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First Generation Grad Mariana, Soon a Police Officer

Mariana was raised by a single mother in Tepic, Nayarit, in a family that had no farm or land to speak of. So she knows what it’s like to be at the bottom of the social ladder.

The indigenous people in her region have a sacred mountain called Cerro Quemado that is rich in silver. But like so many valuable acres before it, the land is currently being purchased from the Mexican government by the Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver.

Mariana scrimped and saved to get through school to make a difference for her people, working hard to take advantage of any opportunity. So when she heard of the chance through Canyon Scholars to be the first in her family to attend college, she went all out, first obtaining a degree in Public Security and Civil Protection, then adding a second degree in Forensic Sciences.

“Mom taught me to be respectful and punctual, to work hard and to be prepared for any emergency,” she said. Mariana is currently working in the town hall of Santiago Ixcuintla, and plans to become a police woman. “I want to work to create better connections between people, until we are a cooperative and peaceful community.”

Powerful companies like this have grabbed land at will along the western edge of Mexico in the Sierra Madre mountains for 100 years. But graduating in June, 2022 thanks to her sponsor, the Lander, Wyoming Rotary Club, Canyon Scholar Mariana joined a new generation of leaders determined to create a more just world.

A wise man once observed “stateways don’t change folkways.” While Mexican law even promised specific protections to their indigenous lands, until Mariana’s people are educated and hold leadership positions to defend their territories, too often “might makes right.”

Congratulations to Mariana for her courage, hard work, leadership and dedication to making a difference in the Sierra Madre!