Interview with Julio Parra, Huichol Medicine Man
Mining Story 370

Interview with Julio Parra, Huichol Medicine Man

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John Ahni Schertow
January 1, 2011
 

Julio Parra, a Huichol Medicine Man, talks about the Cerro Quemado, sacred mountain of the Huichol People, and why we should help protect it from a Canadian mining company.

In October 2010, the Huichol (Wikárika) People took a stand against the Canadian mining company First Majestic Silver, demanding a moratorium on mining activities and the cancellation of the company’s 22 mining concessions in the Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

The Real de Catorce, known to the Huichol as Wirikuta, is home to several sacred sites including the Cerro Quemado, “the site where the sun rose for the first time, according to Huichol tradition”, notes The Esperanza Project. The region is also “home to several sacred springs [and it is] where their ancestors are buried and important ceremonies must be conducted each year. Here is the desert where they collect the sacred hikuri that they use for their prayers and ceremonies.” Wirikuta has itself been designated a Protected Natural Area and it is a recognized UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Despite the protected status of Wirikuta, and its spiritual and cultural importance to the Huichol, the Mexican government has told First Majestic that in can go ahead with their 22 mining operations as early as January, 2011.

That is, unless we work together to stop it.

Interview recorded at the Vision Council – Guardians of the Earth gathering in November 2010, by Leticia Rigatti and Ryan Luckey of the Común Tierra project.

Courtesy of the Esperanza Project, here’s a list of things you can do to support the Huichol people:

First, you can join the Wirikuta Defense Front by dropping a line to AJAGI1@prodigy.net.mx and asking to be added to the mailing list. If you want to receive information in English only, please specify. Also, please indicate if you have particular skills that you can share: translation, background in environmental sciences, connections with organizations that might be able to write a letter in support or help in other ways. The group is in the process of creating a Spanish-language blog and Facebook page; please let us know if you’d like to help. Meanwhile, the blog is Salvemos Wirikuta

Second, you can organize a letter-writing campaign among your friends and contacts to Mexican officials; personal letters sent through the mail are the most effective, but if you prefer, there is a website where you can just fill out a form and press “send.” Cultural Survival, an international organization dedicated to raising awareness about indigenous rights, has launched an international letter-writing campaign with a sample letter and addresses here, as well as an alert that lays out the issues in detail.

Meanwhile, the Wirikuta Defense Front is working to bring international pressure on the Mexican government to shut down the mine before it starts. If you are a member of an organization that would be willing to issue a statement in support of the Huichol people; if you or anyone you know has specialized expertise in the issue, please contact AJAGI at ajagi1@prodigy.net.mx.

Finally, the group is working to raise the money to send a delegation of Huicholes to Canada to lobby against the proposed mine at the company’s Canadian headquarters, through its stockholders and through the Canadian government.

If you are interested in contributing to the Wirikuta Defense Front to help with this and other expenses related to stopping the mining operations in Wirikuta, please make a tax-deductible contribution to The Esperanza Project via the Paypal link on its website, with WIRIKUTA in the special instructions space, or through the AJAGI bank account in Mexico, c/o CARLOS CHÀVEZ REYES, at HSBC, Branch # 00701, Account #02132 00403 92525 721.

Most importantly, help spread the word – and join the Huichol in their prayers for a healthier, happier and more balanced planet for us all.

For updates, videos and more information, visit: http://www.salvemoswirikuta.blogspot.com/

Join the Facebook Group (info in English and Spanish) to stay informed and show your support: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=138911772791701

Sign a petition written by the Huicholes to be delivered to the Mexican and Canadian governments: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/proclamation-in-defense-of-wirikuta/

Call First Majestic directly and tell them you are against this mining project and demand respect for the Huichol tradition: 1-866-529-2807.

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