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119 Chapter5 PatronSaintFiestaVideos MEDIATIZATION AND TRANSNATIONALIZATION BETWEEN THE SIERRA MIXE AND CALIFORNIA IngridKummels The fiesta in honor of Santa Rosa de Lima is a central public spectacle that takes place annually in the village of Tamazulapam in the highlands of the Distrito Mixe in Mexico.1 The fiesta I witnessed in August 2013 was a veritable multimedia event. Two local enterprises—the internet provider (ciber) Tuuk Nëëm and the internet radio station Yin Et Radio—broadcast livestream video from the village’s main plaza between the municipal building and the church. For the first time, migrants from Tamazulapam, who have largely settled in the city of Oaxaca, in Mexico City, in northern Mexican cities such as Guanajuato, and in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Milwaukee, were able to follow the festivities live. Tama’s main plaza is the venue for an annual competition between the local philharmonic band and those from other villages in the region. Two other local radio stations, La T Grande Tamazulapam and Radio Jënpoj from the neighboring village of Tlahuitoltepec, both competing for local listeners, also broadcast the fiesta with commentaries in Ayuujk and Spanish. Several local videoastas (videographers) who have specialized in videotaping the fiesta, including members of Video Rojas and Video Mecho, filmed the celebrations systematically for long hours during the five main festival days. They captured scenes they considered of interest to the village’s satellite communities in the United States and focused on traditional elements such as the danza de la Malinche and the chickens’ blood offering, or costumbre, that took place prior to the vast castillo (castle) fireworks.2 This religious ceremony, hitherto performed discreetly, was caught extensively on camera for the first time in a fiesta video. 120 INGRID KUMMELS The distinctly modern aspect of the celebrations was likewise documented , including the Copa Mixe tournament, in which approximately eighty basketball teams from across the entire Mixe region took part, all of them in stylish sports tricots on the refurbished basketball courts. The winning teams were presented with valuable silver-plated trophies reminiscent of those at the national championships and partly sponsored by Tama migrants in the United States. On each of the festival days, the videographers edited their films overnight and were able the next morning to offer the residents and numerous visitors a DVD of events from the previous day as a brand-new product. Once the Santa Rosa fiesta and the band farewells (despedida de bandas) were over, they sent the ten-part DVD series to their migrant clientele in the United States through the local delivery service at the Trébol pharmacy. The primary focus of this chapter is the novel use of video in the Ayuujk villages of the Sierra Mixe region in the state of Oaxaca.3 Video is not employed exclusively as a purely community-based mode of production with explicit political messages. Like other ethnic minorities around the globe, Mexico’s indigenous peoples, including the Ayuujk ja’ay, began to pursue their own local media projects in the 1990s as a method of overcoming their discrimination in the area of political participation and access to the national public sphere. Indigenous movements throughout Mexico sought, in addition to full citizen rights, to assert their cultural rights as pueblos originarios (first Figure 5.1. Genoveva Pérez Rosas of Video Tamix at work during Tama’s Santa Rosa de Lima fiesta in August 2015. Photograph by Ingrid Kummels. 121 PATRON SAINT FIESTA VIDEOS peoples) in a Mexican state that had been redefined constitutionally as multicultural . When the Zapatista National Liberation Army (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or EZLN) emerged in Chiapas in 1994, it became the movement with the greatest international visibility and impact. Along with these political efforts, indigenous people from several regions began to train as film directors, camera operators, and sound engineers, and to make (analog) video documentaries, which they then disseminated in solidarity groups and NGOs, and presented at international festivals. One of their primary objectives was to decolonize the standard portrayal of indigenous people as exotic Others and as passive subalterns by replacing these images with self-determined representations. The media movement became known as video indígena,4 and it gave indigenous people a face as political actors, while the use of audiovisual means provided a sounding board for their political messages, which were now beginning to reach Mexico’s national public sphere. In response to these developments, the government granted the country’s indigenous populations...


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