Chatino people

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For the indigenous language, see Chatino language.
Kitse Cha'tño
Total population
Mexico:approx 23,000
Regions with significant populations
Mexico (Oaxaca)
Chatino, Spanish, Chatino Sign Language
predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups

Chatino is the Spanish name of an indigenous people of southern central Mexico, and also of their language, the Chatino language. Chatino communities are located in the southeastern region of the state of Oaxaca. Speakers of Chatino are numbered around 23,000 (Ethnologue surveys), but ethnic Chatinos may number many more. They call themselves Kitse Cha'tño and their language Cha'tña.

Chatino populations are found in the following Oaxacan municipalities, mostly in the area around Juquila: Santos Reyes Nopala, San Juan Quiahije, San Miguel Panixtlahuaca, Santiago Yaitepec, Santa Cruz Zezontepec, San Juan Lachao, Santa María Temaxcaltepec, Santa Catarina Juquila and Tataltepec de Valdés.[1]

The region that the Chatinos inhabit is rich in natural resources. Traditionally many Chatino people have been involved in agriculture, which depends very much on the climate, so some Chatinos have had to emigrate to the corners of the district of Juquila to work on coffee plantations. Most Chatino communities have public services, and there are runways for airports in many municipalities. Federal bilingual schools, high schools, and telesecundarias (distance education programs for secondary and high school students) have been established.

The traditional authorities of this people are organized in a system based on civil and religious roles, in which advice from elders is treated as the greatest authority. They believe in the Holy Grandmother, the Holy Father Sun, the Holy Mother Earth, and the Holy Mother Moon. In addition, they worship the deities of water, wind, rain, the mountain, and fire.

Chatino language[edit]

Main article: Chatino language

Chatino language is an indigenous Mesoamerican language, which is classified under the Zapotecan branch of the Oto-Manguean language family. The Chatino have close cultural and linguistic ties with the Zapotec peoples, whose Zapotec language is the other member of the Zapotecan languages. According to Ethnologue, there are six distinct dialects of Chatino, which exhibit varying degrees of mutual intelligibility: Eastern Highland, Nopala, Tataltepec, Western Highland, Zacatepec and Zenzontepec.[2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Chatino of Oaxaca". Mexican Textiles. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Oto-Manguean, Zapotecan, Chatino". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2010-07-23.