Guarijío - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Guarijío social structure is still guided by rules reflecting a spirit of communality. There is little status or social stratification, and Guarijío isolation and disposition have given them the self-assurance to safeguard their cultural identity and values.

Political Organization. A governor is the main political authority. He supports the ejido commissioner and the consejo de vigilancia , a group in charge of organizing cooperative work groups. These political authorities have their origin in Mexican agrarian law, not in traditional culture.

The religious organization of the community is in the hands of the alaguisin, the chief ceremonial leader; the maynate, the singer; and the prayer maker. Even though religious cargos are formally defined, individuals must become involved as actors in the roles, which have either a propitiating, initiatory, or ancestral character. For example, to stay up all night and into the day, as part of a system of vows or promises, is a rite of passage initiating the participant into a new identity. The symbolism of the rituals equates the musical harp with women and fertility, the Cross and the patron saints with good, and the Pascola dancers with filth and vulgarity. The rituals have the power to link the vulgar and profane to the sacred universe and to create a new vision of human existence.

Social Control and Conflict. There is no external social control, since Guarijío social organization and community spirit preclude conflict among Guarijío. The main conflicts are with White ranchers over the land that they bought from the original Guarijío owners.

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