Wirikuta Weekend Forum

Wirikuta Weekend – ATX festivities begin TOMORROW!!! The HAP team is beyond excited to finally kick off the Huichol celebration, Herbarium fundraising, and cultural wisdom sharing after a lot of hard work and beautiful collaboration behind the scenes.  This is our biggest event of the year and we would love for you to join us!  From authentic Mexican and Huichol meals, a Huichol art auction, live traditional performances and ceremonies, award-winning film screenings, a powerful forum of speakers, and a juicy Herbal cocktail and mocktail hour with the Huichol Delegation – this is an exciting weekend you won’t want to miss.  Best of all: tickets are still available as weekend passes or for individual events. 

One of the events we are most excited about is the first one of the day tomorrow: A Forum on the State of Mexican Indigenous Rights. Starting at 8:30am with a traditional cleansing and blessing ceremony led by a Huichol marakame, the Forum will commence to feature a variety of incredible speakers giving short 15-minute talks then concluding with a 30-45-minute Q&A panel on the current status of indigenous rights in Mexico, cultural diversity, biocultural conservation, and global sustainable development.  Curious about what’s in store tomorrow?  Read on to learn a bit more about who our Keynote Speakers are and the main topics they will speak on at the Forum:

  • Dr. Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, Ph.D: “Indigenous Rights in Mexico: Promises and Betrayals.” Dr. Hernández Castillo is a part of the senior research faculty at the Center for Advanced Anthropological Studies (CIESAS) in Mexico City and a current Tinker Visiting Scholar at the Lozano-Long Institute for Latin American studies.  Her research interests cover ethnic studies, legal and political anthropology, postcolonial feminisms and activist research. One of her projects involves exploring the experience of indigenous women with customary law and national law. She has worked extensively in the past on exploring plural identities in Chiapas as well as the human rights of Guatemalan refugees in Mexico.
  • Alex McAlvay: “Observations from the Field, Summer 2016.”  Alex is a doctoral candidate in Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Herbal Anthropology Project’s Global Projects Specialist.  His interest in ethnobotany emerged while growing up in Washington state where he marveled at the manifold uses of local plants. This curiosity developed into a passion for the preservation of traditional ecological knowledge and health sovereignty. He has participated in fieldwork with the Diné and Kwakwak’wakw people of the U.S., Sidama of Ethiopia, and Wixárika of Mexico.
  • Dr. E. Jane Bradbury, Ph.D: “Curious Collections: Herbaria as Tools for Biocultural Conservation.”  Dr. Bradbury is the Director of Research at the Herbal Anthropology Project.  She is a botanist and ethnobotanist who specializes in plant biochemistry, chemical ecology, crop domestication, and global food cultures.  A strong advocate for Indigenous Rights, her research efforts have explored many of the biocultural interactions between humans and botanical landscapes.
  • John Christian: “Journey to Uxata: Photographing the Wixárika Pueblo.”  John is a documentary photographer in Austin, TX. His works have appeared in Texas Monthly, Popular Photography, The San Francisco Review of Art, Cuartoscuro and Mexico Desconocido. In 1976 he received the University of Texas at Austin’s Dobie Paisano Fellowship for documentary work on the Huichol.
  • Susana Valadez, M.S.: “Projects in Cultural Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods.” Susanna is the Director and Founder of the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and the Arts, a non-profit located in the Sierra Madre Occidental that empowers both Huichol individuals and communities across Mexico to maintain their spiritual, artistic, and cultural heritage by preparing them to coexist with the outside world on their terms.  Within the Huichol Center, Susanna helps maintain the interactive Ethnographic Archive, which contains thousands of important pieces of the Huichol artwork, recordings, stories, and artifacts that elders, shamans, and other educated Huichol can contribute to at any time.  She spent half of her life in the Huichol community and has personally witnessed the challenges that face their ancient culture.

The Forum will be held from 8:30-11:30am tomorrow, Saturday, October 15th at Parkside Restaurant.  Oh, and a delicious breakfast is also included with your ticket!  We hope to see you there tomorrow and can’t wait to celebrate with you.

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