Mexico Indigenous Peoples
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In parish records in early Mexico, the races of individuals are specified. For example, individuals may be listed as "español," "indio," or "mestizo."
The native races of Mexico are many. Following is a listing of the major native races in Mexico and their location:
- Amuzgo: Guerrero
- Coras: in the northern part of Nayarit
- Cucopos (Cochimies): in the northern part of Baja California North
- Cuicatecos (Mixteca): in the central and northern part of Oaxaca
- Chatinos (Zapoteca): in the central and southern part of Oaxaca
- Chichimecas y Jonas (Jonases or Tameses): in San Luis Potosí and the northeastern part of Guanajuato and Queretaro
- Chinantecos (or Tenex): in the northeastern part of Oaxaca and in Veracruz
- Chochos y Chuchones: in the central and northern part of Oaxaca
- Choles: in the central and southern part of Tabasco
- Chontales: in Oaxaca and in the region of Salina Cruz. The Chontales of Tabasco are in various regions of the state
- Huaves: in the region of the Gulf of Tehuantepec
- Huaxtecos: in various regions of Veracruz, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, and Tamaulipas
- Huicholes: in the central and northern part of Nayarit and in the northeastern part of Jalisco
- Ixcatecos: northeast of the Chinantecos in Oaxaca
- Kikapoos: in the central and northern part of Coahuila
- Lacandones: in part of northeastern Chiapas
- Mames: in the northern part of Oaxaca, together with the Chinantecos
- Matlazincas (Pirindos): in the southern part of the state of Mexico
- Mayas: in the Yucatán peninsula
- Mayos: in the northern part of Sinaloa and southern part of Sonora
- Mazahuas: in the southeastern part of the state of Mexico.
- Mazatecos (Popoloca): in the central and northern part of Oaxaca
- Mixtecos: in the western part of Oaxaca and the eastern part of Guerrero
- Mixes: in the central part of Oaxaca
- Nahuas: southeast of Veracruz in the region of Coatzacoalcos; south of Veracruz; southeast of Puebla in Tehuacán; south of Puebla; center and northeast part of Guerrero; northeast of Guanajuato; the north pacific coast of Guerrero in Petatlán and Zihuatanejo, Tlaxcala; north of Puebla, Veracruz, and Hidalgo; southeast of San Luis Potosí
- Ojitecos: in the central and northern part of Oaxaca and the borders of Veracruz.
- Otomíes: along the north and south borders of the state of Mexico, continuing through the western part of Queretaro and ending in Guanajato; in the western part of Queretaro and San Luis Potosí; in the central and northern part of Hidalgo; in Mezquial; and in Tlaxcala
- Pápagos: in the northeastern part of Sonora and in Baja California North
- Pimas: northeast of Sonora on the border of Chihuahua and southeast of Sonora
- Popolocas: in Puebla, in the region of Tehuacán; in the southeastern part of Veracruz; and in Oaxaca.
- Purepechas: in the northwestern part of Michoacán and lower valleys of Guanajuato and Jalisco.
- Seris: along the coast of Sonora and the Island of Tiburón
- Tarahumaras: southeast of Chihuahua and northeast of Durango
- Tarascos: in the region between the cities of Morelia, Uruapan, Los Reyes, and Zamora, Michoacán
- Tepehuanes: south of Durango and west of Zacatecas
- Tepehuas: northeast of Hidalgo along the borders of Puebla and Veracruz
- Tlapanecos: in the southeastern part of Guerrero and north of the Amuzgos
- Tojolabales (Chañabales): in the central and western parts of Chiapas
- Totonacas: north of Puebla and along the border of Veracruz
- Triquis: in the central part of western Oaxaca
- Tzeltales: in the central and western parts of Chiapas, around the region of the Tojolabales
- Tzotziles: northeast of Chiapas
- Verogios (Guarigios): southeast of Sonora
- Yaquis: southeast of Sonora in the region of Guaymas
- Zapotecas: west of Oaxaca, up to Chiapas and part of Veracruz
- Zoques: in the mountains of the isthmus of Tehuantepec and in Chiapas
Many of the Indians in Mexico now speak Spanish as well as their native language. The languages that are most widely spoken are Nahuatl, Maya, Totonaco, Zapoteca, Otomí, Tarahumara, Mixteco, Mexe, Mazateco, and Mazahua.
Few pre-Cortes Indian records survived the early colonial period. However, once the priests converted the Indians to Christians, their sacraments were recorded in the parish books. At the time of baptism the Indian was given a Christian name, by which he or she would use and be known. In pre-revolution time the Catholic Church customarily recorded the sacraments of the Indians separate from those of the Spaniards. Racial classification was often made on the basis of physical appearance or social status and therefore was not always accurate. At times the priests would use a different set of books or record the Spaniards in the front of the book and the Indians in the back. Be sure to look in both records, because the priests would sometimes unintentionally record an entry in the wrong section.
After the revolution and independence was won, it became law that documents would no longer contain one’s race. Since then the Spaniards, Mestizos, and Indians sacraments were recorded in the same book. It was during this period in the 1800s that the Indians began to take surnames, which were acquired in different ways.