Traditional Authorities from the autonomously governed Wixarika community of Tatei Kie, this month declared the Wixarika Peoples’ “total opposition” to mining in the ceremonial center of Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
In a written declaration, which you can find below, the Traditional authorities state that “We will not hold back in the face of anything in its defense and we convoke the whole world to join the effort to avoid this terrible destruction of the sacred, definitively opposing the dark interests behind it, which seek our spiritual death.”
The declaration was signed on March 3, 2010, while the Traditional authorities and other appointed representatives were in Mexico City to express their opposition to Mexico’s Senate.
According to La Jouranda, who interviewed the Wixarika while they were in Mexico City, the Indigenous Peoples are now preparing a series of actions to reject the activities of the mining company.
Petitions: Proclamation in Defense of Wirikuta; Letter to Mexican authorities demanding the cancellation of mining concessions, Cultural Survival Letter-writing Campaign: Stop Mining, Protect Sacred Sites
In Defense of Wirikuta and Sierra de Catorce
Declaration of the Community of Tatei Kie
The authorities of the Wixarika indigenous community of Tatei Kie (San Andres Cohamiata) represent on this occasion the hopes of all the Wixarika People that the millennial traditions of our people be respected, as well as the sacred places that our people have cared for since times immemorial, singing, praying and making pilgrimages for life and for the whole world, as our forefathers taught us.
In that regard, we wish to manifest our profound concern because we are seeing how the destruction of our principal sacred sites is advancing, and we denounce the incoherent policies followed by Mexican government, given that while they sign all kinds of international conventions for the protection of indigenous rights and the environment, sign pacts with us for the preservation of our sacred sites such as the pact of Huaxa Manaka in April 2008, and even dedicate small amounts of money supposedly budgeted so that our people will be attended to, then, at the same time other governmental entities are committing themselves to business projects that assure the destruction of our sanctuaries and the environment that surrounds them.
That’s what’s happening in Aramara in San Blas, Nayarit, with real estate and touristic projects, in Huaxa Manaka in the state of Durango with deforestation, or in Xapa Wiyemeta in Lake Chapala, with the severe contamination that the lake suffers because of the deeply distressing inaction of the responsible authorities.
On this occasion, we want to concentrate our denunciation on what is occurring in Wirikuta in the desert of San Luis Potosí and in the area surrounding Real de Catorce, where we know the government has granted 22 mining leases acquired by a Canadian company called First Majestic Silver Corp., right in one of the places where we carry out our most important ceremonies, threatening it with irremediable effects on the flora, the fauna and the sacred springs located there.
All of this is much more serious because of the fact that the region of Wirikuta is by state decree a natural protected area since 1994 and includes 140,211.85 hectares in seven municipalities, has a management plan by law since June 6, 2008, in which plan is established the prohibition of mining activities in most of the reserve, and in the zones where it is permitted, it must be done with great restrictions such as not permitting the dumping of contaminating wastes or altering the course of surface or underground waters.
Of all the lands concessioned for mining, more than 60 percent of the surface falls within the protected area designated for sustainable agriculture, restoration, special uses and traditional uses.
Furthermore, the zone is located within the internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA) No. 81 and is registered on the UNESCO list of priority sacred sites for conservation.
In a campaign of disinformation sponsored by the mining company, its director assures that the zone of exploitation is more than two kilometers from the sacred sites. This assumes that the sacred site corresponds exclusively to the space where the offerings are placed, when in fact the sacred area is all the hill and in general, all of the zone of Wirikuta, which covers the highlands region of the Sierra de Catorce in its entirety.
At the same time, we understand the situation of the inhabitants of the zone who, due to their great poverty and the abandonment they suffer, are feeling driven to accept the mining project in exchange for dangerous employment that would affect their health and their lives, besides the fact that it would cancel the future for generations of subsistence farmers due to the great erosion, depletion of the scarce aquifers and the contamination the mine will cause in the extraction process of the minerals they seek.
We declare our people’s total opposition to the mine in Wirikuta that has united us to defend the place where the sun was born and where we care for life itself. We will not hold back in the face of anything in its defense and we convoke the whole world to join the effort to avoid this terrible destruction of the sacred, definitively opposing the dark interests behind it, which seek our spiritual death.
We solicit the intervention of the competent authorities to review and revoke the illegally granted concessions, along with the enforcement of the laws of this country and the international commitments that the Mexican State has signed in the area of environmental preservation and the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the commitment to the Pact of Hauxa Manaka, signed by President Felipe Calderón on April 28, 2008, in the State of Durango, in which he committed to preserve the sacred places of the Wixarika and expressly, Wirikuta.
Likewise, we ask that they establish an indefinite moratorium to prevent the establishment of mining and/or agro industrial projects within the Natural Protected Area of Wirikuta.
Included in the above is the necessary implementation of public policies oriented towards the effective improvement of the quality of life for the campesino populations that reside in the semi desert area of the Potosino highlands. We seek to reduce the alarming rates of migration.
The authorities and commisioned representatives of Tatei Kié
?México City, March 3, 2011