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Tracy L. Barnett
Tracy L. Barnett

Tracy L. Barnett is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Yes! Magazine, Reuters, Earth Island Journal and USA Today, among others. She is the founding editor of the Esperanza Project. 

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Sowing Sovereignty: Reclaiming Indigenous Agriculture in North Dakota

Grandfather’s vision about ‘gallons and gallons’ of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara seeds nurtures tribal college food sovereignty project. Dr. Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills recalls when her grandfather, Gerard Baker, shared with her some seeds – and his dream that they would multiply. “His wish was that there would be gallons and gallons of jars of these seeds […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Agriculture, Indigenous Peoples, United States on June 10, 2024 Continue reading
Legacy of the Andes: An Urgent Wakeup Call to a World In Trouble

Good news! After three long years of labor, we are showing Legacy of the Andes, the long-awaited second part of our Cosmology & Polycrisis (formerly Cosmology & Pandemic) transmedia series, at the Cosmology & Polycrisis website ( All proceeds from the rent and purchase of the films go to support our independent transmedia work to […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project on April 22, 2024 Continue reading
Bringing Prophecies to Life: Indigenous Leaders Converge at Mayan Pyramids

Over 250 Indigenous representatives and allies unite to forge Sacred Covenant at Palenque’s ancient ceremonial center. It was a scene that could have played out a thousand years ago, or more. Amid a cluster of ancient Mayan temples, a rainbow-hued assemblage of Indigenous elders and young leaders formed a ceremonial circle. They looked on as […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Mexico, Spirituality on April 5, 2024 Continue reading
Third Annual Prayer Horse Ride traverses Native mine-affected communities in Nevada

Walkers, runners, riders join to honor memory of journalist, a defender of land and culture Josh Dini learned and practiced his calling as a water protector under the tutelage of Myron Dewey, his elder brother. Dewey was a beloved Paiute Shoshone filmmaker, photojournalist and drone pilot who founded Digital Smoke Signals. This independent media outlet […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Water on March 21, 2024 Continue reading
2023: Hope Amidst the Chaos, and a Closing of the Cycles

A roundup of courage, hope and heroism from the year gone by.

This past year has been a tough one for many. Devastating wars in Gaza and the Ukraine have taken their toll far beyond their excruciating epicenters. Climate change is no longer a future foretold but a reality unfolding before our eyes. An uncertain economy has been further fueled by tens of thousands of layoffs spurred […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project on December 30, 2023 Continue reading
Saying Farewell to a Legend

Our beloved 'Coyote' Alberto Ruz Buenfil has taken his place among the stars.

I learned the news when I was in the middle of a meeting. The notification sounded and I checked my screen – I could only see the last words from a dear friend, “…he was suffering so much.”

In a heartbeat I knew. Alberto was gone.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Vision Council on December 22, 2023 Continue reading
Mexico: Fighting the Heat Wave with Memes and Prayers

JUNE 23: Join the synchronized Global Rain Petition for the Renovation of the World  from the sacred desert of Wirikuta.

It’s been nearly three weeks since I left the suffocating conditions of a Mexican heat wave to land right in the middle of another one in Missouri. This one was a little cooler — 94 degrees instead of 98. Along with the Southwestern US, Mexico is suffering a brutal heat wave — but with a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Climate Change on June 22, 2023 Continue reading
Oaxaca Mural Documents Struggle to Defend Native Corn

Inauguration celebrates Milpa culture, Supreme Court decision banning cultivation of transgenic corn in Mexico

In a noisy entrance to one of the oldest markets in Oaxaca City, not far from one of the sites where corn culture originated  9,000 years ago, muralist Mariel García stood on a scaffold in the hot sun for three weeks and painted her heart out. The mural she was creating, more than a year […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Agriculture, Mexico on June 12, 2023 Continue reading
A family lost and found — and the ongoing menace to Indigenous land defenders

Disappearance of Santos de la Cruz Carrillo is a wakeup call to a world in serious trouble.

This weekend has been a frightening one for many here in Mexico — at least among the people who care about the land and our Indigenous peoples. The social media networks were on fire after it was announced that a longtime friend, Wixárika land defender and attorney Santos de la Cruz Carrillo, had disappeared on […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Wixarika on March 6, 2023 Continue reading
“Embrace of the Amate” generates hope, healing and action

The XVI Vision Council sparkled with music, ecological consciousness and magic

In a green valley of Central Mexico, below the distinctive humpbacked mountains that stand like guardians over the itinerant ecovillage that was taking form in the forest near Tepoztlan, the resonant call of the caracol, or conch shell, rang out from the sacred fire before sunrise: It was time to begin the activities of the […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Angelica Almazan Posted in Ecovillages, Sustainability, Vision Council, Water on December 30, 2022 Continue reading
Remembering Joye Braun: Water Protector, Grandmother, Revolutionary

Previously unreleased interview with Talli Nauman at Standing Rock captures the essence of a leader and a movement

Last week we lost a powerful voice in the Water Protector and Climate Justice movements. Joye Braun (Wambli Wiyan Ka’win) of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation passed away at her home on Sunday, November 13th. Her untimely death at 53 leaves a void that no one can fill.  Esperanza Project contributing editor Talli Nauman, […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Standing Rock, Water on November 22, 2022 Continue reading
Vision Council - Guardians of the Earth returns after 5-year hiatus

“Embrace of the Amate” transformational gathering merges art, culture, spirituality, healing and land defense in the heart of Mexico

Renowned artists, healers, wisdom keepers, scientists and changemakers will be among the participants in a unique transformational gathering that celebrates its 16th encounter with “Embrace of the Amate” in Tepoztlan, Morelos — returning to the place where it was born.  The Vision Council has been carried out for more than 30 years and “has been […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Alternative Education, Vision Council on November 19, 2022 Continue reading
The Rainbow Path of the Coyote: EcoSapien Interview with Alberto Ruz

Memories and dreams from the revolutionary cofounder of the Vision Council - Guardians of the Earth and many other peace and unity movements

One of the principal founders of the Vision Council – Guardians of the Earth is also an icon for the World Rainbow Community since the seventies. “Coyote” Alberto Ruz Buenfil is a visionary revolutionary who has been planting seeds of change in every step of his way.  Alberto, a native of Mexico born in 1945, […]

By Angelica Almazan Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Ecovillages, Social Change, Vision Council on September 30, 2022 Continue reading
Mayan leaders fight bill privatizing archaeological sites

‘They are not “pre-Hispanic ruins;” they are living sacred sites’ and ceremonial centers, says Mayan daykeeper

Archaeologists, anthropologists and members of the indigenous communities of Guatemala are making an appeal to the Guatemalan government to reject a controversial bill affecting the administration of the country’s archaeological sites. Law 5923, called “Rescue of Pre-Hispanic Heritage,” has been proposed as a matter of national urgency both by the Ministry of Culture and Sports […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Angelica Almazan Posted in Guatemala, Indigenous Peoples, Mayan on June 30, 2022 Continue reading
Wixárika community takes back financial autonomy in historic vote

San Sebastian will manage its own public budget without the intervention of political parties.

In a forceful step against corruption and discrimination, San Sebastián voted to manage their own federal tax dollars — joining the ranks of a growing number of indigenous communities in Mexico. And they will do so with women at the table under an agreement of gender parity, a rarity among Indigenous governments and, indeed, governments in general.

By Angelica Almazan Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Mexico, Politics, Wixarika on June 14, 2022 Continue reading
Sacred Earth: Gathering the voices of the protectors of Amerikua

A series of interviews with indigenous leaders to inspire environmental consciousness

An interview with Ivan Sawyer, founder of Voices of Amerikua, on Sacred Earth, his new series on Indigenous Ecology

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Environment, Indigenous Peoples on June 8, 2022 Continue reading
Wixarika Caravan to AMLO: We Want Our #LandBack

200 Indigenous men, women, children and elders march across Mexico to demand restitution of 11,000 hectares

Mothers pushing baby carriages, grandmothers and grandfathers in their 70s and even a man in a wheelchair joined the ranks of the 200 Indigenous Wixárika people making their way nearly 1,000 kilometers along the sweltering highways of México in a generations-long battle to recover their stolen lands. The Wixárika Caravan for Dignity and Justice departed […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Mexico, Wixarika on May 12, 2022 Continue reading
Renovation of the World in Wirikuta

Wixárika ceremony reveals there is still time to save life on the planet — by working together

On the night of March 18, 2022, a full moon rose over the Cerro del Quemado, the mountain known to the Wixárika people as the Birthplace of the Sun, to reveal an unforgettable sight. Hundreds of Wixaritari – elders, youth, children, mothers and fathers with babies in their arms – encircled the concentric rings of […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Wirikuta, Wixarika on March 23, 2022 Continue reading
The Change Weavers: From Charity to Justice

From Ukraine to Los Angeles, platform empowers frontline communities to speak for themselves

Two years ago, Clement Guerrá was immersed in the film project of his life: The Condor & the Eagle, an award-winning environmental justice film documenting the fight of Indigenous people from Canada to the Amazon to defend their territories from petroleum, mining and other extractive industries. But for the French filmmaker, making the film was […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Angelica Almazan Posted in Activism, Alternative media, Documentary Film, Social Change on March 23, 2022 Continue reading
Wixárika Invitation Inspires 'Mirror Altars' Around the World

Thousands to synchronize with 'Renovation of the World' ceremony in Wirikuta to heal humanity’s relationship with Nature

It is that time of year again, when, since time immemorial, the Wixárika people are preparing their offerings. The candles of life, the chaquira gourd bowls, the God’s eyes, the prayer arrows. They are beginning to retrace the arduous journey of their ancestors, carried out every year in sacred reciprocity for the gift of life.  […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Spirituality, Wirikuta, Wixarika on March 8, 2022 Continue reading
Enlightening Our Way Together - Best of 2021

We are celebrating another year of lifting up the voices of those who are making a difference. Will you be among them?

As the year draws to a close, I pause to wish you all a happy Solstice season and reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish this year: the publication of 70 stories in English and 51 in Spanish, together with our first transmedia series, a bilingual film and three related articles and the presentation […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project, Indigenous Peoples on December 22, 2021 Continue reading
Moira Millán: 'A telluric movement is awakening the women of the Earth'

Author, activist and traditional Mapuche weychafe on the end of the patriarchy

Moira Millán is a force to be reckoned with — a weychafe in the Mapuche tradition, or as she explains it, a warrior, a fighter, a defender. “To be a Weychafe is to be the defense of the territory, the defense of life. And that is the spirit that inhabits me.” Moira had just traveled […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Environment, Indigenous Peoples, Women's Empowerment on December 3, 2021 Continue reading
Mexican Village Sets International Precedent in Water Conflict Resolution

Temaca celebrates victory after winning the right to not be flooded, with reparations for 17 years of human rights violations

After nearly 17 years of creative resistance and six visits from the man who is now Mexico’s president – three of them in recent months — the tiny colonial town of Temacapulín stands poised to become a model in the resolution of water-related conflicts.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Megadams, Mexico, Water on November 14, 2021 Continue reading
Cosmology & Pandemic is live!!! And making waves throughout the world

Join us at cosmopandemic. to see the film, read the stories and sign up for more

“You have accomplished the impossible! 30 communities with 14 film crews in remote locations in 6 different countries… to pull all of that together and deliver this important message is a feat of epic proportions.” “I am stirred deeply by the messages coming from these communities and individuals as they help us see the pandemic […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Esperanza Project, Indigenous Peoples on October 29, 2021 Continue reading

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