Today, August 9, is International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, so designated by the United Nations. This year’s focus is on the right to education — a timely and white-hot issue in Oaxaca and several of the other Mexican states with significant indigenous populations. I can think of no better way to honor the day and native peoples worldwide, than to share yesterday’s adventure in the Zapotec village of Teotitlán del Valle.
As I previously mentioned, in my endeavor to single-handedly boost the local economy, I commissioned the weaving of a tapete (rug) from my friend, Samuel Bautista Lazo’s family business, Dixza Rugs. The design is a Tree of Life, with a light moss green background. Thus, yesterday, led by Sam, we (a young Aussie fellow staying at the family’s Airbnb, blogger buddy Chris, and I) ventured out near the far end of the village dam to gather yagshī, the plant to be used to dye wool the desired color.
Sam is a very smart guy and has a Ph.D. in Sustainable Manufacturing from the University of Liverpool. However, being schooled in the traditions, language, and Zapotec way of knowing by his parents, grandparents, and elders of the community is an education that is just as valuable and should never be lost.