This article is a diachronic investigation of a form of social organization of the Chochon (Xru Ngiwa, Chocholtec), a Mesoamerican people. Specifically, it is a philological examination of one form of a customary community subdivision, usually called sindi in Chochon and barrio in colonial Spanish. Thanks to the discovery of a remarkable set of colonial writings in the Chochon language from Tamazulapan (Oaxaca, Mexico)—complemented by secondary documentation, interviews with elders, and toponymy—it has been possible to trace the sindi from precolonial times to the twentieth century. The findings reveal multiple adaptive strategies used by the sindi across the centuries even within a relatively compact area. This article also illustrates a methodological approach in which a broad philological perspective opens the door to additional, interdisciplinary types of contextualizing data that can enrich our readings of the textual documentation.

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