The more that I look into indigeneity, the more I consolidate my understanding of how diverse and different indigenous communities are in their experience. There are also so many ways we can analyze their experience and the way they resist being forgotten.
While looking into the Oaxacan experience of resistance, I was able to talk to my dad about the Indigenous experience in Oaxaca where he currently lives. (Something that was new and fun because I don't usually talk or have long conversations with him.) My pops mentioned “comunalidad” as the workings of a community by which they create a space for themselves, resist their oppression, and support themselves without the state. After looking a little more into the topic, I found Jaime Luna’s blog post where he says that Comunalidad is a proposal to identify indigenous people that goes beyond purely linguistic criteria. He continues that it is the communal life that characterizes the indigenous community and the willingness to become part of the community. This is done by taking part in events held by and for people of the community.
(Please keep in mind that translation is very vague and iffy because I am still learning more about it and had to translate it to English.)
I write in disbelief of our reality that paints indigeneity as just history, a past. That same reality also characterizes indigenous people as undeveloped, less than Americans, and the most popular one, a social burden. After reading a little on the study of comunalidad, I am struck by how complicated the networks of pueblos in Oaxacan can become and how often it is intertwined with everyday life.
Pueblos in Oaxaca have begun to develop outside of a hierarchical structure and instead have created comunalidad in the sense that their lively hoods can not just be categorized through language and culture, but must account for the structure they create within the natural environment. Above all else, this term is not something so easily explained in academia because it more specifically is a way of life found in la Sierra Juarez.
The term is somewhat still unfamiliar to me and will require more research, but I believe that it could be a more sustainable and positive environment for development. Comunalidad has a strong focus on the natural environment and the understanding of space as it is used by humans. In this sense, the idea of Comunidad is distinguished from a democracy. In addition to that, it also can be distinguished from a capitalist system because of its lack of a hierarchy and exploitation. I feel that it would be interesting to use the idea as an interpretation of the way that pueblos maintain a separation from the state, which often is already the case due to a lack of state support and to look at comunalidad through a transborder lens in order to understand what role pueblo communities in LA play in this idea of comunalidad. (I am not sure if this has been looked at, or can even be looked at through the definition of comunalidad, because as stated before, it is a way of life.