Diža’ No’ole is offered as a testament to the courage and strength of undocumented Indigenous women.
As COVID-19 swept through the United States, we became acutely aware that public and nonprofit aid programs were leaving undocumented Indigenous communities behind. In response to this, we created a fund to provide cash aid to undocumented Indigenous communities in Los Angeles. Throughout the process of distributing these funds, we were able to hear and document the stories of the individuals in these communities. As we listened to the stories, a theme began to emerge: women, particularly single mothers, are consistently marginalized and unsupported.
Diža’ No’ole was created in response to these stories. The book features twenty-one undocumented Indigenous women, from Mexico and Guatemala (Zapotecas, from the Sierra Norte, the Valley of Oaxaca, and Veracruz, Mixes and Chinantecas from the Sierra Norte, Kʼiche, Mams, and Qʼanjobʼal), all of whom maintain close ties to their heritage through their ancestral languages—these women are part of the many generations who have kept their languages alive despite hundreds of years of suppression and erasure.
In each portrait, the women wear hand-embroidered clothing from their pueblo, each garment a connection to their community, family, and friends. The imagery and colors used in their garments are not simply aesthetic; they are based on the lived experience and history of each pueblo. The textiles also have a historical context; many of the fabrics used to make traditional clothing were demanded as tribute by the Spanish. To this day, Indigenous communities continue their struggle over ownership of these textiles. Traditional designs are often appropriated and mass-produced without the community’s consent, and the intellectual property rights of these designs are still in dispute.
Release date February 12