….. or Rarámuri, as they call themselves. They are an Amerindian tribe of Mexico that has managed to avoid virtually every problem that has plagued we Indians north of the border. Their cancer, diabetes and suicide rates are at or near zero. Their longevity has their 50 year olds running marathons and their 80 year olds going on 40 mile hikes. Their communities exhibit virtually no crime, with theft, murder and rape nearly nonexistent. There are no police, no government of any kind and they have little to no use for money. Their economy is based on doing one another favors and trading the occasional barrel of corn beer (the production and consumption of which occupies about a third of their lives.) One of their favorite pass times is going on 200+ mile runs without stopping. They still speak their native language and practice their tribal ways. They make their living as they always have, growing corn, beans and squash and raising live stock.
From the perspective of their cash income and material wealth, they are likely among the “poorest” people in the world. But looking deeper, they appear to be the happiest, longest living, healthiest people on earth who have solved virtually every societal and health problem that plagues the rest of the modern world. They largely avoid the outside world. No census taker has been able to find enough them to count them, though their estimated population is between 50,000 and 70,000. No federal department of the Mexican government concerns itself with “taking care of them.” There’s no BIA to impose a government upon them. No Indian Health, no casinos to give them jobs. No welfare, no social services, no government “support” of any kind. Rather than destroying them, alcohol is an important part of their indigenous culture.
Maybe we American Indians and Alaska Natives have something to learn from them. They have succeeded in virtually every category in which we have failed. They, too, have faced enslavement, murder, theft of their lands, attempted assimilation, and disease. Yet they prosper.