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.
Huichol spokespersons held a press conference on Wednesday where they announced their actions, with the support of actors, artists, and intellectuals who have taken up the fight for Wirikuta alongside the Huichol people.
The group, including Huichol elders and leaders, marched for four hours through the city on Thursday, ending at the president’s Los Pinos residence, where they demonstrated and submitted a letter to Calderón with their demands, hoping to finally receive a response. This is the third letter the Huichol people have written to Calderón since the government granted mining concessions to the Canadian company First Majestic Silver to operate inside the Wirikuta Reserve. The mountains and desert of Wirikuta are held sacred by the Huichol people, who have made annual pilgrimages to the site for centuries.
Last month, the government granted yet another mining concession within the protected Wirikuta reserve, in the area of Kauyumaritsie. Golondrina, a subsidiary of another Canadian company, West Timmins Mining, has plans to construct an open-pit gold mine there.
These mining concessions threaten to destroy the way of life of the Huichol people by exploiting their sacred sites, contaminating water sources, and affecting the delicate biodiversity of the Real de Catorce desert, where Huichol people conduct ceremonies and harvest the sacred peyote.
See our Action Alert to save sacred sites of the Huichol people, and please send letters and emails to President Calderón.
For a full report and photos of the events, see The Ezperanza Project here.
For more information on the movement to save Wirikuta, see Frente en Defensa de Wirikuta (English and Spanish)