AFEDES goes to Guatemala’s highest court

By Katherine Zavala, Thousand Currents Regional Director for Latin America

Thousand Currents partner AFEDES: Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez will appear at a public hearing in the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City tomorrow, June 28th, at 8:30am (Guatemala time) / 7:30am (San Francisco time). They are demanding their right to collective protection of intellectual property for their Mayan weaving textiles designs and dress wear. The public hearing can be listened live in Spanish here.

UPDATE: You can read media reports covering the trial in EcoWatch, Truthout, and TeleSUR.

“We are the daughters of our grandmothers who will not die, they live in the universe of our weavings…”

Angelina Aspuac from AFEDES was recently interviewed by Indigenous Rights Radio on a radio spot about the case, which you can listen in Spanish here.

The description of the radio program explains what the court case is aiming to achieve:

In Guatemala, the ancient practice of weaving continues with the daily use of Mayan dress wear and production of textiles by indigenous Mayan women. However, its commodification and cultural appropriation by foreign companies are a threat to the culture, because it makes use and and sells these weavings in a decontextualized way, without economically benefitting the creators of this art.

AFEDES initiated a legal process to demand the Guatemalan state to create a legal framework for the recognition of such intellectual property that belongs to indigenous people and especially to recognize the collective and ancestral creativity of indigenous women weavers.

On AFEDES’ Facebook page, they have been doing promotion on this public hearing through photos of weaving and beautiful phrases like the one above and below.

“We hung on through the art of our hands…”

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