The Role of Social-and-Solidary Economy in Indigenous ventures in Mexico

Marisol Campos-Navarrete - IIRC20
Friday, November 20, 2020

In the municipality of Xochitlán de Vicente Suárez, located in the northeastern Sierra of Puebla, Mexico, the cultural heritage of diverse communities is the ground on which most activities are carried out. Since time immemorial, this territory has been cohabited in harmony by Nahua, Otomí, Totonaco, and Tepehua peoples, and more recently by mestizo people. Concurrently, the Municipality of Chilón is located roughly a thousand kilometres from Xochitlán towards the South East in Mexico and is one of the many territories inhabited by Tseltal peoples in Chiapas. Besides having a population with more than 75% of people communicating exclusively in Indigenous languages and having the highest scores in the Marginalization Index of the country, these communities also share a recent emergence of many Indigenous youth-led groups in pursuit of projects focused on economic self-sufficiency.
This paper addresses one relevant aspect that these projects have in common: the fact that most of them are grounded in Social and Solidary Economy models. Based on a case study of these two communities, I discuss how Social and Solidary Economy models offer a field of opportunity for undertaking projects oriented to community wellbeing through local economic development. I argue that the solidary aspect of these models genuinely addresses the needs of the Indigenous youth of these communities, while at the same time grounded in their local Indigenous Knowledges, current practices, and traditions.