Poqomam - Sociopolitical Organization



The social organization of Poqomam culture is affected by a civil-religious hierarchy and by the ritual relations of compadrazgo and camaradería. Village organization, similar to that of other Latin American indigenous groups, centers around the civil-religious hierarchy. The civil hierarchy consists of an alcalde (mayor) who presides over a council, who in turn preside over a number of other lesser officials, such as police. The alcalde conducts the formai business of the town and represents his village both to other villages and to regional government.

Within the religious hierarchy, there is a system of cofradías (religious brotherhoods) that conduct the business of the church and help to cement social ties between members of the village. The most important office within the religious hierarchy is that of mayordomo , which is held jointly by a husband and wife. For a period of one year, they are responsible for cleaning the church and sponsoring the annual celebration held in honor of the patron saint of the village.

Compadrazgo also helps to organize social life among the Poqomam. Compadrazgo is the system of fictive-kin relations that is created between godparents and the families of their godchildren. These relations are often the basis of social interaction and mobility.

Camaradería functions on a lesser scale than compadrazgo in organizing social interaction. Young unmarried men may enter into special bonds of friendship, known as camaradería, with other men. These individuals usually spend much time together drinking and dancing. These friendships provide bonds of loyalty before marriage but are often dissolved abruptly after marriage.


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