dorset chiapas solidarity

December 31, 2014

Yaqui, Acteal, Ayotzinapa: The Covenant in Xochicuautla during the Festival of Resistance and Rebellion

Filed under: Indigenous, Zapatista — Tags: , , , — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 12:00 pm


Yaqui, Acteal, Ayotzinapa: The Covenant in Xochicuautla during the Festival of Resistance and Rebellion

By: Aldabi Olvera 


Photo: Erika Lozano


More or less, this was what the Yaqui spokesman said in Spanish:

“We come here to uphold the oath we made in Vícam in 2007:

An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Earlier, the spokesman had spoken in Yaqui and among the message of his tribe could be made out: “mourners,”,“Ayotzinapa,”  “Mario Luna,” “Fernando Jiménez.”

Then: “This December 6th was the hundredth anniversary of the storming of Mexico City by the revolutionary armies. We are sure that the Yaqui group which has come should perform a ceremony like this.  This custom that carries deep meaning is not performed just anywhere“.

Ten o’clock, World Festival of Resistance and Rebellion, Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, Lerma, State of Mexico, the arbour where the Yaqui Tribe twice performed the Deer Dance before the deeply moved gaze of those who attended to share the festival; the Yaqui ceremony on lands worked by the people and collectives in labour so that this covenant could be made.




And a circle of colours, of people with different clothing, people with very different words; a circle with the colours of the Otomí-Ñatho peoples, the Triqui peoples, the Nahua from Tlanixco, Tsotsiles from Acteal, Tseltales from Bachajón; a circle where the deep pains of Mexico are in fellowship. On the one side, under the arbour, the Yaqui Tribe, and on the other side, looking at the tribe, being with them, other indigenous peoples. Groups of adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and the free media make the halo which listens and will carry this message to other sides. In the middle of all of them are a cross and a painting of a virgin of Guadalupe which says: “Rebellion. Resistance.”

Different colours. The deep pains of Mexico. The same pain.

A few minutes after the start of the ceremony, the families of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa come to stand behind the indigenous peoples.


“We understand you” said the voice of the Yaqui to those in pain.

They understand them. Porfirio Díaz sent the Yaqui Tribe into exile in the south of the country. Álvaro Obregón massacred them. Here they continue.

“It is our duty to fight for those who fought, who even gave their lives so that we could be here, and it is our duty to leave the conditions so that we will still be here in 200 years. We should be afraid, not for ourselves, but for what we cannot do for the future.”


Tomás Rojo, the spokesman who was leading this word, called a day before the ceremony for the mandate and petition from the traditional authorities of his tribe. Tomás has spent several months exiled from Sonora, touring the country to disseminate the story of his people:

“We are going to propose an embrace.”

The Yaqui are beginning to embrace, one by one, advancing to the members of other peoples. At the end, they also embrace the fathers and mothers of Ayotzinapa.

The covenant closes.

“It seemed that they made the shape of a snake,” says someone from my collective.



“With this ceremony we signed a sacred covenant of solidarity with the sisters and brothers from the different original peoples of Mexico and the families of Ayotzinapa (…)”

“(…) A sacred covenant that requires no papers, only the word and the true commitment, the territory of the tribe has been marked, this means that here the struggle will go on forever as brothers and sisters.”

During the ceremony, the Yaqui performed the handing over of a reed mat:

“We tell you our archive, because here are all the scenarios of our ancestors, cultures, heritages, territories, struggles and wisdom, the four cardinal points, all of this is the meaning of the ceremony. It is not done just anywhere, but as now is struggle and war, we do it here so we can have the strength of nature, our ancestors and our forebears, the first inhabitants who fought so we could have Land and Freedom.”

Also, as in the time of the Spanish invasion, they drew a line in the territory of Xochicuautla:

“Now it is marked here and that means that for centuries and forever the struggle of the Yaqui peoples and the covenant will remain in these lands, any fight or confrontation with the bad governments and we will be here (…).”

These quotes were taken from a text which the Tlachinollan Mountain Rights Centre entitled  The Yaqui Tribe Strengthens the struggle of the families of Ayotzinapa and the Peoples of the CNI. The words are from Don Librado Valenzuela Valencia, member of the Council of Elders of the community of Vicam.

Mole and carnitas, pork in green sauce and mash, romeritos, vegetable soup, atole of oats and corn, of guava, tea and coffee: the food that is brought by the people of Huitzizilapan and Tlanixco, the food of the Yaqui Tribe and Xochicuautla; the six prisoners who are defenders of the water, the voice of the children of the Nahua who are shut away in government prisons, while the paramilitaries responsible for the Acteal massacre in 1997 are released, the gasping voice of the former prisoner Alberto Patishtan: “Thanks to you, here I am free,” the story of his hunger strikes, La Voz del Amate and the appeal from prison from the prisoner, also Tsotsil, Alejandro Diaz Sántiz.

The blankets that head off the frost, the white grass of Xochicuautla, the warmth of humanity against the “hard and strong cold of this territory,” the songs of the night, the dances that warm the spirit, the fires, the Temazcal, the documentaries about the fishing in resistance of the Cucapá community, the opening film about the struggle of the Otomi peoples against the road; for all this Xochicuautla thanked and exalted with a small white bag full of native seeds from the Otomi-Mexica Forest. They are to be sown throughout the world. They travel with that commitment.

And also the gathering, the covenant of these peoples with those who resist in and from the City, the collectives from the schools such as UAM, the story of the Mexican Electricians Union, “several of our compañeros have fallen on the way,” the history, the meeting with the whole world, the voice of those who come from France fighting an airport, from Canada fighting mining, and memory from Argentina facing dispossession today and dictatorship yesterday.

Finally, the people of San Salvador Atenco share their word against the new airport Peña Nieto announced this year:

“Here we continue, the peoples of Lake Texcoco.”

There is always joy in resistance. The Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla is heard again. The mothers and fathers of Ayotzinapa eat, and look with attention to the indigenous peoples. Because our pain must be like the death of a tree, the destruction of a river, the death of a partner; for just as you care for your land, how will we not fight for our children. Because I’m also indigenous Mixtec and my brother is going to teach the children of the sierra who do not speak Spanish.

My brother is Mixtec. He is disappeared.

The sound is heard of the Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla, which represents the struggle of the serfs against the masters and against the thieves (Carlos Salinas, Enrique Peña Nieto on this occasion). The sound is heard of the Dance of the Muledrivers of Xochicuautla and the mothers and fathers of Ayotzinapa come close to the profound dance of the indigenous peoples.

And their seeds are carried in small white bags.

And a banner with a picture of Emiliano Zapata:

“Land and Freedom.

No more ecocide.

San Francisco Xochicuautla.”

“We hope so much it’s now over,” says a compañera from Huitzizilapan, which is, like Xochicuautla, defending their territory against the Toluca-Naucalpan highway, concessioned to the Higa Group of Armando Hinojosa Cantu.

“Rather, now comes the good,” says a compañero from DF.

The next day, Christmas Eve, it starts raining continuously, insistently. The water from the sky highlights the colour of the new murals which carry the face of David Ruíz García, an indigenous Otomi who died on the return trip from the homage in La Realidad, Chiapas, to José Luis Solis, “Galeano,” the Zapatista murdered on 2nd May 2014.

A member of the cooperative #AlertaXochicuautla says:

“The mountain is sad because all the compas left.”

The social networks answer:

“We are still in Xochi!”

The covenant is sealed. The new territory of resistances has been defined. As the song which was sung by the choir of children from Xochicuautla says:

“Their way of death will not pass.”




1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on .

    Comment by aboriginalpress — January 1, 2015 @ 12:57 am

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