The Virgin's Children: Life in an Aztec Village Today

The Virgin's Children: Life in an Aztec Village Today

The Virgin's Children: Life in an Aztec Village Today

The Virgin's Children: Life in an Aztec Village Today

Excerpt

Nearly everybody knows about the ancient Aztecs, but the story of their cultural survival in the Valley of Mexico today has never been published in English. Barely twenty minutes' driving time south of Xochimilco is a group of Nahuatl Indian villages whose inhabitants speak the Aztec language and observe many customs of their Aztec forefathers.

Anthropologists have long recognized the need for information about the modern descendants of the Aztecs. In 1952 the WennerGren Foundation for Anthropological Research sent me to the Valley of Mexico to study a Nahuatl Indian village. This book is the result of my sixteen-month field study in the village of San Francisco Tecospa and the exploration of historical documents on the Valley of Mexico.

When I arrived in Mexico City I asked my former teacher, Professor Wigberto Jiménez Moreno, of Mexico's National School of Anthropology, to help me find a suitable village for the study. We visited the towns bordering the southern shore of Lake Xochimilco and the famous floating gardens. From Xochimilco we drove south to Milpa Alta, where we struck up a conversation with a local carpenter who told us about the surrounding villages. Before the Spanish conquest of Mexico the nine villages in the district of Milpa Alta constituted the little kingdom of Malacachtepec Momoxco, ruled by Aztec noblemen. Our Milpa Alta friend said that San Francisco Tecospa was one of the oldest and smallest villages in the district, and he offered to take us there.

As we drove over the dirt road to Tecospa, I asked our guide whether there were any witches in the area. With marked embarrass-

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