Monday, March 31, 2008

Tarahumara Cultural Tour Opens April 8 at CQL

BISBEE, AZ – Tarahumara village leader, violinist, and master carving artist Patracinio Lopez will join noted Sierra Madre explorer and “Copper Canyon” author Richard D. Fisher in the Copper Queen Library’s Meeting Room on April 8 at 5:30pm to kick off the Spring 2008 Tarahumara Cultural and Educational Tour, "Tarahumara Survival: Preserving Traditional Culture in the 21st Century."

The Tarahumaras are among the most isolated and traditional people in the Americas, without much telecommunication or dependence on modern technology. They grow corn and beans in arid mountain country, and speak a Uto-Aztecan language related to the Ute, Hopi and Puebloan languages. The Tarahumara call themselves Raramuri or "those who run."

According to Lopez, there are still many village members who do not speak or understand Spanish and do not "know or understand anything of the modern world."

Lopez belongs to the Tarahumara people of the Sierra Madre/Copper Canyon area in northern Mexico. He will discuss modern challenges to Tarahumara life, and play traditional music on a hand-carved violin. His violins are noted both for their workmanship and their heads carved in the shapes of birds and animals. He has won the national violin making championship in Creel six years in a row.

Each spring, he and Fisher sponsor a traditional dance group in the U.S., where his violins are featured and much sought after. Lopez has also previously visited the U.S. as leader of a foot racing team, and he has delivered cultural presentations at the Museum of Northern Arizona and at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Accompanying Lopez, Richard Fisher will show slide with commentary about Tarahumara culture, including its similarities and possible connections to Ancestral Pueblo culture, especially the Anasazi.

About his experiences outside the village, Lopez says that he is very happy that he opened the door into the modern world, because his travels help him raise awareness of Tarahumara culture. He is committed to bring tons of grain to his people, with his friend Fisher and others, to provide the possibility for the survival of those who choose a traditional life in the age of globalization.

From 1991 to 2003, together Fisher and Lopez have been responsible for delivering over 150 tons of grain to the Tarahumara people during the ten-year drought.

This presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Copper Queen Library and is free and open to all members of the public.

For additional information, contact the library at 432-4232.