PBI-Mexico accompanies Indigenous community as it blockades highway to airport to demand recognition of their ancestral rights

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On November 21, PBI-Mexico tweeted:

“PBI accompanies the Bosque de San Elías Repechique community in the #SierraTarahumara supported by @CONTECAC in their protest demanding the legal recognition of their territory and the definitive filing of the investigation folder against their members.”

Raichali reports:

The Rarámuri community of Bosques de San Elías Repechique held a sit-in to demand legal recognition of their territory. In 2014, a judge recognized their ancestral right, but the property titles remain in the hands of mestizo individuals.

On Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, the Rarámuri community of Bosques de San Elías Repechique held a sit-in on the road between Creel and San Rafael, through which hundreds of tourists pass daily, to demand that the Mexican authorities titling their ancestral territory and respect their way of life.

El Heraldo de Chihuahua also reports:

The Ralámuli indigenous community blocked the road that is located in front of the Barrancas del Cobre Regional Airport demanding the approval of projects that were proposed for the benefit of residents before the Technical Committee of the Forest Trust of San Elías Repechique, in the municipality of Bocoyna, among which a community house, housing improvement and purchase of agricultural equipment stand out.

The members of the community of Bosques de San Elías Repechique demanded recognition of their territory and an end to criminalization by individuals, from whom they constantly receive threats.

Despite the fact that there is a ruling in favor of the community, their rights are violated due to people from outside the community who cut down trees, make use of their territory for the passage of an electric power line, the installation of the airport, the gas pipeline and tourism projects. All without the consent of the community, resistance that leads them to suffer threats and aggression.

It is worth mentioning that in the sewing project for women called Bowe Najativo (following the path) located on the dirt road between Sánchez and Cerro de la Virgen, it was approved in 2019, and in 2020 the execution process began but the FGE stopped the construction for more than a year, even members of the community were taken into custody. Two investigation folders were derived from this against Teresa González and Nicolás Sánchez, for which the closure of these investigations was demanded.

And El Diario reports: “Indigenous take Creel-San Rafael highway. They affirm that they will not withdraw until they are heard by the government.”

That article quotes Repechique residents who say: “We demand an end to the intimidation of individuals to the members of our community; every time our right is violated by people, by the imposition of projects such as felling trees, passing the electric light line, installing the airport, gas pipeline and tourist projects without our consent.”

CONTEC also accompanied the San Elías Repechique Forests community in 2014-15 when it opposed Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. (now TC Energy) building the Encino-Topolobampo gas pipeline on its ancestral territories without free, prior and informed consent.

PBI-Mexico has been providing punctual accompaniment to the Community Technical Consultancy, A.C. (CONTEC) since 2015. In February 2022, PBI-Mexico formalized this accompaniment due to the increase in the level of risk faced by the organization.

Photo by Raichali.

Photo by El Diario.

Photo by PBI-Mexico.

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