chapter  2
The Legend of the Tarahumara: Tourism, Overcivilization and the White Man’s Indian
ByDarcy C. Plymire
Pages 13

Reading articles about the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico that have appeared in popular US magazines, I identify four interlocking themes that constitute the

Tarahumaras as a ‘white man’s Indian’: a) the Tarahumaras are primitive hunters; b) they eat a simple and healthy diet; c) they complete superhuman feats of endurance; and d) they lack the sense of time/work discipline that would make them successful

athletes in Western-style endurance events. These themes constitute the Tarahumaras as noble savages whose supposedly primitive lifestyle offers US runners a solution for the

diseases of overcivilization. They also serve the needs of a burgeoning sport/tourism industry that sells stereotypical images of ‘Indians’ to US runners and tourists.