Category Archives: April 2015

The Fallacy of Oaxaca’s 16 Ethnolinguistic Groups:

The Zapotec Experience

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

It’s generally accepted that there are 16 indigenous ethno linguistic groups in Oaxaca, and that the Zapotecs constitute the largest in terms of both numbers and geographical distribution throughout the state. However a closer examination reveals that, at least for Zapotecos, the variation in dialect, dress, food, religious observance and a plethora of day-to-day customs is remarkable. Continue reading The Fallacy of Oaxaca’s 16 Ethnolinguistic Groups:

The Zapotecs, Then and Now

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 3.51.33 PMBy Deborah Van Hoewyk

Once upon a time, the Cloud People lived in a great city on a hill that overlooked a fertile, Y-shaped valley in the cradle of high mountains. No one quite knows when or why the Cloud People came to be in the valley, but they built the great city when two groups came together, possibly for mutual protection. Legend says they called themselves the Cloud People because they were created by gods who lived in the clouds. There were also those who believed that humans sprang from jaguars, trees, or rocks. As time went on, they called themselves, in Nahuatl, tzapotēcah, the people who live where the sapote trees grow. Continue reading The Zapotecs, Then and Now