Current News

Displaying 91 - 108 of 112
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.
Wirikuta es uno de los Sitios Sagrados Naturales más importantes de los Wixaritari (pl): de acuerdo a su cosmovisión, Wirikuta es uno de los cinco puntos cardinales de donde emanaron los dioses y al que periódicamente se dirigen en peregrinación las distintas comunidades del pueblo Wixárika para recrear el recorrido que hicieron sus antepasados para dar origen del mundo.

The context seems like a movie script, but it's deadly serious to the Wixarika, whose core cultural practice for more than a thousand years has consisted of regular pilgrimages to Wirikuta, the birthplace of the sun: a magical desert where the balance of life on Earth is maintained through a sacred cactus that carries the wisdom of a blue deer.

Video of Santos de la Cruz' speech at the United Nations Forum on Indigenous People.

By now, the delegate of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) in San Luis Potosi, Joel Navarro Milan, was forced to declare that neither First Majestic Silver nor Pietro Sutti have filed formal requests nor submitted environmental impact statements (MIA): "Semarnat so far does not have recorded any project or request by the companies, because to do so they must first have an environmental impact study, but there is no record that they have done it" (The Express, St. Louis, April 8 2011).

Located in the state of San Luis Potosi, Wirikuta is one of the most biologically rich and diverse deserts in the world. In 1994 it was decreed “a Site of Cultural and Historic Heritage and an Area under Ecological Conservation”; in the year 2000 the protected area was expanded to 140 thousand hectares; and in 2001 it was declared a Sacred Natural Site by UNESCO. There is also a bird sanctuary in Wirikuta. In spite of this, it is currently under siege by First Majestic Silver, a Vancouver-based mining company that paid 3 million dollars to obtain 22 mining concessions in the area.

Those were the concerns expressed in an interview with La Jornada, by representatives of the Wixarika communities who are preparing a series of actions to reject the activities of the mining company. Last Thursday they paid a visit to the Senate to express their opposition.

The Huichol believe a god appeared here in the form of a deer. With his antlers he first raised the sun into the heavens. So each year the Huichol trek across 800 kilometres of arid wilderness to their sacred summit Leunar. There they eat a sacred cactus and pray “that our ancient culture does not disappear. . . and the candles of life that give meaning to our identity are renewed.”
Efren was one of eight Wixarika leaders chosen by their communities in the highlands of Jalisco, Durango and Nayarit to travel from their communities to this town in Mirando City, Texas. They were there to attend the International Convention of the Native American Church, a union of Native American peoples of North America dedicated to preserving the right to traditional use of the sacred peyote plant, or medicine as it is known.

Despite Wirikuta’s protected status and its designation as a UNESCO Historic and Cultural Heritage Site, the Mexican government granted 22 mining concessions covering 15,631 acres to the Canadian mining company. Seventy percent of these concessions lie within the Wirikuta protected area.

Wirikuta is one of the most important natural sacred sites of the Wixárika (Huichol) indigenous people and the world. The Wixárika people live in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango and are recognized for having preserved their spiritual identity. They have continued to practice their cultural and religious traditions for thousands of years. Wirikuta is the birthplace of the sun and the territory where the different Wixárika communities make their pilgrimage, recreating the route taken by their spiritual ancestors to sustain the essence of life on this planet. In this desert springs the peyote or jicuri, the cactus that the Wixárika ritually ingest to receive the “gift of seeing”.

Canadian mining corporations were not necessarily directly responsible for the deaths and acts of intimidation and violence, but some of them were carried out by company security personnel and current or former employees. So it may be the case that the implicated companies are not legally liable, but alongside the local elites and states that license and promote extractive activities, they at the least bear a moral responsibility for creating the situations of conflict in which assassinations and other acts of violence take place.

The Huicholes, who call themselves Wixarika, make pilgrimages to their ceremonial place in the Sierra Madres across the Chihuahua desert to Leunar in Mexico, their sacred mountain where the sun first rose. A Canadian mining company, First Majestic Silver Corporation, plans to exploit and mine this area. The company is planning to use cyanide to mine the sacred region. This disastrous mining will destroy the ecosystem and the sacred places of the Wixarika.

“We are here to reaffirm that we are still standing, resisting, defending what belongs to us.” Sitlali Chino Carrillo
My name is Bianca América Enríquez López, I am from Bajío del Tule, which is part of the community of San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlan, in the state of Jalisco. I am a proud Indigenous Wixárika woman, and three years ago I moved to Guadalajara in search of new opportunities and to study law (Bianca América (Tanima) Enríquez López is a 2020 law graduate from the Universidad Enrique Rebsamen).
Wirikuta tiene muchos nombres y una entrada. La puerta se nombra Wak+ri kitenie, la puerta del Hermano Mayor Tepehuán, el paso al quinto piso del altar-mundo, nuestro templo.

Mario de la Cruz Carrillo is a native of  Arroyo de Cañaveral, a small community in the Municipality of Nayar in the state of Nayarit. He graduated with a degree in mathematics from the Autonomous University of Nayarit in the Spring of 2023. Mario is very interested in working toward the creation of a curricular mathematics program that can better engage Wixarika youth utilizing innovative pedagogical practices so that students may find both enjoyment and relevance in the subject.