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More Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas, Mexico

By Robert Nickel

In the first installment of this series we briefly covered the three largest indigenous groups residing in the Mexican state of Chiapas. They were the Tzeltals, Tzotzils and the Ch’ols. Now we will explore a few of the other nine officially recognized native peoples in Chiapas.

Tojolabals There are approximately one million indigenous people in Chiapas, and just 35,000 are of Tojolabal heritage. Oral tradition tells us the Tojolabals migrated north from what is now Guatemala, but there is little said about the reason. Women of the groups dress in traditional clothing from the time they are children, wearing brightly colored skirts with white blouses and a kerchief on their head. All their clothing is decorated with vibrant ribbons. Women who are unmarried wear their hair loose with ribbons, while married ladies wear their hair in two long braids.

Zoques The Zoques are unlike previously discussed native groups in that they are not part of the Mayan genus, but have some of the most ancient ruins in the region. As one of the first native peoples in Chiapas, ruins have been dated as far back as 3500 BCE. This may be part of the reason the Zoque language is unlike Mayan, as it dates further back. Unfortunately the Zoques population is not what it used to be. A steady series of natural and man-made factors have caused a steep decline in numbers. The Malpaso Dam is responsible for causing the ancient Zoque city of Quechula to be flooded. The eruption of several volcanoes hundreds of years ago killed thousands and covered many communities. And of course the arrival of the Spanish brought disease.

Lacandons Among the smallest native groups in Chiapas, there are just 1000 Lacandons living today. Traditional living spaces for these people meant building communities in the jungles, where it is said ancient gods once lived. After the Spanish arrived during the 16th century many migrants trying to dodge colonialism, took over the rainforest home of the Lacandons. The lasting impact for the Lacandons has been a drastically altered lifestyle and perception of the outside world.

Mochos and Mams These last two indigenous groups are indeed the smallest in Chiapas. They are both of Mayan descent, but were harshly effected by the arrival of the Spanish. Also a commonality between both groups, populations are almost entirely based along the Guatemalan border and at the foot of the Tacana volcano.

The state of Chiapas is more diverse than most other Mexican states. With such a variety of indigenous groups, there is a plethora of intriguing cultural traditions to explore. Every traveler to Mexico should make a point of visiting Chiapas, even if it is just to see the beautiful traditional costumes. is an online travel company determined and dedicated to becoming the leader in providing travelers with the most intuitive online booking experience full of relevant information, helpful guides and travel tips. Find great deals on cancun deals at!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Nickel, Robert "More Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas, Mexico." More Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas, Mexico. 6 Jan. 2012. 16 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Nickel, R (2012, January 6). More Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas, Mexico. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Nickel, Robert "More Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas, Mexico"

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