International Day of Indigenous Peoples: Mexico’s debts to them

Mexico is the nation of the American continent with the largest indigenous population in its territory (Photo: Carlos López / EFE)

Mexico is characterized by being one of the nations of the American continent with the largest indigenous population.

It is estimated that in Mexican territory 25 million people who recognize themselves as indigenous of which almost 30% are speakers of one of the 68 indigenous languages ​​spoken in the country, according to data from the National Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​(INALI). I mean, two out of ten people living in the country are indigenous.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture’s Cultural Information System (SIC) recognizes 70 indigenous peoples, with greater presence in Chiapas (14) and Oaxaca (13) in the south, Veracruz in the east (6) and Baja California (6) and Sonora (5) in the northwest.

Today the International Day of Indigenous Populations. It was in December 1994 that the date was set during the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples of the World and it was the United Nations General Assembly that chose 9 August.

30% of the population speaks one of the 68 indigenous languages ​​(Photo: EFE / Carlos López)
30% of the population speaks one of the 68 indigenous languages ​​(Photo: EFE / Carlos López)

The former came about with the aim of strengthening international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous communities as is the case of human rights, environment, development, education and health.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 370 million indigenous people living in 90 nations.

It is a sector of the population where rates of poverty and marginalization are still high. According to data from the National Social Development Policy Assessment Council (Coneval), almost seven out of ten people in the indigenous population live in poverty (8.4 million) in 2018, against 40% of the rest of the population.

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Other indices that also show a significant gap in access to Social Security (78.2% of the indigenous population),access to basic housing services (5 7.5%), access to food (31.8%) and Education (31.1%)

In the world there are 370 million indigenous people living in 90 nations (Photo: EFE / Sáshenka Gutiérrez)
In the world there are 370 million indigenous people living in 90 nations (Photo: EFE / Sáshenka Gutiérrez)

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) announced that 24% of the indigenous population declared to have experienced at least one situation of discrimination the past five years.

The prevailing situations were receiving insults, provocations or irritating phrases, being looked at uncomfortably and being subjected to threats, being pushed or pulled, according to data obtained in the 2017 National Discrimination Survey.

Besides that, 49.5% of the referred population perceives that their rights are little or not respected (10 million people) and the main problems faced by this population group are: lack of employment, lack of financial resources, lack of government support in social problems and discrimination based on appearance or language.

In addition, 75% consider that indigenous people are underrated by most people.

According to data obtained by Inegi, 24% of the indigenous population declared to have experienced at least one situation of discrimination (Photo: EFE / Daniel Ricardez)
According to data obtained by Inegi, 24% of the indigenous population declared to have experienced at least one situation of discrimination (Photo: EFE / Daniel Ricardez)

It is a section of the population that he thought would improve with the current government, but Mixtec researcher Francisco López Bárcenas told EFE: “With the change of government, many colleaguesthey expected the situation to change, but I think it was more of a wish than a possibility because the current President of the Republic, when campaigning, did not refer to indigenous peoples ”.

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