San Mateo del Mar is an indigenous Ikoots community in the state of Oaxaca, located in a semidesert area facing the Pacific Ocean. The community’s economy is based on fishing, and because women have historically been excluded from this activity, they have dedicated themselves to cooking, developing great skill in making the most of the local catch. The community’s women, however, are not just cooks. They represent an example of resistance against the changing food habits that can be seen in other nearby indigenous communities, who are eating increasingly more meat, and against the colonization of tastes underway since the 16th century. The Ikoots women are discerning connoisseurs of the territory in which they live, gathering materials from the savannah, the lagoon shore and along the ocean. They choose the most efficient firewood to burn in the mud ovens they build themselves; they grow cotton, beans, corn, squash, sesame, chili and all kinds of herbs; they breed farmyard animals and pigs on a small scale; and they also sell the fish and shrimp caught by the men.
San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca state
Beatriz Gutierrez Luis
Tel. +52 971 5220031