Tourist Developments Replace Indigenous Sacred Land in Nayarit

SDP Noticias
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May 11, 2013

Of the 13 hectares (about 32 acres) that the Wixáricas (Huichol) designated as their sacred land, Roberto Sandoval of PRI Government "sold 10, although he says eight are still in reserve" to the companies of Desarrollos Turísticos Paraíso del Rey and Desarrollos Turísticos Aramara.

Braulio Muñoz, President of the Foundation for the Wixárica Defense of Nayarit, revealed that Tatei Haramara, or Isla del Rey (Island of the King), is the birthplace of sacred water that gives life to the Wixárica, was sold by the PRI in Nayarit to two tourist development companies without taking into consideration the Huichol traditions, "that we did not get yesterday or 20 years ago, it is our sacred land."

The Nayarit Wixárica were informed that the three hectares had been agreed on with the Wixárika Union, but they are unaware of any negotiations. They complain that the act did not take them into account and Braulio points out that this Governor, who arrived in the State power in 2011, "just arrived and began to sell."

Tatei Haramara, sacred place of the Wixárica or Huichol, was declared protected by the Hauxa Manka Covenant in which the people agreed in 2008 with the Federal Government and the State Governments of Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco, Durango and Zacatecas to protect their sacred sites.

In 2009, the Federal Government, through the Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI) advised the Wixárica to seek a concession within its sacred site to build a place of prayer and offering, called a Xiriki. "What the Government did not say is that the award should be paid by the communities or else it can be cancelled, transferred, sold; i.e., what had been an ancestral right had become a 'marketable right'," reported in La Jornada Jalisco Tunuary and Cristian Chavez.

After that, the island was put up for sale and only a tiny place has been reserved for offerings, arguing that the ancestral place of pilgrimage is "idle land," as noted at the time by Mayor Hilario Ramirez.

In 2011, nearly 100 hectares around Isla del Rey were under concession by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat).

Translated and edited by Team Angels

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