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Dates of visit:
May 25, 2005 -
June 3, 2005

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Copper Canyon
 Batopilas Canyon
 Creel
 Mining Towns
 Missions & Museums
 Chihuahua City
 Sea of Crtez
 San Catlos
 Bahia Kino
 Tarahumara Indians
 Land of "Stupid"
 

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Cusarare Mission & Museum,
El Divisadero & Valley of Mushrooms,
Tarahumara (Raramuri) Indians,
Guaymas, San Carlos & Bahia Kino
Go to first page - Chihuahua, Creel, Copper and Batopilas Canyons
        Map of Mexico
        Area visited in Mexico
        Reference Map of Greater Copper Canyon Zone
        Cusarare Mission and Museum
        El Divisadero
        Tarahumara (Raramuri) Indians
        Sea of Cortez
Cusarare Mission and Church

CusarareThe missions San Ignacio (Valley of the Mushrooms) and Cusarare are some of the oldest in the Upper Sierra. The most attractive of the two is the one at Cusarare. A museum of all the sacred art collected from all the missions in the Tarahumara was inaugurated on the 31st of July, 2003. The most famous 18th century work of the painter Miguel Correa is exhibited here. The architecture of the Loyola Museum is truly amazing and the most impressive in all of the Copper Canyon.


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Road to Cusarare Mission
On the road On the road On the road
Cusarare Village
** Location of Cusarare **
Cusarare Village Cusarare Village Cusarare Village
Cusarare Loyola Museum
Loyola Museum Loyola Museum Loyola Museum
Loyola Museum Loyola Museum Loyola Museum
Cusarare Mission Church
Mission Church Mission Church Mission Church
Mission Church Mission Church Mission Church
Lake Arareko
Lake Arareko Lake Arareko Lake Arareko
Valley of the Mushrooms and Frogs
Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms
Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms
Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms
Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms Valley of the Mushrooms

Tarahumara (Raramuri) Indians

RaramuriTHE TARAHUMARAS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES (Author: Shep Lenchek) ... Never conquered by the Aztecs and despite being defeated by Mexican armies, the Tarahumaras still consider themselves an independent nation. So strong is this conviction that in the Nineteen Fifties they more than once took complaints directly to the United Nations. Perhaps the purest and most unmixed of any Indian tribe in Mexico, so little is known about them that their true name "Raramuri" was corrupted to "Tarahumara" by white men and never corrected.

Most of the world knows them only as long distance runners. Living in high altitudes, they have developed tremendous lung capacity and in more primitive times hunted deer and mountain goats, running them down on foot. In more modern times, they have run non-stop in relay teams from Chihuahua City to El Paso, a distance of 230 miles, to open the Pan-American Road Races.

However, this running ability is only one facet of their life style. The truly remarkable thing about them is an ancient religion, which has bred into them a moral code so strict that they are unable to tell a lie. Psychologists suggest that over the centuries this value system has actually caused physiological changes in their brain that preclude speaking anything but the truth. Nor can they cheat or fail to aid a fellow tribesman.

They are described as loyal to God, to their own traditions and their own culture. Although the majority of them have converted to Christianity, there are still some "gentile" groups who have refused baptism. Those converted have introduced their own ancient concepts into their new religion.

RaramuriGod is both Father and Mother. Respect for one another is of prime importance. They give greater value to persons than to things. In their eyes both the white man and the Mestizo are more pagan than their unbaptized fellow Raramuri because over the years these two groups have enslaved, lied, cheated and driven them off most of the fertile land they once inhabited.

Today the "People" (the translation of the name Raramuri) have been driven into the highest reaches of the Sierra Tarahumara, in the State of Chihuahua. There, even the valleys are over 5000 feet above sea level. Now, it appears their last bit of fertile land may be taken over by outsiders, forcing the Indians to retreat higher into the mountains.

Despite this, most Raramuri still ignore the blandishments of Mexican city living. They cling to native costume. The men wear a loincloth, held together by a wool girdle wrapped twice around the waist. A long, loose, full-sleeved shirt of cotton and a cloth headband complete the outfit. The women wear full multiple or layered skirts. Blouses are always worn loose at the waist. They have full sleeves, heavily pleated at the wrists and shoulders. Like the men, they wear cloth headbands.

What has kept the "People" true to their ancient customs is a combination of a wilderness homeland and an inherited value system of obligation to fellow men, plus their devotion to ancient Gods they brought with them into Christianity. Thus, they still look on the moon and stars as religious symbols. To pay homage to the Cross and Saints they sign across the face and turn their body to the left, the same way they saluted their ancient God. This sign of the cross is not of Christian origin but was part of their ancient dance, "Yumari," in which they offered food to the four points of the compass and their traditional God to insure rain and ward off evil.

Recognizing this indigenous dance-oriented method of prayer, the Jesuits introduced the "Dance of the Matachines." It originated in the northern province of Venice in Italy, and is still performed there during Carnival. The Raramuri perform it on all the Holy Days of the Catholic Church. Costumed, masked dancers move to the beat of drums and the wailing of flutes. Other dances are performed to solicit rain, heal the sick, and bury the dead. All blend the new Christianity with ancient practices.

The Tarahumara (Raramuri) Indians
Raramuri Raramuri Raramuri
Raramuri Raramuri Raramuri
Raramuri Raramuri Raramuri
Raramuri Raramuri Raramuri

The Road to the Sea of Cortez

San CarlosFrom the Copper Canyon area to the Sea of Cortez, on the western coast of upper Mexico, is a distance that should not be measured only in miles but in drop in elevation, climate and cultures. The overland route is a twisting, winding, poorly maintained two-lane highway that traverses many mountain valleys. From the State of Chihuahua to the State of Sonora is a blistering 300+ miles requiring attention to not only free-ranging domestic animals on the road but treacherous curves and blind corners. [ chart ]


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Bahia KinoTwo of the areas that are frequented by Americans and some Mexicans are the towns of San Carlos (near Guaymas) and Bahia Kino, 60 miles due west of Hermosillo. Both cater to 'gringo' boaters and fishermen. They are rapidly becoming desired destinations for ex-patriates. San Carlos is a near-fact "American" where the dominant language is English and the currency of choice is the American dollar. Bahia Kino still retains the flavor of Mexico, however, the nearby community of Nuevo Kino (New Kino) is principally a bedroom community of American homes.


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The Road to Ciudad Obregon
** Location of Ciudad Obregon **
Road to Obregon Road to Obregon Road to Obregon
Road to Obregon Road to Obregon Road to Obregon
Ciudad Guaymas
Guaymas Guaymas Guaymas
Ciudad San Carlos
** Location of San Carlos **
San Carlos San Carlos San Carlos
San Carlos San Carlos San Carlos
San Carlos San Carlos San Carlos
San Carlos San Carlos San Carlos
San Carlos San Carlos San Carlos
Bahia Kino
** Location of Bahia Kino **
Bahia Kino Bahia Kino Bahia Kino
Bahia Kino Bahia Kino Bahia Kino

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