Featured Articles

Wixárika land defender and attorney Santos de la Cruz Carrillo in 2010, at the beginning of the fight to defend the sacred desert of the Wirikuta from Canadian mining. (Tracy L. Barnett)

This past weekend was an intense and frightening one for many here in Western Mexico — at least among the people who care about the land and Indigenous people: high-profile Wixárika land defender and attorney Santos de la Cruz Carrillo had disappeared on Friday along with his wife and two children, including a three-month-old baby. 

San Sebastián's Historic Vote ~ Foto Wixárika.mx

After four years of struggle, the Wixárika community of San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán in Mezquitic, Jalisco, will directly receive federal resources to manage amongst themselves without the intervention of local officials or political parties. And they will do so with women at the table under an agreement of gender parity, a rarity among Indigenous governments and, indeed, governments in general.


Historic Wixárika Ceremony, Cerro Quemado, Feb. 6, 2012. Photo: Tracy L. Barnett

It is that time of year again, when, since time immemorial, the Wixárika people are preparing their offerings. The candles of life, the chaquira gourd bowls, the God’s eyes, the prayer arrows. They are beginning to retrace the arduous journey of their ancestors, carried out every year in sacred reciprocity for the gift of life. 

Bosques de pino en San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán. Foto: Agustín Castillo.

Pine forests in San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán. Image courtesy of Agustín Castillo.

The Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico boasts vast forests that are home to Indigenous communities such as the Wixárika people (or Huichols). Across the largest forest reserves in Jalisco, just three communities are spread across an area of more than 400,000 hectares (988,421 acres), equivalent to one-fifth the size of El Salvador. But this natural wealth is not reflected in the residents’ living conditions. Now, several stakeholders are coming together to help change this narrative.

Gerardo Ruiz Smith speaking to those who attended the training in Wirikuta.

Regenerative agriculture expert Gerardo Ruiz Smith, right, is passionate about bringing back keystone species like the giant mesquite that the group stood under as he shared stories and expertise. (Diana Negrín photo)

On the morning of July 31, 2021, a group of 40 people assembled in the hamlet of Las Margaritas in the sacred land of Wirikuta, in the high plateaus of the Chihuahuan Desert of north-central Mexico. Local farmers in cowboy hats and baseball caps gathered alongside young indigenous Wixárika women and men who had come from their communities in the western states of Jalisco and Nayarit. There were also a dozen non-local and foreign attendees who happened to be in Margaritas or who had put down roots and established homes and working relations in the region.

Featured Artwork

The Nierika of Our Elder Brother Tamatsi Kauyumarie - Yauxali 1977

In this nierika we see how Our Elder Brother Tamatsi Kauyumarie, Deer of the Sun, appears in the East where Our Father Sun rises. Our Elder Brother knows the paths to the peaks of the ancestors that are drawn around the world (see the edges of this nierika) like triangles where nierikate appear.

Support Us By Visiting Our Gift Shop

This book was jointly published by the Secretary of Culture for the State of Jalisco, Mexico and the Wixárika Research Center in honor of the Year of Indigenous Languages and to celebrate the exhibit Grandes Maestros del Arte Wixárika: Acervo Negrín at the Museo Cabañas in Guadalajara (June 21, 2019 - January 12, 2020). This is a tri-lingual publication - Spanish, English and Wixárika.