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Popoluca also known as "Sierra Popoluca" Pitek, Emily


The Popoluca are a group of people who live in eastern Veracruz and Oaxaca, Mexico. Linguistically, there are four groups of Popoluca: the Sierra, Texistepec, Oluta, and Sayula. This entry focuses on the Sierra Popoluca (the largest of the four groups) living specifically in the town and environs of Soteapan, Veracruz around the time of 1950. This region has a long history of cultural contact with outsiders beginning with the Spanish arrival in the sixteenth century. With the Spanish came Catholic missionaries, who built churches, preached, and converted natives. Consequently, the Popoluca are now nominally Catholic. However, Catholic ideas and practices (including the Christian God and rites such as baptism and marriage) have been blended with indigenous beliefs. Elements of former religion can be seen in the variety of supernatural beings as well as rites and ceremonies associated with agricultural and subsistence practices. Priests occasionally visit the area, but no full-time religious leaders are present otherwise. Magical practitioners known as nawats/nawals are present and practice malevolent magic--these individuals can be described as magical practitioners. Religion does not exist within its own distinct sphere of life, but rather pervades all aspects of Popoluca life; this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with Popoluca society.

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Attribution 4.0 International