Huichol Migrant Laborers and Pesticides: Structural Violence and Cultural Confounders


Every year, around two thousand Huichol families migrate from their homelands in the highlands of northwestern Mexico to the coastal region of Nayarit State, where they are employed on small plantations to pick and thread tobacco leaves. During their four‐month stay, they live, work, eat, and sleep in the open air next to the tobacco fields, exposing themselves to an unknown cocktail of pesticides all day, every day. In this article, I describe how these indigenous migrants are more at risk to pesticides because historical and contemporary structural factors ensure that they live and work in the way of harm. I discuss the economic, social, political, and racial inequalities that exist in their every‐day environment and how these forms of structural violence are mitigated by their intersection with local cultural contexts and their specific indigenous lifeworld.