Introduction / History The Nahuatl people of Durango and Nayarit are known as Mexicaneros. The word "mexicanero" is composed of the root "Mexican" and the derivational suffix "ero." The root corresponds to "Meshikan" (the 'x' is pronounced 'sh'), the word that people use to refer to their language. A person would be called a "Meshika." The suffix 'ero' comes from Spanish, which is added in order to designate one who speaks "Mexican". Other Spanish words are constructed similarly, such as zapatero - someone who makes zapatos (shoes), or jardinero – someone who takes care of a jardin (garden). It should be noted that the 'r' sound does not appear in the sound system of Mexicanero. It's also important to add that this is a dialectal variation of Náhuatl in which all words end in 't,' hence the name Nahuat. Durango Nahuat should not be referred to with the usual 'tl' ending, because it is offensive to Mexicaneros.
The Mexicaneros are a small group of approximately 1,300 people, who live in a remote area in the Western Sierra Madre mountains, along the border of Durango and Nayarit. They grow crops and raise livestock. Corn, squash and amaranth form the basis of their diet, though they also hunt game and gather wild fruits. Although they have incorporated various elements of Catholicism into their religion, they've retained their pre-Columbian worship practices with regard to the sun and moon, Venus, the eagle, and the deer. At this time, there are very few known believers in the group. More than 10 years ago, a process of preevangelism through community service was initiated. At that time, community development projects like the provision of drinkable water, a dental clinic, and literacy were used. A Bible translation project has also been started in this language.