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.
ste año está llegando rápidamente a su fin y nos da mucho gusto compartirles algunas novedades sobre nuestra/os alumnes con todos ustedes con la esperanza de que esto pueda levantarles el ánimo e inspirarlos a apoyar nuestro fondo de becas para estudiantes universitarios wixáritari.
Con toda la lluvia que tuvimos aquí en California, ha sido una primavera verdaderamente gloriosa. Esperamos que todxs, estén donde estén, gocen de buena salud y ánimo y estén disfrutando de una primavera igualmente espectacular.
The HSF is a charity that assists Huichol (Wixárika) youth to acquire university level skills and education as a way of supporting efforts by their communities and nation (located throughout the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Durango and Zacatecas) to defend and strengthen their cultural and political autonomy.
We hope you have all been well and are off to a good start this fall. The rains were generous in the sierras this year and it looks like the harvests of corn, beans and squash will be bountiful, although in some areas it rained so much that some corn and squash rotted.
The Wixárika (Huichol) Scholarship Fund (HSF) is a charitable program that awards scholarships to Huichol university students to assist them in completing undergraduate university studies. We use the term ‘Huichol’ because it is the name most recognizable to many our donors and supporters.
Funded primarily by donations from American and Canadian expats with ties to Puerto Vallarta, the HSF is a tangible expression of support for the Indigenous population whose traditional territory incorporates Puerto Vallarta. The program is rooted in the belief that equipping more Huichol with university level education is a strategic way to ensure their communities have access to skills required to defend their cultural integrity and political autonomy in a hostile environment.
The last year and a half has been long and surely has tested everyone’s patience as we waited to return to some semblance of what used to be our normal behavior. We hope you have all been well and remained in good health and the best spirits possible as we wait to exit this pandemic.
Dear Friends, Donors and Subscribers,
It is our hope that everyone is well and managing as best as possible during the crisis of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. We feel extremely fortunate and grateful that we have a safe place to work from and can continue to add new content to the WRC online archive while we shelter in place.
The Wixárika communities are taking precautions to protect their people from Covid-19. They have asked that outsiders refrain from visiting the communities and in the case of San Andrés Cohamiata / Tateikíe they cancelled their annual Holy Week for the first time in memory. Both the Government and the Wixárika people have shown initiative translating public service announcements and gathering essential medical and food supplies.
As this year draws to an end we want to thank all of you who supported our projects this past year and made possible the work we accomplished with our special visitors, Matsiwa De la Cruz and Aukwe García Mijarez. More than at any other time, our mission at the Wixárika Research Center is to continue to build a rich archive of Wixárika history, culture and territory alongside our continued support of select initiatives that strengthen Wixárika autonomy. In this light, and given the enormity of threats that continue to affect Wixárika land and culture, we are happy to share some of our most important developments of the year.
Over the past years, the Wixárika Research Center has had the privilege of bringing guest interns to work on the extensive archive that Juan and Yvonne Negrín collected over more than forty years of work with Wixárika elders and various community members. Among other things, these materials consist of an extraordinary collection of contemporary Wixárika yarn paintings, each of which is accompanied by audio recordings between the artist and Juan discussing the symbolism and narratives of the work. But, these materials are far more extensive than the art collection itself and we continue to come across interested scholars who are able to help us with the process of digitizing and cataloguing the materials in order to make them available to the public.
The Wixárika Research Center maintains an online world-class archive of Wixárika (Huichol) indigenous art and culture to educate the public about this unique and extraordinary culture. Through the foundation's Web site, we raise public awareness about the challenges these indigenous people are facing today due to their rapidly changing environment. It is our hope that the website will amplify their voices and add weight to their opinions and concerns.
During the past year we have been kept busy with our renewed activities in the field. In June of 2013, we received a generous grant from Lush Cosmetics to help us finance the building of a wood drying solar oven for the independent (autonomous) preparatory school, located in the community of Tuapurie (Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán). Building the solar oven...
As we approach the close of 2012, we look back on an eventful year with much news to report. Aside from our continued efforts to help protect Wirikuta from the devastation of mining and industrial agriculture, we have also taken on the challenge of reviving the carpentry and weaving workshops in the sierras with the addition of solar energy and have increased our work on the preservation of the archives. Below is an update on our activities and our goals for 2013.
Wirikuta Update: Since our last newsletter in April of 2011, the Wixárika Council for the Defense of Wirikuta and the Front in Defense of Wirikuta have continued actively opposing mining and agro-industry in Wirikuta. At the time of our last newsletter, our efforts were mainly focused on the concessions granted to Canada’s First Majestic Silver Corporation, in the area of Real de Catorce. As we wrote last year, this project which has since been renamed Project La Luz, consists of 22 mining concessions covering an area of 6,326.58 hectares of which 70% are located within the Wirikuta protected reserve. Since that time, one of the biggest threats to come to light is that of another Canadian corporation, Revolution Resources, which has purchased concessions in the heart of Wirikuta. This project, named El Proyecto Universo, has plans to exploit 59,678 hectares inside the protected area of the Wirikuta reserve.
For the past seven months the Wixárika traditional and agrarian authorities have been actively working to bring about the cancellation of the 22 mining concessions granted to First Majestic Silver Corporation of Canada. For those of you who have not been following this news, the concessions total 6,327 hectares of which 70% are within the protected Wirikuta Pilgrimage Route and Reserve.
The crisis Mexico is living as a result of the continued escalation of violence between rival drug cartels and the state’s armed forces has increasingly affected indigenous peoples who have seen their territories invaded by these competing armed forces. Unfortunately, Wixaritari communities are no exception to this phenomenon. Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán’s (Tuapurie) continued objection to the completion of the Huejuquilla-Bolaños road has facilitated this community’s ability to keep their land somewhat inhospitable to outsiders, including drug traffickers.
La crisis que está viviendo México como resultado del aumento continuo de violencia entre cárteles rivales de narcotráfico y las fuerzas armadas del estado afecta cada vez más a pueblos indígenas quienes han visto sus territorios invadidos por estas fuerzas armadas adversarias. Desafortunadamente, comunidades wixaritari no son ninguna excepción a este fenómeno.
Last year our efforts to set up an effective bilingual website that reached out to a Spanish public bore fruits. Not surprisingly some of these people are the first generation of grass roots Huichol who have access...
En junio de este año, Juan y Diana Negrín regresaron a Guadalajara y a la región wixárika para seguir con sus investigaciones respectivas y enterarse de las novedades sobre la disputa que continúa entre la comunidad de Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, o Tuapurie, y el gobierno (ver nuestro informe de marzo 2008). Aunque el tramo de la carretera Amatitlán-Bolaños-Huejuquilla el Alto que pasa por territorio wixárika ha sido formalmente clausurado, el plantón que comenzó el 10 de febrero, 2008 en Awatsaitüa o Ciénega de los Caballos permanece en rigor mientras que siga sin resolverse el tema de las indemnizaciones por los daños ecológicos y culturales causados por la obra estatal. La construcción ilegal de la carretera no es el único asunto que han tenido que denunciar miembros de Tuapurie en los últimos meses.
In June of this year, Juan and Diana Negrín returned to Guadalajara and the Wixárika region to resume their respective investigations and receive first-hand updates on the continuing struggle between the community of Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, or Tuapurie, and the government...
Our Trip to the Sierras
In late June of this year I joined my husband and our daughter Diana and traveled to the sierras for a visit with friends and our now grown Godchildren. Juan has returned to the sierras on a yearly basis and Diana has often accompanied him but this was my first trip in quite a few years. The rains had already begun and made some of our trip difficult although in general we were blessed with fairly clear skies during daylight hours and a couple of dry days prior to our departure which made our trip back to Guadalajara uneventful.