Conejo Makes History
Yesterday, we told you why SATIIM said that the Maya village of Conejo Creek made history as the first Maya land rights appellant ready to submit a complete map for the land titling process. In 2007, Conejo, along with co-appellant Santa Cruz, was the first Maya village to win legal recognition of customary property rights from the now-established High Court of Belize. Last week’s signing of its boundary agreement with Santa Teresa makes Conejo the second Maya village to complete its auto-delimitation. The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) provided technical assistance to both the Crique Sarco and Conejo communities through a participatory mapping method. SATIIM Executive Director Maya Ch’oc spoke to Love News.
Mayta Ch’oc, SATIIM Executive Director: “Is the role that the women played in this whole process. They were actually the field technicians who accompanied their leaders, they went through the most difficult terrain that you can think about climbing huge hills, going through the swamps and they were able to take on that challenge and you know since we’re in Women’s Month it’s really important that we highlight the role that these women play in achieving this huge milestone for their community. It was not an easy process. As with everywhere there are challenges that can arise but it made it much easier to go through. There was a lot of consultation that had to take place because every step of the way there is a duty of the leaders and those who have been collecting the data to go back to the community and share information that they have gathered and if there is any kind of issue that they have with their neighbours then they have to present that issue to their community and collectively they decide how they’re going to deal with the issue at hand. And so it has been a very lengthy process. It did not happen in a year it happened more than that and for that reason it’s a big deal for us and it’s really a happy day for the community to have been able to complete the mapping process.”