Mexico takes first step to protect art from indigenous communities

The Senate of the Republic is preparing a bill to prevent the plagiarism of designs of the indigenous communities of Mexico, by national and international companies, announced Ricardo Monreal Ávila, president of the Political Coordination Board (Jucopo).

The legislator said that for the first time in the country there will be a law that protects the art, imagination and creativity of indigenous people, “so that they never have their designs stolen again and those who want to copy them will have to pay for them once they register at the National Institute of Industrial Property, in trademarks and patents.”

In the Forum “Protect the Collective Right of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples and Communities”, noted that there are European, North American, even national brands that not only plagiarize, but steal designs from Oaxaca, Michoacán, State of Mexico or Chiapas, among others state.

“And then they patent them and they own the brand of cultures, that can not happen anymore,” said Monreal Ávila, who said that if possible, the issue will be addressed in the extraordinary period of sessions to be held on June 18, 19 and 20.

In turn, the president of the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), Luis Raúl González Pérez, said that it is necessary to advance towards the justiciability of the collective right of the indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples, as well as respecting the promotion, protection, and defense of their cultural heritage.

He added that when it is violated “there is an unfair and ominous practice that has put in serious risk the knowledge and processes of ancestral cultural creation, besides weakening local economies, community self-sustainability and the preservation of their culture”.

He stressed that the richness of the artistic creations and cultural expressions of indigenous peoples and communities are a source of admiration and recognition both in Mexico and abroad, “but also an object of desire and ambition on the part of people and organizations that have sought to appropriate or benefit of that cultural heritage. ”

Therefore, he added, it is a priority to place this issue on the national public agenda, which implies the violation of the collective and individual rights of indigenous peoples, Afro-Mexicans and comparable communities.

About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.