Triqui Weaving

Women’s weaving has become more constant. Grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters weave with their threads, with their hands, with their words, weaving resistance, opening roads with their worthy rage, moving forward for themselves as they have done so many times before on roads that can now be easily confused with the red on their huipiles (traditional indigenous dress) because of all of the bloodshed in their community. The huipiles are embroidered and worked by the hands of Triqui women, women who alongside their people have been repressed and humiliated, until they’ve reached a point where the majority that live on the outskirts of the city have been misled and deceived into thinking that we are masters and mistresses of our lives, receiving what we do not need, surviving with what we do not want and forgetting our needs. I choose to forget those that propagandize, those that repress and fill the dignified roads of San Juan Copala with blood, those that shame the land with each act of displacement, with rape, with murders, those that hate that the Triqui people, who will once again rise up and demand justice, fighting for what is theirs.

The women of the red huipil, the women with their braids, the women with their babies on their breasts, the weavers, the triqui women stand up to demand food for their children, husbands, mothers, for their people, food, which is necessary to survive and justice which they must have to live. The bushes become the Triqui women’s best friend because the necessary search for livelihood is a dangerous activity subject to rape and murder, like on September 7th, when Natalia Cruz Bautista and Francisca de Jesús García, both Triqui women, tried to go in search of food for their children. They were aggressively intercepted by paramilitaries and one of them was raped while the other was shot in the shoulder.

“They mess with us because they know that we are no longer afraid,” said a group of Triqui women to those of us who went in search of interviews and returned with immense learning. A group of women with red dresses resist not only in the streets, in their journeys, in their communities, but also in the zocalo (main plaza) of the city of Oaxaca. There are only a few of them but they have enough strength to organize and protect each other, with the conviction that a forced removal from the zocalo is a small thing to endure because they have been enduring constant gun fire in San Juan Copala, gun fire that for months the children have become accustomed to, gun fire that has murdered comrades, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, a customary thing that has cost lives. But now the Triqui women with all their pain, with all their rage, fight peacefully in order to break the media blockade and deal with the actions of the paramilitaries to obstruct access to food, health services, and education in San Juan Copala.

Today, the Triqui women who are known for their red huipiles and condemned to generations of abuse, are standing up to demand their right to self determination. In the zocalo of Oaxaca, women dressed differently walk by, some with black sunglasses to cover their eyes from the sun. Some are bewildered as they observe the Triqui women. Others are amazed and watch the children playing near the encampment of the Triqui women. Others walk by without observing, without paying attention to their demands, without even acknowledging them, distracted and deceived by the masters of capital, by cosmetics that threaten their being, by fashion that strips Triqui women of their huipiles. Others become angry and make the Triqui struggle their own. Some, fearing that one day they will be in the same position as the Triqui women, only greet them and hold their children by the hand.

“We fight because we are women,” said one of the Triqui women. Women who are no longer willing to remain subdued, women who are now food providers risk their own lives. For years the struggle of Triqui women and men has been criminalized, by the criminals that rape and murder the Indians for their land. The women who are rising up now come out of their communities not to run away, but to let their word and their resistance be known, as Indians, as Triqui people, as mothers, daughters, as women. Wherever their feet take them they will always be Triquis, because the red in their hupiles is an inspiration and means constant resistance.

Justice will come for David García Reyes, Paulino Ramírez Reyes, Antonio Cruz García, Rigoberto Ramírez González, Teresa Bautista, Felicitas Martínez, Virginia, Daniela, Cleriberta Castro, Bety Carino, Natalia Cruz Bautista y Francisca de Jesús Gracia, Jiry Jaakkola, Timoteo Alejandro, Antonio Ramírez López y Antonio Cruz García, Rigoberto Ramírez Gonzólez and Pedro Santos Castro, Celestino Hernández, Héctor Antonio Ramírez and Elías Fernández (only 9 years old).

El Telar Triqui – The Triqui Weaving