Huichol Language « SHAMANISM
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Huichol Language

Although the Huichol Indians live in the midst of a Spanish speaking country, there are few if any Mexicans who can understand them. The Huichol language is in the Uto-Aztecan family of indigenous languages. It is related to the language of many tribes from as far south as the Maya to as far north as the Hopi. It is primarily with the Uto-Aztecan branch of tribes that the Huichol historically traded. To the south they traded for cacao (chocolate bean) and the Hopi bartered with the Huichols in exchange for the highly prized macaw feathers. The Hopi used the feathers from the macaw parrot, a species home to the jungles of Mexico, for the incitation ceremonies for their youth. In their own language, the Huichols call themselves “Virarica.” This translates to “The Healers” or “The Healing People.” Today, many Huichols are bilingual, speaking both Spanish as well as their native tongue. The Dance of the Deer Foundation has supported this bilingual lifestyle so that the Huichol people are in no way at any disadvantage when traveling to town or when coping with Mexican intrusion into their territory. At the same time, the Foundation is working to maintain the Huichol language into the future in order to ensure that yet another indigenous language is not lost.