The Indian element, whose economic base is formed almost everywhere by the cultivation of the land, has as a consequence of this so far tenaciously defended its existence, despite the loss of its political independence. Socially indeed, the Indians have gained some advantage from the movement of recent times, which had as its goal the division of large properties and the improvement of renters and small owners.
Especially in the states of Sonora, Morelos and Yucatán the indigenous element is very strong. The major groups are the Aztecs (v.) And the Maya (v.): The latter inhabit a continuous territory that includes a large part of Chiapas and Tabasco and the Yucatán peninsula; a little apart are the Huaxtecs north of Veracruz and Pánuco (around 50,000). The Aztecs, descendants of the ancient Mexicans, reside, 1,750,000 in number, as small landowners and peasants, mainly in the central states of the region. While among them, abstracting from the language, there are only a few remains of the ancient civilization, among other peoples who speak the same language and are usually reunited in the Nahua group (Uto-Aztecs) there is still much of the ancient culture. The populations belonging to this group, bordering to the north with the Yuma tribes, they occupy western Mexico up to the states Zacatecas and Jalisco. The Pima and Papago reside only partially on Mexican territory, between the Río Yaqui and the Río Gila; the Opata live at the sources of the Río Yaqui; south of these, in Sonora and Sinaloa, the Cahitas (Yaqui and Maya); in Durango the Tepehuano; in the Sierra de Chihuahua the Tarahumar; in the Sierra de Nayarit and on the Río de Jesus Maria, the Jaliscos and the Cora; in the Sierra Madre (Jalisco del NO.) on the Río Chapalagana are the Huichols. These are tribes of farmers who grow maize, melons, pumpkins and cotton, as well as being hunters and fishermen. The fields are sometimes artificially irrigated with canals and dams (Pima); other times placed in the form of terraces on the slopes (Opata, Tarahumar). Tarahumar catch fish, sometimes even draining ponds.mescal, from the Aztec mescalli). With the fermentation of the same plant, an intoxicating drink is also obtained. The peyotl, a cactus (Anhalonium Williamsii), offers the Cora, Tarahumar and Huichol a means to fall into visionary conditions; it plays an important part in ceremonies and many Indian tribes from the United States have also come to know of it. For Mexico 2007, please check extrareference.com.
The clothing of these tribes has changed a lot under the Spanish influence; in the art of weaving and ceramics there are still interesting products. They are very fond of running races and in this sport they are amazing; the Indians were able to walk to a not-too-fast horse which they had given a little advantage. The social and religious conditions are interesting and, at times, still very primitive. The Pima are divided into two siblings with 5 subgroups and paternal descent. Th. Preuss found ancient religious notions and ceremonies among the Koras, which also shed light on the religious forms of ancient Mexico, of which they are probably the first steps. At the top of their pantheon stands Ta-teuari “our grandfather”, the god of fire; with him are the old mother-earth and Ta-yau “our father”, the sun god. The Kmaak (Seri) were until recently a small segregated and primitive people on Tiburón Island (in the Gulf of California) and on a portion of the continent opposite it in the state of Sonora. Hunters and fruit gatherers, they lived on aquatic animals, fruit, cacti, etc. and almost everything was eaten raw. They went to the island of Tassne in their bales and slaughtered pelicans en masse intent on hatching. Until a few years ago the tribe was accused of anthropophagy. There was a strict matriarchy, and the husband was but a guest in the hut, which belonged to his wife. Their religion is little known, the “oldest of the pelicans” first extracted Tassne Island from the water, then Tiburón and the rest of the world. Of the other tribes, which today no longer exist other than as remains, and do not belong to either the Nahua group or the Maya, the Otomí (high valley of Mexico and Tlaxcala), the Pame (Querétaro and Guanaiuato), the Tarasco are still to be mentioned. (Michoacán), the Totonaco (state of Veracruz around Papantla), the Zapoteco and Mixteco (state of Oaxaca), the Mixe-Zoque (isthmus of Tehuantepec), the Huave (east of Tehuantepec), the Chorotegue (and with these the Chiapaneco in Chiapas, the Mazateco in Oaxaca and the Choch Popoloki in Oaxaca and Puebla). See also the Totonaco (state of Veracruz around Papantla), the Zapoteco and Mixteco (state of Oaxaca), the Mixe-Zoque (isthmus of Tehuantepec), the Huave (east of Tehuantepec), the Chorotegue (and with these the Chiapaneco in Chiapas, the Mazatecs in Oaxaca and the Choch Popoloki in Oaxaca and Puebla). See also the Totonaco (state of Veracruz around Papantla), the Zapoteco and Mixteco (state of Oaxaca), the Mixe-Zoque (isthmus of Tehuantepec), the Huave (east of Tehuantepec), the Chorotegue (and with these the Chiapaneco in Chiapas, the Mazatecs in Oaxaca and the Choch Popoloki in Oaxaca and Puebla).