International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Role of Grassroots Organizations in the Promotion of Sustainable Indigenous Communities in Mexico
Marina A. Adler

Mexican grassroots organizations increasingly reject the traditional “sustainable development” and “community capacity building” approaches in favor of alternative livelihood models based on indigenous community autonomy. These alternative models promote indigenous community control over land use, encourage the retention of cultural values and ethnic identity, and define project objectives in terms of local conditions and needs. This research examines the organizational characteristics, missions and strategies of six local grassroots projects in Oaxaca, Mexico through the documentary evidence and interviews with key stake holders. To what extent do these organizations adhere to the “community capacity building” model or embrace the new alternative model? The findings suggest that 5 of the 6 grassroots organizations articulate the new alternative model to a significant degree in their documents and interviews. Two of the organizations are framing their missions and activities completely as restoring indigenous communities and one organization still remains in the capacity building mode.

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