Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 5, No 1 (2016)

Cultural heritage and food identity: The pre-Hispanic salt of Zapotitlán Salinas, Mexico


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2016.004

Marie-Christine Renard
Departamento de Sociología Rural, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Mexico

Humberto Thomé Ortiz
Instituto de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Rurales, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Mexico

Abstract


Salt production in Zapotitlán de las Salinas (Puebla, Mexico) dates back to pre-Hispanic times when the Popolocas inhabiting the Tehuacán Valley paid it as tribute to the Aztecs. The technique to obtain salt has changed little over the past 500 years and know-how continues to be transmitted from generation to generation of salters (salineros). It is a resource that is deeply anchored in the identity of the inhabitants of Zapotitlán and regional cuisine. Salt has endured over the centuries as a perennial resource and constitutes a source of income for its owners. However, despite these historical and cultural factors of territorial anchorage, salters have not attained the level of organization necessary to obtain a fair value in the market. Failure to appreciate this product has led to the abandonment of a large percentage of the saltworks that once existed. This essay will analyze the socio-economic and cultural constraints that have prevented this community from attaining the level of territorial governance necessary to enhance the market value of Zapotitlán salt on the market but how, with the depletion of other economic options, its people are returning to the salt, with new strategies. Lastly, the paper will conclude with a consideration of its future potential.

Keywords


LAFS; salters; territorial governance; community assets; migrants; rural tourism

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