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2013-08-22

AMERICA/HONDURAS - The Tolupanes ethnic group survives in poverty

Tegucigalpa (Agenzia Fides) - The Tolupanes, indigenous population that lives in the central region of Honduras and that according to history, were among the first inhabitants of the Central American country, survive in extreme poverty waiting for assistance on behalf of the State. Despite being very close to the major urban centers and the political and economic power, such as Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, this ethnic group is far from any form of progress. Many live in houses with remedied thatched roofs, without electricity, health centers, schools or universities. They have a diet mainly based on corn and beans, but to survive they also collect bananas, cassava, pumpkin and coffee. On some occasions they feed themselves on small molluscs taken from rivers and streams, which are cooked in wood ovens with a little salt. Their natural drink is the chilate, water-based and ground corn, without sugar. The almost total abandonment experienced by this ethnic group in the course of history threatens their very linguistic tradition, the tol, although some members of the tribe try to keep teaching it to children in the few existing school centers. According to some scholars, the tolupán culture is very different from that of other ethnic groups in the country, they try to keep some traditions such as traditional clothes and the mother tongue, although both are at risk of disappearing. In the tolupán culture women are pushed into the background and do simple arts and crafts work, such as necklaces made with seeds. They are unfriendly people, perhaps because of the pressures faced by the Ladino group, a mixture of Hispanics and people of Central America, who deprived them of their lands acquired in the second half of the eighteenth century with the mediation of a Spanish religious. As reported by the mountain tribes of La Flor, hundreds of tolupanes lost their lives during the conflicts for the territories because of landowners. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/08/2013)

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