Zapotec of United States


People Group Info

Total Population: 100,000

ROP3 Code: 117154
IMB Affinity Group: American Peoples
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
People Cluster: Zapoteco
Language: San Juan Guelavía Zapotec - (zab)
Religion: Christianity - Roman Catholic
Country of Origin: Mexico

Status of Christianity


No Longer Unreached

GSEC Level: 5

Majority Located Where

  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - 3,000

  Bakersfield, CA - 400

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Brief Profile

The Zapotec are a grouping of indigenous people groups who have migrated from the mountains of Southern Mexico and who maintain their pre-Columbian language and culture. They are an ancient people, whose roots go back at least 2,500 years and who were once the dominant culture in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. The Zapotec built massive complexes such as Monte Alban, developed an early system of writing, produced finely crafted jewelry, and competed for dominance with the Aztec before the arrival of the Spanish.

The Zapotec population worldwide is estimated to be in the many hundreds of thousands. Their villages of origin in Oaxaca and neighboring states in Mexico tend to be small, rural farming communities with little to no economic opportunity. As a result, many have emigrated to the United States, but maintain very strong cultural, family, and financial ties to their communities of origin. Money remitted to their home villages is a vital lifeline for those who have stayed behind. Zapotec immigrants maintain their own social and cultural organizations, especially in areas of California such as Los Angeles and the Central Valley. Many Zapotec in Los Angeles work in the restaurant and service industries.

Their primary languages are a variety of Zapotec languages and dialects which have varying degrees of intelligibility to one another. Many Zapotec are oral learners and do not read or write in their own language. While some Zapotec are monolingual in their native tongues, others have also learned Spanish, and children in the public school system in the USA are frequently bi or tri lingual.

The primary religion practiced by the Zapotec is a form of Cultural Catholicism layered over their traditional religion, and is rooted in the reverence of santos and spirits in nature. Their religion is expressed through traditional fiestas, rites, and customs.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Zapotec believers to boldly proclaim the gospel to their people.
  • Pray that the barriers of traditional Zapotec religion would be broken down.
  • Pray for more workers for the harvest, both for the Zapotec in the United States, as well as those in Mexico.

Resources

Global Recordings Network
Online Talking Bible - Zapotec, San Juan Guelavía
Scripture Earth Resources in Various Zapotec Languages
Scripture Earth Resources in Zapotec, San Juan Guelavía
Displaying 1-4 of 4 results.
StatusCountry City Metro Area Name State / Prov. Baseline Population
United StatesVeniceLos Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA1,000
United StatesMar VistaLos Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA1,000
United StatesWest Los AngelesLos Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA1,000
United StatesArvinBakersfieldCA400