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The Colorado river delta has been home to this Amerindian people for over 500 years. In Mexicali, the Cucapá and El Mayor hillsides provide shelter to this community, living in the villages of Cucapá Mestizo and Cucapá El Mayor. Their own name for their culture is Xawitt Kwñchawaay, meaning “People of the river”.
An opportunity to learn more can be found at the Museo Comunitario Cucapá, the first indigenous community museum in Baja California. Here the cultural legacy of the Cucapá people is both conserved and promoted, through replica traditional villages, photographs and artefacts which narrate the history of the Chapei Ñioguañuyiu Uañak (“People who come and go”).
The Centro Artesanal craft center is where the Cucapás create pottery, toy staffs, bows and arrows, as well as felt dolls. Some are dressed in traditional clothing, while others wear dancer’s costumes.
What You Must Know:
- The Cucapá language, part of the cochimí-yumana family, is spoken in the states of Baja California and Sonora, and is at risk of extinction.
- Kuri-kuri song is part of the community’s musical traditions, those who sing imitate animals of the desert and hills. Currently, together with other Yumano people, the Cucapá organize celebrations with singing to honor the myths of creation, the moon and her cycles.
Museo Comunitario Cucapah, Ejido Cucapah Mayor, B.C., MéxicoSee map