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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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The Arhuacos: A Message from the Mamos, the Prophets of the Sierra Nevada

The Arhuacos have warned of this crisis for generations. Now their spiritual guides say Covid is only the first of four pandemics.

When news of Covid-19 came to the enigmatic white-clad peoples of the high Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, nobody was very surprised. Trained since birth in the ways of looking to Nature for guidance, these spiritual guides of the Sierra Nevada predicted this pandemic and other current crises decades ago.

By Tracy L. Barnett Hernan Vilchez Posted in Colombia, Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples on October 28, 2021 Continue reading
The Misaks: Balance and Harmony as Medicine

For the Misak people, harmony and balance are so important to health and well-being that they are willing to fight for them.

For the peaceful Misak people of Colombia’s Andean region, harmony and balance are the most important medicines, and they are willing to fight for them.

By Tracy L. Barnett Hernan Vilchez Posted in Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples on October 28, 2021 Continue reading
The Kamëntšá Biyá: Land Use Planning in Defense of the Sacred

Territorial planning and protection of sacred sites is integrally connected with public health for the Kamentsá

Territorial planning is sacred work for the Kamëntsá Biyá people of the Upper Putumayo region in Colombia. Their approach reflects a radically different view of land use — one that is integrally connected with their view of public health.

By Tracy L. Barnett Hernan Vilchez Posted in Colombia, Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples on October 27, 2021 Continue reading
A journey through ancient cultures during the pandemic that shook the world

Esperanza Project launches groundbreaking transmedia series, 'Cosmology & Pandemic,' with Pulitzer Center and Mongabay

Cosmology & Pandemic: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Responses to the Current Health Crisis is many things at once. It’s a transmedia series — meaning a series of articles and films and other forms of media that work together in concert. In this case, it’s a collaboration between my longtime friend and colleague, Argentine […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Esperanza Project, Indigenous Peoples on October 26, 2021 Continue reading
Celebrating Katira: 65 Years of Magic and Activism

7 stories with the shamanic protagonist of 'The Last Peyote Guardians'

I met Juan José Uxamuire “Katira” Ramírez 10 years ago this coming February. I had just come down from the mountaintop of Cerro Quemado, the Birthplace of the Sun, along with about a thousand other pilgrims, gathered there in a historic all-night ceremony to pray for the salvation of the sacred desert of Wirikuta from […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Wixarika on September 11, 2021 Continue reading
AMLO Comes to Temaca, the Town That Refuses to Drown

Villagers face a crossroads as president puts a monumental decision in their hands

Saturday, Aug. 14, was a day that would be marked as a turning point in the history of Temaca. And the Carbajal sisters, together with scores of other defenders of the historic village, would be ready.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Megadams, Mexico, Soberanía Alimentaria, Water on August 20, 2021 Continue reading
Ecobarrios Program changes lives while changing neighborhoods

Building a culture of sustainability in Mexico City — Rainbow style

Antonio Sánchez Gramiño was always one of those who would shake is head and laugh when he heard people talk about changing the world. It’s not that he didn’t care; he’s always been ecologically minded. It bothered him to see people wasting water and creating trash. It’s just that he thought it was a lost cause.

“I used to call them pendejos (fools),” he told me with a laugh. “Now, I’m one of those pendejos.”

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Ecovillages, Sustainability on June 23, 2021 Continue reading
Conversations with LaDonna and Cheryl

From the Sovereign Sisters Transcripts, in honor of a mighty matriarch

Many thousands this past weekend were hit hard by the news that we had lost a living treasure on Earth, the inimitable and irreplaceable LaDonna Allard. The Lakota historian, water protector and Standing Rock movement founder had been struggling for a long time with brain cancer. And even though those of us who love her […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Lakota on April 17, 2021 Continue reading
The American Borderlands and the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been violated on American soil more than any other time in modern history

On Christmas Eve, 2018, in a remote corner of the Texan desert, Esperanza Project editor Tracy Barnett interviewed activists organizing a creative resistance against the detainment of thousands of youths at the now defunct Tornillo Child Detention Center. It was deep in winter and the wind bit at the chain-link fence as she spoke with […]

By Jacob Lyng Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project, Indigenous Peoples, Migration Americas on March 11, 2021 Continue reading
Defending the Birthplace of the Sun

Wixárika People mark a decade of struggle against the extractive industries in the sacred desert of Wirikuta

It’s been a decade now since Mexico experienced its Standing Rock moment.  It was the native Wixárika people—better known  internationally by their Spanish name, the  Huicholes—who galvanized a global movement  with their call for help. In the north-central  state of San Luis Potosí, one of their most  sacred sites—the Birthplace of the Sun—was  being readied for […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Mexico, Mining, Spirituality, Wixarika on January 5, 2021 Continue reading
Finding Light in the Darkness: Esperanza shines through a year of trials

Resilience and Resistance mark the Year of the Pandemic. Here are just a few of the stories.

It was a year that this roving reporter began in a refugee camp, taking inspiration from the asylum seekers who had passed through hell to arrive at our borders, and from the people from both sides of the border who had shown up to accompany and support them. We all sensed it would be a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project, Social Change on December 29, 2020 Continue reading
Enlightening Our Way Together with Chief Phil

International community comes together to launch a new Global Center of Indigenous Sciences and Ancestral Wisdom

For many thousands who have tuned into his work, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane has been a beacon in a time of powerful transition. His work over the decades to unify the human family through his Four Worlds International Institute has taken him all over the world, and now he is consolidating that work in a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Social Change on December 19, 2020 Continue reading
Making Peace, Giving Thanks: From Guadalajara to You

On understanding the potential of this moment, and letting the mystery be.

GUADALAJARA, Jalisco, Mexico — Yesterday I went to the papelería around the corner, owned by my neighbor Alejandra, to pick up a few office supplies. “How are you going to celebrate Día de Acción de Gracias?” she inquired, using the Spanish word for our uniquely United Statesian holiday. I hadn’t thought about it, really. There […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project on November 26, 2020 Continue reading
Election Day of the Living

A Prayer for Peace for ALL Beings as the World Awaits

As I write, Venus is rising in the East on a day that portends so much. According to our traditions here in Mexico and many other places, the spirits of our dead are here among us still. I seize the moment to send up a prayer to all who are listening: Please, share your light […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Social Change on November 5, 2020 Continue reading
Blue October: The month that was, the future that will be

Eight stories of change to bring hope to a tense and troubled time

As I write, a very red Mars is approaching a Blue Moon – the second full moon of the season, and the first blue moon on a Halloween in a long, long time. Astrologers are having a field day with the particular lineup of planets that are traversing our heavens this election season, and while […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Bolivia, Social Change on October 31, 2020 Continue reading
A Circle of Sovereignty

Sovereign Sisters Gathering overcomes obstacles to shine online

Sovereignty means different things to different people, but perhaps its essence is best displayed in times of challenge. And so it was for the powerful four-day Sovereign Sisters gathering held on the third weekend in August. Despite two of the group’s founders, Cheryl Angel and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, being sidelined by illness and injury, […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Women's Empowerment on September 2, 2020 Continue reading
Exploring Sovereignty with the Women of Standing Rock

Sovereign Sisters event begins today with live presentations on Zoom

We are inviting all women-folk/femme-folk to join some panels and talking circles by sisters, aunties and grandmas of all nations as we discuss the meaning and practice of sovereignty.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Economic Empowerment, Indigenous Peoples, Sustainability, Women's Empowerment on August 21, 2020 Continue reading
Covid, Culture and the Codices

An Interview with Mara'akame José 'Katira' Ramírez

This is what is happening, because the Earth is defending herself. The Earth herself is being cleansed.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples, Wixarika on August 17, 2020 Continue reading
No More Sacrificed Communities

How an Environmental Justice Documentary Is Building Solidarity in the Midst of the Racial and Health Crisis

A soon-to-be-released feature film exemplifies how independent media initiatives can be powerful tools for social and environmental justice organizing. Challenging the isolation and impotence that many are feeling in the face of the current health and racial crises, the internationally acclaimed documentary The Condor & The Eagle and its impact campaign “No More Sacrificed Communities” bring us […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Indigenous Peoples on June 26, 2020 Continue reading
Spinning a Lifeline in Zapotec lands

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt communities all over Mexico. But a network of Indigenous artisans is finding a way to survive during the shutdown.

High up in the southern sierra of Mexico’s state of Oaxaca, an innovative nonprofit business inspired by Mohandas Gandhi is helping Indigenous Zapotec families to weather the economic storm that COVID-19 has brought to the Mexican countryside. San Sebastian Rio Hondo, a Zapotec highland village like many others, has traditionally supplemented its agrarian way of […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Economic Empowerment, Indigenous Peoples, Mexico on June 18, 2020 Continue reading
A Little Bit of Gandhi in Oaxaca

Khadi Oaxaca lifts up village life with farm to wardrobe movement

A century after Gandhi’s original Khadi Movement helped Indians to attain economic self-sufficiency and ultimately independence from Great Britain, the movement is having an unlikely revival in indigenous Zapotec communities in rural Mexico. “Khadi” means handspun cloth, and like its original Indian counterpart, Khadi Oaxaca has re-established a farm-to-garment ethic that restores dignity to its […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Economic Empowerment, Mexico, Sustainability on June 15, 2020 Continue reading
From Beads to Seeds at the Huichol Center

40-year-old institution confronts pandemic, economic downturn with permaculture and ingenuity

Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination seemed like the moment Susana Valadez had worked for her whole life. The founder of the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival had spent the past four decades weaving together with painstaking care the components of an organization that provided the Wixárika people with culturally relevant employment and training, a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Susana Valadez Posted in Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples on May 27, 2020 Continue reading
Personal Permaculture: Toward an Inner Ecology

Permaculture designer, therapist and author Maria Ros applies the principles of nature to human psychology

The Backstory Ten years ago in the Maya Mountains of Belize I attended a permaculture design course with author, public speaker and self-described “Emergency Planetary Technician” Albert Bates and an impressive young colleague, María Ros. María, I learned, is a permaculture designer with a whole other profession: she’s a psychotherapist, and her passion for the […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Permaculture, Self-Care on May 22, 2020 Continue reading
Being the Transformation

From Caterpillar to the Great Migration, Esperanza is finding its way. Let's do this together.

Feed what you want to grow — not what you want to go away.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Alternative media, Esperanza Project on April 23, 2020 Continue reading

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