indigenous mexicans

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Minoritized languages moodboard: Zapoteco

Zapotec languages are a group of closely-related indigenous Mesoamerican languages, spoken by the Zapotec people from Mexico. They live mainly in Oaxaca and its surrounding states: Puebla, Veracruz, and Guerrero.

Why I need Chicana feminism

Because I was taught to stay away from certain styles because they were too “mexican”. With phrases like “the bigger the hoop, the bigger the hole” when I loved wearing big earrings. Being told that red hair against my brown skin looked “ghetto” instead of fierce and bold. Wearing stylish flannels like the pretty pastel haired girls on tumblr and being told I look like a “chola”. Working hard to get rid of my slang because society taught me that it was “unflattering”. That bright red lips were too much. That my natural intense brows are now a makeup “fad”. When in reality all this shit was made up by people that want to put us down for claiming our own identity. 

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.
—  The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz

Juchitán is a colonial town that predates the Spanish conquest. Home to the indigenous culture of the Zapotec, a third gender known as muxe (MOO-shey) – said to derive from “mujer,” the word for “woman” in Spanish – has long flourished here. The muxe gender encompasses a range of identities that are between the male-female binary. While a muxe would have different labels to choose from in the U.S. – “trans woman,” “gay man,” “genderqueer” – “muxe” spans all identities between male and female here. The term is unique to the Zapotec.

Stemming from pre-Columbian societies that had “mixed-genders” outside of male and female, the muxes are analogous to other “two-spirit” identities in indigenous populations of North America. Muxes traditionally have the freedom to dress in women’s clothing, wear cosmetics and grow their hair long. They can be seen wearing the traditional Tehuana costume of the region, a two-part gown made up of a huipil – a shirt with colorful embroidery – and a long skirt that usually matches the top. Called muxes vestidas – “dressed muxes” – they participate in more traditional female gender roles, such as working as seamstresses, than do muxes pintadas – “painted muxes” – who dress in men’s clothes, but still pluck their eyebrows and wear cosmetics.

When asked why a third gender is accepted in Juchitán, the townspeople invariably point to “the matriarchy” of Oaxacan households – women handle the finances of the family, since they’re the ones who work as vendors in the marketplace, giving them more of an equal standing with men than elsewhere in the countryside. Many mothers would sooner force an unaccepting husband to leave the house than kick out a muxe child.

Location: Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Photographer: Shaul Schwarz

How to say “I love you”(te amo) in  Mexican Indigenous languages. By: Asociación Tepalcayotl A. C.

“Tascolo Conton”              Language: TZOTZIL

“Ni Nigare”                 Language: TARAHUMARA

“Siya”                Language: MAZAHUA

“Nimitztlazohtla”           Language:  NAHUATL

“Uémbekua”              Language: PUREPECHA

“ In yaakumech”            Language: MAYA

“Suague Lé”         Language: MAZATECO

“ Bii’ naana ‘no”          Language: CHINANTECO

“Nadxxieli”            Language: ZAPOTECO

“KONAK PASKIYAN”           Language: TOTONACO

Huerta says this photo of a Tehuana woman and a dog is one of his favorites. “We traveled about 8 kilometers on a dirt road that took us to the sea, when we finally arrived we walked toward some sand dunes I saw in the distance. On the way there a dog began following us,” he said. “As soon as we stopped the dog got close to her and laid down next to her, finding the shade she made with the sun.”

Location: Tehuantepec, Mexico

Photographer: Diego Huerta

As a Mexican American, I’ve always wanted to identify and be proud of of the Mexican culture I felt I belonged to, or wanted to belong to. I always felt in the middle.I didn’t want to be excluded, I hated that I was “whitewashed” and too americanized. My family was more disconnected from our culture than I wanted to be. We were second, third, and fourth generation. We didn’t speak Spanish, made a few Mexican dishes, and didn’t know a lot of Mexican pop culture, because our elders had blended in and hid our proud Mexican ties to save themselves and us from racism and oppression. I hated telling people I was Mexican American, it didn’t sound proud. I’m not Hispanic, the category the government had assigned me was far too general. My culture is not Spanish, it’s Mexican. Where my people originated from and the root of their and my traditions is from Mexico or originally: Aztlán.