KOEF Grant Partner Spotlight:
Consejo Regional Wixárika por la Defensa de Wirikuta (CRW), México
The Wixáritari are an Indigenous Peoples from the Wixárika region, who live between the western Mexican states of Jalisco, Durango, and Nayarit. Their sacred Wirikuta territory is currently threatened by 72 different extractive, ecologically-destructive mining concessions. One of the most threatening is the La Luz Silver Mine, which belongs to the Mexican company Real Bonanza, a subsidiary of Canadian company First Majestic Silver Corp. Four land defenders have been killed since 2017 for defending their territories.
In order to protect their sacred lands, the organization Consejo Regional Wixárika por la Defensa de Wirikuta (CRW) continues to seek protection and official recognition of their territory. CRW was first founded in April 2011 in response to threats to the Wixáritari from Canadian mining companies. By creating an organization dedicated to protecting Wirikuta territory, CRW aims to consolidate, publicize, and strengthen their conservation efforts. The organization also hopes to directly benefit the estimated 11,000 inhabitants of Wirikuta territory as well as all 43,929 members of the Wixáritari.
“We must demand that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cancel the mining concessions, we cannot allow Wirikuta to be destroyed,” says Martín Vázquez Carrillo, President of Culture of San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán.
A Keepers of the Earth Fund grant from Cultural Survival has supported CRW in petitioning for federal recognition of Wirikuta territory, pursuing UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and establishing a network of allied organizations. By achieving these goals, CRW hopes to strengthen federal and cultural support for the lands as well as establish more local alliances in the state of San Luis Potosí. The grant also contributed to strengthening social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter intended to cultivate support in the public sphere and combat disinformation.
Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) is an Indigenous Led Fund within Cultural Survival designed to support Indigenous Peoples’ community development and advocacy projects. Since 2017, through small grants and technical assistance, KOEF has supported 182 projects in 36 countries totaling $791,838. KOEF provides, on average, $5,000 grants to grassroots Indigenous-led communities, organizations, and traditional governments to support their self-determined development projects based on their Indigenous values. Predicated on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Survival uses a rights-based approach in our grantmaking strategies to support grassroots Indigenous solutions through the equitable distribution of resources to Indigenous communities.