"Hapwan chanaka" ("on top of the earth"): The politics and history of public ceremonial tradition in Santa Teresa, Nayarit, Mexico
AuthorCoyle, Philip Edward, 1961-
AdvisorSheridan, Thomas E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation charts historical changes in the ceremonial institution that the Cora people of the town of Santa Teresa refer to as their costumbre, and links these changes to recent violence in that town. This cultural history begins with a description of the ceremonies through which cognatic descent is reproduced in Santa Teresa today. The performance of these mitote ceremonies positions core ceremonial participants both spatially, in relation to a meaningful territory, and temporally, in relation to sets of still-active deceased ancestors and ancestral deities, as members of distinct "maize-bundle groups". During the Lozada Rebellion of the 19th century, after a relatively brief mission period, Catholic-derived ceremonialism was integrated with this mitote ceremonialism by the ancestors of today's living Coras. This integrated costumbre expanded and reoriented the symbolic connotations produced in maize-bundle group ceremonies, creating a sense of hierarchical and synecdochical inclusiveness between particular descent groups and the "higher" courthouse officials of the community as a whole. After the fall of Manuel Lozada's military confederacy, these community-level ceremonial traditions became a battleground within a long-term factional struggle between intruding non-indigenous people (and their Tereseno supporters) and the other Teresenos who opposed the policies of these outsiders. This relatively clear-cut political factionalism splintered after the Instituto Nacional Indigenista entered into this factional conflict during the 1960s. This federal agency pushed through a series of political initiatives and development projects with little or no input from Teresenos, and so also eroded the willingness of local people to put out the effort required to properly continue their ceremonial traditions. In recent years Teresenos have responded to this community-level political vacuum, and the drunken violence that has come with it, by retreating from the "dirty" community-level ceremonial festivals to the more private and orderly mitote ceremonies celebrated by their own maize-bundle groups. In this way, the costumbre has acted as a fault-line dividing and fracturing the community; the ancestral ceremonial traditions that once established an inclusive territory and ancestry linking all Teresenos are now helping to produce a series of cleavages that are driving the splintered Tereseno community ever more apart.
Degree ProgramGraduate College