Tepehuan of Durango - Settlements



Each comunidad is a territorial and political unit. At the center of a comunidad is a main town that is the religious-political center for the surrounding anexos (named villages) and isolated rancherías belonging to the comunidad. A ranchería consists of clustered houses surrounded by widely scattered small farm plots. The towns act as central foci for government, social, and religious rituals and are official headquarters for holding elections and discussing matters affecting the comunidad. In addition to a town's public and administrative buildings, there are also a church or chapel, a school, and a community kitchen. Elected officials live in these centers during their terms of office.

A typical Southern Tepehuan dwelling is a rectangular two-room construction built on a platform of earth that has been prepared by continual watering, sweeping, and hollowing out. The walls are made of stone and adobe and the roof is thatched with grass. One room is used for cooking and the other for sleeping. There are variations in the construction of homes in different villages, depending on available materials. Where sawmills are accessible, lumber is used in the construction of community and residential buildings.


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