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Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians May 23, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Guadalajara, Historical preservation, Indigenous culture, Latin America, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment

This week Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians had its world premiere – fittingly in the remote mountain enclave of Real de Catorce, the picturesque colonial capital of Wirikuta – followed by a second showing after a rugged two-day journey into Wixarika territory in the even more remote Sierra Madre.

The most important movie to date about the Wixarika (Huichol) people and their struggle to save the center of their cosmos, the Birthplace of the Sun, this movie weaves the dramatic story of that battle around the pilgrimage of Marakame José Luis Ramírez and his family to the desert of Wirikuta.

Finally, its premiere came yesterday in the modern metropolis of Guadalajara, where an hour before show time, hundreds were already lined up in front of the University of Guadalajara’s Cineforo for the chance to be the first to see this long-awaited film. I was excited to be among them, to be reunited with my old friends and companions in that struggle and to see this story, a struggle that marked my own life so profoundly, played out on the big screen. I was also eager to see the small contribution that I’d made to this masterpiece with the video clips I’d contributed to the director, Hernán Vilchez, from my trip with the Wixarika delegation to Vancouver in 2011.

Thankfully we arrived early – because we were the last to be let inside the doors. Hundreds of others were sent away disappointed.

The premiere was opened by Marakame José Luis, also known by his Wixarika name, Katira, with a prayer of gratitude, an invocation to the five directions and a blessing for all those who work for the Mother Earth. Never has a film been more beautifully introduced.

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Tomorrow, Saturday, May 24, the film will be shown in Mexico City, at the Monumento a la Madre in Colonia Serapia Rendón.

You can view the film by downloading it from the website or organize a showing in your community. We are currently seeking venues for this film all over the world. Please contact us if you are interested, tracy at tracybarnettonline.com. Watch this site for an upcoming interview with Director Hernan Vilchez and Producer Paola Stefani soon.

National Parks: Revisiting “America’s best idea” May 21, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure , add a comment

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Arches National Park (Neal Herbert photo courtesy of National Park Service)

Historian and author Wallace Stegner once called the National Park System “America’s best idea.” Nearly a century after the park service was established, most who have had the privilege of visiting a few of our national parks would be sure to agree. Nothing captures the grandeur of this fragile, beautiful, incredibly diverse planet the way that our national parks do – and to be sure, I’ve been privileged to see quite a few.

So naturally I was delighted when USA Today invited me to help out with their guide to the USA’s best national parks. Here are my contributions:
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What kind of traveler are you? San Antonio Trips for 5 Types of Travelers May 1, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : San Antonio , add a comment

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By Tracy L. Barnett
Special package for USA Today’s Experience Weekend site


Remember the Alamo? Well, San Antonio has a whole lot more to offer visitors these days, almost enough to make you forget about that iconic shrine to Texas liberty. Miles and miles of newly developed spaces along the River Walk, an irresistible selection of fine dining experiences, a diverse and vibrant music scene, a sizzling nightlife – all of it colored by that special cultural blend that you’ll only find in America’s most Mexican of cities. Nowadays you’ll need at least a week to explore the best the city has to offer. But here’s a warning – once you’ve gotten a taste of the Alamo City, you may not want to leave.

San Antonio for First-Timers

San Antonio for Families

San Antonio for Foodies

San Antonio for Romance

San Antonio for Hipsters

Helmut, the German medicine man April 7, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Ecovillages, Mexico , add a comment

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Living in Teopatli Kalpulli has many advantages, and one of them is the constant stream of wise and interesting individuals who come our way.

Recently we enjoyed a workshop with Helmut, a German medicine man who comes to Teopantli Kalpulli every two years to participate in the Promesa del Sol ceremony. During his stay he offers a workshop on medicinal plants. This year he didn’t know what the topic would be so he decided to spend the night sleeping under a sage bush to see if he would get any clues about what the teaching should be. Here in the Kalpulli the sage grows up to eight feet tall, towering over us in its mature state. I have two of them standing guard outside my door.
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Behind the Scenes: What Wirikuta Fest fans bought with their tickets April 5, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Indigenous culture, Mexico, Mexico City , 1 comment so far

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“Wirikuta is not for sale!” Wixarika leaders and activists take the stage at Wirikuta Fest to the chants of 60,000 fans.

Story and photos by Tracy L. Barnett

It was a long time coming – but it was worth the wait.

Nearly two years ago, more than a dozen of Mexico’s biggest performing artists came together in a mega-event aimed at saving Wirikuta, one of the country’s most sacred sites, from devastation at the hands of Canadian gold and silver mining operations.

It was a triumphant moment for the indigenous Wixarika people and for indigenous movements in general when, as the daylong festival came to a close, they were invited to come up on stage. A massive screen flashed images of traditional Wixarika beadwork behind them as 60,000 fans chanted, in unison, “Wirikuta no se vende! Wirikuta se defende!” (Wirikuta is not for sale! Wirikuta will be defended!)

Leaders of the indigenous Wixarika people and the Wirikuta Defense Front, the civil society coalition that is supporting them, came forward in a Mexico City press conference recently to give an accounting of how the money was spent – an example of innovation in the face of daunting challenges.
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A New Humanity on the Move: 31 Years of Community in Teopantli Kalpulli March 28, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Ecovillages, Healing retreats, Indigenous culture, Mexico, Sustainability , add a comment

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Abuelas at Opening Ceremony (Elena Flores photo)

Last weekend Teopantli Kalpulli held the first in what promises to be an ongoing series of alternative living festivals aimed at inspiring a movement in human consciousness. This tiny community of just 22 families has had an influence far beyond its size since it was founded as an ashram outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1983. Since that time, its mission has evolved and expanded, but it has always remained true to its goal: Elevating the human spirit in a quest for a greater connection with the Divine.

Thirty-one years is a long time for an intentional community to survive, and this one has had its struggles. But this past weekend, founders and newcomers alike seemed to agree: It’s been well worth the sacrifice.

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The program was an ambitious one: nearly 60 different activities, including panel discussions, presentations, workshops, ceremonies and walks. They included a full track of yoga classes led by Eymos Rivera and Veronica del Alba, including innovative approaches such as acro-yoga and Mayan yoga; a full track of ecological workshops and presentations led by Beatriz Cardenas and Erandi Dias Cevallos; another track for children, featuring the lively and creative crew of Alejandro Vela, a Guadalajara-based mental health professional and artist; and still another track focused on spiritual development, the heart and soul of Teopantli Kalpulli’s work.
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Our Father March 6, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Adventure , 1 comment so far

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Our father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name…

One night not long after you had left us
I stepped out onto the porch
Of the house that you built
With your own strong hands
With the help of our mother
And your brothers
So many years ago

I was confused
There was your workshop, dark and empty
And the barn that you built
To hold the farm equipment, the tractor that plowed Mom’s gardens, the buckets and shovels and hoes
And the RV that held so many of your adventures and your stories
And so many dreams of adventures not yet lived
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Walls that Speak: Westside San Antonio’s Murals February 20, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : San Antonio, Uncategorized , 2comments

Walls that Speak

By Tracy L. Barnett
Texas Journey magazine
March/April 2014

Deep in San Antonio’s Westside, at the corner of El Paso and Chupaderas streets, the 10-foot-tall face of Jesus overlooks a scrappy landscape, a world of sadness reflected in his weary brown eyes. For more
than a decade, the locals have come to this corner to pray.

There’s a story about this corner that artist Cruz Ortiz likes to tell, a story that’s been retold so often it’s become local lore. One time, Ortiz showed up at the mural and saw a woman resting against a nearby pole.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I come here every Sunday,” she replied. “Because they won’t let me in at the church.”

That corner had become her church, her resting place, her place of hope.

On other corners in this neighborhood, people find stories of triumph and defeat, of musical legacy, of loved ones lost, and of celebrated heroes.
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Costa Alegre meets San Antonio January 31, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , add a comment

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I was happy to see my story, Coasting Along the Costa Alegre, featured in the San Antonio Express-News this week, along with Cuixmala, Resting Place of the Soul.

It was followed by a heartwarming writeup by my former editor, Terry Scott Bertling, together with a slide show of my photos from the Costa Alegre, in her blog, Here and There.

Thank you, Terry!

Mixtli: A culinary journey through the heart of Mexico January 30, 2014

Posted by Tracy in : Food, Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — It was only the second night that they were open for business, and the two young chefs worked madly. Barely had they had a chance to break in their new cookware when the news came: They were to have three icons of Latin American cuisine at their table: Rick Bayless of Frontera in Chicago, Maricel Presilla from Cucharamama in New Jersey, and Roberto Santibanez from La Fonda in New York City, accompanied by the Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Cuisines Advisory Board – the leadership from Diego’s own alma mater.

“That was incredibly nerve-racking,” confesses Mixtli co-founder Diego Galicia. “Trial by fire.”

The pair passed the test with flying colors; the room full of chefs ate and drank their fill, admiring the various offerings and conversing and sharing until nearly 1 a.m.
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