The 3 Shamans
I wrote this article because a few years ago i was on a tour in Mexico. Some lovely Mexican people came to speak to me after the show and they gave me a gift of a beautiful hand made beaded necklace and various other gifts. I was overwhelmed with the effort they had made and delightfully chatted to them about my joys. The woman who had given me the necklace was a very gently woman who had her words translated by one of the lads from the show. She and her 2 supporting friends, all dressed in very traditional looking outfits of mesmerzing beauty stood around me with the woman proceeding to tell me that she was from the Sierra Madre Mountain and that big Corporations were coming to mine the land and were destroying it. As it was beig translated and the weight of what she was telling me sunk in I could see her eyes glaze over as if she knew that what was happening was an abuse of her human rights as her ancestors land where peace had resided for centuries was being cruelly pillaged and raped but also knew that war or fighting the usual way - for people like her and her fellow Shamens are peacable and about gentlesness and love above – was no way to go. I stood with her and held her hand and told her that I was a mere singer and that her asking me for help would do nothing but I thanked her and her fellows for coming and sharing with me and promised that no matter what happened I would never forget them and that oneday a solution would be found for them. It took me this long just to get this article out there and in the meantime I have kept my eye on what has been going on at Sierra Madre. You see there are human rights agencies covering this issue as well as various activists within Mexico but without the support of Governments which are predominantly corrupt with individuals recieving large payouts to sign documents allowing companies to do what they want and stay silent about negative effects I am brought to the reality of what is happening all over the world. At this time I remember these 3 wonderful pilgrims on what to them must seem like an alien land and I give my prayers and love to them and beg the father in heaven in Jesus name to do something about it. Although it seems as if there is nothing we can do I believe that if a prayer is all you’ve got, pray it out with faith and plead with the lord to give a miracle. Ill keep doing that. Meanwhile, it makes it important for us to look at what we waste and how we can save a little of what we have and didnt neven need to share with those who need it most. I will visit Mexico again and I will go back to play in the same village and somehow I know I will see her again. I also know that somehow the situation will have got better. For this I will continue to pray. Here is the article about what they spoke of and God Bless their souls and spirits.
Stop Silver Mining on Mexico’s Sacred Mountain, Leunar
For more than 1,000 years, the Wixárika (we-SHA-re-ka) people have made pilgrimages from their ceremonial centers in the Sierra Madre mountains across the Chihuahua desert to Leunar, the sacred mountain where the sun first rose. The Wixárika pilgrims traverse over 300 miles to reach Leunar, stopping to give offerings and prayers at dozens of sacred places along the way – the natural temples of a deeply spiritual people. They undertake their journey, which they call their “essence,” to retrace the steps of creation, repeating the prayers of their ancestors in order to maintain the earth’s equilibrium and keep their culture alive.
The Wixárika people’s pilgrimage route and its destination are protected by state and federal law as well as international accords, but that hasn’t stopped a Canadian mining company, First Majestic Silver Corporation, from purchasing concessions to exploit the rich veins of silver that lie beneath the surface. In September, Wixárika communities issued a proclamation to stop the mine from desecrating their most sacred sites and endangering the fragile semi-desert ecosystem. In the US, the human rights organization Cultural Survival has launched a letter-writing campaign to support the Wixárika people and to stop the mine. You can send an email to the president of Mexico from their website, or write your own letter.
The Environmental Impact
Silver mining is nothing new in Real de Catorce, a colonial town perched on the side of the Wixárika people’s sacred mountain, Leunar, overlooking the Chihuahua desert. During the 18th and 19th centuries, 225 million ounces of silver were dug out of this region, an unregulated enterprise that turned a forest into a desert and contaminated the scanty water supply. Now First Majestic Silver Corporation’s CEO Keith Neumeyer says he expects to quadruple the plunder by using new methods (read cyanide) to extract silver from old tailings and by exploiting 12 miles of new veins.
If this huge project is allowed to move forward, its impacts will be equally huge. Whether they dig the ore out of tunnels or excavate open pits, the mine will produce enormous quantities of tailings which could leach acid into the environment for centuries and blight the landscape in a region whose primary source of income is tourism. Dust, noise, erosion, road construction, water pollution, and blasting all affect wildlife, and the region’s notable diversity of bird species – including 16 that are threatened – could plummet. Of most concern to the region’s peasant farmers is the mine’s potential impact on the water table in this semi-desert. Mines of this size use as much water in a day as a peasant family would use in 25 years.
First Majestic claims to be “eco-friendly,” but Mexico’s mining regulations are notoriously lax. Another Canadian company in the same state – San Luis Potosi – has been able to keep operating for years despite court orders to cease and desist. Disastrous cyanide leaks and spills occur too frequently.
So it is essential to stop First Majestic’s Real de Catorce mine before it starts.
Protecting the Wirikuta Cultural and Ecological Reserve
Seventy percent of First Majestic’s mining concessions are within the borders of the Wirikuta Cultural and Ecological Reserve, which was created to protect the Wixárika people’s pilgrimage route, their sacred sites, and the fragile semi-desert ecosystem that supports the highest diversity of cactus in the world. First Majestic’s richest silver vein runs within meters of the Wixárika people’s most sacred site.
State, federal, and international laws and accords for Indigenous rights, cultural preservation, and environmental protection were cited as justification for creating the Wirikuta Reserve in 1994. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Reserve protects one of the planet’s three most biologically diverse desert ecosystems. UNESCO identified Wirikuta as one of only 14 potential World Heritage Sites of both cultural and ecological importance.
It is time to insist on real protection for the Wirikuta Reserve – not just words on paper. Please answer the Wixárika people’s call and send letters to Mexican authorities today.
Thank you for joining in this campaign! Pamparius!