The Mexican Indigenous Governor Don Hipolito Arriaga Pote is at his core a Social Fighter. Arriaga Pote has championed trials and other legal procedures to protect lands that belong to the indigenous Mexican people. Historically, they have owned those lands since ancestral times.
To date, they have already won six resolutions in States such as Guerrero, Morelos, Guanajuato, Hidalgo and the State of Mexico.
Arriaga Pote has come a long way since the times he started to fight for the rights of the people who traditionally have been exploited and abandoned to poverty by their own government and society.
Established on July 23, 2014, by a consensus among Indigenous Supreme Leaders, each one from a different state of the Mexican Republic, the National Indigenous Governership falls on Mr. Hipólito Arriaga Pote, belonging to the original Otomi people, is appointed with the position of the National Indigenous Governor.
Governor. Hipólito Arriaga Pote says:
“Since 1857 it is written in the Constitution that the indigenous have several rights, the National Indigenous Government was born based on the Constitution and the requirement that the rights of us indigenous people be fulfilled. Rights that were not exercised or implemented because the Indians were well, disunited, today we are more organized “
“We began in 2013 asking the indigenous brothers to start working together organizing themselves, yet it was not an easy task, the indigenous communities are made up from 68 different languages and traditionally they are resistant to ideas that differ from their own ancestral ways. Yet at the end of 2014, a meeting was held in Mexico City and it was agreed and established that they needed a central representative so a new governor would represent all the indigenous communities at the national level and from there the governorship was created. A great responsibility because we must assert the rights of all 36 million members.
After that point, many other battles have been fought and won, one of the more recent with the INE Instituto Nacional Electoral (the institute that regulates elections in Mexico).
When Governor Hipolito and another member of the National Elder council Local Governor Matasoria approached the Institute, they were preyed upon, mocked and considered disqualified by government officials.
This significant difference of opinion ended in an awkward situation for the director of the institute, who had to apologize publicly after a phone call recording was publicly leaked.
The announcement was made that the indigenous peoples of the country would place their total confidence in Mexico’s duly elected president, López Obrador. And It was planned that Hipólito Arriaga, on a given day at 6:00 AM would hand over leadership of the indigenous peoples to the new president of Mexico.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador received the presidential band, and also the original peoples gave him the Command Staff, which symbolizes the power and hierarchy of the leaders. He was the first president to receive it.
On Saturday afternoon in the Plaza de la Constitución, the president-elect had in his hands the recognition of the indigenous groups of the country, which means a moral endorsement of the original population of Mexico.
The Staff of Command is a symbol of respect for the acceptance of the position and represents the good government of the peoples and for the peoples, and in the indigenous tradition, it is delivered in the first minute of the new day in which the authority begins to exercise its position.
What is the National Indigenous Government now doing?
“The people and the institutions previously did not fully execute what is written in the Constitution, they were governed by their norms of traditional customs, today we are executing it, we are asking for what is written by right, positions of popular election, representation of the indigenous peoples from aldermen to senators.
Although a decree was already published for the purpose of Mexico’s indigenous people, there are still complications interfering with the indigenous people’s participation in these activities and we are working to enforce the rights and generate better conditions for our indigenous brothers.”
It is worth mentioning that the organization of National Indigenous People is made up of state organizations from each one of the federal entities of the country represented by an Indigenous State Governor. However, in addition to the national representative figure that falls to the National Indigenous Governor, there is a Council of Elders, made up of supreme heads of different peoples, who are the final maximum authority within the Governorship.
Governor Hipólito Arriaga Pote declared:
“The organization is recognized and legitimized. The controversy now is the constitutional violations to which the governor has objected. We arrived at the Supreme Court of Justice and they legitimized me as national governor. We also arrived at the Electoral Court of the Judicial Power and we were also given the same legitimacy, however, there are omissions on the part of the authorities that we aim to correct.”
“It does matter to the state and municipal governments that there is an indigenous government and that we demand the rights of the indigenous people, ensuring that the resources actually reach the indigenous projects and communities.”
The National Indigenous Governor extends the invitation to society in general, to academics, the intellectual community, students to “collaborate with the governor and help make a better Mexico.”
“What we want is to help the country, to have political equality, to have a voice in the town halls, the Congress of the union, and in the Senate of the republic. We do not wish to divide the country. What we want is that the Mexican government recognize our traditions, procedures, customs, our governors and work with us to improve Mexico.”
Since 2018 a group of private investors and entrepreneurs have been working with the Indigenous Governor providing international investment and business opportunities.
The China Association of Trade in Services (known as CATIS) is a corporation that has signed industrial and agricultural deals recognizing Mexico’s Indigenous People’s business potential. Housing manufacturing deals are coming to fruition with several building associations most notably US-based Habitat for humanity.
Additionally, the UN has recognized the indigenous governor by inviting him to the United Nations so that his voice may be heard internationally by its members. He sent the following message in a video:
Good morning my name is Hipólito Ariaga Pote in my capacity as National Indigenous Governor resident in the Mexican nation, I would like to thank the President of the OCCAM Mr. Pierre Paolo Zaporito for his kind invitation to participate in this great event and to Gloria Starr Kins for the great work and dedication in the organization and logistics of today.
I regret not being able to accompany you physically, but be sure that I do so in spirit.
The Indigenous Governor sent Mr. Armando Gómez and Mr. Luis Galvis to represent him at the United Nations. With attentive respect, we ask you to listen to our voice, a simple message that we believe deeply.
Let’s not look for the separation of the individuals but the union of the ideas trying to join them. We agree that our needs are many. Yet we do not ask for anything that is not equivalent to what our nations have already given to the world. We merely ask for respect – dignity – we have always had.
Our contributions to the modern world from the ends of time are known internationally. We want to send a message of peace to all our brothers and world leaders with the hope that, based on mutual respect and recognition, we will be able to establish a healthy and productive relationship with all nations based on the principles of the United Nations Magna Carta respecting always our traditions and customs.
Hundreds of years of history unite nations and indigenous peoples, hundreds more have joined since the first contact with European nations. It has been a long and sometimes hard road but we have walked together. Now we ask you to look to the future with us to prosper, not unilaterally but together in unison. Thank you.
Big challenges are still on the horizon both from abroad and from inside the Mexican political and social structure, yet Governor Hipolito seems optimistic about the future.
Governor Hipólito Arriaga Pote knows this is an endeavor that will take time, yet feels that since they have already waited hundreds of years and learned patience from that long wait, the big awakening day of the Mexican indigenous is coming and they know the sun will rise with it.
Hipolito Arriaga Pote would later attend the International Indigenous People’s Day at the United Nations, celebrated on August 9 where he followed protocol, raised his hand, and was then asked to address the Assembly.