Santa María Ixcatlán: Habitat, Population, Subsistence

Santa María Ixcatlán: Habitat, Population, Subsistence

Santa María Ixcatlán: Habitat, Population, Subsistence

Santa María Ixcatlán: Habitat, Population, Subsistence

Excerpt

IN THE EARLY SPRING of 1939 Ing. Robert J. Weitlaner contemplated a visit to the village of Santa María Ixcatlán in Oaxaca, in order to make a preliminary survey of its language for the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología of Mexico City, and kindly invited me to accompany him. The inhabitants of this town are the sole survivors of what may once have been an extensive group of indigenes, the Ixcatecos. Moreover, there are significant relationships between their language and the adjacent Chocho, Popoloca, and Mazatec. It soon became apparent that in addition to the linguistic problem an excellent opportunity existed to study a town in the Mixteca Alta where the somewhat arid climate and the plant environment have profoundly influenced not only the agriculture but the industry of the population. Hence, during our stay of one week in April, 1939, I gave my attention to the material culture and human ecology of the region.

Again in April, 1948, we had the opportunity of making another ten-day visit to Ixcatlán. During this period the data secured earlier were amplified, and changes were noted which had occurred during the intervening nine years. Finally I returned once more to the town, this time for three days in July, 1956, in the company of Professor Woodrow Borah of the University of California. I was able to make a rapid evaluation of further developments. The entire study, therefore, embraces a period of seventeen years.

Financial support was furnished in 1939 and 1948 by the Museo Nacional de Antropología y Arqueología to Ing. Robert J. Weitlaner. My own participation on both occasions was made possible by fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim, Jr., Memorial Foundation. The 1956 visit was subsidized by a grant to Professor Borah and to me from the Associates in Tropical Biogeography, University of California. To all those agencies I wish to express the gratitude of my colleagues and myself for the help and encouragement bestowed by them. It is also appropriate to extend thanks and appreciation to the town officials of Santa María Ixcatlán and its many citizens for their courtesy, hospitality, and intelligent interest in the many problems discussed with them.

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