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Mexican Indigenous Group Fights to Preserve Sacred Sites

In August, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree to protect sacred indigenous sites, but for the Wixárika community, the struggle isn’t over.

By Maya Piedra, Global Press Journal Mexico. This story was originally published in Global Press Journal Mexico. GUADALAJARA, MEXICO — Dressed in white clothing embroidered in colors and symbols representing the sacred universe, Mario Muñoz Cayetano, a man with a good-natured expression and deep gaze, speaks on the importance of a presidential decree to legally […]

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Native ‘hempsters’ follow global cooperative example

Organizers aim to create intertribal consortium for generational wealth

PINE RIDGE, S.D.- A global enterprise based in Spain may seem an unlikely role model for a fledging American Indian initiative. But inspired by its success, Winona’s Hemp and Heritage Farm in Anishinaabeg territory is sowing the start of an intertribal cooperative consortium. The new endeavor, called the Indigenous Hemp and Cannabis Farmers Cooperative, is […]

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50th anniversary of 1973 standoff honors women of Wounded Knee

Historic 71-day seige helped galvanize the movement for Native American rights across the United States.

Fifty years ago, on Feb. 27, 1973, around 200 Native treaty rights defenders, among them American Indian Movement leaders, occupied the trading post of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The site was historically significant for the 1890 massacre there in which federal troops killed up to 300 Lakota men, women and children. […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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Tribes and water protectors ward off new Black Hills gold rush

Treaty rights advocates denounce mining exploration permits in 'The Heart of All That Is'

SILVER CITY, South Dakota — The moment the U.S. Forest Service posted its July notice of a draft decision to permit gold prospecting at Jenny Gulch here in the Black Hills, tribes, water protectors and treaty rights defenders turned out in droves to ward off the project and others like it. The Black Hills make […]

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Indigenous Women build movement to tackle ‘Terricide’ in Argentina

The Movement of Indigenous Women for Good Living seeks to stop both the murder of the Earth and the violence towards women and girls.

As the rising sun lit the Andean foothills above the town of Chicoana in northern Argentina on May 22, 2022, around 300 women circled around a ceremonial fire on the grounds of a rural school. They hailed from Indigenous communities all across the country, from the sweltering Gran Chaco region bordering Bolivia and Paraguay, to […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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

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"Indigenous people shouldn't have to beg for justice"

After a monthlong march and three-day campout in front of the National Palace, Wixárika caravan gets presidential audience

After 32 days of pilgrimage, the Wixárika Caravan arrived at the National Palace in Mexico City. The march began on April 25, 900 kilometers away in the Western Sierra Madre. Since that time, they have been asking for an audience with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to request restitution of their stolen lands.

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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 […]

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Community Foresters Unite to Save Biodiversity Hotspot

Part II: New mining, timbering threaten Indigenous forestry in Oaxaca's Chimalapas reserve

As part of Mexico’s world-renowned community forestry model for sustainability, the example of the Chimalapas shines. It has produced important results in conservation of a natural biosphere considered one of the most important lungs of Mexico.

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Chimalapas: Building community to save a forest

Part I: Indigenous villages in Oaxaca join forces in border conflict zone

Their footprints mark the trails beneath the pines, oaks and oyamels. Once a week, 10 men walk through here with machetes on their shoulders, flashlights and jute bags of food, to defend a piece of the 594,000-hectare communal forest that makes up the Chimalapas. They are young people who inherited the management of this woodland, […]

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'Helena ​from Sarayaku'

​Award-winning film shows the struggle to save a community from petroleum megaprojects in the Amazon

Helena from Sarayaku traces the Sarayaku Kichwa people’s struggle to protect their lives, cultures and their territories from oil extraction in the period 2002 to 2021. It is both an anthropological study conducted by indigenous people for indigenous people, and for the world, and a vehicle to demonstrate the contribution of indigenous peoples to protecting […]

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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 […]

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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.  […]

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Removing Racism, one statue at a time

"The Builders monument was a mockery, a humiliation for our peoples": Pavel Uliánov

With axes, hammers and ropes, a group of activists called by the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacán demolished part of the monument called Los Constructores (The Builders) on February 14.

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Planting Agroecology in the Sacred Desert of Wirikuta

Renovating the Candles of Life Through Regenerative Agriculture

I was witnessing the first stone in a long-term project that seeks to restore and regenerate the desert in what many have come to call the “botanical garden” of Wirikuta. And as I watched this dream come to life, I was reminded of the symbolic Candles of Life, renovated every year in the pilgrimages carried out by the Wixárika people for whom this land holds a central place in their cosmology.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Youth demand redress for Indian boarding school atrocities

Former Holy Rosary Mission becomes lightning rod for charges of historic trauma

Oglala Lakota citizen Maria Hazel Stands takes the microphone. Surrounded by Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community members she accepts the introduction as a “survivor” of Red Cloud Indian School, where they are gathered under a canopy of trees in the grassy yard.

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New Transmedia Series Opens Lens on Ancestral Cultures

'Cosmology & Pandemic' offers deep insights and practical knowledge gained from the current health crisis, aimed toward preventing the next one.

The Esperanza Project, with the collaboration of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Mongabay, The One Foundation and the SGE Foundation, has released a groundbreaking new bilingual transmedia series called Cosmology & Pandemic: What We Can Learn from Indigenous Responses to the Current Health Crisis. A joint project of the award-winning filmmaker and journalist duo […]

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Anishinaabe pipeline foes target Line 3 at global climate talks

Indigenous water protectors wield treaty rights against fossil fuel

The indigenous bloc that led thousands in the march on the Global Day of Action during Glasgow’s U.N. climate negotiations bore the standard “No Line 3. We are Here to Protect. Water is Life.”  The Canadian tar-sands oil exporter Enbridge Inc. had finished building the pipeline through Anishinaabe (Ojibwe, Chippewa) treaty territory more than a […]

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Cosmology & Pandemic is live!!! And making waves throughout the world

Join us at cosmopandemic. esperanzaproject.com 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 […]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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