The Mixe community calls itself Ayuukjä'äy. The language they speak is Ayuuk, which is the name by which the group is historically known. The word ayuuk is composed of: a which means language, word; yuuk: mountain, flowery and yä'äy: people, crowd. Therefore, its meaning is "people of flowery language".
In 2015, the Mixed Community of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec has been embroiled in an international controversy somewhat in spite of herself. When the French designer Isabel Marrant launched her Etoile collection in which she uses Ayuujk embroidery without specifying that she is not the creator and without referring to the Mexican origins of this embroidery which is also part of the cosmogony of this region of Oaxaca.
The Mixe region is located in the northeast of the state of Oaxaca. It borders on the northwest with the old neighborhoods of Villa Alta; on the north with Choapam and the state of Veracruz; on the south with Yautepec and on the southeast with Juchitán and Tehuantepec. The territory covers a total area of 4,668.55 km2. The municipalities that the community inhabits are: Asunción Cacalotepec, Mixistlán de la Reforma, San Juan Cotzocón, San Juan Guichicovi, San Juan Juquila Mixes, San Juan Mazatlán, San Lucas Camotlán, San Miguel Quetzaltepec, San Pedro Ocotepec, San Pedro and San Pablo Ayutla, Santa María Alotepec, Santa María Tepantlali, Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, Santiago Atitlán, Santiago Ixcuintepec, Santiago Zacatepec, Santo Domingo Tepuxtepec, Tamazulápam del Espíritu Santo and Totontepec Villa de Morelos.
The other mixed communities are agencies in the municipalities of Magdalena Tequisistlán (San Pedro Jilotepec), Nejapa de Madero (San Sebastián Jilotepec, Agua Blanca), San Carlos Yautepec (Santa María Nizaviguiti, San Miguel Nizaviguiti), Santo Domingo Roayaga (Santa María Tonaguía) and Santo Domingo Tehuantepec (Santa María Nativitas Coatlán, San José El Paraíso, Santa Isabel de La Reforma). There are also mixed communities in the municipalities of San Juan Lalana (Paso del Águila), Santo Domingo Petapa (San Isidro Platanillo) and Villa Hidalgo (Pozo Conejo), as well as in the municipality of Santiago Sochiapan, Veracruz.
For the Mixes, health is the result of balance and harmony, good behaviour, and respect for ancestral and Christian deities.
There are three types of illnesses among the Ayuuk: those of "natural" origin, such as empacho and constipation; those of "supernatural" origin, which are said to be the result of man's imbalance with nature and society (examples of these illnesses are "the evil eye", "sadness", illnesses acquired through sleep, etc.). In the latter cases, the patients go to the specialists of the indigenous medicine. Thirdly, there are diseases that do not have a "well-defined" origin.
Music can be considered as the main artistic activity that the Ayuuk cultivate. As for handicrafts, there is the waist loom, the characteristic Ayuuk embroidery on cotton blouses which are known and famous in the world. After the controversy of Ayuuk embroidery blouse, the use of blouses, blazers has now become more popular because of Ayuuk embroidery. Example with some presenters at the French television.
The house of Mixe is characterized by the provision of a patio and / or a backyard for the cultivation of some fruit trees, ornamental and medicinal plants, and an additional space for the animals of work.
In general, lack of drainage and running water are two of the main problems faced by the Ayuuk.
For the Mixe people, the being is composed of two "souls", one mortal and the other immortal tso'ok (tona, tonalli), which corresponds to the indigenous vision. The tona tso'ok is acquired when the birth of an individual and that of an animal coincide. In order to know the tona of the newborn, the ritual calendar and the reading of the ashes are used. The tonas are classified as "good-strong": properties of healers, "strong-bad": characteristics of witches and "weak" (good or bad) belonging to ordinary mortals. The ritual calendar also called tonalamatl is consulted to know the luck or the fate of the people. The consultation of the tonalamatl is done with grains of red corn, which are placed on a mat and the specialist is in charge of making the corresponding reading. Another type of calendar is the agricultural calendar that the elderly consult to know the weather conditions that will prevail during the next twelve months.
The religion practiced by the Ayuuk is the result of the syncretic mixture of the natives and the Catholics. Currently, ceremonies can be observed where prayers and invocations to the old gods are mixed with Christian prayers.
Festivals in the Mixe community are important for several reasons: events of a Christian religious nature are held in honour of the patron saint where there is usually a pre-Hispanic cult. They bind and strengthen the bonds of union between the localities, generate social promotion within the community by occupying positions such as stewardship and, finally, promote trade and intensify interregional social relations.
Festivals in the upper and middle areas of the Ayuuk region are characterized by confrontation between different groups in "musical duels". The dances have a community integration function. The carnivals allow the social relaxation of the group. Finally, we find the pilgrimages that are generally made outside the region to sacred sites such as Santa Catarina Albarradas, San Pablo Güila Tlacolula, Otatitlán, in Veracruz and to visit the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Guatemala
Our collaborators of the collective Bordados Ambaa are from this community that lives in San Juan Guichicovi. Their proximity to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Zapotec community allows for a very interesting mix of cultures, such as huipiles embroidered with showy flowers and filigree earrings.