Kikapu - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. There is no class differentiation in Kikapu culture; however, some social differentiation is beginning to develop, causing conflicts among certain group members. It appears that the only individual held in esteem by all group members is the religious leader. In general, the social organization of the Kikapu falls under the leadership and guidance of the elders of the group.

Political Organization. In the past, the Kikapu had a leader who was assisted by a council of elders in making political decisions. Today the president of the ejido provides the political leadership, even though the assembly consisting of the heads of families makes the most important political decisions. Only internal Kikapu matters are within the purview of these political leaders; they have no influence in regional, state, or federal politics in Mexico. In these larger arenas, the Kikapu can only participate as individuals.

Social Control. In earlier times, social control was exerted by group leaders, especially the elders. This control has begun to dissipate, adversely affecting younger members of the group.

Conflict. Conflicts, first with White settlers in their northern territories and later with Texans, forced the Kikapu to migrate to Mexico. In their Coahuilan settlement, one of their major problems has been the loss of hunting grounds—deer are crucial to Kikapu religious ceremonies. Surrounding ranchers have not allowed the Kikapu to hunt on their properties. Furthermore, recent conflicts over power have emerged within the Kikapu group itself, leading to strong divisions in the community. Alcoholism and drug addiction are the severest problems the Kikapu face today.

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