Building Theatre and Community

Sometimes these two sisters, Hortencia and Elvira Colorado, get tired of the struggle. So the two rely on their theater company, the Coatlicue Theatre Company, founded 25 years ago, to energize them. The two women are attending the Indigenous Forum at the United Nations to bring attention to the continuing plight of their people who are excluded from self determination in Mexico.

These two Zapatistas “celebrate all people that are in resistance and all people working in the communities,” Elivra said.

The women appreciate the camaraderie of the forum. “Sometimes it’s only the two of us. The other day we two marched from Union Square to the Mexican Embassy for tenants’ rights in Chiapas.”

“In Mexico, where my people are, the government of Mexico does not recognize that indigenous people exist and are autonomous. In 2005, they (the indigenous community in Chiapas) started organizing a government of good faith, a council of good government. They organized five municipalities on their own. They said, ‘We are not going to accept any help from the government. We will do it on our own. We will train the young people in medicine, in their own language.’ (And yes they’re learning Spanish too.)… The government has changed and the rules changed… Now the government is trying to remove the community to build a tourist industry.”

This is “an important issue for women around the world,” said Elvira. And the two sisters, while they seemed a little tired from a long day of meetings, they also seemed ready to  march, to tell their truths through theatre and to build community with all indigenous people who are meeting this week at the United Nations.

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Hortencia, left, and Elvira Colorado, right, advocates for indigenous peoples at the United Nations

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