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Bush School Capstone Project brings Oaxacan Indigenous artisan shoemakers to College Station

The group from Oaxaca, Mexico has put their talents on display through a capstone project at Texas A&M University and hope to inspire other women as well.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service, the International Artisan market and Cultural Exchange Capstone, and a number of other partners alongside DAVA Artisan Design hosted one of many product showcases from a group of indigenous women artisans from Oaxaca, Mexico on Wednesday, March 22.

Leader of the Bush School Capstone Project and second year graduate student, Jaclyn McJunkin explained what the project was about. 

“This year we partnered with DAVA artisan design who are a group of Zapotec indigenous artisan shoemakers out of San Dionisio, Ocotepec, in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the idea with the Global Engagement grant is to transform poverty to prosperity by capitalizing on social innovation and social entrepreneurship," she said. "So indigenous individuals with these talents can partner with us and we can bridge the market between the United States and Mexico.”

Through this project, the Garcia family has been given a platform to bring awareness to their craft and culture.

“We are an operation of more than 150 women. We are artisans that use natural textiles, dyes and fabrics and we have been doing this for a while," said DAVA Artisan and Zapotec native, Sarahi Garcia. "One important part is that in every piece we make sure we can include and preserve the Zapotec way of life, traditions and culture.”

These women have also worked to create an opportunity for other women to gain economic independence in their communities.

"We try to economically support women because in our state and town there isn't a lot of work, especially for women, so we all help each other out,” said Clara Garcia, another DAVA artisan and Zapotec resident. 

Above all, they want other women to know they have the potential to make a difference in their own lives.  

“If someone says you can’t do it, then you should get away from them," said Sarahi. "I think we as indigenous women are an example in our community because if we can then more women in our comminutes will get inspired to do the work so if you are watching and think you can we are an example of perseverance.”

Clara concluded by saying, “I invite all the women and girls to take a step forward.”

Click here to see a list of dates, times, and locations where you can find the group's works.

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