Wasteko - Sociopolitical Organization

Social and Political Organization. For most Wasteko, life revolves around the local Indian community. Community institutions have developed around the compadrazgo system of fictive kinship, kinship-based reciprocity, the cargo (the ritual obligation, shared by a set of communities, to sponsor the fiestas of saints), other church-based groups, marketing cooperatives, and the organizations that have been created by the state to regulate activities on community lands. The latter organizations include the General Assembly, in which each household is represented by one person, and two important elected three-person committees: the comisariado , which represents the community to outside authorities and settles land disputes, and the consejo de vigilancia, which monitors the activities of the first committee. Community decisions are made in General Assembly meetings by majority vote. At the municipio level, however, political power is held by mestizos. The Wasteko do not actively participate in pan-Mexican indigenous organizations.

Social Control and Conflict. Peer pressure derived from a shared value system is generally effective in maintaining community standards. Accusations of witchcraft are made against those who attempt to appropriate resources for private gain. Curers reinforce socially appropriate behavior during their interactions with patients by looking for illness caused by the patient's or others' misuse of resources or for other antisocial behavior.

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