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  COPPER CANYON Tarahumara

The Tarahumara

This tribe of surprising culture inhabited the mountain range, with a great physical stamina, a great sense of respect for nature, with deep-rooted traditions, noble people who called themselves Raramuri, men of light feet, it was the Spanish who gave them the name of Tarahumaras. They have given their name to the mountain range that they inhabit, Sierra Tarahumara.

The Raramuri view their culture as the most important inheritance from their ancestors. Their culture, their spiritual values, are the result of thousands of years of social struggle that has bestowed them with an intensity for life, a distinct form of existence, a harmony in human relations and with nature which is far from being achieved by our modern society, in spite of technological advances.

A great part of present traditions of the Raramuri stands from the influence of the Jesuit missionaries during the approximate 150 years in which they lived together in the colonial times. Once the order was expelled in 1767, the Raramuri reinterpreted Christianity, they emptied the symbols and rituals into their own molds, eliminating that which meant nothing to them, conserving and adapting to their natural cultural expression that which had meaning for them.

Their festivals are very singular, especially that of Holy Week or Semana Santa, which is the most important for them. They consider it the center of axis of the life of the whole community. The festivals of Virgin of Guadalupe and the patron saints are also beautiful events.

The festival of Holy Week in Norogachi has gained great fame; it is celebrated with all the traditional ritual and Raramuri spirit, wearing traditional, colored vestments as well as playing the ancient musical instruments such as the tambour (drum) and flute.

They produce a rich variety of handicrafts that include tools, adornments, pots, wool blankets, bags, skirts, blouses, violins, drums, wooden items, etc.. They are famous for being good distance runners, this is owed to the fact that one of the principal customs/games is a ball race among the men of Raramuri, and that of the women throwing hoops or Rowena. These races are run by teams and usually cover distances that easily surpass 100 kilometers. The Raramuri are also known for running down deer, outlasting them with their incredible stamina.

According to their "cosmic vision", the Tarahumaras are known as an integral part of the earth that they inhabit, of nature, of the universe, the Earth is life. The Raramuri culture is not inferior nor superior to ours, it is different, and for that reason they have the right to exist and demand that they be respected as any other culture.

They are the conscience of the mountain range. They are not a tourist object, but rather a group of human beings who ask to live according to their traditions and thoughts. Please respect their rights and privacy. Many do not wish to be photographed, especially away from the villages and towns of the canyons. Ask first.

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