Mexican documentary depicts lives of indigenous corn farmers

Photo/Sunú: A screenshot of Sunú, a documentary directed and produced by Teresa Camou Guerrero that gives viewers a perspective into the lives of indigenous corn producers in Northwestern Mexico.
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A documentary based on the lives of indigenous corn farmers in Northwest Mexico will be screened at the Garcia Center for the Arts on March 11.

Sunú, produced and directed by Teresa Camou Guerrero, gives viewers a perspective into the lives of maize producers that are threatened by urban sprawl and who view corn production as a way of life.

The word Sunú is used by Rarámuri (or Tarahumara) native tribe members to describe corn production, according to Guerrero. The prestigious director expressed her concerns with the growing threat of urbanization and the lack of support the Rarámuri receive from the Mexican government.

“For me the threat they face is not with the problems of climate, or lack of motivation to continue planting, but in the lack of recognition on the part of the government and of the citizens of urban areas for the need of economic support,” she said in a director’s statement. “I wanted to create a documentary that speaks about the state of the growers of maize by the indigenous, the peasant temporalero and the industrial producer.”

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Mexican historians claim the Rarámuri are inhabitants of the country’s high sierras and canyons in the north west. They were originally from the state of Chihuahua; conflicts with Spanish conquerors of Uto-Aztecan land forced them to retreat and re-settle elsewhere.

An estimated 60,000 Rarámuri natives currently live in Mexico. Most Rarámuri still practice traditional culture–living in caves or cliff overhangs, and small cabins of wood or stone.

Dr. Ernie Garcia, the founder and operator of the Garcia Center for the Arts, said Sunú’s screening at the center may give Mexican-Americans (Chicanos) a broader perspective of their culture.

“I’m excited,” he said. “This film has been well received all over the world.”

The screening will be on Saturday March 11 at 2:30 PM at the Garcia Center for the Arts , located at 536 W. 11th Street (Corner of 11th and ‘E’ Streets). For more information, contact Dr. Ernie Garcia at 909-862 3668.

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