Mexico’s government, with the help of non-governmental organizations (NGO), have been actively trying to reach ethnic groups and meet their needs. Unfortunately, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), indigenous peoples are the population with the highest risk of early deaths. Indigenous women have the highest levels of illiteracy. Fifteen out of every 100 workers are unpaid. Two out of ten children who speak in their native tongue do not know how to read or write.
Mexico has a population of more than 130 million people, and 6.5 percent of this population speak an indigenous language or dialect. There are a total of 62 ethnic groups in Mexico and approximately 68 different dialects.
Two different groups saw the need to reach the many indigenous groups in the country. On one side, a rare union of educated indigenous citizens was formed, and on the other, mostly Christian NGOs. It’s important to recognize that the union of educated ethnic citizens did not associate with Christian NGOs.
In 1929, President Plutarco Calles decided to reshape Mexico’s belief system by adopting a more socialist governmental structure. During this time, President Calles led a series of Christian leader executions.
Many indigenous leaders still hold a very secular and anti-clerical attitude. However, Mexico’s government fund, dedicated to helping indigenous groups, used Christian NGOs to reach these communities.
Today, many indigenous communities still lack health facilities, education, sexual education, fair jobs, and they have to endure rampant racism. While NGOs dedicated to helping these communities have increase in number, a gap still exists between indigenous communities.
To successfully connect religious associations with intellectual indigenous leaders, there must be better understanding and respect for indigenous cultures and religious backgrounds. The people in these communities strongly value their traditions and religious celebrations. If Christian NGOs do not respect that and try to force religion through social service, the communities will lose their desire to be involved with the associations.
Encourage community leaders to get involved in the planning of local projects to give NGOs a better perspective on their needs.
There has to be better media coverage for these communities to reach a broader audience. Through different media platforms, associations will be able to constantly educate their audience on the community’s needs, events and accomplishments. This will not only help educate Mexican citizens, but will also familiarize them with ethnic groups.
The use of social media could be a changing factor in racism in Mexico. If more indigenous individuals are portrayed as going against the already existing stereotypes, it will help diminish racism that has been carried out for ages. The problem today is that ethnic groups are portrayed as incompetent in many of the medias.
Mexico is a very diverse and culturally rich country, and it is important to help bring awareness of the indigenous groups in Mexico. This will greatly benefit the ethnic communities and will help soften the relationship between ethnic tribes and evangelicals.