24 Indigenous Rights Fighters From Latin America To Keep In Mind While You Celebrate Women’s History Month

@lidopimienta / Instagram

No look back at Latino culture and history could be complete without a thorough investigation of the various Indigenous women who existed long before and after the Spanish colonized the Americas. In the many years before Spanish colonization, Indigenous women were FIERCE chiefs, warriors, leaders and rule breakers. Today, they still are. Here’s a list of the 25 Indigenous women who shaped Latin America and contributed to the world we know.

1. Janequeo, Peru

CREDIT: @guidokidsalinas / Instagram

Also, known as Yanequén, was a heroine of the Mapuche-Pehuenche people and the wife of the chief, Huepotaén. After her husband’s murder, which was ordered by Governor Alonso de Sotomayor, Janequeo succeeded him as lonco and led her people in battles against the Spanish.

2. Emilia Nuyado, Chile

CREDIT: @lafamiliateatro / Instagram

Nuyado is a political leader of the indigenous Mapuche group and one of two women of that group to become members of Chile’s Congress. She represents the southern Araucanía region and is working with the Chilean government to put an end to a centuries-old conflict.

3. Aracely Leuquén, Chile

CREDIT: @aracelyleuquen / Instagram

Like Nuyado, Leuquén is also a political leader representative of the indigenous Mapuche group. Along with Nuyado she is the first woman to become a member of Chile’s Congress.

4. Milagro Sala, Argentine

CREDIT: @andresfleytass / Instagram

The Indigenous leader from Argentina is considered the first political prisoner of President Mauricio Macri’s government. She is the founder of the 70,000 member group called the Tupac Amaru movement and leads the organization in efforts focused on Indigenous rights and impacting political issues.

5. Silvia Carrera, Panama


As the first woman chief of the Ngobe Bugl, Carrera led a resistance movement that worked to block hydroelectric dam and copper mining projects being built on an Indigenous territory. Throughout her activism, she has strived to negotiate with the Panamanian government and to represent her people in talks concerning respect for Indigenous rights. Today she is seen as a symbol of resistance for women across Panama and Latin America.

6. Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, Guatemala

CREDIT: Greens EFA /

The Guatemalan Maya K’iche leader is a defender of women’s rights and environmental causes.  Today, she is a leader of the Council of K’iche’ Peoples in Defense of Life, Mother Nature, Earth and Territory and fights for the right of indigenous people to determine the fate of their territories.

7. Miriam Miranda, Honduras

CREDIT: Victoriaenelojo /

The leader of the Garifuna Afro-Indigenous community and the organization known as Ofraneh is known for her activism. Her resistance has combatted mega-tourism projects and the climate change effects that have displaced Garifuna communities along the Honduran coast.

8. Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemala

CREDIT: @valer.zennn / Instagram

The Guatemalan human rights activist began campaigning for human rights when she was a teen. In the years since she has devoted her life’s work to fighting for the rights of indigenous people and victims of Guatemala’s civil war.

9. Berta Caceres, Hondoras

CREDIT: @rawrealreach / Instagram

The Lenca indigenous leader and environmental and human rights defender is also the co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Her work has helped her and others to spearhead a successful resistance movement to halt the creation of the Agua Zarca Dam. Before and during its construction the project was never given consent by the local indigenous community.

10. Transito Amaguaña, Ecuador

CREDIT: @de.provincia / Instagram

Transito Amaguaña, AKA “Mama Transito,” was an Ecuadorean indigenous activist and feminist icon in Ecuador. Her political work and community activism has pushed the efforts of major indigenous and campesino actions further. In 11946 she co-founded the Ecuadorean Indian Federation to fight for land redistribution.

11.  Digna Ochoa, Mexico 

CREDIT: i3yD / Instagram

The human rights lawyer and political activist advocated for the interests of Mexico’s campesino ecologists and vulnerable indigenous people. She took on the Mexican army and led campaigns that eventually and brought soldiers who had abused their power and tortured others to court. She was eventually found shot dead in her office.

11. Dolores Cacuango, Ecuador

CREDIT: @estelle.herv /Instagram

The native rights leader and Ecuadorean revolutionary began an early life of servitude on a hacienda as a teen. Realizing the difference in the quality of life between the rich and poor pushed her to advocacy that focused on education, native lands rights, and government reform in recognition of indigenous people. Despite never reaching higher education, Cacuango directed one of the first schools for indigenous children with instruction in Spanish and Quechua for 18 years.

12. María Jesús Alvarado Rivera, Peru

CREDIT: Notimé

Rivera was a journalist, teacher, and activist from Chincha Alta, Peru who spent her life focused on the empowerment of women through activism and political representation. Her advocacy focused sexual health, sex worker rights, and indigenous land rights.

13. Blanca Chancoso, Ecuador

CREDIT: Ekologistak Martxan /

The Indigenous leader founded the Confederación de los Pueblos de la Nacionalidad Kichua del Ecuador, the group organized the first assembly for indigenous women. Her work contributed to the ousting of President Adbalá Bucaram. Today she continues her fight for indigenous rights. In 2015, open letter to Evo Morales she wrote: “You should remember that those who occupy the presidential office will one day be replaced… Correa’s term will one day end, but the indigenous communities will always be here…”

14. Ana de Peralta, Ecuador


Ana de Peralta was the first woman to protest a Spanish law that kept mestizas from wearing indigenous and Spanish clothing. The law “The Royal Charter of 1752″ was issued by the King and Queen of Spain and said wearing such clothing made “mujeres de mal vivir.”

15. Rosa María Vacacela Gualán, Ecuador

CREDIT: @Nico / Twitter

Gualán is an indigenous leader who was awarded the Medalla Bicentenario for her work in bilingual education.She developed teaching materials for students that were in both Quechua and Spanish. She also worked to ensure that older indigenous members also learned how to read. 

16. Juana Azurduy de Padilla


De Padilla was a Mestiza by ethnicity and therefore had both Spanish and indigenous ancestry. The revolutionary led a military life and career and fought for Bolivia independence. Simon Bolivar, the namesake of Bolivia, once said the country should have actually been named after her. 

17. Micaela Bastidas, Peru

CREDIT: / Instagram

The partner of Tupac Amaru helped lead the Tupac Amaru Rebellion involving native peoples against the Spanish. In her role, she managed an army and was seen as a pioneer of Peruvian independence. 

18. Iara

CREDIT: @iaracf / Instagram

Iara was a legend and never a real woman who walked this world. However, her legend and story are an important part of Latin American folklore. The legend of Iara came out of Brazil and is based on ancient Tupi and Guaraní mythology. 

19. Xtabay

CREDIT: magdalenoma82 / Instagram

This sex-positive story of a Mayan enchantress is also part of a Mayan legend. Still, her story of seduction acts as a fascinating indigenous version the Madonna/whore concept.

20. Eréndira, Mexico

CREDIT: @kushkatan / Instagramd

Eréndira was a princess of the Purépecha people who led an uprising against Spanish militants during the 1500s. The image above actually isn’t a depiction of Eréndira, but of the Purépecha she belonged to.

21. Patricia Velásquez, Venezuela

CREDIT: @hookedonhorror / Instagram

The actress and model is also the founder of the Wayúu Tayá Foundation. She is celebrated by many who consider her to be the first Native American model. Her father is mestizo and her mother was born into the indigenous Wayuu people. As an out lesbian, he is also a staunch LGBTQ advocate.

22. Lido Pimienta

CREDIT: @mrgconcerts / Instagram

The queer Afro-Colombiana of Wayuu descent is a Colombian Canadian musician and singer. Her song “La Papessa,” won the $50,000 2017 Polaris Music Prize in 2017.

23. Malinche, Mexico

CREDIT: Alana Anderson /

The Nahua woman played an influential role in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Emire and is viewed as a controversial figure throughout Latin America. She was sold into sexual slavery as a young woman and became an interpreter. Some view her as a person who saved her people from the Aztecs who occupied her home, others blame her for betraying the indigenous people by helping colonizers. Either way, there’s no doubting that her influence helped to the Aztec Empire’s fall

24. Isabel Chimpo Ocllou, Peru


Chimpu Ocllo was born in the heart of the Inca imperial family: Cuzco and was an Incan Princess.  During the civil wars between the Spaniards, she was forced into marrying Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega Spanish conquistador and colonial official.

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We Relabeled These Common Household Products So They Are More Honest Than Their Original Label


We Relabeled These Common Household Products So They Are More Honest Than Their Original Label

There are just some brands from childhood (and adulthood) that have a totally different meaning in our heads than what’s on the label. So we decided to keep it real and replace the labels with a new logo that shows consumers what the product is *really* for. There is always a recommended use and a real use for every product and Latinos will always find the real way to use a product.

Take a trip down memory lane with me…

Vicks VapoRub


We all know VapoRub, but we probably don’t know what it’s actually meant for. Turns out, it’s meant to be used as a cough suppressant by rubbing that pungent, yet comforting gel on your chest.

What it’s actually does…


My abuelo rubbed this on his wrists every few hours. For his arthritis or as cologne, we never found out. Rub daily to mend broken hearts, the flu, or to get rid of cellulite!



Even as a poor college student, I always found the money for Patrón bottles for every occasion. Patrón, bottles–that’s all I remember from college if I’m being honest. #SorryPapa

What it’s actually does…


It kills you. Or, if you’re a new parent, a little helps put your baby to bed and gives you life. (Mitú does not condone giving children alcohol even if our parents did.) #ThanksPapa



Looks like soda, right? Sprite is so basic that it’s basically just lemon water, so it’s healthy right? It’s got to be.

What it’s actually does…


Yup! Sprite cures hangovers, tummy aches, and is essentially a tonic. I’m just waiting for a Sprite cleanse trend to happen over here.



I’m drooling. Mazapán is the ultimate comfort food as far as dulces go, imo. Fun fact, mazapán was brought to Latin America from Spain, where they use almonds instead of peanuts.

What it’s actually does…


You can tell a lot about a person by the way they eat mazapán, verdad.  Spot a perfectionist crying from a mile away, because there is no neat way to eat these guys.

Café Bustelo


Seems innocent looking enough right? Café Bustelo, how your packaging deceives us all.

What it’s actually does…


Do not play with this. Like a well-oiled machine, my nana would wake up groggy, spoon these out in fugly pink plastic mugs and distribute the fuel to the fam. Bustelo, you give us life.

Soda Crackers


A true staple in every Latinx household. As kids, we used to dip these in café con leche like it was gold.

What it’s actually does…


Growing up has made me so much wiser. Nana was just trying to shove these crackers onto her grandkids so she could have more tupperware, or ‘tupper‘ as my Spanish host mom would say.

Royal Dansk Butter Cookies


I have more memories of seeing this box than I do of actually eating those delicious, buttery cookies. The pretzel shaped ones always went first.

What it’s actually does…


Spoiler alert: it’s buttons. It’s always buttons in there. Every d*mn time I plotted a midnight snack run when I was a kid, there were never any cookies in these, so I stopped looking.

Instant Ramen


Being a grown up will be great, they said. You can eat whatever you want, they said. Somehow, I keep coming back to this cheap stuff.

What it’s actually does…


I never wanted this, cuz. Take me back to mountains of bacalao y tostones. “Chicken” my a**.

Goya Adobo Seasoning


Goya is my brand. Everything tastes better with it and I promise this is not a product placement. I speak on behalf of all Puerto Ricans that Goya is the shit.

What it actually does…


To be honest, I never tasted a difference between ‘Adobo’ flavors at restaurants and the flavor of fcking everything at home. ‘Adobo’ es lo misma de ‘pa todo’ en mi casa.



For some reason, I just can’t with the smell of Fabuloso. The only time it appears in my house is when the titis come to visit and keep me fully stocked till their next visit.

What it actually does…


Maybe that smell rubs me the wrong way because it’s the smell of my mom about to wake me tf up on Saturday mornings to force me to ‘help’ mop the floors. I’m still recovering my Saturday mornings.



Burn my insides, Cheeto cheetah, take me. You’re the only Cheeto I would ever vote for as president. You hurt so good but we know what to expect.

What it actually does…


I accept this trade off, tho. When I see someone with red fingers, I’m just like, we should stick together because I want in on your stash of cheetos crack.