The Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities or CBDIO) was created in 1993 by the Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB) to serve the indigenous migrant communities from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico that reside in California, United States (US). Different sources affirm that there are more than two hundred thousand indigenous from that State residing in the U.S. Of the more than 60 different indigenous communities that remain alive in Mexico, the following are the ones with the largest representation in California: Zapotecs, Triquis, Chatinos, Chinantecos and Mixes (from the state of Oaxaca), Mixtecs (from the state of Oaxaca and Guerrero) and P’uhrépechas (from Michoacan). Each of our communities have its own language and culture that differentiate us from one another, however all indigenous people face similar problems in our hometowns, as well as to the places we have migrated.
Since its foundation as a non-profit entity, CBDIO has been dedicated to implement projects on worker’s rights, which provides orientation, education, training, counseling and referrals. The organization has also promoted intensive training on professional ethics of indigenous interpreters, to serve as a medium of communication between monolingual indigenous migrants and various government agencies and other entities. Likewise, CBDIO has also worked to increase the participation of indigenous women in the life of the migrant community by providing training and promotion of gender equality, so that they may exercise self-determination in their civic lives. CBDIO also promotes health education on prevention and treatment of different illnesses. This facilitates the access to health and social services and helps the indigenous migrants get the necessary information that drives them to make improvements in their life conditions and to have access to health services as prevention in order to avoid complications in their health.
On the organization’s tenth anniversary, we developed the first strategic plan so it could guide us in the fulfillment of our vision and mission. In the retreat in March of 2007 in Cambria, California, we updated our first Strategic Plan and in July 2010, we conducted a second strategic planning gathering at Three Rivers, California. As a result of such analysis, we decided to work in the next three years in the following strategic areas; Health, Civic and Community Participation, Culture and Education; Capacity Building for the Organization; Economic Development and Youth Development.
Retreat in July of 2010: Process of Strategic Planning:
In July 16-18, 2010, we had a strategic planning retreat at Three Rivers, California. The Board of Directors came together with the staff of the offices of Greenfield, Hollister, Fresno and Los Angeles and volunteers. The purpose was to revise the organization’s Strategic Plan and update it based on the experiences of the work that has been done in the prior years. The 2010-2013 Strategic Plan is based on the experiences and the collective vision of all the participants in the gathering. Our board of directors approved this document on September 24, 2011 in the City of Fresno.
Given the challenges faced by Oaxacan indigenous migrants in the United States, leaders of community organizations joined forces to establish in 1991 the organization that is now known as Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, FIOB). This organization is made up of Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Triquis, and P’uhrépechas; it has carried out a number of activities to defend and advance the rights of indigenous peoples on both sides of the Mexican-U.S. border. Although, initially, FIOB’s work focused on organizing the community to draw attention to the needs of the Oaxacan people, it also had a vision toward providing direct support to the community through specific projects.
For that reason, on December 18, 1993, FIOB’s leaders registered Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Inc. (CBDIO, Inc.) as a nonprofit organization with the U.S. authorities. This was necessary so it can receive funding to implement, on both sides of the border, projects on education, economic development and training. CBDIO is registered under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS.
Although FIOB and CBDIO coordinate their work together to benefit the indigenous community, CBDIO is governed by an autonomous and independent board of directors. This board is formed by four officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) and six directors who are people notable for their leadership skills and knowledge of the community’s needs. CBDIO has also an advisory board made up of individuals of different professional backgrounds including university professors, lawyers and researchers. CBDIO’s staff consists of an Executive Director, Program and Development Coordinator, Accounting Manager, Community Workers and volunteers.
With regards to CBDIO’s legal office, it was initially located in San Jose, California. In 1994, the organization’s office moved to Santa Cruz, where it remained until 1998, when it moved to Fresno. Another important milestone in CBDIO’s organizational structure was the creation in 2001 of the Executive Director position. In March 2003, an office was opened in Los Angeles. Years later CBDIO opened two more offices to serve the needs of the growing indigenous communities; on October 15, 2004 the Santa Maria office was opened and in September 13, 2006 the Greenfield office. For a period of two years, CBDIO had an office in Hollister, California.
Following is a list of the organization’s most important programs.