I Came Because They Told Me My Son Was Lost: Migration of Wirrárika Women from Eastern Mexico to the…

Lourdes C. Pacheco Ladrón de Guevara
Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit
Sunday, October 1, 2017

Translation review by Nancy Soles


The social place of migrating women

The division of labor in indigenous communities is organized around everyday life. Symbolically, the environment sets the stage: Terrestrial life is to be lived because there is another parallel life with which the first life corresponds and harmonizes. In addition, the system of authority in the indigenous communities is patriarchal in nature, as is the family and, subsequently, the division of power and labor falls along gender lines. In the case of migration, however, how the division of power and labor gets modified differs. Each gender has access to and uses migration in different ways. This becomes a resource having different meanings depending on gender and age.

The children of agricultural family groups who transport themselves to the pacific coast to work as hard laborers, learn about migration early in life. The migration becomes a firm practice where tasks are distributed according to gender and the work becomes an act of physical discipline for boys and girls.

Migrating indigenous women (and in general, migrating women) have been left with few prospects for being included in symbols pertaining to the cultural code. Even though the Wirrarika women, in their character of feminine force in the indigenous communities, who have participated in the creation process and who have been involved in the agricultural cycle, they are limited in their participation in cultural activities to only certain ceremonies. In addition, they are excluded from the civil and religious charges and they assume the destiny of the family of their husbands.

The Wirrarika women have a minimum of schooling, they are generally monolingual and they live within a system that allows polygamy. The system of authority they live in is patriarchal, sealed by the authority of the adult males of the group. In this system, the destiny of women is decided early on, since they are committed in marriage, early in their lives.