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On the first day of autumn, evening temperatures near Window Rock, Arizona, were brisk. Beneath the late September sky, a traditional round hogan in this remote corner of the Navajo Nation was enveloped in darkness. Ten tribal members gathered inside.
This year is quickly drawing to a close and we are happy to share some great news with you all in the hopes that this can lift your spirits and inspire you to continue to support Wixarika undergraduate students. This newsletter is long overdue in part because the Wixarika Research Center has had its hands full launching a new website and online archive. Our new site includes an updated special page dedicated to the Wixarika Scholarship Fund (formerly HSF or Huichol Scholarship Fund), which will include both student profiles and our yearly online application process.
Isaías Navarrete Chino is a forestry engineer who graduated from the Autonomous University of Chapingo and was part of the first generation of scholarship recipients from our Wixarika Scholarship Fund. He was a recipient of the scholarship from 2018 until 2020. Currently he collaborates with the Wixarika Research Center on agroforestry work and he just completed his first post-graduate position in Baja California for the National Forestry Commission of Mexico. He is originally from the community of Kuruxi Manuwe or Tuxpán de Bolaños.
The Indigenous Wixárika community of San Sebastián Teponahuxtlán in Nayarit has recovered 2,585 hectares of its ancestral lands – a quarter of the territory it has been struggling to reclaim for nearly 70 years. The transfer took place peacefully after the Presidential Commission for land restitution assembled to address the dispute negotiated compensation with 13 property owners to return the land to its ancestral inhabitants.
From July 12th through July 14th, 2023, a third face-to-face meeting was held in the Las Margaritas ejido with the participation of various organizations and with the purpose of promoting the ecological, economic, and social well-being of the Altiplano Potosi, also known as Wirikuta to the Wixárika people. The Wixárika Research Center oversaw general coordination, that included invitations to Wixárika communities and inhabitants of the Altiplano region, as well as some delegates Sonora and Jalisco who were invited to participate to share their environmental work.  
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.
Mothers pushing baby carriages, grandmothers and grandfathers in their 70s and even a man in a wheelchair joined the ranks of the 200 Indigenous Wixárika people making their way nearly 1,000 kilometers along the sweltering highways of México in a generations-long battle to recover their stolen lands. The Wixárika Caravan for Dignity and Justice departed from the Western Sierra Madre on April 25 and has been walking ever since, camping alongside the highway and rising at dawn to carry on.
Los constituyentes mexicanos decretaron que la justicia en el país sería gratuita y expedita, aspiración que casi nunca se corresponde con la realidad y mucho menos para los pueblos originarios de esta nación.
On September 22, 2021, six young Wixarika men between the ages of 16 and 32 were “disappeared” from a road that runs along the sinuous border between the western Mexican states of Jalisco and Zacatecas. Relatives and friends confirm that the young men had gone to carry out a traditional deer hunt. Within days, four of the six bodies were found bearing the marks of torture that are all too common in a country that acts as a hub for organized crime serving its northern neighbor’s notorious appetite for drugs.