Understanding the Diversity of Indigenous Migrants in the US, a Cultural Sensitivity Conference in LA

October 11, 2010 at

Frequent miscommunication between service providers in the United States and indigenous migrants often lead to unfortunate situations in which the civil rights of indigenous people are violated. For this reason, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB) and the Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (CBDIO) are hosting a Cultural Sensitivity Awareness Conference, taking place on October 12, 2010.

The conference “Indigenous Migration to Oaxacalifornia: Historical Perspectives and Social Activism,” seeks to respond to the urgency of awareness and cultural sensitivity training for law enforcement, public defenders, educators, social and health providers who deal with indigenous migrant communities on an everyday basis, as well as to the general public interested in learning more about indigenous cultures.

A current example is the case of Cirila Baltazar Cruz, an indigenous Chatina from Oaxaca, Mexico, who gave birth to a baby girl at a hospital in Mississippi in 2008. Her child was taken away and given up in adoption to two Gulf Coast lawyers based on allegations provided by a hospital employee who provided the translation. Ms. Baltazar speaks neither English nor is she fluent in Spanish, and therefore was not able to understand the interpretation provided by the employee whose Puerto Rican dialect likely added to the miscommunication.

Baltazar was accused of child neglect and risking the life of a child by not speaking English and living under precarious conditions and of being an undocumented immigrant.

Last year, Cirila reunited with her baby and went back to Mexico. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the family. The suit charges that the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), two of its employees and an employee of Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Miss., conspired to take Cirila’s baby and that the MDHS failed to properly investigate the false allegations made against her.

On September 5, 2010, in Los Angeles, Manuel Jamines Chux, a Mayan-Quiché immigrant from Guatemala lost his life after a police officer from the LAPD shot him when the former allegedly waved a knife to the officers. This tragic incident has caused confrontations between the community and the LAPD, urging both sides to work on a program to communicate and understand the diversity of the indigenous immigrant cultures.
Speakers will include Dr. Gaspar Rivera Salgado (Mixtec) and Dr. Maylei Blackwell (Cherokee).
Cultural Sensitivity Conference
October 12, 2010, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
At the First Unitarian Church
2936 W. 8th Street. Los Angeles, CA, 90006.

For more information call (213) 447-62 48 or (213) 251 84 81.

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