PSYDEH met Doña Elena, 90 years old and married at 22, when conducting appreciative inquiry with citizens on their problems, potential solutions and whether they wanted to organize themselves. In her 2013 interview with PSYDEH for a publication on indigenous wisdom, Doña Elena explained that historically, in Tepehua (“teh-PAY-wa”) communities, there was no recognition of human rights. Today, she says, such rights exist but only for those who can pay to enforce them.
More generally, the Tepehua people of Huehuetla are a relatively small community (estimated 2000 people) and often confused with the Tepehuan ethnic group of northern Mexico. Instead, the Tepehua people are closely related linguistically to their neighbors, the Totonacs. Totonac and Tepehua together form the Totonac-Tepehua language family. In their own language, the Tepehua call themselves “Hamaispini” (“Dueños del Cerro” in Spanish).