This house belongs to everyone:

Otomí community occupation of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Institute (INPI) in Mexico City as a struggle for dignified housing and the right to the city

Representatives of the Otomí community occupation of the INPI in conversation with Ana Vilenica and Felipe Guerra Arjona

Published in Issue 5.1 // Conversation Series

Keywords: Indigenous struggles, Evictions, Occupation, Organising, Autonomy


The Otomí community, that migrated to Mexico City due to dire living conditions from their place of origin, has been demanding the right to housing, education, health, and work for over twenty years. However, they have continuously been denied dignified living conditions. On October 12, more then 150 people from the community took over the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), a government institution that has implemented development projects aimed at purportedly enhancing the lives of indigenous communities and moved in making the offices their new home. They used the occupation to voice their demands for improved living conditions of the Otomí people in the capital as well as  pueblos originarios across Mexico and to put an end to harmful mega projects and war against EZLIN. Otomí women have played a crucial role in occupying the INPI premises, engaging with government representatives, and acting as key intermediaries. In this conversation compañeras shared about the struggles of pueblos originarios that have led to their occupation. They discussed the reasons behind choosing this specific building for occupation, their approach to organizing inspired by the Zapatistas, and how they manage everyday life in the ex-office building they now occupy.

The House of Peoples and Indigenous Communities ‘Samir Flores Soberanes’, formerly the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI), is the result of the Otomí community’s long-standing struggle for housing, education, health, and work rights in Mexico City. On October 12, 2020, the Otomí Indigenous Community residing in Mexico City peacefully occupied the premises of the INPI, a symbol of betrayal to Indigenous Peoples and Communities. The House serves as a living, resting, and organizing space where they fight against capitalism and patriarchy.

Felipe Guerra Arjona is an architect moving towards de-professionalization born in Colombia and residing in Mexico City. He is a member of coopia – a cooperative practice for the transformation of territory.

Ana Vilenica is a feminist, no-border, and urban activist and organizer from Serbia, currently residing in Italy. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the ERC project ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ at the Polytechnic of Turin’s Inter-university Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) and a core member of Beyond Inhabitation Lab. Ana is a member of the Radical Housing Journal Editorial collective and the Feminist Autonomous Centre for research (FAC research).

Download PDF