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Anti-Indigenous racism alive and well in Oaxaca Mexico

OAXACA – The provincial government and the tourism ministry of Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico with an indigenous majority, has come under fire for releasing a promotional video that has been widely condemned as being racist and discriminatory towards indigenous peoples.  The video was made to promote tourism in the state and to invite

OAXACA – The provincial government and the tourism ministry of Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico with an indigenous majority, has come under fire for releasing a promotional video that has been widely condemned as being racist and discriminatory towards indigenous peoples. 

The video was made to promote tourism in the state and to invite people to visit for the Guelaguetza, an important event that celebrates the rich traditions of the indigenous peoples from every region of Oaxaca.

The video begins innocently enough with scenes of tourists enjoying the different elements of the annual spectacle. However, about 10 seconds into the clip there is a scene of a white woman lying down watching two indigenous people dance for her entertainment, the scene that follows that shows a crowd of indigenous people dressing and attending to another white woman, invoking memories of the enslavement of indigenous people by the white settlers.

Community organizer Evelyn Encalada Grez, who has spent many years working with people in Mexico stated, “You know how it is in many of our countries, marginalizing Aboriginal communities but then turning them into tourist attractions, hence objects. This promotional tourism commercial sponsored by the Mexican government reflects this and so much more. It is just so wrong.”

“And in the State of Oaxaca, out of all places where the government unleashed its wrath against Aboriginal communities, teachers, students and campesinos in their fight for life and dignity,” added Grez. In 2006 there was a massive popular uprising in the state of Oaxaca against the illegitimate provincial government, it was brutally suppressed by the local and federal government. Members of that movement visited Six Nations to show their solidarity with the struggle at Kanonhstaton.

The minister for indigenous affairs of the provincial government, Adelfo Regino Montes, has called on his own government to pull the ad; at the time of writing the government has not announced if it intends to do so.

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