Mexico’s indigenous peoples won’t celebrate ‘independence’

Hill ravine settlement of indigenous people, forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands by profit-hungry companies, real estate developers and speculators

Bicentennial Nothing to Celebrate, Say Indigenous Peoples

 

By Daniela Pastrana

MEXICO CITY (IPS) – “I don’t understand why we should celebrate [Independence]. There will be no freedom in Mexico until repression against indigenous peoples is eliminated,” says Sadhana, whose name means “moon” in the indigenous Mazahua language.

Over the course of the year, the Mexican government has organised a series of lavish celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the war of independence against the Spanish Empire, Sep. 16, 1810. The main events, held Sep. 15, included a military parade with soldiers from several other countries and a fireworks display.

But to many of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, the festivities are an alien concept.

According to indigenous organisations, at least a third of Mexico’s 108 million people are of native descent. But the government’s National Council on Population says the majority of Mexicans are mestizo (of mixed European and indigenous ancestry), while 14 million belong to one of the country’s 62 native groups. Continue reading