Nayarit’s Playa del Rey used to be a sacred place of the Huichol people


8 years ago, the Federal Government privatized a beach in Nayarit which used to be a sacred place of the Huichol indigenous people for centuries.

It is a shame to see how the federal government has no respect for the diverse number of ethnic groups of our country, their culture, their traditions, and their sacred places. 

The Huichol or Wixárika are an indigenous people of Mexico living in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. They are best known to the larger world as the Huichol, however, they refer to themselves as Wixáritari (“the people”) in their native Huichol language.

The Huichol are well known for their Yarn paintings and their beading art.

The Yarn paintings consist of commercial yarn pressed into boards coated with wax and resin and are derived from a ceremonial tablet called a neirika. The Huichol have a long history of beading, making the beads from clay, shells, corals, seeds, and more and using them to make jewelry and to decorate bowls and other items.

When Mexico hosted the Pan American Games, the mascot was named “Huchui”, a deer that represented “Huichol art and Mexican culture”, this was considered disrespectful for the ethnic group because they were trivializing their spiritual beliefs. 

Former president Felipe Calderón, granted Canadian companies the concession to drill in Wirikuta territory, a sacred place of the Wixárika (Huichol) people, the matter so transcended that three Nobel Laureates and several renowned artists from 30 countries signed a letter asking the Mexican government to cancel the mining concessions in Wirikuta, in order to preserve this sacred site, but the companies are still operating nowadays.

Finally, in a shameless dispossession of the ethnic group cultural property, in June 2011, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources ( Semarnat ) concessioned almost 100 hectares of the so-called Playa del Rey in the municipality of San Blas, Nayarit, including the site known as Isla del Rey, an ancestral sacred site for the Huichol communities.

This action violated the Huauxa Manaka Pact , signed by the states of Nayarit, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, San Luis Potosí and the Federal Government in April 2008, for the preservation of the Wixárika Culture and the preservation of the sacred sites and ceremonial centers in various states of the Republic. 

Back then, Felipe Calderón had the audacity to wear the traditional costume of the culture that he was supposed to preserve and said:

With this document, tHE governors, and the civil authorities FROM various states, aND the Federal Government, WE ALL commit ourselves to protect and strengthen the historical continuity of the sacred places and the pilgrimage routes of the Wixárika people.

The Huichol have a permit granted during the six-year term of José López Portillo (1976-1982) to use the island without being disturbed. Despite this, in 2007 the Wixárika Union of Ceremonial Centers of Jalisco, Nayarit and Durango AC obtained a “transitory permit” from the state delegation of Semarnat to install “legally” on the Isla del Rey a ‘Ririqui‘ (Casa de Dios), a kind of temple for religious ceremonial use “where pilgrims from the Huichol people come to pray, perform marriages, baptisms and offerings to their traditional gods.” 

The government of Felipe Calderón was a real nightmare for the Huichol people and those lands that were a part of their heritage were taken away from them without any respect for their cultural traditions.

Source: The voice of Anahuac

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