The Fight to Preserve Identity: Indigenous Weavers in Guatemala
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Fight to Preserve Identity: Indigenous Weavers in Guatemala

Commodifying indigenous culture is not just insensitive, it destroys ways of life and economic opportunities.

73
The Fight to Preserve Identity: Indigenous Weavers in Guatemala
Guillén Pérez

Think that “Navajo printed top” you bought from Urban Outfitters is just the right amount of cute and edgy? You probably don’t realize that your cultural appropriation is not only insensitive, it is also pushing indigenous people – mostly women – out of their traditional markets and threatening to completely erase aspects of a variety of cultures.

In Guatemala, women weavers have had enough of the hypocrisy. Similar to the appropriation Urban committed against the Navajo (and countless other communities), companies like Maria’s Bags will sell purses with indigenous designs for hundreds of dollars without the consent of the communities the designs come from. These multinational corporations benefit from a system that appropriates indigenous culture while discriminating against the people behind it.

High-end corporations like Maria’s Bags aren’t the only emerging market pushing indigenous women out of their livelihoods; Chinese companies are also moving in and computerizing these designs to be quickly printed onto things like your Urban Outfitters top. While this is cheaper than, you know, a product that provides its original creator with a living wage, it contributes to a system of globalization that appropriates and misuses cultural traditions while erasing their authenticity and the autonomy of the people responsible for them.

Indigenous women in Guatemala organized with the Women's Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez (AFEDES) to combat the infringement of their intellectual property on November 24 during a march to Congress to propose a bill copywriting indigenous designs to indigenous communities. With the long history of discrimination against indigenous people, the bill faces an uphill battle to passing. However, the recognition indigenous weavers are getting is the first step to a big win for cultural preservation and economic empowerment for marginalized communities in Guatemala and across the Americas.

More and more, indigenous women in Latin America are fighting to have their rights as citizens upheld and for the economic stability they have been denied since colonization. Multinational companies not only appropriate indigenous cultures, they also do not contribute any jobs or income to the communities whose ideals they steal. If you would like to nix your last-season (not to mention offensive) Urban top, consider looking into companies like Trama, Vayu, Asociación de Artesanos Andinos, and Hiptipico.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

182341

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1637752

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1025937
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

932122
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

608980
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

391816
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

504072

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments