Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Regina (Reh-hee-nah) Baeza Martinez is an incoming MA student in the Sociology department at Simon Fraser University. She received her Bachelor of Arts, Honours with Distinction, and a Certificate of Social Justice at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Evelyn Encalada Grez.
Her BA honours thesis “Cultural Identity or Linguistic Association?: A Quantitative Breakdown of Indigeneity in the Mexican Census” explored the two measures of Indigeneity used in the Mexican Census: the ability to speak an indígena (Indigenous) language, and self-identification with an indígena culture. The latter was introduced in 2010, while the former has been used since 1895 and is the most commonly used measure of Indigneity due to its consistency and comparability. Using the 2000, 2010, and 2020 Mexican Censuses for the Mexico City region, Regina conducted univariate anlyses to breakdown the distribution of both indígena populations, and, for comparison, the distribution of non-indígena residents. Then, using bivariate and multivariate analyes, Regina analyzed the associations of these three variables and other variables of interest including literacy, conjugal situation, gender, age, level of employment, and last level of education achieved. Regina argued that indígena language speakers are a small and shrinking population with significantly different socio-cultural associations than those who do not speak an indígena language. In contrast, there are many more self-identified indígenas than there are indígena language speakers, and this population has grown since the variable was introduced in 2010. However, self-identified indígenas do not have significantly different socio-cultural associations than those who do not self-identify as indígena. All in all, Regina argues that indígena language speakers and self-identified indígenas are two different populations; research and policy building on Census data should account for these differences to determine how to best include and represent indígena participants.
In her incoming MA program, Regina plans to conduct ethnographic fieldwork with Mayan migrant farm-workers from Guatemala employed in the Fraser Valley. In her research, Regina seeks to explore the following questions: how do Indigenous migrant farm-workers discuss, conceptualize, and understand their relationship to their homelands, and to the Stó:lō territory that they temporarily live and work on? How do Indigenous migrant farm-workers engage with place-making and community-building practices, and how does ‘being Mayan’ mediate these processes, relations, and interactions?
Regina is also a Research Assistant for a project called “Migrant Farmworkers and Transnational Livelihoods Within a Global Pandemic” under the supervision of Dr. Evelyn Enclada Grez.