In Indian Mexico

Frederick Starr

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Excerpt from In Indian Mexico: A Narrative of Travel and Labor

The reading public may well ask, Why another travel book on Mexico? Few countries have been so frequently written up by the traveler. Many books, good, bad, and indifferent, but chiefly bad, have been perpetrated. Most of these books, however, cover the same ground, and ground which has been traversed by many people. Indian Mexico is practically unknown. The only travel-book regarding it, in English, is Lumholtz's "Unknown Mexico." The indians among whom Lumholtz worked lived in northwestern Mexico; those among whom I have studied are in southern Mexico. The only district where his work and mine overlap is the Tarascan area. In fact, then, I write upon an almost unknown and untouched subject. Lumholtz studied life and customs; my study has been the physical type of south Mexican indians. Within the area covered by Lumholtz, the physical characteristics of the tribes have been studied by Hrdlicka. His studies and my own are practically the only investigations within the field.

There are two Mexicos. Northern Mexico to the latitude of the capital city is a mestizo country; the indians of pure blood within that area occupy limited and circumscribed regions. Southern Mexico is indian country; there are large regions, where the mestizos not the indians, are the exception. From the time of my first contact with Mexican indians, I was impressed with the notable differences between tribes, and desired to make a serious study of their types.

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