The original text in Spanish is also available at Futuros Indigenas website.
The Milpamérica Resists: Living Solutions To The Climate Crisis has been a chance to meet others and collectively learn with all of the participants; it’s also been away to reflect on and build other narratives rooted in the diversity of our territories and the knowledges kept by every native peoples that fights and Resists in order to keep its memory. Above all, this experience has taught us to sow in our hearts and practice that the future is indigenous.
To me, venturing to participate in this lab was a chance I took. My expectations were very high as I began to familiarize myself with what Milpamérica Resists is all about as I read through the call for entries.
Milpamérica Resists had impacted me since I knew of its existence. A maize is a word and an action that is so intertwined with my everyday life; it is my reason for being, my most consistent activity, the reason why every time I sow the land I look forward to the growth of healthy, resilient maize that will help heal the needs, wounds and diseases that peasants live; but, at the same time, the maize itself would move me to think, reflect and question not only peasant living in itself, but the action and intervention of human beings to life on the land.
Since I myself am an active member of a native ch’ol community and hold a community-appointed communal position, I get excited when I see the journey taken by Milpamérica Resists and I was certain that by the end of the Lab I would be led to meet with the best seeds for our struggle or maizes that Resists the plagues of capitalism, that our harvest would have maize that are as diverse and beautiful as the multiple colors of all native peoples, such as the comrades I met throughout the journey, who are fighters and defenders of the seeds and the memories, examples and inspirations for Resistance.
Until then, I had thought that climate change was the result of everyone’s actions whenever we transform a resource, not even excessively, but merely to satisfy a need, but nevertheless resulted in an alteration of the relationships within and disrupting nature’s own equilibrium. This was a big guilt imposed on us by this capitalist system that preys on life and dreams, a guilt imposed on ourselves as native peoples for a long time, centuries, even; a system that has made us believe it’s been ourselves who have destroyed life, our territories. This is what they have led us to believe.
This narrative imposed on us through different spaces and media, mainly through government institutions, makes us believe that our ancestral techniques that we use for work are wrong and that is why they impose their land-poisoning techniques on us. Their logic dictates that as long as we buy materials from them, as long as we consume their goods and make them richer, everything is fine. This is an ideology of development that was imposed on us and we do not want.
Milpamérica Resists exposes that the disease affecting our territories is in fact a result of the decision of just a few people who globalize misery, poverty, inequality and injustice to pay for their luxurious lives with the suffering of millions.
The fight for Mother Earth brings us together and our collective struggle aims to heal her. This was the slogan chosen by Grupo Tierra and one we have claimed for ourselves. Even though we come from diverse geographies and pains, our struggles and resistance is shared, from the defense of Mother Earth and the land, to the defense of water and food sovereignty, against inequality and being stripped away from our ancestral knowledges. Ours is always a fight against the capitalist, colonial, racist and heteropatriarchal system that employ their agroindustries and extractivist projects to cause nothing but violence, pollution and destruction in our territories and indigenous communities.
The analysis and insights made within Grupo Tierra focused on the neocolonial train and green energy aiming to provide fuel to electric cars as fake supposedly angelic solutions that in reality aim to perpetuate a coloniality of brutal extermination upon people and the land.
Before this reality, we see ourselves as living solutions. From our group and our struggle we aim to heal all of the damage that has been inflicted upon us since the arrival of a development civilization. Ever since, we have spent 500 years existing and resisting the extermination of our lands and communities, reconnecting with each other in the way our ancestors taught us how to live.
We acknowledge that setting an agenda of actions and participation is urgent for our struggle and our future; that we need our native peoples to strengthen their communal organizations, revitalize their communal structures. It also required that we acknowledge Earth as a mother and a source of life we need to love and respect. All of this is necessary so the capitalist elite that looks down on our people and who promote a society based on individualism and competition doesn’t succeed in making us think of Mother Earth as a resource at the service of the market, but as something worth defending and fighting for.
The seed sowed by Milpamérica Resists in different corners of our geography is the hope and the solution towards a climatic justice. Let our narrative be a future harvest for many native peoples who through self-governance and resistance walk along those collectives and along all struggles.
The Milpamérica Resists Lab has not only given us many tools to create our own narratives and hack those narratives that come from the powers that be. This space has also armed us, made us kin and braided resistances together because just as the capitalist system has always globalized extermination in indigenous lands, resistances must be globalized. May these tools help us build a new future. No more dispossession, neither of our lands nor of the memories kept by our ancestors.
Jesús Martínez Perez, indigenous Ch’ol, agriculturalist and community educator from the Inductive Education Network. Originally from Shoctic, municipality of Tila, Chiapas, Mexico. Since adolescence, he has collaborated with his community and with other community leaders in the defense of the knowledge of indigenous peoples. He sowed in youth and childhood the love for Mother Earth.