San Juan Chamula Indigenous Village

We visit two indigenous villages in the highlands of Mexico on our tour, firstly to San Juan Chamula and then to Zinacantan, but in my view the most interesting community is the former. The people in SJC are traditionalist Catholic – a blend of Catholicism and pagan ideologies. Sacrificing a chicken is not an uncommon sight within their church.

They also administer their own affairs autonomously, including the rule of law. There are many fascinating aspects to their way of life, but this particular issue struck me the most. Any citizen who breaks the law in SJC is subject to spending a few days in the public jail in full view. If the shame isn’t enough for you, repeat offenders and perpetrators of more serious crimes face worse punishments. There was a case a few months ago where three rapists were lynched by the locals. Coincidentally, the rate of crime is very low. A fascinating way of life.


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