Comunicado sobre reportajes del Primer Aniversario y traducción del video documental

Communique in Spanish from the ejido Tila, celebrating the first anniversary of its declaration of autonomy.

Ejido Tila Chiapas a 19 de enero del 2017

A la Opinion publica

Al Congreso Nacional Indigena (CNI)

A las Juntas de Buen Gobierno

A la Sexta nacional e internacional

A los medios de comunicación independientes

A los derechos humanos no gubernamentales

A las organizaciones sociales que luchan por justicia y dignidad

Reciban un cordial saludo de parte de los compañeros y compañeras del Ejido Tila que seguimos en pie de lucha hasta llegar al final y continuaremos luchando construyendo nuestra autonomia ejidal y autogobierno aunque en medio de tantas amenazas pero nuestro pueblo esta firme y dispuesto a seguir para adelante asi como estamos trabajando con nuestro derecho como pueblo indígena y como territorio ejidal.


Nuestro pueblo como muchos otros pueblos está echandole ganas a seguir explicando y profundizando nuestro acuerdo de constituir el Concejo Indigena de Gobierno y lanzar la candidata para que lleve su palabra frente a todo Mexico e internacional y frente a esos que nos quieren arrebatar las tierras y nos estan masacrando por todas las partes de Mexico. Porque llegó el momento de los pueblos.

Y en esta ocasión les enviamos este sencillo escrito para presentarles los trabajos de los compañeros y compañeras de medios independientes y agradeserles por sus trabajos que realisaron tanto para mostrar nuestro Primer Aniversario de Autonomia Ejidal para Tila y libre determinación; pero también les presentamos las traducciones al idioma ingles y francés de nuestro video documental Juntos defendemos nuestra Madre Tierra, Mi Lak tyeñ kotyañ lak ña’ lum y que será de gran ayuda para difundirlo entre compañeros y compañeras que hablan estos idiomas y que conozcan sobre la historia de nuestra lucha por la defensa de nuestra tierra y territorio. Por esto;

  1. Les agradecemos su trabajo solidario como compañeros y compañeras de los colectivos que hicieron las traducciones a los idiomas ingles y francés de nuestro video documental Mi lak tyeñ kotyañ lak ña’ lum Juntos la defendemos nuestra madre tierra. Aquí les presentamos las traducciones de los videos que se pueden descargar en buena resolución para reproducirse y difundirse. También les enviamos este escrito que presenta el documental para los diferentes idiomas.

Together We Defend Our Mother Earth: Documentary on the Ejido Tila, Chiapas, Mexico

‘Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’: Documentary on the Inseparability of Land, Culture, Governance and Sociality


Many indigenous populations in the Southern Mexican State of Chiapas have been at the forefront of the struggle for land and culture, understood by them as inseparable. For centuries they have been subjected to cultural and territorial dispossession – with territorial dispossession almost always leading to cultural dispossession. Federal, state and international governments, corporations and business couch this in a discourse of ‘development’ and ‘progress.’ Human Rights Organizations and the affected populations, in contrast, explain that dispossession has to be understood in the context, and as part, of low-intensity warfare and counterinsurgency, which has intensified in response to the Zapatista Uprising in 1994 and the establishment of the Zapatista Good Government Councils in 2003. One of the bones of contention in these struggles against dispossession is the legal figure of the ejido. The ejido is social property of the ejidatarios, and its affairs are conducted by an assembly and by elected commissioners. It was enshrined in the Mexican Constitution after the Revolution. Free Trade Agreements and policies seek to abolish or undermine this important legal figure.

The indigenous ch’ol community of Tila has been dragged into a decade-long struggle for 130 hectares of their ejido. This land is located in and alongside the small town of Tila, and it comprises agricultural as well as urban land. In the community of Tila live the (indigenous Ch’ol) ejidatarios, and the (mestizx) villagers. The former govern themselves through an assembly; until December 2015, the latter were governed by the municipal government. The legal figure of the ejido protects commonality and communal landownership; the town, in contrast, was governed and legislated according to the laws of private property.

The 130 hectares in question were unlawfully occupied in the 1960s by the non-Ch’ol municipal government. Years later, the ejidatarios won a legal case against the dispossession of their lands; however, the municipal government offered them a financial compensation, whereas the ejidatarios want the land itself because it is the basis of their social and cultural life. They have taken their case to the Supreme Court of Justice. With the decision pending, the municipal council attempted to destroy the community cohesion of the ejidatarios, and to wear out their insistence on not taking money for their land, through a campaign of everyday harassment, for example by introducing water meters and charging for water even though the springs are located on the communal land.

Together We Defend, co-directed and co-produced by the indigenous Ch’ol community of Tila and the independent producer Terra Nostra Films, uses the genre of the documentary as a type of public letter: initially it was meant to be sent to the judges of the Supreme Court. In the documentary the ejidatarixs explain in word and image what makes this land inherently and essentially priceless, and why the legal figure of the ejido, similar to the old English ‘Commons,’ is never only about communal land, but just as much about social and cultural life and about the possibility of self-governance. The documentary was completed before the ejido, which is an adherent of the Zapatista Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, declared its autonomy on 16th December 2015, as a response to the decades of dispossession and in resistance to a wave of violence and repression.

The camerawork invites a way of looking at the land, landscapes, the people, the communal spaces and practices, without using the camera to capture, or the gaze to take possession. As in other previous Terra Nostra productions, there is no external narrator: the community members speak for themselves, and the viewer/listener is challenged to learn to listen to inflections and speech patterns of the people involved in the struggle for their land. This is how a visual and verbal poetics of resistance emerges as part of an ethical, political, philosophical and practice-inspired approach to living and engaging with each other, social surroundings, built and natural environments – not as a way of ‘making them our own’ or ‘accessing,’ but as an engagement with a plenitude that is inherently and essentially priceless.

The documentary is available here in original version with English subtitles:

‘Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’

‘Together We Defend our Mother Earth’,‘Mi Lak Tyeñ Kotyañ Lak Ña’Lum’

For information from the community itself see