Archive for the ‘tribal’ Category

Danza del Venado, Mayo Indians in the Village of Capomo, Mexico

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

One of the most interesting things to do in El Fuerte, Mexico is to visit the small indigenous community of Los Capomos, located about a 20-minute drive outside of the city. Los Capomos existed when the first Europeans arrived in the area and its name is derived from a tree called Capomo. In the village, all the adults and about half the children are multilingual, speaking Spanish as well as their own Mayo dialect, the language of all the Indian groups from the Cahita nation.

Danza del Venado (Deer Dance)

Mayo Indians are dissimilar to other indigenous groups in that they are introverted, more mystical, and more pure in essence. The tribal groups of Los Capomos are the most pure in the region; 50 years ago it was 100% pure, but now it is about 70% pure. Raising domestic farm animals provides the food base for the village – beef, milk, goat, chicken, eggs, pork, lard, corn and flour tortillas, chili, and onions are the staples of their diet. A few families have primitive ovens for baking bread. Tribal members typically dress in jeans, sandals, and a straw hat, except during festival times, when they revert to traditional coarse white cotton garments secured with black woven belts.

Ancient musical instruments still being used today

In addition to preserving their bloodline, the Mayo have preserved native dance traditions which include performing the Danza del Venado (Deer Dance), Danza del Judios (Dance of the Jews/Trumpeters), and Danza de Pascuas (Easter Dance) during sacred holidays. In essence, the dances are similar to those performed in ancient times, although as the Jesuit missionaries converted the Mayo from animistic beliefs to Catholicism, their tribal dances gradually began to incorporate religious symbolism. With prior arrangement, 70-year old tribal elder Jose Luis, who is currently being featured by the Mexican Tourism Board in a commercial promoting Mexico as a tourist destination, performs all three of these ancient dances for tour groups.

Photo Credit: Barbara Weibel
Article by Barbara Weibel of Hole In The Donut Travels