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View Full Version : Diversity across Mexican Amerindian groups?



yelmex
01-27-2018, 04:48 AM
What are the major differences between various Amerindian groups in Mexico genetically speaking?

Bas
03-08-2018, 04:28 AM
Living in Mexico, what I find amazing is the diversity. Just sheer number of language families in a relatively small area. (Say Puebla, with Nahuatl enclaves and then the Oto-manguean groups also in that state like Mixtecas and then further North and East on the border of Veracruz, you start to come across Totonac speaking areas, which is believed to be an isolate) Probably geography has a lot to do with that and I'd expect some heavy local specific drift going on because of that.

There was a study I saw a few years ago which looked at a previously Otomi town which then became an Aztec town before the conquest. It was believed that the local Otomi 'converted' and were assimilated but analyzing human remains found, there was no population continuity before/after and researchers came to the conclusion that the Azteca massacred them and took the town. Which does hint at decent substructure. If I find the article, I'll post it ;)

Grossvater
03-08-2018, 10:26 PM
Living in Mexico, what I find amazing is the diversity. Just sheer number of language families in a relatively small area. (Say Puebla, with Nahuatl enclaves and then the Oto-manguean groups also in that state like Mixtecas and then further North and East on the border of Veracruz, you start to come across Totonac speaking areas, which is believed to be an isolate) Probably geography has a lot to do with that and I'd expect some heavy local specific drift going on because of that.

There was a study I saw a few years ago which looked at a previously Otomi town which then became an Aztec town before the conquest. It was believed that the local Otomi 'converted' and were assimilated but analyzing human remains found, there was no population continuity before/after and researchers came to the conclusion that the Azteca massacred them and took the town. Which does hint at decent substructure. If I find the article, I'll post it ;)

I'm rather curious as to how admixed the Aztecs were themselves. Since they spoke a language related to the languages spoken up north in Ute and Shoshone country, I wonder how much, if any, genetic material the Aztecs had in common with modern Utes and Shoshones.

Since you live in Mexico, Bas, I'm curious if you know who is being referred to when a tribe is being defined as "Chichimeca." Were the Otomis included in this broad historic definition? How far north did the Otomis live? Were there affinities with them and the Coahuiltecan-language speaking Native peoples of Nuevo Leon & Tamaulipas?

Bas
03-09-2018, 12:50 AM
I'm rather curious as to how admixed the Aztecs were themselves. Since they spoke a language related to the languages spoken up north in Ute and Shoshone country, I wonder how much, if any, genetic material the Aztecs had in common with modern Utes and Shoshones.

Since you live in Mexico, Bas, I'm curious if you know who is being referred to when a tribe is being defined as "Chichimeca." Were the Otomis included in this broad historic definition? How far north did the Otomis live? Were there affinities with them and the Coahuiltecan-language speaking Native peoples of Nuevo Leon & Tamaulipas?

Mmm, I'm not sure about the genetic relationship the Aztecas had with other groups, but about the Chichimecas, as far as I know,it was the name given to the tribes the Aztecas saw as 'less advanced' as them (those who didn't practice agriculture), generally to their North-starting as far south as Queretaro state. Kind of like how the Romans and Greeks used 'Barbarian'. And I think they didn't really discriminate between tribes of completely different language groups in labeling them that. Off the top of my head, I think the Otomies, or at least some groups of Otomi were included in that. Saying that, they seem to have regarded them as strong warriors and employed them as mercenaries.

The Otomies are a really interesting case; it's likely that they (or closely related groups) were the original inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico and the language family they belong to also includes Zapoteca far to the south in Oaxaca but they were pushed out of the area by the Nahua migration and now live in mostly upland areas. Most of this language family is centred in Southern Mexico and Zapoteca is probably the most prominent example. It's pretty easy to tell when you are coming into an Otomi or Zapotec area because the placenames are totally different to the Nahuatl ones and the language is tonal, so it also sounds completely different!

Unfortunately, even in Mexico City, there still isn't much known about Otomi culture, despite many people having Otomi roots and their early influence in some of the most well-known archaeological sites in and around the city. But in states like Queretaro, Hidalgo, Guanajuato and the State of Mexico, there are loads of Otomi towns, which are really active in promoting their culture, which is really nice as smaller indigenous groups like these are often forgotten in the shadow of the more famous pre-colombian cultures.