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In Indian Mexico (1908)   By: (1858-1933)

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[Illustration: THE MUSIC AT CANCUC]

IN INDIAN MEXICO

A NARRATIVE OF TRAVEL AND LABOR

BY

FREDERICK STARR

CHICAGO FORBES & COMPANY

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Starr, Frederick, 1858 1933. In Indian Mexico.

Reprint of the ed. published by Forbes, Chicago. 1. Indians of Mexico. 2. Mexico Description and travel. 3. Starr, Frederick, 1858 1933. I. Title. F1220.S78 1978 972'.004'97 74 9025 ISBN 0 404 11903 4

First AMS edition published in 1978.

Reprinted from the edition of 1908, Chicago. [Trim size of the original has been slightly altered in this edition. Original trim size: 15.5 x 23.7 cm. Text area of the original has been maintained in this edition.]

IN INDIAN MEXICO IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED TO A.A. ROBINSON TO WHOM ALL MY WORK IN MEXICO IS DUE AND WHOSE INTEREST HAS BEEN CONTINUOUS AND UNFAILING

PREFACE

The reading public may well ask, Why another travel book on Mexico? Few countries have been so frequently written up by the traveler. Many books, good, bad, and indifferent, but chiefly bad, have been perpetrated. Most of these books, however, cover the same ground, and ground which has been traversed by many people. Indian Mexico is practically unknown. The only travel book regarding it, in English, is Lumholtz's "Unknown Mexico." The indians among whom Lumholtz worked lived in northwestern Mexico; those among whom I have studied are in southern Mexico. The only district where his work and mine overlap is the Tarascan area. In fact, then, I write upon an almost unknown and untouched subject. Lumholtz studied life and customs; my study has been the physical type of south Mexican indians. Within the area covered by Lumholtz, the physical characteristics of the tribes have been studied by Hrdlicka. His studies and my own are practically the only investigations within the field.

There are two Mexicos. Northern Mexico to the latitude of the capital city is a mestizo country; the indians of pure blood within that area occupy limited and circumscribed regions. Southern Mexico is indian country; there are large regions, where the mestizos , not the indians, are the exception. From the time of my first contact with Mexican indians, I was impressed with the notable differences between tribes, and desired to make a serious study of their types. In 1895, the accidental meeting with a priest from Guatemala led to my making a journey to Central America. It was on that journey that I saw how the work in question might be done. While the government of Mexico is modeled upon the same pattern as our own, it is far more paternal in its nature. The Republic is a confederation of sovereign states, each of which has its elected governor. The states are subdivided into districts somewhat corresponding to our counties, over each of which is a jefe politico appointed by the governor; he has no responsibility to those below him, but is directly responsible to the man who names him, and who can at will remove him; he is not expected to trouble the state government unnecessarily, and as long as he turns over the taxes which are due the state he is given a free hand. Within the districts are the cities and towns, each with its local, independent, elected town government.

The work I planned to do among these indian towns was threefold: 1. The measurement of one hundred men and twenty five women in each population, fourteen measurements being taken upon each subject; 2. The making of pictures, portraits, dress, occupations, customs, buildings, and landscapes; 3. The making of plaster busts of five individuals in each tribe. To do such work, of course, involved difficulty, as the Indians of Mexico are ignorant, timid, and suspicious. Much time would be necessary, in each village, if one depended upon establishing friendly and personal relations with the people. But with government assistance, all might be done promptly and easily. Such assistance was readily secured. Before starting upon any given journey, I secured letters from the Department of Fomento, one of the Executive Departments of the Federal Government... Continue reading book >>




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