As COVD-19 swept through the United States, we became acutely aware that public and nonprofit aid programs were leaving undocumented Indigenous communities behind. In response to this, we created a fund to provide cash aid to undocumented Indigenous communities in Los Angeles. Throughout the process of distributing these funds, we were able to hear and document the stories of the individuals in these communities. As we listened to the stories, a theme began to emerge: women, particularly single mothers, are consistently marginalized and unsupported.
Diža' No'ole was created in response to these stories. The book features twenty-one undocumented Indigenous women, from Mexico and Guatemala (Zapotecas, from the Sierra Norte, the Valley of Oaxaca, and Veracruz, Mixes and Chinantecas from the Sierra Norte, Kʼiche, Mams, and Qʼanjobʼal), all of whom maintain close ties to their heritage through their ancestral languages—these women are part of the many generations who have kept their languages alive despite hundreds of years of suppression and erasure.
In each portrait, the women wear hand embroidered clothing from their pueblo, each garment a connection to their community, family, and friends. The imagery and colors used in their garments are not simply aesthetic; they are based on the lived experience and history of each pueblo. The textiles also have a historical context; many of the fabrics used to make traditional clothing were demanded as tribute by the Spanish. To this day, Indigenous communities continue their struggle over ownership of these textiles. Traditional designs are often appropriated and mass produced without the community’s consent, and the intellectual property rights of these designs are still in dispute.
Diža' No'ole will be released on February 12, 2021 and is currently available for pre-order for $45 via mycielo.org. All proceeds will go to the women featured in the book. The book was created and published by CIELO in collaboration with visual artist June Canedo de Souza. Diža' No'ole was printed by Small Editions NY.
Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO) is an indigenous woman led organization based in Los Angeles providing support to Indigenous migrant communities throughout the United States. The organization was founded by Odilia Romero and Janet Martiniez, both Zaptotec, as a way to uplift indigenous communities and create visibility around their existence in the United States. In April of this year, they launched the undocu-Indigenous fund to combat the effects of COVID-19 on Indigenous peoples and have since placed over half a million dollars in the hands of fifteen different communities. CIELO has also done important work in indigenous language revitalization and cultural awareness training throughout Los Angeles.
First edition of 1200
Designed by Rin Kim
Printed by Small Editions
Published in 2020
available for purchase here