Am I an Opata?

Based on different circumstances, some Opatas might find it easier to confirm their particular ancestral lineage of Opata. Blood quantum is not a measure of one’s “Indian-ness” but was initially used by non-natives for their own purposes. There is no such thing as pureblood, half-blood, nor any other terminology made up by the colonizers. We should stop using it. If one of your direct line ancestors was an Opata, then, you are also an Opata, period.

Not all people, even from Opateria towns, are Opatas. There was a massive influx of Europeans and Mexicans from the South in different stages who took over the Opata lands. Therefore, some Opata communities went from being 100% inhabited by Opatas to 0% inhabited by Opatas. It is crucial to make this comment with no intention of discrediting any of the information you share.

We certainly want to try to guide you and help you clarify if your ancestor was possibly an Opata. Please do not be discouraged in this process: it could take days, months, or even years.

The following questions/points will help you on this journey:

  • Does the last name of any ancestor of yours have any of the following last names?
  • Do any of the birth, marriage, and baptism certificates of your ancestors mention that they are indigenous, Indian, natural, and opata. (Usually documents from before 1810 will have such information)?
  • How else are you certain you are an Opata and are not from a different Indigenous Nation?
  • For how many generations does the possible Opata ancestors’ family have lived in town from the Opateria?
  • Have you documented the possible lead stories told by your family about your Opata heritage and tied it to a particular region of the Opateria and to a period of time?

The following resources are not meant to be considered to be the only resources available but more as a way to kickstart your research journey. The critical point here is that there is no “one fits all” approach to confirm Opata’s lineage for all possible descendants. The best approach is a custom combination of the sources mentioned below. Here are some of the most common ones:

  1. Oral family history.
  2. Genealogy.
  3. Church records and Government records.
  4. Historical events.
  5. Chroniclers of the region.
  6. FamilySearch free records.
  7. Opata surnames that were not acquired by marriage by the ancestor in question.
  8. DNA, particularly for the Opata side (Y-DNA, mtDNA, and/or autosomal DNA tests). If you decide to perform any of these tests, please research it before spending resources on it. Also, we believe the best one is the FamilyTreeDNA.
  9. Facebook Groups for researchers:
    Apellidos de Sonora, Grupo de Estudio (ASGE)
    Chihuahua State Genealogy Group
    Sonora State Genealogy Group
    Northern New Spain
  10. Compiled guide (available only in Spanish).
  11. Our Opata History project.
  12. Main groups considered Opata: Eudeve/Eudeva/Dohema/Heve, Jova, and Tehuima/Tegüima (Reference).

    Other Opata subfamilies:

Aivinos
Aritzpas
Babîcoris
Bacabachis
Bacadêguachis
Baceracas
Bacoachis
Banâmichis
Batucas
Basiroas
Babispas
Caüinachis
Contrias
Cucurpas
Cumuripas

Cumupas
Cuquiârachis
Hegues
Hîos
Guachineris
Guâsabas
Güepacas
Imeris
Jobales
Movas
Nacameris
Nâcoris
Nuris
Obatamas
Opothus

Potlatihuas
Quicamopas
Saguairipitas
Sisibotaris
Sobas
Suaquis
Soris
Tehuinachis
Tehuis/Tegüis
Tehuizos
Teparantanas
Tepupas
Toapas
Topahuis
Uris

Important notes:

-Please note that the word “Opata” also is a last name from the African Continent and the Czech Republic. These names have no connections to us.

-Our current private Facebook Group is only for those individuals who have been confirmed to be an Opata.

-At this moment, we are NOT receiving applications or processing any kind of membership cards.

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