August 03, 2012
Today the No Papers No Fear caravan arrived to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a state where indigenous communities are prevalent, just as in my state of Arizona. As migrants, we believed that it is important to create a connection between our experience, and the experience of other indigenous people in the United States. We had the chance to talk to 2 young people living in the Santa Clara and Santo Domingo pueblos, and share our experience as migrants, as they shared theirs with ours.
I learned from them about the history of their Pueblos, the experience of displacement as a result of colonization, but most of the time we spoke about their interaction and perspective of migrant communities. They began by asking what it felt like to bring this social movement to New Mexico, and share it with indigenous communities, and how we felt as migrants living in this continent we are connected. In my responses, I tried to talk about the root of indigenous struggles across the continent. I spoke to them about my own background too, coming from an indigenous community in Mexico myself. My father is from Oaxaca, whom I know little about, and my mother is Nahua descendant, a tribe from the center of Mexico.
We, as indigenous peoples share our skin color, culture, music, traditions. Unfortunately, we are so disconnected from each other, that we forget that we are connected. We forget that many of the migrants who travel to the United States have indigenous backgrounds. I think they began to see the connection between our struggles.
I also asked them what their perspective was on the migrant community. They told me that people from their Pueblos were often bothered by the observation that migrants are often hired instead of indigenous people living in the United States. I was able to share with them my experience, that undocumented migrants are often hired because they are vulnerable to abuse. In reality, it is a form of exploitation for migrants, who get paid less, cannot claim benefits, and under the laws of this country, they have less rights.
I saw their perspective begin to change, and their minds open about migrant communities. I think they began to understand that both communities are being exploited by employers, the laws of the United States, and the abuse of workers under capitalism. We were able to see that we are not in competition with each other, but victims of the same oppressive systems.
As I write this blog, my friend is calling me a radical. But the reality is that it was a radical conversation, and it was the truth, our personal experiences.
In my personal perspective, I believe we planted a seed of consciousness in the hearts and minds of this young people who after this sharing experience got so inspired that they just hung out with us for the rest of the day trying to learn and understand more about this movement that grassroots community organizers, and they just spend the rest of the day doing interviews to some of the riders.
We would like to thank our host Osiris who showed us an amazing love and support, opening his home for us and sharing amazing food. He runs a local non profit organization that focuses on teaching Native American youth the steps to become filmmakers, also does a lot of work trying to get the youth out of gangs through community service, education and consciousness.
Then, when the sun went down we prepared for our departure, gathering all together to jump onto Priscilla headed to Austin Texas, the ride will be long to get there, but we leave New Mexico with a strong learning experience and with the opportunity of bringing awareness to the indigenous communities and a better understanding of our struggles that regardless of what side of the border we were born we still connected by our struggles, traditions, languages and our beautiful indigenous roots.