Mining threatens Huicholes sacred place of holding world in balance
By Brenda Norrell
Photo: Huicholes at Cancun Climate Summit met with Robert Free of Seattle, Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, and Sarah James, Gwich'in. Photo copyright Brenda Norrell.
CANCUN, Mexico -- A Canadian mining company is threatening the most sacred place of the Huicholes, where sacred water is found and where prayers are said for the balance of the world.
The Huicholes, who call themselves Wixarika, make pilgrimages to their ceremonial place where the sun first rose. Now, a Canadian mining company, Vancouver-based First Majestic Silver Corporation, plans to exploit and mine this area, Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. If it is not halted, disastrous mining using cyanide will destroy the ecosystem and the sacred places of the Wixarika.
The Franks Landing Indian Community in Washington State is spearheading a project to bring support to the Wixarika. Franks Landing Indian youths planned to meet with the Wixarika in Cancun at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 16, but were unable to secure passports.
Still, Robert Free Galvan of Seattle met with the Wixarika in Cancun, and new alliances were made with other Indigenous Peoples, including Sarah James, Gwich'in from Alaska, and Ofelia Rivas, O'odham from the US/Mexico border.
During an interview with Censored News in Cancun, Wixarika said that the balance of the world will be upset if the Wixarika do not continue their prayers here.
Wixarika said they have gone to their sacred place for a millennium to collect their sacred waters and sacred peyote for ceremonies. Mining will contaminate the water and the land there.
Wixarika said they came to the Cancun Climate Summit looking for alliances, urging people to write letters to the government of Mexico and put pressure on Mexico to halt this mining.
“What this comes down to is an extermination of the Wixarika people," a member of the Wixarika delegation said in a radio interview with Censored News.
Calling for the First Majestic Silver Corporation from Canada to halt the mining plans, Wixarika said their ancestors have told them that they must continue to preserve their sacred sites in order to survive.
The Wixarika sent this message to Canada: "We know that Canadians take care of their natural resources, and we would ask them to allow us to take care of our natural resources."
The issue is of urgent importance.
“We are praying for the equilibrium of the balance of the planet.”
Wixarika said their prayers in this sacred place are essential to keeping the world in balance.
Listen to this interview at Censored News Blogtalk Radio:
DECLARATION IN DEFENSE OF THE WIRIKUTA:
"OBSERVING that the sacred springs where we collect our blessed water are found within the basins of the silver veins to be exploited, running an eminent risk of cyanide poisoning and the drying up of large quantities of water that would be used by the mining industry, in other words the water supply, in agreement with the National Water Commission, will find itself in a level of overexploitation and the capacity for recuperating the water is very low.
CONSIDERING that the damage will irreversibly affect 16 population centers that are found inside the concession area belonging to 6 Ejidos in the zone, as well as numerous localities in low-lying areas that will suffer the negative effects imposed on the water sources (drying up and contamination), such as is the case of El Mastranto, San José de Milpitas, Estación Catorce, Santa Cruz de Carretas, Los Catorce, Las Relaciones, El Barranco, El Garabato, Vigas de Coronado, San Juan de Matanzas, among others, making a total of approximately 3500 people who would be affected."