Adventure Learning Foundation
|Tarahumara Copper Canyon Expedition||
Faith & Values
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Geography and Climate History
Economy Ethnic Groups and Culture Faith and Values
Fauna and Flora Adventures Lesson Plans
Tarahumara Resources Expedition Maps
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According to the Tarahumara philosophy, respect towards other people is essential and therefore, visitors or tourists should also be respectful towards them and their traditions just as they are towards everyone else. They value people over things.
A great part of today’s Tarahumara traditions relate back to those learned from the Jesuit missionaries during the almost 150 years they lived together in colonial times. As main god, the Tarahumara Indians have a merger of Christ and their god, who is called Onorúame, who made and governs the world. Religious concepts include the concept of soul and its loss. Men are surrounded by good and bad beings; the wind is good and a tornado is bad. They have added to their beliefs the names of Jesus, Mary, God, hell and sin, the use of the Holy Rosary and the Crucifix, as well as crossing oneself. Their mythical and religious festivities are made up of dances where the traditional corn alcohol beverage called "tesgüino" is always present. To the Tarahumara, dancing is a prayer, thus, by dancing, they can seek forgiveness, ask for rain ("dutuburi" dance), give thanks for the rain and for the harvest, and they can help "Repá betéame "– he who lives above—to not be defeated by "Reré betéame" – he who lives beneath—(the devil.)
Matachines are dancers who act in church festivals. They are outstanding for their colorful garments. The Matachine dance is performed by a number of couples, eight or twelve, who dance to the music of violins and guitars. It is a dance full of fast movements, turns and quick swirls.
Also present in Tarahumara culture are Shamans (sukurúame) and peyote cactus (híkuli). A shaman is the guardian of all social traditions of the people. Their obligations as ritual and therapeutic specialists bind them to tradition. Their job is to establish a balance between the body and the cosmos. Some shamans use peyote cactus for their healing activities. It is a hallucinogenic plant that is restricted and only shamans know the right amount to use, as well as how to collect and store it.
Indigenous People - Tarahumara Links List of Tarahumara Linksplus good description of ceremonies and dance celebrations.
Rarámuri Cultural Information Heard Museum curriculum on "Rain" and its effect on the indigenous people of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico.
Tarahumara Indian Feasts Quick description of major holidays celebrated by the Tarahumara, by Pilot Guides.
Easter in Copper Canyon Description of an Easter celebration by the Tarahumara by California Native Travel.
Tarahumara Journey Story of an Easter weekend visit in the Tarahumara village of Ojachichi.
Tarahumara Mission in Creel Article about Fr. Luis Verplancken who runs a mission in Creel and has helped dig wells and form a medical clinic to help the Tarahumara help themselves.