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She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Guadalupe Hernández Dimas, o Nana Lu, como la conocen en su comunidad, nace a la orilla del Lago de Pátzcuaro, en el estado de Michoacán. Es poeta e integrante de la Academia de la Lengua P’urhépecha. Elaboró junto con el Instituto de Antropología de la Universidad Autónoma de México la primera gramática en lengua p’urhépecha, Lanhaskapani, y fundó la organización Uarhi (mujer), donde se impulsan unidades productivas en manos de las mujeres indígenas y se realizan talleres de reflexión, encuentros, movilizaciones, publicaciones y denuncias. (inmujer).
She says: “Poverty has the face of a woman”.
Guadalupe Hernández Dimas ‘Nana Lu’ – Mexico
She works for Uarhi (Woman).
She says also: “When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me: ‘You will be a woman soon and you must be careful in this life. You have to walk in safety and you have to know where to go and that you never have to do anything alone’. Her name was Susana. My father died when I was 22 days old, and my mother went to live with my grandparents. My mother’s name is Angela Dimas Villa. She is a very brave woman who sings indigenous songs, ‘pirekuas’. I also sing, because I was taught to. I was taught to dance and to participate in the ceremonies of our community”.
A lake and an indigenous community are her historical references. She is the only daughter of two women: her mother and grandmother. She is unique in a man’s world. Guadalupe Hernández Dimas is known as “Nana Lu”–an honorary name given to her in recognition of her work for the P’urhepecha people (indigenous people located in the State of Michoacán, in the West of Mexico, its cities are built in the brooks of the big lake Pátzcuaro, Guadalupe’s birth place).
- “I am the woman (UARHI)
- That suffers and cries
- in many ways…
- I am the rebellion against forgetfulness
- The face of poverty
- The presence of the excluded ones,
- I am the collective memory,
- ‘the other name for tomorrow’.”
(Poem written by Guadalupe Dimas. UARHI means woman and it is also the name of the organization that Guadalupe coordinates.)
Guadalupe Hernández Dimas, or Nana Lu, as her community calls her, is a woman of the riverside. She was born on the banks of the Pátzcuaro lake, in the Michoacán State of Mexico. She is 44 years old and is waiting for a letter of admission from the university. She is interested in studying linguistics, among other things. She is interested in the whole world.
- “(I am)… the indigenous woman who has endured
- many years of abandonment,
- I have existed in the stillness
- of our lakes,
- in the loneliness of our communities,
- in the coldness of our mountains,
- in the sadness of our homes
- When the man leaves,
- I have lived in the joy of our celebrations,
- in the melancholy of the pirekuas
- in the dances of our sounds.”
UARHI, the organization coordinated by Guadalupe, has organized the women who live in the communities located around the lake, encouraging their social development through a number of activities:
- - The development, through the mass media, of forms of communication in their own language; – Special training materials and methodologies to teach the Purépecha people to read and write: 1) Sustainable productive projects; 2) Workshops on women’s abilities, health, culture and the problems faced by the indigenous woman;
- - Investigation and popularization of the language and the culture of its people;
- - Publications with analysis and reflection about the situation of the Purépecha women;
- - Strengthening of local, regional and national initiatives of the indigenous people of Mexico, such as the National Indigenous Project, The March for Land and the commissions that drew up the agreement known as the Agreements of the basis for the introduction of an indigenous law that, up until this day, has been rejected by Parliament;
- - Participation in national and international forums, in order to denounce the situation of indigenous women of Mexico.
- “I am P’urhépecha
- poor in money,
- arrogant in pride,
- brave towards adversity
- calm in misfortune
- rich in courage.”
“In our rural communities, we see the man who rides on a donkey and the indigenous woman walking behind, bearing her child and her instruments. In the cities it is the same: the man goes in front and she goes behind. That is the inequality and if we manage to make men and women learn to walk together, we will already be achieving something”.
Guadalupe has understood their situation and joined in the progress of her people, step by step. She considers herself the heiress of a culture to be proud of, but that she sometimes also criticizes.
“The woman has to be submissive and obedient. She cannot go out. She has to stay home. That is the ideal figure of women in the community. She has to keep quiet. When you start talking, it is a problem because you break with that, and achieving respect and acceptance, must be done very carefully and calmly”.
Guadalupe talks very calmly and thoughtfully. She is not in a hurry. She is aware that the task of overcoming discrimination against the indigenous women is a long process. She receives a lot of affection and respect from people in the community.
They tell her about their tragedies and sorrows. She is always with them, come rain or sun, walking along those narrows paths that snake around the slopes of the craggy mountains. Always talking.
“Language is an element of culture and it is so valuable because it contains the richness of your way of looking at the world. The language is being created and recreated, and it exists to allow you to understand the world. If you lose it, you lose a window to the world.”
With this conviction, Guadalupe Dimas Hernández put together, along with the Institute of Anthropology of the UNAM, the first grammar book, Janhaskapani, in the P’urhépecha language. It marked a new linguistic period for the P’urhépecha people.
As a woman interested in the whole world, she enjoys traveling and learning different languages, such as French, because it is like her own language, she comments. As a girl, Guadalupe dreamed of learning languages, of getting to know other places and having an educated profession. She has achieved almost all of those ambitions. (She could not go to university for obvious reasons related to her situation in life, being an indigenous woman of the mexican countryside.)
“As indigenous people, we suffer from oppression and, as women, we suffer even more,” she says. “We know that we are poor people in this society, and because of that our rights are violated, especially those of equality that are often mentioned in the speeches. When I travel, I see the opportunities that other people have. I see how our young people prepare themselves and then come back to the communities, where there are no opportunities to study or to work. Then, I ask myself: ‘where are all our rights?’ They have not arrived. Where is God in this place?”
To understand and to explain, Guadalupe Hernández Dimas, in December of 2004, published the book ‘The P’urépecha woman – A look from the community’s poverty’. The text is a historical, bibliographical and sociological review of the situation of the indigenous woman. It concludes with her proposal: the indigenous women’s organization, the UARHI. This publication is unprecedented because, usually, the voices of women and men, of the indigenous people in general, are used only as “testimonies” or sources in academic works and other people write the texts.
Guadalupe describes her idea of peace this way: “Peace is harmony between people and villages. It is the coexistence of people that know how to live in a good way. It is as my grandmother used to say, ‘you must have good relationships with people; we need each other; we must offer a hand to each other.’ That is the peace she talked about and I agree.”
Thus, taking into account the voices of her ancestors, and also her knowledge of the world outside her community, Nana Lu builds the path that guides her and other women. They emerge from the beautiful lakeside of the Pátzcuaro and form a portrait of strength and unity. (1000peacewomen).
Cada día, nuestra Constitución proclama la igualdad entre la ciudadanía, igualdad que no es respetada si se trata de personas de comunidades indígenas o mujeres. A lo largo de su vida, Guadalupe Hernández Dimas ha luchado por los derechos y la reivindicación de la mujer indígena y, por el rescate y permanencia de la cultura p’urhépecha. Guadalupe ha entregado su quehacer incansable para abrir un espacio a la mujer en una cultura que da preferencia a los hombres. Y ha ganado su posición por méritos propios, por el estímulo y apoyo que brinda y recibe de muchas mujeres y comunidades del pueblo p’urhépecha. Guadalupe “Nana Lu” es un ejemplo a seguir para todas las mujeres que viven marginadas, abandonadas, menospreciadas, sojuzgadas y hasta abusadas, por ser mujeres, pobres e indígenas … (full text).
… La propuesta fue realizada por el Gobierno del Estado del Estado de Michoacán, por conducto del Instituto Michoacano de la Mujer;
The Trail is Marked by Poisoned Children, Confidential Tests and a Failure to Protect the Public Health;
Social capital and participatory management in the Pátzcuaro basin.