Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Triqui in Me

The morning is heavy with humidity. Putla is just waking up as we climb our way out of this chaotic little market center and into the thick of triqui territory. The air gets crisper as we gain altitude. We pass some people walking a donkey heavily laden with firewood. Suddenly, in the rolling expanse of green mountains that unfold around us, I see a startling blaze of red. As we nudge closer I see that it is a woman donning one of the most impressive and heavy weavings that I have seen anyone ever wearing. The colour is my favourite, so I instantly feel a camaraderie toward this Triqui lady in red.

I wonder what it would be like to be one of these hearty Triqui women who live in such remote places, but often travel great distances to sell their wares in markets all over the state. Someone once told me that these people were historically so disagreeable toward their Mixtec brothers that they were forced into some of the remotest regions of Oaxaca where they still live today. Conversation with these ladies reveals a taste of their fierce spirit that continues to be handed down through the generations.

After climbing for 50 continuous kilometers we learn that they have some of the best views in Mexico, and we can see that they are still very much a culture connected to the magic that inhabits these mountains. We see it in the symbols that are woven into the fabric of their incredible red overcoats. The thought of the generations of useful knowledge they must possess from living so close to the land that sustains them makes me feel silly and ashamed of the bloated world of wanton overconsumption that my people have created and are inflicting on the world.

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