In April of 2011 the culturally indigenous Purépecha town of Cherán in Michoacán Mexico declared its autonomy from the Mexican political system to defend its forests and ancestral lands. Since 2008, at the beginning of what is often referred to as Felipe Calderon’s war on drugs Cherán’s vast old growth pine tree forests were being razed by organized crime. After years of requests for help being ignored by both the state and federal governments Cherán seized the arms of the town’s police force and set up barricades and sent out patrols into the forests to put an end to the illegal logging. Before the town reached a tentative calm it endured six months of being under siege by the drug cartels and assassinations of community members. Eventually they established their own form of electorate representative government and successfully ousted the Mexican political parties. Five years later the town remains autonomous. Cherán is an example of an increasing number of indigenous communities throughout Latin America, that have engaged in struggles to attain political and economic self determination motivated by economic and environmental concerns.