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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Mexican pilgrimage | A documentary of the Huichol pilgrimage in Mexico | Golden Eagles and Sacred Sites in Mexico

MEXICO: Huichol people take responsibility to protect ancient pilgrimage route

Every year members of the indigenous Huichol people of San Luis Potosi state in Mexico make an annual pilgrimage of 400 miles to the Huiricuta (Wirikuta) sacred mountain or “field of flowers”.

In 2000 the Huichol pledged to join with the San Luis Potosi state government, ARC and the Mexican NGO Conservacion Humana to enlarge the Huiricuta Ecological and Cultural Protected Area by 50 per cent. The area is the most sacred site for the Huichol – they regard it as a huge natural temple - and includes key parts of the Chihuahuan Desert, identified by the WWF as one of the “most biologically diverse and important natural sites in the world”.

A Huichol family in traditional dress
The Sacred Gift extends the protected area from 74,000 to 110,000 hectares; and to show its support the state government has pledged to produce and implement a new management plan for the enlarged area.

As a basis for this plan, in 2002-03 ARC funded a full geographical survey of the area tracing the entire 400-mile pilgrimage route which is walked each year by Huichol people. The Huiricuta area is the eastern end of this pilgrimage route.

The desert is home to a vast array of wildlife and plants. The protected area supports brown bear, royal eagle, relict forest and 42 species of cacti, 14 of which are found nowhere else in the world. The area has been used for millennia as a setting for shamanistic rituals.

The designation of the area brings the Huichol into direct involvement with the protection of the area.

This project has also received support from WWF Mexico and ARC.

Links to other sites:

Conservacion Humana
Huichol Sacred Sites and Landscapes, Mexico

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A documentary of the Huichol pilgrimage in Mexico
In 2003 ARC helped sponsor a video about the 400 kilometre-long Huichol pilgrimage route in Mexico. The documentary was called “The Path We Will Follow” and this is the story of how it was made.
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