Meet Tania Eulalia Martínez, the First Indigenous Mexican Woman Fulbright Scholar

"Before Tania Eulalia Martínez left Mexico to pursue a doctorate in Holland, her abuelita (grandmother) had one request: 'Take this shawl with you. I want you to tell those who live over there, in that other world, who we are, how we live, and what we do.'" 

This is what traditional textiles mean to indigenous people in Mexico's Mixteca region, and all over the country. They represent who they are.  

"Aubuelita Eulalia became a mother at 14 and didn’t have the opportunity to receive an education. But Tania credits her always hard working grandmother for passing on her wisdom and shaping her worldview. Without her abuelita, Tania wouldn’t be the person she is today. It’s her grandmother who taught her that life comes full circle. “She said that when you’re born, your ombliguito (umbilical cord) must be buried in your home’s yard, because that’s where you belong,” Tania said. “And where you have to return one day to end the cycle of your life.” From Eulalia, Tania learned to cultivate the land and the importance corn has in her community" 

Tania overcame tremendous odds from her start in Oaxaca to earn the right to be a Fulbright scholar in the US, and now to pursue her doctoral degree in the Netherlands. "Motivated by the nostalgia for my land," she is a trained engineer studying the social sciences, with the goal of helping agricultural projects in her country reach the marginalized in her community and others like it. 

Hear her tell her story (in Spanish) - told while wearing the same rebozo, and quoting her abuelita in her native Mixe, on Remezcla and below:

January 26, 2017 by Megan Reilly Cayten