Ex-media spokesman Mexico Tourism. Deemed expert: NY Times, Wall Street Journal, TX Monthly, Guardian (UK), Contenido, Atención.
Cuts driving from Texas border to Durango to Mazatlan by 8 tortuous hours.
The Huichol are native peoples who mostly still live a traditional life and dress in traditional clothing. While many young ones have left their native villages and gone to work in agriculture, there are still plenty of them living the old ways. The states of Nayarit and parts of Jalisco are home to most Huichols. They also frequent Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi where they partake in religious ceremonies including ritual spirit journeys aided by peyote buds.
The Huichol have branched out to sell their distinctive bead work and weaving. So you might see "authentic" Huichols in many parts of Mexico, including tourist meccas like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. The pictures below were taken by Teri Stanford a photographer and expat who lives in un-touristed towns throughout Mexico. Teri's been visiting and interacting with the Huichol people since 2006. You can enjoy her fantastic photo album of native peoples and of both well-known and off-the-beaten path Mexico at Teri's photo album site - Pueblos of Mexico. While there be sure to peruse the album with unique silver jewelry, made by some famous, but now deceased Mexican plateros.
She provided this very short course in speaking Huichol.
Buenas dias (K-a-coo), Gracias (Pump-pu-U-sa), Adios (Na-pu-ter-e), etc. It is fun and the people appreciate it. The Mexicans have looked down on the Huicholes for generations, so they like a little attention.
The Huichol are considered the last pre-Columbian tribe, whose way of life was protected by the remoteness of their native lands in the Sierra Madre mountains of Nayarit state. They are a spiritual people and my impression is that they are able to exist on both the spiritual plane and the physical plane simultaneously. I've felt that they "see" things differently than Westerners do and are more in touch with their spirit guides than most of us could ever hope to be.
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