Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tarahumara

The Tarahumara people live in and around Creel and Copper Canyon.  There are approximately 60,000 in northern Mexico.  They are typically a very shy people, and often live in caves, cliff dwellings, or small log or stone cabins.  
The background of this shot is where some of the cave dwellings are (including the little girls below.)  The tree at the left has corn hanging in it, because this is where they store it.  But my "missionary mind" questions: "What do they believe or think as the hang it in the tree?  Why do they pick this tree?  What happens (or what do they think happens) when they hang the corn?"  I've been taught not to take things at face value!
This little girl was coming out of a "room" to her family's house.  This room is outside the cave.  It appears that up and over is the only way in and out of the room.
The log in this photo is actually a ladder, and this nearly vertical climb is a trail!  
Opposite this cave dwelling and cross is a corn field.  There were three crosses around the field.  The crosses are used as talismans to protect the crops and bring a good harvest.  When the Jesuit priests came into the Tarahumara areas, the people accepted what the priests had to say.  But, they did not revoke their old beliefs.  They "syncretized" the Catholic belief system with their belief system of worshipping saints. 
 I found this quote from a Tarahumara at a Tarahumara museum: 
"The Catholic cross is not the cross of Christ, [it] is the cross of a severed man in space, the invisible man with his arms wide open, whose nails look at the four cardinal points."
These photos were taken around this family's home and land.  There is a log/stone cabin and some who live in the cave.  This family has lived here over 400 years.  My family has never lived anywhere longer than 10 years!  Can you imagine sleeping where your relatives from the 1600s slept?
These three Tarahumara kids do not know the true meaning of the cross they sit under.  They don't know Who was on a cross similar to this, nor do they know why He would do such a horrible thing for them--even as they sit under the shadow of the cross.

Would you remember to pray for the Tarahumara?  Because they live scattered across the land, it has been difficult to get the pure gospel of Jesus Christ to them.  There are NTM missionaries working with them in small groups, and often in the homes of the Tarahumara.  Pray for strength, health, and endurance for the missionaries, and for open hearts and eyes for the Tarahumara.  

2 comments:

ERIK LABASTIDA MEDELLIN said...
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Becky Aguirre said...

Wow! Great pictures of that farm! No, I can't imagine a family living in the same place for 100s of years! That was an interesting quote re. the cross...goes to show you really can't take things at face value, like you said...