share

 VICTORY!  This action is now closed.  Thank you for your letters!

Read more

"LA FOMMA": LA FORTALEZA DE LA MUJER MAYA (The Empowerment of Mayan Women)

Only two years ago a handful of women lit candles and hoisted glasses to initiate LA FOMMA, the first Indian women's cultural center in Chiapas, Mexico. What was considered a reckless act of defiance by many was yet one more step in the women's path toward artistic fulfillment and respect.

Read more

"Unofficial" Refugees in Chiapas

In addition to the large number of Guatemalan Indian refugees in camps in Mexico along the border between Guatemala and Mexico north of the Panamerican Highway, there is a substantial number of refugees not in camps in an area along the southern border between Chiapas and Guatemala, from the coast almost to the Panamerican Highway. Guatemalans have traditionally crossed the border in this region for economic reasons and continue to do so, now for reasons of survival.

Read more

"Yo No Soy Nada"

Juana? "She's a pleasant woman. She works hard, she goes to church on Sundays, and she's honest. Sh sells shoes to help her husband out. He's a goodman, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke." Beatriz? "She is respected in the village. She has a smile for everyone, her dress is always impeccable, and she helps out the poor when she can. It's not that she's rich - her sons own everything." Maria? "Which Maria? No, I don't know her.

Read more

A Native American Perspective on NAFTA

Native Americans stand to lose jobs, land rights and legal status under the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which removes trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. All of these countries have large indigenous populations, as do Chile and much of Central America, which will soon be added to the Free Trade Zone.

Read more

A Wave of Change: The United Nations

The fundamental rights of indigenous peoples are gaining greater international recognition at a crucial time in history, when issues of state territorial integrity and sovereignty are losing their primacy in the global political arena. The following articles reflect the tidal change in the world community towards recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Read more

Advertising and Global Culture

No one can travel to Africa, Asia, or Latin America and not be struck by the Western elements of urban life. The symbols of transnational culture - automobiles, advertising, supermarkets, shopping centers, hotels, fast food chains, credit cards, and Hollywood movies - give the, feeling of being at home. Behind these tangible symbols are a corresponding set of values and attitudes about time, consumption, work relations, etc.

Read more

Armed Struggle and Indigenous People

The two CSQ issues on militarization and indigenous peoples are intended to acquaint our readers with the important role militarization plays in the lives of even the most isolated tribal groups. The articles contained in these issues focus mostly on the consequences of shooting wars and on the increasing number of groups involved in them, directly or indirectly. This increasingly militarized world also affects the lives of indigenous peoples in a number of other important ways.

Read more

In the rugged terrain of the northwestern Sierra Madre, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, live three linguistically distinct groups in Huichol Indians. They live on approximately 2,500 square miles of communal lands, relatively unaffected by Mexico's political, social, and religious history. This is due in part to the Huichol's resistance to cultural change, and in part to the land's remoteness and inaccessibility, and to its unsuitability for agriculture or ranching.

Read more

Artisan Development Projects

In the late 1950s, the Alliance for Progress initiated a new era of US development assistance to Latin America. During the 1960s and 1970s, there has been a tremendous increase in tourism to what were previously remote, inaccessible regions of the world and, consequently, interests in ethnic arts and crafts.

Read more

Brave New World or More of the Same?

Twenty five years ago it was widely assumed that indigenous peoples were dying out; that they were either being physically extinguished by disease and the savage onslaughts of the modem world or that they were abandoning their indigenous identities and disappearing into the mainstream of the societies that surrounded them. This assumption was quite wrong.

Read more

Bridging the Gap

During the first United Nations International Decade on the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004), there were a number of positive developments for the world’s indigenous peoples. Many countries adopted legislation concerning land, resources, culture, language, education, justice, intellectual property rights, and in some instances, legal pluralism, autonomy, and self-governance.

Read more

Muchas gracias to everyone who sent letters to the Mexican Senate in response to our appeal at the end of March! Our campaign was a success! After receiving 2,748 international letters in a single week, the Senate approved a “point of agreement,” that:

Read more

On October 26 and 27, hundreds of Huichol people traveled 20 hours to the Mexican capital to demand, once more, that President Felipe Calderón cancel mining concessions in their sacred lands and fulfill his promises to the Huichol people.

Read more

Another area considered sacred by the Huichol people of Mexico has been licensed out in concessions by the government. According to the Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), approximately 250 acres of beachfront property including the sacred area of Tatéi Haramara will be developed for tourism.

Read more

More than 150 writers and artists from 30 different countries joined together to sign a petition against the First Majestic Silver mine proposedwithin the Wirikuta Natural and Cultural Reserve, reported the Associated Press last week.

Read more

Mexico’s Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) is mailing replies to people who wrote letters in response to a Global Response campaign urging Mexican authorities to withdraw mining permits in the Wirikuta Cultural and Natural Reserve.

Read more

Hundreds of Wixárika pilgrims traveled last week from their homes in the Western Sierra Madre mountains to Wirikuta, expressing their united determination to save this most sacred place. Wearing ceremonial dress and bearing gifts and offerings, they traversed the path of their ancestors to the place where the sun first rose, Wirikuta

Read more

by Tracy Barnett of The Esperanza ProjectMEXICO CITY – It sounded too good to be true – and, indeed, it was.

Read more

Mexico has assigned a special commission to consider the protests of the Wixárika (Huichol) people against mining and other environmentally destructive projects within the Wirikuta Natural and Cultural Reserve, according to a letter Cultural Survival received from Mexico’s Office of Mining. Signed by the General Director of Mining, Lic.

Read more

The Wixárika Regional Council and its allies in the Front for the Defense of Wirikuta Tamatsima Waha'a are mobilizing public events and demonstrations in Mexico City this week. They urge everyone to join them, both locally and internationally, in calling for permanent protection for the Wirikuta Natural and Cultural Reserve. Read their call to action below, in English, and the original Spanish here on their website.

Read more

By Tracy Barnett of The Esperanza ProjectMEXICO CITY – The old Mexico met the new one Saturday at the massive Foro Sol and together, in a vivid explosion of rhythm and light and living energy, they danced the night away.

Read more

James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently published a report on his correspondence with the Mexican government regarding  mining concessions within Mexico’s Wirikuta Natural and Cultural Reserve, an area that is sacred to the Wixárika (Huichol) people. Anaya presented the following facts to the State of Mexico:

Read more

Wixárika delegates joined other Indigenous activists from Guatemala and Honduras for a week of protests  against mining projects  in their territories. The conference of the Mining Justice Alliance focused on activities of Canadian mining companies Goldcorp and First Majestic Silver Corporation which are operating in Indigenous Peoples' territories without obtaining their free, prior and informed consent. For more information, see:

Read more

The following article is cross-posted from Upside Down World:Every year, the Wixarika (Huichol) indigenous people of central west México walk 500 km to the sacred land of Wirikuta, where according to legend, the sun was born. Here, they collect jíkuri (peyote), carry out rituals of purification and come into communion with their gods, who give them blessings and guidance. In this way, they conserve their culture, maintain harmony with nature, and uphold a thousand-year-old tradition. 

Read more

 In what is deemed an extensive media ruse, the government of Mexico announced in July that they would be extending a total of 75,000 hectares to what they’ve called a National Mining Reserve for the benefit of the Wixráica (Huichol) people.

Read more

Delegates from the Wixárika traditional authorities were in New York and Vancouver the third week of May, defending their right to protect their sacred lands from exploitation by a Canadian mining company.

Read more

United Nations Human Rights chief Navi Pillay reported recently on the state of human rights in Mexico, after a visit to the mostly Indigenous state of Oaxaca.

Read more

Against a backdrop of heightened tensions in the region and other worrisome developments, Wixarika leaders have filed an injunction to stop the illegal drilling in exploration for gold and silver in their ancestral sacred lands of Wirikuta.

Read more

Pages