The Wixarika people of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan and Tuxpan, installed checkpoints around their communities to stop any candidate, politician or electoral authority to come into their territory until the Mexican government returns them the Huajimic ancestral lands that were seized by ranchers in 1952.
Landlords Impede Land Restitution to Indigenous Wixarika People
“As long as the Mexican State, and particularly the Federal government, doesn't fulfill its basic commitment with the Wixarika people and keeps violating the rights of the Wixaritari, the indigenous community of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan will carry out different pressuring actions,” they said in a statement, at the same time they demanded the presence of President Enrique Peña Nieto in a community assembly to take place on May 9.
The community of San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan and its accompanying lawyers have filed 45 lawsuits demanding the restitution of ancestral lands belonging to the Wixarika people in Nayarit and the neighboring state of Jalisco, illegally seized by ranchers and landlords in 1952 and encompassing about 10,500 hectares. They have been successful in many, but in some cases, the sentence is not enforced due to violent resistance from the occupiers.
On April 12, a group of 200 ranchers refused to hand in the land to the Wixarika and threatened their lawyers with hanging them and then cutting their heads off. A few days later, a local court decided to revoke the sentence in favor of the aggressors to avoid further violence.
The declaration, which came out from a community assembly and bears the seals and signatures of the Wixarika traditional authorities, states that the community will continue with actions if their demands are not met and the president doesn't attend the assembly, including closing schools and health centers and taking the demand to the UN and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and made the government responsible for any further aggression.
“As we have walked through the wide road of injustice we have learned and understood that the causes of Mexicans are not a priority for the Mexican government, and that the rule of law is nonexistent for the governed, especially for the indigenous people of Mexico,” says the statement.
The community not only demands the government return their lands, but also compensate the ranchers that are now occupying Huajimic, which were granted the lands in 1952 with no previous consultation to the indigenous people that were already living there.