Dr. Mcsweeney is an assistant professor of geography at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1361.
A DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF THE TAWAHKA AMERINDIANS OF HONDURAS*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2002 American Geographical Society
Volume 92, Issue 3, pages 398–414, July 2002
How to Cite
McSWEENEY, K. (2002), A DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF THE TAWAHKA AMERINDIANS OF HONDURAS. Geographical Review, 92: 398–414. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2002.tb00150.x
My 1998 dissertation research was funded by a Young Canadian Researchers Award from the International Development Research Centre (Ottawa), by a grant for overseas research from fcar Québec (Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et l'aide à la recherche), and by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Grant, McGill University.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- indigenous peoples;
ABSTRACT. Latin America's lowland indigenous groups have been characterized in contradictory ways. Are populations shrinking or growing? Do groups face cultural extinction, or are they increasingly asserting their ethnic identities? This article uses a case study of the Tawahka Amerindians of Honduras to show how basic demographic techniques can shed light on these issues. A multimethod approach resolves conflicting reports of population growth and ethnic admixture within the 1,000-strong population. Household surveys indicate a contemporary growth rate in excess of 4 percent; a review of historical sources suggests that this rapid growth has been building for more than fifty years. Although genealogical evidence shows high levels of interethnic mixing since 1900, the Tawahka retain their language and identity. The potentially negative effects of rapid population growth on local resources are likely to be mitigated as the Tawahka translate their renewed ethnic identity into political gains, which in turn have increased educational and economic opportunities. Closer attention to microdemographic processes is recommended for those involved in the long-term management of Latin America's indigenous homelands.