No archaeological evidence fundaments the idea, according to INAH specialists


“Bravest, cruel and rebellious” as defined by Spanish chronicler Andres Perez de Ribas, Xixime people, dwellers of highest points of Sierra Madre Occidental, (Western Mother Mountain Range) located in Durango and Sinaloa Mexican states, were considered particularly cruel and cannibalism practitioners.
 
National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), researchers affirm there is no archaeological evidence that support affirmations contained in 16th and 17th centuries documents.
 
Assumed Xixime anthropophagy horrified Europeans; they thought, unlike Acaxee and Cahita peoples, who did it as a rite, Xixime considered cannibalism an ordinary way of feeding upon young and adult, women and men, fellows of enemy groups.
 
Sinaloa INAH Center archaeologist Alfonso Grave Tirado declared that Spaniard chroniclers’ appreciations reflected fear inspired by Xixime, and not a historical reality. There is no evidence of anthropophagy among Northwestern Mexico native people.
 
“Exploration work conducted at the mountain region refers basically to groups of agriculturists settled in the river basins, who elaborated petroglyphs and had special ritual character sites. We know this by vestiges of ball game courts. We have not found, until now, elements of sacrifices nor of ritual cannibalism”.
 
After marsh resource exploitation reached its peak, by Aztatlan horizon (750 to 1200 AD) societies, at Southern Sinaloa coast, withdrawal occurred, regardless stable political situation. On 1531 things began to change at Spaniards arrival. “Spaniards found out Chametla, at Baluarte River, and Quesala, at Presidio River. On regard of mountain range Conquerors’ stories, they wrote about continuous war between coast and mountain range groups; this is how they end being accused of cannibalism.”
 
“Baltazar de Obregon, part of Francisco de Ibarra company in times of Southern Sinaloa occupation, is the main diffuser of the rumor. The first mentions about the fight between the groups of the mountain range and the coast, were done by Nuño de Guzman expeditionary elements; he was the original conqueror of Sinaloa region”, explained Alfonso Grave.

Towards an archaeology of Mountain Range groups
 
Unlike coast groups, known as Concheros, (Shell users) whose heritage is composed by more than 500 archaeological sites in the border of the salt marsh, many of them built up exclusively of shells, the Mountain Range is still an unexplored area.
 
“At the mountain range - the specialist remarked-, we have been working on Taste, or ball game courts. In that sense, it is probable that there were anthropophagy rituals related to the ball game. Residential sites conformed by house cementations, have been located at Presidio River”.
 
Still, petroglyphs remain being the most important cultural manifestations in the Sinaloa mountainous area. Some representations resemble of Tlaloc, due to teeth, blinders and other elements associated to the deity of the water. Similarity with Central Mexico Late Post Classic designs (1200-1521) put forward that regional groups could have done them, but it is more a local tradition.
 
“Many of the figures are related to the fertility, among them, spirals and representations of vulvas. According to Franciscan Antonio Aryan of Saavedra, mountain range groups of Nayarit and Southern Sinaloa, worshipped deities like Uxu'u, generating goddess. It is probable vulva figures are related to her cult”.
 
“Another important deity was Pitzintli, which represented the sun. Many petroglyphs represent the sun; others are stairs that represent the ascent of Sun deity towards the sky. Northern and Southern Sinaloa glyphs include both symbols”, concluded Alfonso Grave.