Tepehua - Orientation

Identification. The Tepehua are a farming people occupying mountainous regions of eastern Hidalgo and northern Veracruz in Mexico. They are most closely related linguistically to the Totonac, who inhabit nearby lower regions to the east, in the state of Veracruz. The name "Tepehua" may be derived from either of the Nahua words tepetl (mountain) or ueialtepetl (town dweller).

Location. There are two regions of Tepehua settlement: a band stretching from Huehuetla, Hidalgo, northwestward through Tlachichilco, Veracruz, where the Tepehua are surrounded by Otomí and mestizo settlements; and a U-shaped area at lower elevations to the northeast of Pantepec, Veracruz, where they are surrounded by Totonac and Otomí settlements. These regions are at the southern boundary of a region generally known as the "Huasteca." All Tepehua settlements are found between 20°25′ and 20°40′ N and 97°40′ and 97°15′ W. They extend over a wide range of elevations between 150 and 1,700 meters, but most are at the lower levels.

Demography and Language. The total number of Tepehua speakers in the 1990 census was 8,702. Out of these, 2,001 were in Hidalgo and 5,742 in Veracruz. The Tepehua language is in the Totonacan Subfamily of the Macromayan (Mexican Penutian) Family.

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