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ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

New bid to protect full 400km Mexican pilgrim route

October 20 2006:

Huichol pilgrims make their annual journey to the Huiricuta sacred mountain or “field of flowers”.

The Huichol Indians of Mexico have started serious talks with the Mexican government to protect the entire length of their 400 kilometre pilgrimage route through the Chuhuahuan Desert.

With the help of a local development charity called Conservacion Humana, and the support of ARC, the Huichol have so far secured the understanding that 40 percent of the route is incorporated within National parkland, with some of the sacred sites mapped and others able to be kept secret by the elders and used for important teachings and rituals.

Since June 2006, Conservación Humana and the Huichol people have been working with the state government of Zacatecas and the federal Ministry of Environment in order to protect virtually the entire pilgrimage route , from the Huichol homeland in the Sierra Madre to Huiricuta in San Luis Potosí.

The move follows on from work with WWF to help make the Huichol Pilgrimage Route a sacred gift in 2000.

The route, which was recently the subject of a documentary created by Conservación Humana and the Huichol people with the help of ARC, involves a rugged journey of some 400 kilometres, passing dozens of natural sacred sites in the Real de Catorce region, on the way to the Huiricuta (Wirikuta) sacred mountain or “field of flowers”.

"The route includes unique rock formations, forests, caves, and wetlands – places where shamans have performed healing and teaching rituals for many centuries."
It includes unique rock formations, forests, caves, and wetlands – places where shamans have performed healing and teaching rituals for many centuries.

Recently however, as with so many wild places in the world, the route has come under threat from agriculture, pollution and unthinking tourism.

A series of environmental studies are being prepared to assess exactly which new areas must be considered for conservation. "If this were successful, it would mean that almost 90% of the pilgrimage route would be covered, leaving only 10% for future negotiations," said head of Conservación Humana, Humberto Fernandez.

In 2004, Conservación Humana promoted the idea of including the Huichol route in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention list. This possibility is still being actively pursued

In 2003 ARC supported Conservación Humana in making a video of the unique culture, biological diversity, and pure beauty of the sacred Huichol route. The documentary was called “The Path We Will Follow” and this is a link to the story of how it was made.

Links to other sites:

Conservacion Humana
Huichol Sacred Sites and Landscapes, Mexico



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