The traditional religion of the Tzotzil Indians of Chiapas, Mexico is a blend of ancient Maya and Spanish Catholic elements. Recently Protestant missionaries and lay workers have entered the area, with varying degrees of success. One of these evangelizing· movements has been carried out by members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, with a great deal of success in some areas.
Since conversion of individuals to Adventism results in culture change for these individuals in the area of world view, i.t should also have ramifications in other areas of the culture as well. The purpose of this research was to discover just what these culture changes were, and whether the culture change which was occurring was so profound as to cause a loss of Indian identity, or ladinization.
The research for this study was carried out over a period of six months' residence in the northern Chiapas highlands, interviewing informants who were Seventh-day Adventists in an Andreseno hamlet, and collecting other data by attendance at rituals and extended visits in the homes of some informants.
Culture change has clearly taken place in many other areas of the converts' lives, especially in external behavior, such as attendance at fiestas, drinking, mode of worship, and other traits. Interestingly, some areas where one might expect great change have experienced little or no change, suc h as concepts of health and illness, envy, and some aspects of the supernatural. However, the converts were found to have retained their identity as Indians, and only those few who have lengthy or intimate contact with North Americans or Ladinos in special situations such as the mission appear to be ladinizing at a faster rate than the general Indian population.
James H. Stirling
John W. Elick
Earl W. Lathrop
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Christianity and culture; Tzotzil Indians; Seventh-day Adventists in Mexico
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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Stomsvik, Judy, "Conversion and Culture Change in a Highland Maya Community" (1975). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 927.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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