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Posts Tagged ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’

In commemoration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (INPI) is hosting a Fiesta de la Diversidad Indígena de Oaxaca.

It is a four-day festival honoring and promoting the state of Oaxaca’s indigenous peoples and their communities with artesania, textiles and other products for sale, cultural performances and workshops, food booths, and even healing treatments — and it’s happening a block from Casita Colibrí in the Plaza de la Danza!

Yawi Naka – Triqui – La Laguna Guadalupe, Putla Villa de Guerrero

INPI has an excellent online atlas of the indigenous peoples of Mexico and it, along with the statistics I previously posted regarding poverty, discrimination, and the results thereof affecting Mexico’s indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples are abysmal.

Na Jacinta Charis – Zapoteco – Juchitán de Zaragoza

According to this article (in Spanish), the charge of the INPI is to advocate for indigenous and Afro-Mexican rights and to recognize that in order for these peoples and their communities to survive, institutional efforts must be taken to guarantee their full exercise of social, political, cultural, and economic rights.

Productores de Maguey y Mezcal Lucas 2010 SPR de Ri – Zapoteco – San Isidro Guishe, San Luis Amatlán

The INPI is also attempting to advance an understanding that the family/community economy of these communities has a different production logic than the commercial market economy and that their economic model must be respected.

Organización de Medicos Indigenas Tradicionales de laCañada – Cuicateco – San Juan Bautista Cuicatlán

This festival provides a space to promote the various community projects and to showcase the artistic and cultural expressions in the city.

IMG_6911

Chenteñas Hazme Si Puedes – Zapoteco – San Vicente Coatlán

I’ve aready been twice to the event — talking with various vendors, buying the blouse above (along with cheese, sal de chicatanas, and olive oil with fresh organic herbs), and sitting at one of the long tables enjoying a tamal, empanada, and a jícara of tejate

The Fiesta de la Diversidad Indígena runs through late afternoon tomorrow (Sept. 1, 2019). If you are in Oaxaca city, be sure to check it out (schedule below).

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As I’d discussed in a previous post, August 9 was International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.  That day, on my way to the mercado, a youth band had me stopping at the city’s cultural celebration on the Alameda de León.

This young girl, without accompaniment, brought tears to the eyes as she sang, “Canción Mixteca” by Oaxacan composer José López Alavez.  He wrote the melody in 1912 and the lyrics in 1915, expressing his homesickness for Oaxaca after moving to Mexico City.  It has since become an anthem for not only Oaxaqueños, but all Mexicano expats yearning for their homeland.

Yaa Savi (Mixtec language)
NDA XIKA NAKAI
NOO ÑO’O NOO NI KAKUI,
NDIKANO KUNDAVI INI
XI’IN MIA NTOONI.

TA XANDEI’MI TA ITOI
TA NDAVI NDEI NDAA NOO TACHI,
NDI KUNI KUAKUI
NDIKUNI KUI’VI XAA NDOI’ INI.

(Bis)
NOO ÑO’O ÑAA ÑU’U
XAKA INI KANDEI’YOO
TA VITI NA XIKA
YEE YOI NI ÑO’O, NI ÑAA MANI.

TA XANDEI’ MI TA ITOI
TA NDAVI NDEI NDAA NOO TACHI
NDIKUNI KUAKUI
NDIKUNI KUI’VI XAA NDO’INI

Canción Mixteca (en español)
Que lejos estoy del suelo
Donde he nacido.
Inmensa nostalgia
Invade mi pensamiento.
Y al verme tan solo y triste
Cual hoja el viento.
Quisiera llorar,Quisiera morir
De sentimiento.

Oh! tierra del sol
Suspiro por verte.
Ahora que lejos
Yo vivo sin luz.
Sin amor.
Y al verme
Tan solo y triste
Cual hoja el viento
Quisiera llorar,Quisiera morir
De sentimiento.

Canción Mixteca (English translation)
How far I am from the land where I was born!
Immense nostalgia invades my heart;
And seeing myself so lonely and sad like a leaf in the wind,
I want to cry, I want to die from this feeling.

Oh Land of Sun! I yearn to see you!
Now that I’m so far from you, I live without light and love;
And seeing myself so lonely and sad like a leaf in the wind,
I want to cry, I want to die from this feeling.

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The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) ranks the state of Oaxaca first in Mexico, in terms of indigenous population. [SIPAZ, Población Indígena]   Out of 3,405,990 inhabitants of Oaxaca, 34.2% are indigenous.Grupos Etnicos Oaxaca La Guelaguetza, Oaxaca’s July celebration of its indigenous cultures is in the rear view mirror.  The streets were filled with tourists and hotels and restaurants were happy.  However, the debate continues regarding the role of this annual event.

Santos Reyes Nopala, Chatino

Santos Reyes Nopala – Chatino

Does it benefit Oaxaca’s indigenous population or just the tourist industry?  Does it present reality or reinforce stereotypes?  However, all agree, poverty and inequality ARE problems that disproportionately affect the indigenous people of Oaxaca.  And, Oaxaca and Mexico are not alone…

Santa María Zacatepec, Tacuate

Santa María Zacatepec, Tacuate Mixteco

Tomorrow is August 9, designated as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994.  This year’s theme is, Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples health and well-being.  As the UN Women website explains:

Indigenous women experience disproportionate difficulties in access to health care, as well as higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. Though indigenous women are counted upon to support the health and well-being of their families, they often face hurdles to access the resources to build the foundation of a better life, such as education and land.

San Pedro Amuzgos, Amuzgo

San Pedro Amuzgos, Amuzgo

 According to a recent article in Noticias, a woman born in Oaxaca has a four times greater risk of dying from maternal causes than in the rest of Mexico, and 56% of these deaths are of indigenous women.
San Pablo Macuiltianguis, Zapoteco

San Pablo Macuiltianguis – Zapoteco

The Chief of the National Commission for Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI) Oaxaca delegation, reported that Oaxaca has the highest indigenous poverty rate in Mexico, with 1,719,000 indigenous in Oaxaca living in conditions of substandard infrastructure, health, and education, which, he acknowledged, affects women more.

San Pedro y San Pablo Ayutla, Mixe

San Pedro y San Pablo Ayutla – Mixe

In Oaxaca city, on August 9, a cultural event will be held at the Alameda de León, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with bands, poets, and artists supporting the campaign “What happened to my rights?”

San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Mazateco and Chinanteco

San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec – Mazateco and Chinanteco

Let’s hope there will be answers and action.
(Photos are from Guelaguetza 2015 desfiles (parades) and Diosa Centéotl contest.)

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August 9th is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples; so designated twenty years ago by the United Nations General Assembly in an attempt to guarantee the human rights of over five thousand indigenous groups that exist in 90 countries.

Zapotec woman at Oaxaca's Feria del Tejate y del Tamal - July 23, 2014

Zapotec woman at Oaxaca’s Feria del Tejate y del Tamal – July 23, 2014

However, to cruise around the online versions of CNN International and the New York Times, one would never know of the day’s significance.  At least Día Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas isn’t being ignored by CNN Mexico.  In an article published today (in Spanish) they cite seven challenges faced by the indigenous of Mexico:

  • Justice – The CNDH reported on July 24 that there are 8,334 Indians in Mexican prisons. Of these, the majority “have not been assisted by a defender and interpreter or translator companion, and even often know why they are internal,” the commission said in a statement.
  • Health – 20% of the indigenous lack access to health services, a rate similar to the population as a whole, except, as the article notes, in recent months the issue has drawn public attention following cases of indigenous women who have had to give birth in hospital courtyards or bathrooms, as they were not given immediate attention by hospital authorities.
  • Education – 50% of Mexico’s indigenous are said to be educationally “backward.”  And the article noted, the three states with the highest failure rates in primary and secondary school are Guerrero, Michoacan and Oaxaca, three of the states of the country with the largest indigenous populations.
  • Housing – 40% of the indigenous have inadequate housing.
  • Food – 42% of Mexico’s indigenous population receives insufficient nutrition.
  • Poverty – 72% of the indigenous in Mexico are living in poverty.
  • Discrimination – In August 2012, the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (Conapred) released a survey showing that 44.1% of Mexicans believe that the rights of indigenous people are not respected.

    http://noticiasmvsfotos.blob.core.windows.net/media/infografias/8a206f5d5c58f9e85b3774ff6fd05a2b.jpg

    Pueblos Indígenas en México (Indigenous peoples in Mexico) — Infographic from NoticiasMVS

And, regarding discrimination, yesterday ADNPolítico.com published an article, 5 ‘retratos’ de la discriminación hacia indígenas mexicanos (in Spanish).  Despite the fact that the first article of the Mexican Constitution declares, any discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin is prohibited, the story highlights five recent cases that have made national headlines:

  • The death of a 20-year-old pregnant Mixtec woman and the baby she was carrying, after she had spent 5 hours in the waiting room of a community hospital in Copala, Guerrero.
  • The case of a 13-year-old girl, with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, who was denied medical care in the Civil Hospital of Oaxaca.
  • A Tarahumara laborer from Guachochi, Chihuahua, died after spending five days outside a hospital in Guaymas, Sonora, without food and without shelter, having been denied admission to the hospital because he did not have enough money.
  • A 10-year Tzotzil boy originally from Chiapas who, while selling candy to buy his school supplies, was humiliated by an official of the municipality of Centro, Tabasco, who forced him to throw his merchandise on the ground.  A video of this travesty went viral and sparked outrage.
  • A gas station in Zapopan, Jalisco, was closed last June after its owner was shown on video assaulting an Indian couple who was eating outside the station.

We, in Oaxaca, just experienced the spectacle of the Guelaguetza celebrating the indigenous cultures of Oaxaca.  However, some say (in Spanish) it presents a static view of indigenous peoples, reinforces stereotypes, and sells exoticism — all to promote tourism.

Mixtec dancers from San Antonio Huitepec at La Guelaguetza, July 21, 2014.

Mixtec dancers from San Antonio Huitepec at La Guelaguetza — July 21, 2014.

The focus of this year’s International Day is “Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples.”  Is it all talk, no action, and a lot of window dressing?  I don’t know, but it sure seems like that to me…  Sometimes, “poco a poco” isn’t good enough.

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