Mixtec Fair Trade Clothing Display
Make Friends on both sides of the border!
Cloths created by a Mixtec women’s sewing cooperative can be yours!
Please consider buying clothing and/or making a donation of cloth material or thread to the cooperative
Between the Sierra Madre de Sur, and the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, between the rain forest and the cloud forest, between the left of Berrigan and the right of Bush, between dream and nightmare, between Temascal and Wounded Knee, between Vietnam and Iraq, she walked here, this cloud woman from Mixteca, she walked here, twenty-one hundred miles to sell gum in the hot sun, all day in the hot sun, with skull smiles of sterile northern speculators mirrored in sun glasses of touristas de muertos, waiting to cross la frontera in cars burning gas looted from war in the middle east where the same machine that butchered her ancestors now butchers & burns with impunity…
Between Morales and Chiapas, between the eagle and the venom snake, between 1988 and 2008, between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, between the death of CONASUPO and the birth of NAFTA, between the Rio Grande and Rio Papaloapan, indigenous people suffer, when the border mayor’s wife picked a teacher to teach the donya’s women how to operate sewing machines, there were eight machines to make traditional and modern clothes, covered with orange macramé cloth, and a beige turtle for sticking pins, and up to five spools feeding the machines, feeding hope, cheating the malquiladoras; but some of the small spools stood empty like the stomachs of small children in Oaxaca, and Guerrero, and Chiapas.
And you, sitting there, reading this poem, between your warm home and your three hot meals, between your compassion and your contempt, between your wonder and your worry, between your empathy and your apathy, did you know these tiny, ancient Indian peoples are between the gag of Lady Justice and the bribe of brutal fascism, between the back stab of the World Bank and the throat cut of the International Monetary Fund, between the anchor of Donya Berta and the edge of the sweat shop cliff, the Mixtec people hold on to her hard won wisdom helping her people not fall over the edge to the waiting sweat shop 15 hour days, no breaks, no hope, 10 dollar days, no health care, no respect, no rights, no hope because the boss said no money this week…
The teacher of the machines is gone, the grant money the government of Mexico claimed was there to help the Mixteca sew their own clothes for sale is gone, was this a ploy to manipulate Indians to sweat shops? Or was this a bureaucratic miscalculation?
Between the hard-line of neocon foreign policy and the soft touches of a Mixtec mother’s love, between workers rights and corporate insouciance, between compassion and common sense, we know better and have too much abundance to ignore exploitation of the weak, the poor, the disenfranchised-like in San Diego, when they put the freeways in, they went after the homes of the poor in the barrio, because the poor didn’t have resources to fight the pirates, parasites, goons, and carpetbaggers, aka, developers.
We have too much heart to dance while those less fortunate can only crawl, to feast while the poor starve, to avert our glance from a table, un mesa del Sur, with the main course stomachs hurting from hunger, and a second dish of baked injustice- the mole from Oaxaca graces the tables of most in Mexico and El Norte, created by the Mixtec, it is a national food on Cinco de Mayo, the day a mostly Indian army defeated the conquerors, it is no accident that mole is the color of blood, and it is blood that has painted the borders, transforming the lines, transformacion de lineas.