Dia De Los Muertos: A Celebration Of Life

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By: Miguel Hernandez

On October 28, the Mixteco Indigenous Project (MICOP) presented a Dia de Los Muertos event at Oxnard College. This was the first Dia de Los Muertos celebration that MICOP hosted since 2019. The event was a celebration and tribute to life and consisted of music from Ópera Mixe, an ensemble formed by María Reyna and Joaquín Garzón, and traditional dances from the Nueva Antequera Folkloric Ballet. The event focused on raising awareness and preserving the indigenous culture surrounding Dia de Los Muertos.

MICOP programs such as Radio Indígena, Voz de la Mujer Indígena, and Curando a la Comunidad displayed altars honoring the lives of migrants who crossed the border and the lives lost due to domestic violence.

The coordinator of the Living with Love program, Noemí Tungüí, shared how the importance of her altar was behind “Giving space and dedication to all the victims who have lost their lives between couples,” and added that she felt the presence of the souls in a monarch butterfly flying through the air.

Community vendors also had the opportunity to sell their art, which consisted of cultural fabrics, crafts, and cultural jewelry. Among the sellers was Celia Méndez, who commented:

“It is very important that we continue to preserve our culture and our language. And more than anything for us Mixtecs, the Day of the Dead is something very, very important because it is something that my grandmother, my mother, has done to us, and it is something that I am instilling in my daughters.”

Also present was Benita Martínez Sosa, an artisan weaver of sarapes on a pedal loom, who mentioned how important it is to preserve indigenous crafts and culture and added: “I am proud to be here.”

Jennifer Ruiz, a community member, continued to share how she felt represented at the event and said: “It was beautiful to hear our indigenous languages ​​sung and represented in this beautiful cultural event.”

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