The Zapatista Movement Essay

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Indigenous people of the world have historically been and continue to be pushed to the margins of society. Similarly, women have experienced political, social, and economical marginalization. For the past 500 years or so, the indigenous peoples of México have been subjected to violence and the exploitation since the arrival of the Spanish. The xenophobic tendencies of Spanish colonizers did not disappear after México’s independence; rather it maintained the racial assimilation and exclusion policies left behind by the colonists, including gender roles (Moore 166) . México is historically and continues to be a patriarchal society. So when the Zapatista movement of 1994, more formally known as the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación National …show more content…
It was the implementation of NAFTA that sparked the Zapatistas Movement. NAFTA included an amendment to the Mexican constitution that the president and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the political party in control, supported fully. This amendment eliminated the constitution’s protections of ejidos, which are communal land holdings. This meant that indigenous lands could be privatized and sold off to international companies for profits. (Kueker 980) Indigenous people would have to move from lands they have been cultivating for hundreds of years and relocate. So EZLN sieged and took over the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, a major marker to the start of the movement. It was at the siege of San Cristobal de las Casas that EZLN made their demands, along with the demands for indigenous woman. Another important reclamation for women is indigeneity. Francesca Marlan, a Professor of Anthropology at the Australian National University, provides us with a definition to the concept of indigeneity:

It connotes belonging and originariness and deeply felt processes of attachment and identification, and thus it distinguishes “natives” from others. Indigeneity is taken to refer to peoples who have great moral claims on nation‐states and on international society, often because of inhumane, unequal, and exclusionary treatment. (Merlan)


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