Migration and Putlecan Identity

1919 Words4 Pages

Migration: Its’ Causes and Effects within a Mexican Sub-Culture

“Migration uproots people from their families and their communities and from their conventional ways of understanding the world. They enter a new terrain filled with new people, new images, new lifeways, and new experiences. They return … and act as agents of change.” (Grimes 1998: 66)

The migration experience is one that has deeply altered and affected the lives of many peoples, including Mexicans and specifically Putlecans. Some say that the vast numbers of these people who decide to migrate is a new phenomenon. But there is actually a rich and complex history to it that goes back as far as the 1600s. This paper discusses the causes that stimulated migration to and from the Putla region, and the effects these migration patterns had on the identity of the Putlecan people.

Only half a century ago, in 1940 a majority of the Putlecan people were not content with the way their lives were being run, and were seeking solutions to their problems. Under President Porfirio Diaz the Putlecan people were offered a dramatic solution: the Bracero Program. The Bracero Program gave workers a new opportunity: migration. By migrating into either Mexico City or even the north, the United States, they hoped to find a more prosperous means of living. The program offered to thousands of Mexican workers the chance to work farms in the United States and get paid good wages. Unfortunately, it had its failings. As rewarding as the program may have seemed, it turned out to be anything other than what these people had hoped for. “Some did manage to save enough to build a home, but most had their illusions crushed by the hard work and the meager salaries paid. (Grimes 1998: 40-41)” Basically, the program was a way for the American employers to exploit Mexican workers and pay them little, so that they would wind up with the benefits instead of the workers. The program ended in 1964. This represented the first major wave of Putlecan migration of the 20th century.

So what is Putla? Where is it? You could say it’s in the state of Oaxaca, in the Mixtec region, in the subregion of Mixteca de la Costa, on the pre-Hispanic and colonial north and south trade routes, or in the Valley of Putla where Mixteca Alta, Mixteca Baja, and Mixteca de la Costa meet. This region has a rich history of triumphs and losses, which helped sculpt what it is today.

More about Migration and Putlecan Identity

Open Document