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Tijaltepec Mixteco: American Peoples Affinity Group

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Tijaltepec Mixteco: American Peoples Affinity Group

The Mixteco are an ancient people who became seated in their current land in the Oaxaca river valley of southern Mexico 1,000 years before Christ’s birth.

The Mixtec cultivate a variety of agricultural products, but the soil in Mixtec lands displays some of the worst erosion in Mexico, which accounts for much of the poverty in the region.

Their strong tie to the land has been altered in recent years as poverty has forced Mixtec workers to migrate for work in other regions, including northern Mexico and the USA, where the relocated Mixtec continue to practice their unique culture and speak their tribal language.

The Mixteco of San Pablo Tijaltepec live scattered in small towns and villages in the mountains west of Oaxaca, Mexico. During the winter their habitat is cold and dry while the mild summer months bring rain.

The Tijaltepec society is woven together through “compadrazgo” (co-father or co-parent) relationship where the mother and father of one family will be godparents to another family’s children. Although poor, Tijaltepec families are bound to each other.

Tijaltepec men are expected to work for the betterment of the community. They also participate in the frequent tribal wars with neighboring peoples.


Approximately 3800 Tijaltepec Mixteco live 3 hours west of the city of Oaxaca, Mexico at an elevation of 7200 ft.


Their heart language is the Tijaltepec dialect of the Mixteco language family.


Religion Rituals and animistic practices are vital in every phase of Mixtec life. The Tijaltepec believe each person has an animal companion throughout life and this companion influences the events in his or her life. Folk healers lead the Tijaltepec people in various rituals important in the cycle of life.

Religious events influence the economy.

Status of Evangelization less than 2% evangelical

The civil authorities of the Tijaltepec villages are closed to outsiders and the new ideas they bring. Access to these people are challenging.

The handful of Tijaltepec believers are viewed with suspicion by other Tijaltepec and live in isolation from other Evangelicals.

Tijaltepec believers are persecuted and there are reports of believers being killed.

No Bible translation exists in the Tijaltepec dialect.

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To learn more about UPG (Unreached People Groups) click here