Mexico: K'inal Antzetik

K'inal Antzetik

K'inal Antzetik ("Women's Earth" in Tzeltal) began © Elizabeth Rappaportin 1991 when a group of Indigenous women weavers came together to try to increase their income by pooling their skills and marketing strategies. Since then, K'inal Antzetik has expanded from its initial focus on technical support for community cooperatives. K'inal Antzetik's work now includes trainings on sexual health and reproductive rights, education and literacy programs and leadership development for women.

The Chiapas chapter of K'inal Antzetik works specifically with Indigenous women, supporting them as they organize to defend their communities and win access to health care, political participation and justice for violations committed by the Mexican army and paramilitary forces. Today, K'inal Antzetik plays a critical role in the network of civil society organizations demanding equitable distribution of resources and respect for the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico.

Economic autonomy and sustainability

One of K'inal Antzetik's largest projects is a weaving cooperative in San Cristobal, Chiapas. Formed in 1996 in the face of rising military violence, sharply declining wages, rising costs of living and intensifying economic and political exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, the Jolom Mayaetik (Mayan weavers, in Tzeltal) weaving cooperative helps women to achieve economic and political autonomy. The cooperative provides its 350 members with economic and educational opportunities as part of creating local alternatives to the dominant neo-liberal economic model.

K'inal Antzetik also runs several other cooperatives, including sewing, shoe-making and carpentry collectives; and a food-security initiative through which women manage and operate a bakery. In the words of one K'inal member: "Our aim is to develop economic autonomy at the community level and improve women's ability to feed their families."

Women's Health and Human Rights

As one member stressed, "demanding rights for Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas includes fighting for the rights of Indigenous women within our communities." K'inal offers ongoing workshops on women's health and reproductive rights. Recently, K'inal completed a Report on Maternal Mortality in Indigenous communities, addressing issues of pregnancy and childbirth and compiling data and testimonies from women in Chiapas.

K'inal Antzetik plays a critical role in the network of civil society organizations demanding equitable distribution of resources and respect for the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico.