Tzotzil and Tzeltal of Pantelhó - Settlements



About one-third of the population (4,700 individuals) is concentrated in the headtown, also named Pantelhó. The headtown is divided into five sections: a Ladino-dominated center and four largely Indian barrios. The remaining two-thirds live in many small homesteads and in thirty-seven recognized hamlets ( agencias ) ranging in size from 50 to 1,000 inhabitants. Generally, households in the ejido communities tend to be densely concentrated, whereas the small property owners are more likely to live dispersed on individual parcels, although late-twentieth-century improvements in public services (e.g., water, schools) have increased residential concentration.

A typical household complex consists of from one to three small buildings: a cooking/eating building, a sleeping building, and a storage building. Cooking is done over a wood fire on the floor, and beds consist of either a raised wooden platform or a straw mat ( petate ) on the floor. If there are fewer than three buildings (which is often the case), the structures tend to serve multiple functions. Buildings are framed with poles, and the walls are made of either vertical wooden planks tied in place or mud plastered into a cornstalk lattice. Roofs are of either thatch or lamina (corrugated metal sheeting). A few Indians have constructed houses of concrete block.


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