Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender

pp 877-884


  • Felice S. Wyndham

Alternative Names

Tarahumara are also known as Rarámuri and Tarahumar.


The historical homelands of the Tarahumara are the mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres, western Chihuahua, northern Mexico, covering approximately 35,000 square kilometers on either side of the continental divide (Merrill, 1988, p. 17). Today, in addition to highland (sierra) and lowland (barranca) communities, a significant number of people live in urban settlements in Chihuahua City and Juárez, Chihuahua, and are found in every Mexican state.

Cultural Overview

The Tarahumara are of Uto-Aztecan descent, and are predominantly subsistence agriculturalists, though many now work as teachers, health workers, and laborers in agriculture and other industries. Rural Tarahumara’s main field crops are corn, beans and squash; other foods include wheat, potatoes, cabbage, apples and peaches, and a variety of greens and wild foods. Goats, sheep, and cattle are kept primarily for th ...

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