Huichol - Settlements

The Huichol sierra is divided into four major community districts. In the state of Jalisco and bordering on Durango and Zacatecas are the communities of San Andrés Cohamiata (including Banco de Calítique), San Sebastián Teponahuaztlán along with the annexed Tuxpan de Bolaños, and Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán. The area in Nayarit includes Guadalupe Ocotán and various small communities in which Cora Indians also live, such as Jess María and Santa Bárbara. In each district there is a ceremonial center where the governing officials reside and where communitywide political and ceremonial activities take place. Within the community district are temple districts made up of family lineages. Most Huichol live in dispersed family ranchos within the vicinity of the temple district corresponding to the lineage of the elder of the rancho. Rancho settlements consist of individual houses belonging to the eldest couple, to their adult children and grandchildren, and to extended-family members who have received permission from the elder to construct their homes in the rancho. There is usually a communal kitchen and a house that is the family's xiriki (shrine). The xiriki is dedicated to the ancestors of the elders of the rancho. In some instances, there is more than one xiriki, to honor the ancestors of other, more distantly related kin members. All of these buildings encircle a main patio, which features an outdoor fireplace and sacred stone disk where family ceremonies take place. Huichol houses have dirt floors, stone or adobe walls, and grass-thatched roofs. In each rancho there is usually at least one house made of bamboo that is built on stilts above the ground, where maize and other crops are stored after the harvest. Some Huichol are replacing grass roofs with cement or store-bought prefabricated shingles. The walls of some houses are now made of oven-fired bricks.

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