The Importance of Protecting Indigenous Land

By Jon Sievert

Susan Goldman discusses the need to protect indigenous, or ejido, land from the ravages of the extractive energy industries that contribute to climate change at this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service.

UU Service
By Susan Goldman
Sun, May 24, 10:30am
La Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15

In 1934, President Lázaro Cárdenas introduced the ejido system as an important component of agrarian land reform in Mexico. It established areas of communal land used for agriculture, on which landless community members individually possess and farm a specific parcel. Ejidatarios do not actually own the land, but they are allowed to use their allotted parcels indefinitely as long as they do not fail to use the land for more than two years. They can even pass their rights on to their children.

Over time, political pressures and international trade agreements have eliminated the constitutional right to ejidos, though existing ejidos were not disbanded and much of Mexico’s rural land is still part of the system. But because much of this land harbors gas, oil, and other products of the mining industries, the political pressure to allow corporations to exploit and extract those assets is growing. Goldman will share her personal experiences with local campesino families, their spiritual connection to their land, and the devastating impact the loss of control would have on their lives.

Goldman holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin and worked in women’s health care in one of the United States’ first sexual assault treatment centers in Milwaukee. She moved to Seattle in 1981, where she spent the next 25 years working in mental health in outpatient, inpatient, and in-home settings with people who lived on the margins economically. She and her husband Jim moved to San Miguel as full-time residents in 2007.

The UU Fellowship meets every Sunday at 10:30am at La Posada de la Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15 and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Visitors are invited to attend the service and then join the UUs for coffee and snacks afterwards. The room is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website at


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