What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

On Wednesday 5 April, 2017, a large convoy a state police vehicles was dispatched to the indigenous community of Arantepacua, in the municipality of Nahuatzen in the central highlands of Michoacán, Mexico. Nahuatzen is a municipality in which more than 80% of the population live below the official poverty line. This part of the state … Continue reading What are state police doing in the Meseta P’urhépecha and why are they doing it?

Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

As I explained in another post seven months ago, following the release from prison of Cemeí Verdía the regional self-defence forces led by the indigenous community of Ostula were able to offer greater protection to local people against the depredations of criminal groups. But remnant cells of the Caballeros Templarios cartel, led by people whose … Continue reading Relative calm ends on the Michoacán coast

Brazilian anthropology under attack

One of the most influential groups in the most reactionary congress in Brazilian history is the Rural Lobby (Bancada Ruralista), which represents the interests of large landowners and commercial farmers. In Brazil large landowner means very large indeed, with some families controlling holdings the size of Wales. But even the more modestly endowed members of … Continue reading Brazilian anthropology under attack

Michoacán: an update

It is now some time since I last reported on developments in the Mexican state of Michoacán, so here is a note on what remains, overall, a less than happy panorama. The new state government that entered office in October 2015, headed by Silvano Aureoles of the PRD, promised to get a firm grip on … Continue reading Michoacán: an update

Something rotten in the state…

In yesterday's La Jornada newspaper, journalist Blanche Petrich published an interview that the paper conducted with Nestora Salgado, former communal police commander of the community of Olinalá, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. On August 23, 2013, Nestora Salgado was arrested and charged with the kidnapping, on the orders of Ángel Aguirre, the state governor … Continue reading Something rotten in the state…

A critique of “third generation” indigenism

P'urhépecha intellectual Dra. Bertha Dimas Huacuz, from the community of Santa Fe de la Laguna in Michoacán, has recently published a critique of what she calls the "third generation indigenism"associated with current government policies. Despite new programs such as the "Crusade Against Hunger" and further evolution of Mexico's existing targeted cash transfer programs under the … Continue reading A critique of “third generation” indigenism

New E-Book from Eduardo R. Saguier

Argentinian colleague Eduardo Saguier has just made a fascinating extended ethnohistorical essay entitled Pueblos sin estado y reconstrucción etnopolítica del hinterland sudamericano freely available on the Internet. For more details (in Spanish) and to download the e-book follow this link http://www.salta21.com/Pueblos-sin-estado-y.html.

Ostula under siege

In an interview broadcast in full on YouTube, the commander of Ostula's communal police, Germán Ramírez, has described the indigenous community as "under siege". In addition to the military, a growing concentration of federal police agents has gathered in the surrounding area, suggesting that an operation to disarm the communal and municipal self-defence forces is … Continue reading Ostula under siege

Ostula demands

The indigenous community of Ostula has now presented a series of public demands to the state and federal authorities. These go beyond the demand for the immediate release from prison of Cemeí Verdía, former commander of Ostula's communal police and the autodefensas of Aquila, Coahuayana and Chinicuila, and the dropping of charges against him, which … Continue reading Ostula demands

The counter-reform of Michoacán’s indigenous university

Earlier this year, the state government of Michoacán issued decrees for the “reform” of the Intercultural Indigenous University of Michoacán (UIIM), established in 2006 as an initiative of the PRD administration of Lázaro Cárdenas Batel. As an undergraduate Cárdenas Batel had been trained in anthropology and always professed an interest in advancing indigenous rights. But … Continue reading The counter-reform of Michoacán’s indigenous university