Initially formulated as a research group within Michoacan University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo, Colectivo Empacipaciones seeks to defend judicial and political rights in the Mexican state of Michoacán. They are a volunteer-based organization founded and run by a group of legal academics. In collaboration with an inter-community organization of indigenous peoples in Mexico—the Front for the Autonomy of Indigenous Councils—they promoted a legal reform movement to codify the right to direct budgeting of indigenous organizations through the distribution of public funds. They based this movement upon Article 4 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which in part establishes the right of indigenous peoples to  “ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.”

Theory of Change

Judicial and political advocacy which centers international agreements provides an avenue for groups to codify rights like autonomy and self-determination at the local level.


Beginning in 2016, Colectivo Emancipaciones began their legal advocacy for the right to direct budgeting by working with inhabitants of Pichátaro, a Purhépecha community who were willing to push the novel legal argument in the Mexican legal system. After receiving a ruling in their favor by the Federal Electoral Court, the organization represented six other claims by various communities around Mexico for directly budgeted funds. This judicial effort was equally matched by an advocacy effort to change the local laws of Michoacán. In 2021 Colectivo Emancipaciones lobbied a new law in the state which recognized the right to direct budgeting, as well as a series of protocols to expedite the allocation of funds.


As of December 2022, more than thirty-two indigenous communities within Mexico have claimed their right to direct budgeting. Following the passage of the budgeting law in Michoacán, which was eventually challenged, the Mexican Supreme Court reviewed its constitutional legitimacy, declaring it legal April of 2024.