Two books that recount the origin and identity of the Chatino people of Santos Reyes Nopala, located on the coast of Oaxaca, are available for consultation in the digital library of the University of Texas at Austin. They are the first of their kind, written by the municipal chronicler Javier Gerardo Pérez Sánchez.
According to the author, the Chatinos of the Costa Chica of Oaxaca consider themselves “children of the fish”, due to the legend that tells of their origin: their ancestors were punished by the sun god and lived like fish in the depths of the sea for a time.
The star took pity on them and fed them manna, with which they became human again, came out of the water and arrived at La Encomienda, currently Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.
The story states that some stayed near the sea, others went 54 kilometers into the southern mountains, where they founded the four linguistic cradles of Chatino, which today correspond to the municipalities of Tataltepec de Valdés, Santiago Yaitepec, Santa Cruz Zenzontepec and Santos Reyes. Nopala.
The researcher was born in Nopala, as the native town located in the southwest of Oaxaca is known. According to experts, it was founded 2,800 years ago, in the Preclassic period, which corresponds to the stage of villages in Oaxacan pre-Hispanic history.
This municipality is surrounded by hills through which two rivers descend. It owes its name to the large number of cactus that the Mexica identified in the area when they conquered it.
This is one of the four places where Chatino originated, a language that its own speakers consider difficult to pronounce.
The community is governed by uses and customs, it is an agrarian nucleus and municipal seat of 27 agencies and rural communities. It preserves pre-Hispanic traditions: rites to nature, and sacred spaces such as Cerro Iglesia, its ceremonial center, where funerary steles were found.
It was these monoliths that motivated Javier Gerardo to investigate the origin of the Chatino people of Nopala for the first time in its history and this is the anecdote: before assuming the presidency in the municipality and being elected in a community assembly, in the previous administration In the 1980s, some pre-Hispanic figures carved in stone were discovered in Cerro Iglesia, which were brought to Nopala and embedded in the walls of the government building, to which wooden varnish was placed to make them shine.