The Purepecha, known as the Tarascans to the Spanish conquistadors, are the original inhabitants of Michoacan, which is a state located in central Mexico. If it helps, think of them as the "Native Americans" of Mexico, except they are the "Native Mexicans." They had a major influence in the region from the time period of 1100 A.D. to 1530 A.D. Maybe that seems like a long time ago to you, but in the grand scheme of history, it is not. Their powerful reign did not end so long ago.
In fact, the Purepechas were so powerful that they were the only state in western Mexico to become an empire. Even after the Spanish conquistadors moved into the land and essentially conquered the Purepechas territory, they still retained their cultural independence from the rest of the land. To this very day, the Purepechas gather in celebration of their culture on the day known as "Dia de la Raza."