Tag Archives: indigenous


by Ron Mader

The Guelaguetza is one of Mexico’s most important festivals. The ‘big days’ are two Mondays in late July when the regional dances are performed in the ginormous auditorio, but the atmosphere that pervades Oaxaca is a celebration that transcends the marathon performance. Today is the octava and the conclusion of the best Guelaguetza season in years.

You can get a taste of the event through livestreaming video at 10am and 5pm http://www.livestream.com/munioax 

Can’t make it this year? Mark your calendars – July 22 and 29, 2013.

Guelaguetza 2013

Exploring the Maya World in 2012

by Ron Mader

There are an estimated 7 million indigenous Maya living in southern Mexico and northern Central America at the start of the 21st century.

Look for an increase in tours and events focusing on the Maya in the coming year. Why? The Maya calendar is said to conclude its current cycle on December 21, 2012. The period leading up to the winter solstice in 2012, as well as this particular day, we reckon will be more of the same, bringing what Rob Brezsny says will be the “usual rate of breakdowns and breakthroughs that has characterized the last two decades.”

The breakthrough we would like to see is one in which we learn more from the Maya themselves. We’d like to see tourism that benefits the indigenous communities and in which locals have a greater voice. Please no more replica villages created and funded by outsiders. It would be great to see authentic collaboration among Maya leaders, communities and the national and international tourism players. Instead of performing in shows written about them, if the Maya wanted, they could engage visitors face-to-face. Visitors just need to know where they are invited.

Planeta.com will be updating regional guides. Suggestions are welcome.

Editors of the Planeta Wiki are invited to update the Exploring the Maya World. Let us know what events are taking place within the region and outside.

We would like to extend a cordial invitation to Maya tour operators and tour operators working with Maya communities to share what you are doing online Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.

If funding permits, we will roll out a new call for nominees for the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award. 2012 could be a pivotal year indeed.

Buzzword Bingo: Maya

Indigenous Weavings and Photos

by Ron Mader

Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico – Photos and weavings from Teotitlán del Valle from the Lazo Mendoza family are on display in the month of July at the Comala Restaurant, Allende #109.

fotos y tejidos (photos and weavings)

The town of Teotitlán del Valle conserves its indigenous Zapotec heritage. The photos and weavings document daily life in this town.

The weavings are from the extended family: Sergio Lazo Mendoza, Veronica Lazo Mendoza, Luis Lazo Mendoza, Maricela Sanchez Lopez and Lauriano Garcia. The photos were taken by Veronica Lazo Mendoza.

The exhibition – Fotos y Tejidos – is one in a series of presentations of local Oaxacan crafts and photography hosted by Comala Restaurant. It was facilitated in part by Ron Mader, director of Planeta.com.


In September some of the family’s best work will be given as awards during the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award presentation in Portland, Oregon.

Redesigning Mexico Routes

by Ron Mader

This ramble is inspired by the official Rutas de Mexico Website which frankly as of June 2010 leaves a lot to be desired. There are few ways to participate. No comments are allowed on the articles, there’s no forum or wiki. Inexplicably, the site announces press trips that have already occurred.

What would we like to see? I have a few ideas

It would be great if the official site could link to sites elsewhere on the web and if those in charge could develop the project from the ground up — asking locals and visitors what would be on their map of Mexico and then to create the corresponding materials, be they actual take-away maps or innovative mash-ups using Google Earth and the iphone!

If there is an opportunity to work with the Mexico tourism board or other tourism pros, I’d like to see a campaign directed toward the individual traveler who is the most likely candidate to go off the beaten route in search of the wonderful long tail of Mexico tourism! We’d like to participate in lively and helpful conversations, using Web 2.0 and face to face meetings.

Let’s reflect on how best to engage people seeking any of the following

  • authentic Mexican cuisine
  • interaction with Mexico’s indigenous population
  • understanding of Mexico’s fantastic biodiversity
  • understanding of Mexico’s colonial past, the independence movement and revolution

Let’s consider how to raise the capacity and web-savvyness of local artisans, mom and pop tour operators, restaurant owners and others catering to tourism. Let’s also get the government officials up to speed. Wish us luck and if you can help out, let us know!

Valentine’s Day in Oaxaca

by Ron Mader

It’s Valentine’s Day! Here in Oaxaca for the past few weeks we’ve been working with Mixe (Ayuuk) friends as they’re preparing a special meal this afternoon. Today we’re going to fill our hearts and our stomachs!

14 de febrero (poster for oaxaca)

To get into the spirit, try pronouncing the Mixe (Ayuuk) expressions of love!:

To’k aa tö’k joot
De todo corazón te quiero
With all my heart I love you

Tsokï tö’k aa tö’k joot
Ama de todo corazón
Love with all one’s heart

Akijpxa ja tsojkïn ti yo’oyï
Ama a todos por igual
Love for all in an equal manner

Yï tsojkïn ka’a x’a’ix xpëjkïmpitït
Ama sin condición
Love without condition

Teotitlan Hosts Delicious Corn Fair

by Ron Mader

Celebrating more than 7,000 years of culture and history in Oaxaca’s Central Valleys, Teotitlán del Valle pays tribute to the mainstay of agricultural sustainability in Mesoamerica – corn. It’s a grassroots campaign that is educational and delicious fun.

The 4th annual corn fair takes place November 7-9, 2009. The event is hosted by the Balaa Xtee Guech Gulal Community Museum.

Lanii Xtee Xub: Feria del Maiz 2009