The Chatinos of Oaxaca


The Chatinos represent the sixth indigenous tribe of Oaxaca, with more than 40,000 people speaking the language. Chatino means work of words. They call themselves kitse cha’tnio, in reference to their cha’cña language.

In prehistoric times, Oaxaca belonged to hunter-gatherers who descended from the north. The first distinctive culture that inhabited Oaxaca was the Chatino in southwestern Oaxaca: they were militarists who fought hard against both Zapotecs and Mixtecs.

Photo: @MiMuseoIndigena
Photo: Etnias del mundo

The Chatino language is related to Zapotec, and there are many cultural similarities between the two groups. Chatino is spoken in the southern part of the state, and most of the communities are located in Juquila, Santa Cruz Zenzontepec and Tataltepec.

The Chatinos live in the mountainous region rich in natural resources and many work on organic coffee farms, the economic mainstay. Women are characterized by wearing embroidered blouses with crochet trims, the chatinas. They are antique pieces made with cotton threads and the sewing is very fine that reflect the past times with shiny, gold, silver and colored oropel threads.

The traditional clothing of the Kitse cha’tnio/chatinas women from Oaxaca consists of a richly embroidered cotton blouse around the neckline, a wide and pleated skirt in bright colors, embroidered blanket background and hem.

Men’s clothing is blanket trousers, a blanket shirt and rooster-foot huaraches, so-called because they are made of rubber.


Information: Cultura UNAM – MXCITY

Photo: Etnias del mundo

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