Preservation and Conservation
Nierika A. C. values the ancestral indigenous knowledge and because of that, along with members and representatives of indigenous communities in Mexico and the American Continent, seeks to facilitate projects of cultural conservation of the traditional medicine, the ceremonial arts, rites, religious customs and habits, as well as the sacred territories, to safeguard the integrity of the management of sacred plants in their ceremonial context.
Peyote Conservation Project
From the endemic and originary plants from the American Continent, the Peyote (Lophophora Williamsi) it’s a cactus that marks a distinctive historical relationship of man with nature. Its adaptation to the scarce moist of the semiarid regions of Mexico, distinguish it as a unique species for its biological and cultural values. It outstands between the biodiversity of cacti of the so called “Chihuahua Desert” (considered as the one of greater extension in North America). Diverse people of America consider it holder of a special spirit with therapeutic and spiritual virtues (that which we call “sacred plant”), that gives cohesion to their social and communal life.
However, the destruction, the mining and agroindustrial harassment in the territories of Mexico and the United States, has restricted its population and spaces of reproduction. Besides that in Mexico all of the peyote use is restricted, preventing proposals of sustainable management, a legal backwardness of at least 50 years in comparison to countries like Peru and Brasil, whom has recategorized the value of ceremonial use of its sacred plants, elevating them to the category of cultural Patrimony of Nation.
En Nierika A. C., we visualize renovating the perception around the Peyote. Our strategies and actions are headed as a whole to update the status of this plant as a “drug” (in a national and international scale), to a new definition and social and institutional treatment of peyote as: sacrament, food for the spirit, sustainable ecological resource, potential agent for the treatment of various pathologies –various types of addiction, among other problems of mental health. We refer to a reclassification of the peyote that legally supports its highly therapeutic value and its biocultural importance from a patrimonial perspective, meaning, that it recognized from the ceremonial uses hold by the indigenous groups, but that it also links with such uses in its ritual contemporaneity among different groups of Mexican society.
In the period that goes between 2010 to 2018, we have been learning to be reflexive in as how and when to do things, meaning, in our strategies of action. We conceptualized out intervention to the universe of the Peyote as a circle of cycles and movements whose rhythms depend, not as much as we would like the project to be, but instead, as how we can flow with the times that are marked by the indigenous sages of the peyote regarding the more immediate reality of their needs and dynamics within their communities.
We serve then in this reality of peyote as a platform, a loom by which the embroidery is colorful thanks to the participation of the distinct voices and characters that leve their particularity in the vision of building collectively a world respecting the human rights and those of nature.
Strategic circles of action
We now make a synthesis of the main actions that we have made for the preservation of the peyote in America:
Protection of the holy territory of Wirikuta
Since the year 2010 and to the date, we stablished a system of support to the ceremonial centers and/or families of the main indigenous Wixarika (Huicholes) communities from the States of Jalisco, Durango and Nayarit; for the realization of the rituals that precede and proceed the collection of Peyote in the Oriental Point in their worldview called Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí. Ritual celebrations that conform a non-linear sequence of traditional parties to preserve their prehispanic culture, for a good life cycle, to take offerings to the cardinal points where their deities live, “Xapawiyemeta, Huauxamanaká, Haramara, Tateima- Kakaima, Wirikuta y Tekata”.
Formalize trilateral spiritual relations between South and North
We started our actions by giving continuation to the vision of “indigenous peyote tribal unity” that promoted more than 3 decades ago Reuben Snake and Emerson Jackson. Both spiritual leaders of the state of Arizona, United States; representatives of the peyote tribes from that country organized under the name of “Native American Church of North America, Mexico and Canada. (NACNA)” We organize the 1st and 2nd International Congress about the Peyote in the year 2010 and 2014 respectively, through which was born an alliance between the NACNA, Nierika A. C. and the Regional Wixarika Council. From which we formalizes and gave continuity to this relationship in the consequent years with a series of binational meetings, achieving local actions and trinational indigenous historical agreements among which the following stand out:
1.- Visit of the Regional Wixarika Council to the assemblies of the NACNA during the years 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
2.- A letter to the President of Mexico from the part of the President of the NACNA to “act in the name of the cultural and ecological preservation of the peyote gardens in Wirikuta, revoking the mining concessions”.
3.- Participation in the logistic of realization of the historical Ceremony in the Sacred Mountain “Parietzie”, El Quemado hill in Wirikuta, San Luis Potosí 2012.
4.-Achieving representability of Mexico in the NACNA for 6 years, through Nierika A. C. and the Regional Wixarika Council.
5.- Reintegrating through a peyote ceremony (by demand of the Yaqui tribal government), the ritual use of peyote for the protection of the Yaqui river waters.
6.- Getting to know the families of the peyote circles in Mexico.
We consider that this events are medullary in America, because they give context and sustain the practical beginning of a global discourse for the conservation of the sacred plants in general and the peyote in particular.
National and International Legal Actions
1.- Nierika A.C. integrates during the year 2016 to become part of the Vienna Civil Organization Council on the topic of drug policy.
2.- Participation at UNGASS 2016 New York assembly on the topic of drug policy.
3.- Derived from the mentioned Assembly, the mexican government calls out to 50 institutional organisms (Nierika A.C. present as a civil society representative) to gather in work tables, as a response to the recommendations in the field of drug policy from UNGASS 2016.
4.-The process begins for the institutional management to create a law reform initiative for the use of Peyote in ritual context in Mexico upon the National Congress.
Founded with 2 conservatories organized in conjunction with Deputy Xavier Nava and based on principles of interculturality in Mexico and the right to its ceremonial use.
5. Nierika A.C. is a member of the directive council in an international initiative of Peyote conservation – IPCI Indigenous Conservation Initiative – in conjunction with the National Native American Church Council, NARF www.narf.org y Riverstyx Foundation www.riverstyxfoundation.org.