McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy,
coming to fruition thanks to our generous supporters.
Your gift furthers the mission of the McKenna Academy.
DONATE

DONATE
24 Nov 2021

Mining and Poaching Threatens 15,000-Year-Old Peyote Tradition in Mexico

"Mining and Poaching Threatens 15,000-Year-Old Peyote Tradition in Mexico. The Wixárika people of Mexico struggle to continue their sacred pilgrimage to gather peyote amid extractive forces.

 

Researcher Pedro Nájera of Conabio (the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity) has presented troubling evidence that this sacramental plant at the heart of the Wixárika cosmogony is rapidly disappearing. Nájera, a native of San Luis Potosí, did a five-year study monitoring 70 different sampling areas within the protected area of Wirikuta and other sites in the Chihuahuan Desert. His study tracked an alarming drop in the number of peyote buttons, finding that 50 of the 70 sites were severely impacted, with a 40 percent reduction in the number of cacti counted. He predicts peyote’s possible extinction in the wild within as little as a decade—if current trends continue.

 

Small-scale antimony mining has had serious environmental consequences that have not been monitored. And mining company representatives continue to show up at community meetings, moving ahead with their campaign to convince the locals that mining is a part of their heritage and laying the groundwork to begin work as soon as they can get a favorable court ruling.

 

To Gavilán, the future of these lands is inextricably linked with that of the planet. In part, she says, because the destruction of the desert has serious climate and biodiversity implications; but on another level, because the desert itself, and the sacred cactus endemic to it, has the capacity to heal the spiritual sickness that has afflicted human souls.

 

Like many others, she dreams of a joint project between Wixárika leaders and local campesinos that would revitalize the local economy by creating community-based peyote restoration and conservation programs. These programs would combat the problem of looting peyote by providing monitoring, education, and reforestation projects and access to the medicine in a culturally and environmentally appropriate context."

 

Source: DoubleBlind (Link to the article in the comments)

Photo source: "Huicholes. Los Últimos Guardianes del Peyote" Documentary by ANDRÉS SOLÓRZANO (KABOPRO FILMS)

 



STAY CONNECTED

News and event updates from the McKenna Academy.