restless. It is nearly 9:00 am and
classes are about to begin. Without further ado, the lines begin to break, marked by a
moment of silence. Each class heads to its respective classroom, with teachers following
soon behind them. FDS has still not arrived, and students wonder where he is, as he has
to give Spanish class.
12
In a typical Huichol dance, girls from the school represent the bailadoras (dancers).
Groups of three dances each (tandas) are purchased by people from the community and
students as a money-raising activity. At a previous dance, mayhem erupted with drunken
citizenry and the robbing of a dancer for marriage.
13 Student assembly meetings are held weekly on Fridays. All students, teachers, and the
head of the parents association are expected to attend.

193
As the first classes begin, students are restless. In the first year classroom, AD is
introducing mathematics to students. She, unlike RS, is nearly entirely in Wixau She is
well-collected, and begins to go over homework assignments, with each student coming
to the front as called to have their work graded. The students are young and restless;
some playing in the back of the room while AD is not able to see what is going on. There
are 37 students in the classroom, ranging in age from twelve to fifteen.15 Some are more
interested in learning than others who have done little, of any, of the assignment.
Afterwards, she has students do problems on the board.
Figure 6.3. CETMK Teacher Addressing Students.
14 Womens monolingual literacy rates are much higher than that of males, as males are
more likely to have traveled outside the Sierra to work in fields or visit kin.
15 Students ages at each grade level vary by several years because many did not enter
school directly from the primary, started at a later age, or were held back for academic
reasons. The age variance between students ages within any grade level at the CETMK
appear to be stabilizing however, as well as beginning to be younger and younger as more
progress directly from primary into secondary schooling.

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In the second-year classroom, AS is attending to thirty-three students. He is
teaching Huichol culture, and in this class no Spanish is allowed. Students must first
recite from memory a long list of deities and give appropriate thanks to them. There is no
misbehavior in this class, as all appear attentive. Following the recitation, AS introduces
the days lesson that pertains to la identidad tnica (ethnic identity) taken from a
bilingual reader. He has brought several to class, but students are expected to return them
to a pile thereafter. There are not enough books to go around, so many must share. AS
chooses students at random to read from the book in Huichol, trying to see how much
they understand their reading. After each section, he asks students to answer questions
such as What do you think about this? and Do you agree? Noticing that I have been
following along with the Spanish translation, AS asks for my own opinion, and I respond
with an answer about the situation of other minorities who have been stripped of their
languages and religions already. A student asks, Hay indgenas all? (Are there
indigenous people there?). The ensuing discussion turns to one of how the Huichol can
learn from the lessons of other indigenous peoples who have not been fortunate to retain
their language, lands, and religions, and now must rediscover their native identities. AS
reaffirms my statements, talcing what I have said and turning it into Huichol to make the
ideas easier to understand for some who may not have grasped everything of what we
have been discussing up to that point in time.
Since FDS has still not arrived, third year students decide to take advantage of the
opportunity and start having an impromptu class meeting where they begin to plan the
upcoming sports tournament and dance. As I walk into the room they shout ¡Ingls!,
to which I respond that FDS is going to be back any minute. Their enthusiasm,

195
particularly those of the third year, amazes me. They are excited to learn. When classes
are not held, students will grow restless and call for substitutions, as they had just done to
me moments earlier. FDS steps in behind me and asks if I want to give Spanish class.
Kindly, I pass over the opportunity and hand the class over to him. He takes the students
outside the classroom and has them sit on the ground to read their lessons. He has had
them writing folktales in Spanish. As part of the grading process, he wants them to recite
their tales aloud. After each student is done reading his or her tale, he has the student
bring the lessons up to him where he proceeds to grade the grammar and punctuation. In
this class, FDS is using entirely Spanish, wanting students to grasp a firm understanding
of the subject matter.
Each group of classes lasts about an hour, at which point teachers change
classrooms, and some take a break for a while. CSD has now arrived at the school to
teach Actividades Comunitarias. This class, an integration of history, civics, and
geography, is taken by CSD from a local to a global perspective. In the first year, he
wants students to understand their local culture ... to know the location of sacred places
and to understand the prehistory of the Huichol. Who are their ancestors? Where did
they come from? While each examination unit is different, CSD prefers to build upon his
lessons by starting with local politics. His reasoning is that first-year students have not
yet developed the necessary cognitive skills to read and talk about complex global issues
like the environment and astronomy. When asking students to recite a list of sacred sites,
CSD realizes that they cannot name any but one or two, mainly Wirikuta (the land of the
peyote) and Maxamu u (a local sacred spot referring to the head of the deer). They are
speechless about others. CSD begins to draw a map of the region, where he points out

196
different locations on the map. He concludes the days lecture when students now know
the sacred directions. In many cases, they may have heard of the locales before but did
not know of their historical significance to the Huichol people.
At 11 am, there is a recess of a half hour. Many students rush up into the
community to buy bolis (flavored ice water from one of the shops that has a gas
refrigerator) or candy. Others go to a storage room designated as a store where the
students have purchased bottles of soda directly from a Pepsi truck that now visits the
village every two weeks or so. Still others are now going into the COPUSI, a cooperative
kitchen, where they can pay two pesos and receive some tortillas and beans (see Figure
6.4). This location is especially popular with students who have walked to school in the
morning from neighboring ranches. Many of them have not yet had a meal, and the
COPUSI meal may be their only one for the day. The COPUSI is extra-popular when the
cooks serve chicken soup, and it is not unusual to see faculty crowd-in to eat on those
days (for an additional fee of eight pesos).
Figure 6.4. COPUSI Dining Facility of the CETMK.

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After the half-hour recess, students return to classes that continue until 1:30 pm,
when there is a two-hour break for lunch. During the three hour period prior to the break,
students are in class the entire time as teachers shift from room to room to give their
appropriate assigned courses.16
On this day, there is a substitution, and FDS is teaching a course in Derechos
Indgenas to third-year students. He had asked them to travel about in the community
and interview traditional authorities, creating lists of their offices and roles. They have
returned to give presentations on their research. Following their individual presentations,
PGC asks them to begin work on a play related to indigenous rights. He asks them to
hold a debate where the various positions of Huichol elders and citizens, cattle ranchers,
and government authorities will be presented (see Figure 6.5). A discussion follows, and
students begin to mill around the table at the front of the room. I ask FDS about some
papers he has with him. He responds:
Estn abriendo los ojos. En ningn otro lugar aprenden de derechos
indgenas. Nuestra situacin ... la tierra. La bandera de Mxico, el
guila. Lo robaron de nosotros. Eso aprend en una reunin en el DF.
They are opening their eyes. In no other place do they [the students] learn
about indigenous rights. Our situation ... the land, the Mexican flag, the
eagle. They [The Mexican Government] robbed it from us. I learned that
at a meeting in Mexico City.
I ask FDS some more about the class, but he leaves them with me to supervise
and provide ideas while he goes to do some unfinished business in the agency. One
would think that the students would make use of the time to fool around, but this is not
the case. FDS will frequently leave students unsupervised, allowing them to work
together and organize their own time. One student runs off to the library to get some
16 See Appendix E for course schedules of the three grades at the CETMK.

198
supplies for making a poster and preliminary diagrams; still others begin to choose who
they want to portray in the play.
Figure 6.5. Derechos Indgenas Debate at the CETMK Clausurax July 1999.
Most students, who can, go home during the afternoon lunch break. Women may
have to make more tortillas for the meal or cook and prepare food for their family. If
there is time, a rest is taken. After lunch, all return to the school for class, crafts and
music, or to work in the gardens. Recently, all students who are not in English class
became obliged to work in the gardens to prepare the beds for planting. Soil and natural
fertilizers are now in the beds, and students are being shown what to plant in each bed,
and how to intersperse different types of plants to obtain the highest yield. Both males
and females must work in the gardens. The idea is that students will take what they have
learned from the gardens at the school, and bring that knowledge back home to their
families, planting sustainable gardens there as well.
In addition to PGC, E is helping students in the gardens. Some female students
carry buckets of water to the beds while the remaining boys and girls even-out the

199
fertilizer in the beds. Across the way, several students are exempted from working in the
fields today. Instead, they are cutting boards to be used for the roof of the new library
that is being built. AS is overseeing them in their work (See Figure 6.6).
Figure 6.6. Carpentry at the CETMK.
Carpentry and working in the fields are by far not the only activities students
engage in at the CETMK. There are also traditional crafts. During previous months,
elders have visited the school to teach females how to make pottery and males how to
make batea (a wooden container for holding ground maize). They have also learned how
to make an upari (traditional bench seat) using the same natural resources and techniques
that have been used for centuries, down to the black glue produced from tree sap.
After working on talleres until 5:30 pm, many go up to the village to play
basketball or go home. Others remain at the school for a music class with FDS. He is
teaching any interested girls at the school how to play the violin, guitar, and bass. They
will then have the responsibility of playing at the Clausura (graduation) of the CETMK
in early July.

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We are All Nunutsi
To be a nunutsi is the plural in Huichol for to be little babies or young
children. The CETMK notion is that all people are little children with something to
learn. No one is perfect, but all are in the educational environment together. Some will
internalize more of their educational experience than others, but all will gain something
from being a part of the CETMK, whether students or teachers.
For students, the learning process involves role-playing. In classes they may need
to take the part of traditional authorities. In order to act out these roles, they have to
understand the cultural context of each figure. At the same time that students are learning
about traditional roles, they are altering them with their own changing conceptions of
what it means to be Huichol.
Amy Stambach (2000), in her study of gender and schooling in East Africa, found
that student role-play enhances their understanding of the outside world. She found that a
significant part of their role-play involved the trading of items of clothing, especially
their school uniforms. At the CETMK, students follow similar behaviors that reinforce
the notion of group property over personal property.
Students at the CETMK frequently trade articles of clothing and the word
prstame (loan it to me) has come to mean much more than just the loaning of an object
to another person. Borrowing occurs not only among students, but also between students
and teachers. Once an article of clothing (hat, jewelry, jacket, or moral) is loaned to
another student, the item will frequently complete a round of new owners before it
makes it back to the original loaner. It is expected that the item will eventually return,
but it will usually show evidence of wear-and-tear. If an item is destroyed in the

201
borrowing circle, the situation is used as an example at school meetings of a need to show
respect for the belongings of others.17
Other items of personal property become group property as well. These include
tape players and cassette tapes. Ranchera music is quite popular among students and any
new tape will circulate through many hands until just about everybody has had it in his or
her possession for a little while. The same occurs with regional music, popularized by a
number of different Huichol groups that sing in both Spanish and Huichol. A number of
local groups have emerged in recent years, all producing cassette tapes for sale in local
communities. These tapes are played regularly, and form the most popular type of music
among students and local community members of Tateikita. In addition to trading tapes,
personal tape players are also redistributed, equalizing the difference in economic wealth
between students that may have money to purchase these luxury items and those who do
not. Batteries have become a prized commodity as students listen to music at all hours of
the day (sometimes during class!).
Not only has music become a way to reinforce regional identity among Huichol,
but so has a reinterpretation of the symbolism of narcotraficantes (drug dealers),
particularly among young males. On the surface, it appears that students are idealizing
these dealers through the possession of hats that contain the symbols of marijuana leaves,
guns, and state names. The strong allure of these symbols for young students, is the idea
of cultural resistance and separation. By wearing these symbols, individuals are showing
17
I have loaned jackets and other clothing items to students at their request, only to watch
them circle around to other students, sometimes returning, sometimes not. Watches are
also a frequent item to make the rounds among students.

202
their defiance of the state regime. Not once have I observed these symbols actually
pertaining to any ones individual belief in the ability to traffic drugs or carry guns.
Teachers at the CETMK are constantly revising their curriculum, trying to
improve their methodology. Matusov (1999) discusses the methods needed for a
community of learners to maintain itself longitudinally over time. Each teacher learns
how to act within the culture of the school in the same way that each new generation of
students is incorporated into the school. For instance, first year students of the CETMK
are still considered children by a lot of the older students. They will say that the students
still have a lot to learn. This is for the most part true. They learn the enculturation
process by watching the older students and then come to mimic these behaviors over
time.
The second year at the CETMK usually becomes the transition year for students.
At this stage they either fit in or fall out of the system. This is the primary reason for the
drop-off in class numbers between second and third year students at the CEMK (usually a
loss of around 15%, or 8 to 9 of their students, to marriage or academic failure).
Margaret Gibson (1987,1997) calls this process learning to play by the rules in
resistance and accommodation of newly acquired role expectations. These resistance or
accommodation scenarios then become markers of continuity or discontinuity in the
educational process; discontinuity that Spindler (1974:308) refers to as an abrupt
transition from one mode of being and behaving to another. For the Huichol, the
discontinuity between home and school environments is minimized by the efforts of
schooling within their own native communities. Unlike some native peoples cultures,
such as the study of early Papago Indian education by Macias (1987), Huichol children

203
are raised to be verbal, for boys in particular. The discontinuities appear to be more
gender-related than persisting broadly to all children, although the foreign concept of
competition introduced through the SEPs point-based grading system still segregate
some childrens beliefs in accomplishment from those of others.
The process of being nunutsi is troublesome for students who find scientific and
cultural matter at odds with their internalized cultural knowledge. For instance, how
does one associate bacteria into a belief that gods have caused misfortune when an
individual becomes ill? Furthermore, what about religion? While texts espouse a
Catholic history, students are, at the same time, being bombarded with traditional
ceremonies and beliefs that do not fit into traditional epistemologies. For each child,
resistance or accommodation is different, but the acceptance of foreign ideas is more
permissible in an educational environment, such as the CETMK, than it is in the general
culture.
Spindler (1997) refers to the shock of Hano Hopi children upon learning that the
kachinas that visited them, as children, were not real. The choice for some is to resist the
fact. For others, a greater understanding is obtained of the reasons why religious
characters exist. For the Huichol children at the CETMK, there are relatively strong
sociocultural bonds between students that allow traditional knowledge to be used as a
complimentary, not opposing system of reality to the Mestizo world.18 A wider culture
of teachers and kin networks that emphasize traditional roles and conformity norms may
18 The students who wore Christian crosses to a soccer tournament, some openly
professing to be Catholic and also being Huichol, represent an excellent example of the
blending of systems.

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further reinforce the regional Huichol culture of the area, much as Sindell (1997) found
among Mistassini Cree children.
Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk
The biographical stories of the teachers and students experiences from the
CETMK, together with the example of daily life at the school, paint a picture of the
complicated role that all social actors immediately connected with the school play in its
mission to preserve Huichol language and culture. How do these visions of Huichol
identity compare to those shared by the surrounding community? Are the Huichol in
Tateikita and other ranches as unified in their perceptions of what should be going on at
the school? I have already pointed out the optimistic stance of students and faculty about
their personal goals and those of the school, but when it comes to perceptions of the
school from the outside, are they nearly as positive?
The answer to these questions is one of mixed sentiment. When critiquing the
CETMK, the following comments were evident by members of the primary school and
the local village:
La escuela es escuela particular. Por eso no recibe el apoyo como la
primaria. Carmelo dice tal vez quieren telesecundaria por que no puede
ser political. (maestro de primaria #1)
The school is pariticular [private]. For that reason it doesnt receive
support [from the community] like the primary. Perhaps they want
telesecundarias because it cant be political, (primary teacher #1).
No es escuela de la comunidad. Es de [la coordinadora], (maestro de
primaria #2)
It isnt a community-school. It is [the coordinators], (primary teacher
#2)

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Los maestros no tienen ni primaria. Son mal preparados. Voy a mandar a
mis hijos a la ciudad, (dueo de una tienda)
The teachers dont even have a primary education. They are poorly
prepared [trained]. Im going to send my children to the city.
(shopkeeper)
[El director] no hace nada, pero est cobrando dinero. Nunca est,
(alumno)
[The director] doesnt do anything, but hes collecting money. Hes never
there, (student of the CETMK).
[El director] tiene dos plazas. Recibe mucho dinero. Ms que nosotros
[de la primaria]. (maestro de primaria #3)
[The director] has two positions. He receives a lot of money. More than
us [of the primary school], (primary teacher #3)
Dan clases en Wixa y dicen que es lengua extranjera. No es. Es espaol o
ingles, (miembro de la comunidad)
They give classes in Huichol and say that it is a foreign language. It isnt.
It is Spanish or English, (community member)
Each of these statements expresses serious problems that members of the
community see with the CETMK. At one point, members of the primary refused to give
up a storage room for use at the secondary school, despite maps delineating it as part of
the secondary schools property. The issue was brought to local assembly meeting in
Tateikita and members continued to refuse the handing over of the room to the secondary
school, even though the primary school teachers did not use the room for anything other
than storage of materials (and they had just had a new set of classrooms built by the
SEP).

206
The other statements pertaining to the use of Huichol as a foreign language and
the salaries of teachers are unjustified. Teachers are actually paid less than at the primary
school and sometimes do not receive their checks regularly, unlike at the primary school.
They also work longer hours without compensation. As for the formal listing of Huichol
as a foreign language study area, the justifications by AS and CSD that students do not
know their own culture (sacred sites, deities, etc.), are used to justify Huichol as a foreign
language. Despite open invitations to members of the primary school and community to
attend the secondary school and observe what is really going on, there has been little
interest.19
The concerns about the particularity or community nature of the school are
justified, however, due to the politics associated with the funding difficulties for
maintenance the CETMK. Greater community involvement in the expression of their
concerns could help rectify the situation. This is not being done, however, at this point in
time. The next chapter will highlight the discontinuities and continuities of the school
culture with the general community through data analysis of a sample group of CETMK
students.
19 During my time working at the CETMK, I never observed any visitation of the school
by members of the primary. And only once did a non-parent from the CETMK visit the
school during an open workshop on Indigenous Rights sponsored by the NGO AJAGI and
RADP1 (Network of Lawyers for Indigenous Peoples).

CHAPTER 7
QUANTITATIVE DATA AND OBSERVATIONS
Introduction
This Chapter begins with a discussion of the complicated nature of Huichol ethnic
identity and culture change in Tateikita and the Sierra Madre region. Data are presented
from an analysis of questionnaires administered to 3rd year students forming the
paritemai (second generation) of graduates from the CETMK. These data are then
compared and contrasted to qualitative data collected in order to portray the culture of the
CETMK within the local community. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the
surveys results to the future of language and culture preservation among the Huichol,
declaring the political nature of community-centered schooling, and the CETMKs place
within the indigenous intellectual movement of Mexico.
Survey Results
Surveys in Spanish were administered to 23 of the 24 students in their 3rd year of
schooling at the Centro Educativo Tatutsi Maxa Kwaxi.1 In the first part of these
questionnaires, students were asked to make free listings of what they considered to be
important aspects of three themes: Being Huichol, Traditions, and Education. Within
each of these themes, students were to list anything that came to mind under these
general headings. They then rated each item they listed on a scale of one to ten (or
1 See Appendix D for a copy of the Spanish questionnaire. A table of coded variables is
also included.
207

208
however many items they could list), declaring its importance to them. The third task for
each free listing theme was to order each of the items. For example, if a student listed
four items under theme one, he or she was first to rate the importance of each on an
ascending scale of importance from one to ten and then put them in ranked order of
importance according to the theme.
The second section to the surveys included a number of semantic scales pertaining
to four themes: school experience, ethnic identity, traditions (Huichol culture), and
technology. Each theme included fourteen semantic scales in which students placed an
x on the appropriate location within each scale, ranking their perceptions in bipolar
comparisons that included political-apolitical, important-not important, special-
common, and useful-not useful.
The third section involved the ranking of a series of twenty-one material culture
domains. These included everything from a watch, to music, the city, traditional and
non-traditional alcoholic beverages, and a preparatory and university. I asked students to
rank each of these items in a descending order of importance from one (very important)
to five (not important at all), with a three being a marker of neutrality (indifference) on
the part of the student.
The forth and final section of the questionnaire consisted of thirty open-ended
short-answer questions in which students were asked everything from demographic data
(sex, age, place of home residence) to their perceptions of their indigenous language,
Spanish, English, and desires to remain in the Sierra or travel elsewhere for employment
or education.

209
The questionnaires were administered in a classroom setting, but students were
informed beforehand that the questionnaires would not affect their grades in any way, and
they were informed of their right to refuse to participate, should they desire. Students
could also leave any questions blank that they did not wish to answer. During the time
that the questionnaires were administered, I remained present to assist the students with
any questions they might have during the completion process. Students were further
instructed not to indicate their names anywhere on the forms in order to retain anonymity,
instead indicating their response with M ( of the questionnaires, I assigned each questionnaire a number, using these for all
subsequent data analysis in SPSS version 10.0.5 for Microsoft Windows.
Demographic Data
Of the twenty-three students completing the questionnaire, 56.5% were male and
43.5% were female, indicating a slightly higher number of male students than females.
One student did not indicate his or her age. Removing that outlier, the average age came
to 16.59, or nearly 17 years of age. Both the mode and median were 17, accounting for
31.8% of the 22 students that indicated their ages on the questionnaires. This indicates a
high mean age for students completing their third year at the CETMK. Figure 7.1
indicates student ages of those completing the CETMK.
Most students were either from one of two villages: Tateikita (30.4%) or Los
Lobos (26.1%). The remaining 43.5% were from seven other ranch settlements, with two
individuals not indicating their home residence (see Figure 7.2).

210
Figure 7.1. Percentages of Third Year CETMK Students by Age (n-23).
CARRICAL
LOS LOBOS
26.1%
SEBASTIAN
TATEIKITA
30.4%
LIMON
4.3%
LA CIENEGA
8.7%
CHALATE
4.3%
Figure 7.2. Pie Chart Indicating Student Home Residences (n=23).

211
Indigenous Controlled Schooling and Educational Attitudes
There appear to be close ties between the philosophy of education held by parents
and that expressed by students at the CETMK. This is similar to the findings of
Stambach (2000) and Byram (1986) of schooling in Africa and Denmark, respectively.
In these studies, students of indigenous schools were enculturated into an educational
environment where their limited understanding of the outside world resulted in their
perceptions of formal education reflecting the values of their teachers. In such a tight
social environment that thrives on the rhetoric of activist teachers, like that of the
CETMK, these beliefs are not surprising.
Student Beliefs of Cultural Identity and Change
Student beliefs in their own senses of cultural identity reflect the attitudes of both
their teachers and parents. In analyzing student perceptions about traditional aspects of
their culture (language, dress, religion, family, traditions, and tehuino), there were strong
R-values (Pearsons correlations) between all of these variables, although the weakest
were surprisingly found to be in associations with the variable family and those of the
traditional beverage tehuino (see Table 7.1)2.
I can only speculate on why the two variables dealing with importance of the
family and a traditional beverage do not come strongly associated with any of the other
variables. The family when analyzed alone, revealed it still had a high frequency
ranking among students. In fact, 17 of the 23 students ranked it as a five (very
2 Pearsons correlations are measures of linear associations between variables. The closer
a value is to one, the greater the linear association between two variables (or R value). A
value of zero indicates no linear association between variables, and a negative number, a
negative linear relationship. Associations are measured at .01 (99%) and .05 (95%)
confidence intervals.

212
important). The variable family may have shown little to no association with the others
because one student chose to rate the family a two, or hardly important to him or her at
all. With a small sample size, one low number can throw off a potential bivariate
correlation. The mean was still a 4.6, however, despite this students low response of
family importance (see Figure 7.3).
Table 7.1. R-Scores (Pearsons Correlation Coefficients) of Traditional Practices.
Correlations
LENGUA R
VESTIR R
RELIG R
FAMILR
TRADIT R
TEHUINR
LENGUA_R Pearson Correlation
1.000
.601**
.397
.327
.668**
.037
Sig. (2-tailed)
.002
.061
.128
.000
.865
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
VESTIR_R Pearson Correlation
.601**
1.000
.802**
.348
.830**
.006
Sig. (2-tailed)
.002
.000
.104
.000
.979
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
REUG_R Pearson Correlation
.397
.802**
1.000
.380
.658**
.013
Sig. (2-tailed)
.061
.000
.074
.001
.952
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
FAMIL_R Pearson Correlation
.327
.348
.380
1.000
.431*
-.137
Sig. (2-tailed)
.128
.104
.074
.040
.534
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
TRADIT_R Pearson Correlation
.668**
.830**
.658*"
.431*
1.000
-.010
Sig. (2-tailed)
.000
.000
.001
.040
.965
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
TEHUIN_R Pearson Correlation
.037
.006
.013
-.137
-.010
1.000
Sig. (2-tailed)
.865
.979
.952
.534
.965
N
23
23
23
23
23
23
* Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
For tehuino, responses were more varied, which due to the small sample size
involved may have contributed to its lack of association with the other variables.
Moreover, the omission of a response by one student may have reduced its mean enough
to cause any bivariate mean comparisons using such a small sample size to be
inconclusive (see Figure 7.4).

Frequency ^ Frequency
213
7.3. Histogram of Family Importance (5=very important).
TEHUIN R
Std. Dev = 1.42
Mean = 1.7
N = 23.00
TEHUIN R
Figure 7.4. Histogram of Tehuino Value (livery important).

214
Because all of these correlations are quite strong, I opted to run a principle
components (factor) analysis on the five variables pertaining to language, dress, religion,
family, and traditions/ I first ran these together and then ran separate tests for both male
and female students to see if the variable component loadings varied in weight
significance depending on sex.
The results of the first run, combining both sexes together, revealed the extraction
of one underlying condition uniting all of these variables, and explaining 64.88% of the
variance. Family, however, was the least weighted variable in the analysis (.567). This
was followed, surprisingly, by language (.747). The other three variables (dress,
religion, and traditions) were the most important in the extraction (.921, .824, and .914
respectively). Regardless, there was one unifying factor to these variables, which I
identify with internalized Huichol student identity (see Table 7.2).
Table 7.2. Factor Analysis of VariablesLanguage, Dress, Religion, Family, and
Traditions, Irrespective of Sex.
Component Matrix1
Compone
nt
1
LENGUA_R
.7