|Tarahumaran women in the|
Once in a while, medical missions make their way up the craggy paths and provide basic care--vaccines for children, prenatal controls, setting bones, treating infections. But most of these communities have, at best, minimal involvement with the modern world.
I've never been there, never seen these people. I, and most Mexicans, know about them because of protests on their behalf.
Some groups protest that the government has forgotten these communities, that they've made no effort to bring water and electricity to their remoteness, that they've let the children grow wild, outside the framework of modern education (and the Catholic church, of course). These people clamor for immediate "integration"--these indigenous communities must be brought into the twenty-first century without delay. Medical care, primers, Coke and TV.
Which is progress, then? Our modern standards, or the previous ones? Somewhere in between, no doubt. But for these communities up in the Sierra (and for many others in similar situations around the globe), the question is a pressing one. How much is too much? Do they need to copy us, or do we need to copy them?
P.S.--I'm a guest over at Deb O'Neille's blog, Writing Against The Wind, talking about critique vs. cheerleading. Drop by and join the conversation!