This is the sixth and last in a short series about my two week Spanish language and social justice immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, with Pacific School of Religion‘s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) and CILAC Freire.
Indigenous people: Presentations at the Cilac Freire school spoke about a a variety of social justice issues, with regular focus on the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The afternoon charla topics during the second week included “Mujeres y Religión,” “Situación Política de México,” and “Las CEB’s desde la Experiencia Laica.” There was also a talk on “Historia del Movimiento LGTBQ y Feminismo” but I felt ill that day and regretfully missed it. Several of the talks also discussed the indigenous Zapatistas of the southern state of Chiapas who since 1994 have fought against the Mexican state. There were a number of images of ski-masked figures in the school – a trademark of the Zapatistas who cover their faces to hide their identities. When I first saw the images, I wrongly thought they were wearing a kind of Muslim niqāb, covering their faces for religious reasons.
In one of the talks, I asked the speaker (who self-identified as Mestizo) what it meant to be indigenous. That is, was it a matter of biology or of customs and traditions (or something else)? She replied that it was biological and that even if an indigenous person moved off traditional lands into the city and married someone who was not indigenous, their children would still be indigenous. It felt like each person who spoke was proud of the indigenous people of Mexico and the fight to retain their traditions and land. In the recent election for the Mexican President, the independent indigenous candidate Marichuy (María de Jesús Patricio Martínez) from the National Indigenous Congress was widely respected even though she did not have enough signatures to be on the official ballot.
Before our excellent Spanish lessons and interesting talks or tours each day, our group from Berkeley, California, started the morning with reflection and prayer. We also had some free afternoons to go shopping and walk around the city of Cuernavaca. All in all, it was an inspiring experience and I would like to return to CILAC Freire to continue improving my Spanish and learning more about social justice in Mexico.
Communities of Liberation Blog Series: The posts in this series are-
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (1): About Blogging, Course Description, Celebrating 3 Kings, local homes, Cuernavaca, Museo de Arte Sacro, Tonantzin
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (2): Immigration, Base Communities, Mexico and Morocco
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (3): Customs and traditions, Virgin of Guadalupe, San Charbel Makhlouf of Lebanon, Iglesia del Río de la Plata and the LGBTQ community
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (4): Don Sergio Méndez Arceo, Museo Morelense de Arte Contemporaneo Juan Soriano, Coco, the Day of the Dead
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (5): Museo de Arte Prehispánico Colección Carlos Pellicer, Yolcatl: La representación animal en el Morelos Prehispánico, Museum of Memory and Tolerance (Museo Memoria y Tolerancia), Hate Speech, Rwandan genocide, Diego Rivera murals
- Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (6): Indigenous people, Zapatistas, Marichuy and 2018 elections
Shopping in Cuernavaca and Tepotzotlán
Blog post updated 5 Feb 2019
Photos Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson
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