Indigenous protest mining concessions

Members of the Wixárika people demand cancellation of mining permits on their lands. Mexico’s government has granted more than one hundred mining concessions to foreign companies in the San Luis Potosi state, putting the survival and way of life of the state’s indigenous population at risk.

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More than 200 members of the Wixárika, or Huichol, people in late October marched through Mexico City against the concessions, most of which were for areas in the San Luis Potosi desert, where is Wirikuta, a 140,000-hectare (350,000-acre) area that is sacred to this group.

“We want life; we want to exist,” said Santos de la Cruz, a Wixárika leader, during a press conference. “The state is killing and kidnapping our sacred lands. They want to finish us, kill our Mother Earth.”

Even though President Felipe Calderón promised in 2008 to preserve and invest in the Wixárika culture, one year later the government granted 22 concessions to the Canadian mining company First Majestic to drill and extract metal in the area. Of the more than 6,300 hectares (16,000 acres) in these concessions, 70 percent are within Wirikuta, which was named part of the Network of Sacred Natural Sites by UNESCO in 1998 and a protected nature reserve by the Mexican government in 2001.
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wirikuta, mining protest, santos de la cruz