The Migration Experience as It Relates to Cargo Participation in San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca

Silvia Ventura Luna

Resumen

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the ongoing effects of migration on municipal governance and community organization in the Mixtec town of San Miguel Cuevas in Oaxaca, Mexico. Legally constituted as a self governing indigenous municipality, Cuevas has recently been reconstituted as a transnational community whose citizens now reside mainly in Cuevas and Fresno, California. Increased circular and permanent migration to the United States since the late 1980s and the customary law (usos y costumbres) enforced in the community, situates its migrants in a complex array of familial and community obligations that require fulfilling civic and ceremonial obligations (cargos) in order - to maintain one’s citizenship and residence in Cuevas and to have access to its communally owned lands and other resources.

 

La experiencia migratoria en relación con la participación en cargos en San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca


Resumen


Este artículo ofrece un recuento de los continuos efectos de la migración sobre el gobierno municipal y la organización de una comunidad mixteca: San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca, México. Legalmente constituida como un autogobierno municipal indígena, en décadas recientes, Cuevas ha sido reconstituida como una comunidad transnacional, cuyos ciudadanos radican principalmente en ella y en Fresno, California. La creciente circularidad y permanente migración de Cuevas a Estados Unidos desde finales de los ochenta, así como los usos y costumbres impuestos por la vida comunitaria en Cuevas, pone a sus varones migrantes en una situación complicada para cumplir sus obligaciones familiares y comunitarias –cívicas y ceremoniales (cargos)–, que se requieren para mantener su ciudadanía y residencia en Cuevas y tener acceso a tierras comunales y otros recursos.

Keywords: migration; Mixtec; customary law; cargo system; San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca



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Interviews28

Bautista, Flavio; Gutiérrez, Jesús; Domínguez Santos, Rufino.

Date of receipt: August 18, 2008.

Date of acceptance: February 3, 2009.

All interviews were conducted by the author in Fresno, California, in 2007.



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