Democracia Indígena

Directed by Bruce “Pacho” Lane
Researched by Albert Wahrhaftig
(35 minutes)


A Film on Indigenous Rights in Mexico
Spanish & Totonac with English subtitles

Democracia Indígena examines the rights revolution of Indian Mexico through the municipal elections in Huehuetla, Puebla—the same Totonac Indian community featured in “The Tree of Life”and “The Tree of Knowledge”.

In 1989, the Huehuetla Totonacs formed the Organizacion Independiente Totonaca (OIT), and joined in an electoral alliance with the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica to sweep the municipal elections. During the following nine years, the OIT and PRD carried out a non-violent revolution. The visible signs of this Totonac renaissance are the health posts, schools, drinking water, and electricity available to everyone for the first time. But the real change is in the new self-confidence and pride of the Totonacs themselves.

Indian Theology

Democracia Indígena follows Cruz Garcia, an “expatriate” Totonac, as he examines the changes in his homeland. Opening with the PRD electoral campaign, Cruz meets with the Totonac mayor and council, visits rural projects, talks with his Totonac family and neighbors, as well as the parish priest and the mestizo mayoral candidate of the opposition PRI. With Cruz, we watch the voting, the vote counting, and the stunning 3 am victory celebration. The film concludes with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of this powerful example of democracy in action.

Awards:Special Merit Award, Latin American Studies Association; Best Documentary, Latino Film Festival; Mejor Pelicula Indígena, Festival Contra el Silencio.

US TV: Free Speech TV Columbus Day Special


Order the DVD

The “Democracia Indígena” DVD includes “The Tree of Knowledge” & “The Tree of Life”,
playable on Region 1 (US & Canada) & Multiregion DVD players.

Also available on Region 4 DVD in Spanish on request.

ISBN: 1-891813-02-1
UPC: 736899855932

English text for “Democracia Indígena”

Spanish text for “Democracia Indígena”

American Anthropologist Review by Erica Wortham, UCSD

Totonac Cultural Revitalization: An Alternative to the Zapatistas
Co-authored by Albert Wahrhaftig and Pacho Lane, this illustrated essay discusses how the Totonac of Huehuetla have organized
around the ideas of Teologia India, and have made surprising, rapid, and drastic changes in their community as a result.

“Un Voto Vale Mas Que Mil Palabras” (In Spanish)
“One Vote is Worth a Thousand Words” (In English):
Observations on the Huehuetla elections, by Spanish anthropologist Jaume Valverdu Valverdu, PhD

“What Is Indian Theology?”
The OIT and the Teologia India movement, by Pacho Lane.

“Along Party Lines”
Tensions between totonacos and mestizos since the elections, by journalist Karina Ioffee.