The Network for Indigenous Mexican Studies (NIMS) was established to promote academic research into the indigenous cultures of Mexico.
Prior to the Spanish invasion of 1519, the region which we now call Mexico had sustained a lengthy and diverse indigenous culture, from the earliest farming cultures, through the great Olmec civilization (c.1400-400 BC), to the great Aztec (or, more accurately, Mexica) metropolis of Tenochtitlan, built on the site of what is now Mexico City.
Today, almost sixty distinct indigenous societies survive within Mexico, making up almost 10% of the Mexican population. Indigenous peoples, mostly from the well-known Zapotec and Mixtec groups. make up approximately half of the population of the southern state of Oaxaca, whilst almost 60% of the population of the Yucatán are indigenous, most of them speakers of Yucatec Maya. Also spread throughout Mexico are approximately 1.5 million Nahua, who still speak the Mexica language, Nahuatl.
These are cultures which developed in isolation from the Old World, and created their own societal structures, with well-ordered domestic, educational, civil and medicinal systems. NIMS aims to encourage the study of indigenous Mexican societies – both historical and contemporary – in a way that respects these fascinating cultures.