Indigenous poet wins Literature Award

The Tlapanec poet writes about the situation of women in Guerrero and the social struggles of indigenous peoples

Hubert Martínez wins Indigenous Literature Award
Taken from Twitter/María Cristina García Cepeda
English 04/12/2017 15:28 Newsroom & Agencies Actualizada 14:53
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Hubert Martínez is a Tlapanec poet who has recently won the 2017 Americas Indigenous Literature Award for Las sombrereras de Tsítsídiin, a book comprised by 50 poems yet written as a single narration told from several points of view.

“It's just a poem but with different pieces; with characters who tell a single story,” Martínez said about his work, which talks about the human trafficking of indigenous women.

“This book talks about the situation of women because indigenous peoples are the most vulnerable to the criminal networks of the country and women are the first to be assaulted, sexually too, and this is a very complex issue because there is an entire structure of violence,” he explained.

Martínez, who writes his poetry in Me'phaa to give a voice, eyes, and face to his people, comes from a remote town located in the Mountain of Guerrero: Zilacayota.

In Zilacayota, endurance is a keyword for survival. There are no roads, health services, drinking water or decent schools. It's a place where people still die of a scorpion sting or diarrhea. It's a place where sexism, alcoholism, poverty, and hunger have taken root and where injustice prevails as military men rape women, as mining companies endeavor to become the owners of the woods and the gold and silver beneath them, and where drug traffickers seek to grow poppy fields.

Hubert isn't blind to all this. He knows things must have a name otherwise they don't exist. He knows it's vital to keep his native tongue (Mè Phaa) alive because it's the identity of his people and he has found in poetry the tool to talk about the violence caused by drug trafficking, by having different political ideas.

“Girls are picked up, deceived with promises of work and a decent life but in the only encounter violence, abuse, prostitution, and death in the main cities and ports of the country,” Martínez said upon receiving his statuette.

Photo: Ulises Ruiz/EFE.

The Americas Indigenous Literature Award (equivalent to MXN$300,000; USD$16,094; and € $13,600) was created in order to “enrich, preserve, and spread the legacy and wealth of the native peoples.”


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