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The Call of the Sage: The seed has sprouted

Above: First Encounter, Vision Council: Call of the Sage – Teopantli Kalpulli (November 2015).

By Laura Angélica Almazán

The call of the caracol has called us together once again. The family has reunited one more time to continue with a mission that started more than two decades ago, and gets more and more relevant every year. The more difficult the times seem to be, the more heavily the economic, environmental and social crises weigh, not only in Mexico, but all around the planet, the fact that the Guardians of the Earth keep on gathering to sow seeds of change is a light of hope in the middle of the darkness that seems to rule the world.

The Vision Council-Guardians of the Earth is an organization dedicated to creating encounters where people who believe that a better world is possible can carry out a living and not virtual experiment of building a utopia that is turning into an ecotopia, to offer up their knowledge and talents in service of the Pacha Mama, and concur with other activists for life who believe that the solutions for today’s problems is to focus on the possibilities instead of the protests, to engage instead of worrying, to build instead of destroying.

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Art and Culture Council, Call of Quetzalcoatl, Chalmita, 2013

People from all ages, of diverse tribes, countries and traditions have converged in the 13 occasions and far-flung locations in Mexico that this multifaceted event has taken place, and each time the varicolored tribe of dreamers and Change seekers gets bigger, as they find here the perfect space to take a concentrated look at the reality they dream of and are already working every day to construct.

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Plenary session: Call of Quetzalcoatl, Chalmita, 2013

But as the tribe grows, so do the expectation and needs for carrying out the encounter. To build an ecovillage that for a week will host hundreds of people reunited to involve themselves in cultural and educational events, ceremonies, productive projects, environmental workshops and – most of all – to coexist and share their visions and ideas of how we can rescue humanity from the decay in which it is submerged and restore the connection with Mother Earth — a work that requires the participation of all and each one of those that feel themselves called to this family of dreamers and doers.

But the Vision Council is working long before the encounter takes place; at least a year of previous work is necessary to organize an event with the impact that the Vision Council has achieved in its 22 years of existence. That is why the founders of this initiative have launched a call to summon all those who might be interested in participating from the beginning in conducting this grand social, ecological, political and spiritual experiment.

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The passing of the sacred staff of power, Teopantli Kalpulli, Octubre 2014

After four consecutive events carried out in four unforgettable Novembers in Chalmita, at the Nierika Center, a breathtaking space in the mountains outside of Mexico City, the XIV Vision Council will change its headquarters, returning to a place that hosted it in 1995: the Teopantli Kalpulli in San Isidro Mazatepec, Jalisco, on the Western side of Mexico. Both the Vision Council and the Teopantli Kalpulli have evolved enormously in these 20 years, and this is the perfect occasion to celebrate and share those changes and achievements, as well as to set new goals and challenges to continue working together for the Awakening of the Consciousness.

The first meeting to form the Consejo Semilla Xalisco, or Seed Council – the work team that will start the activities of planning and preparation to carry out the Vision Council of 2015 – took place on October 18th and 19th of 2014. The Teopantli Kalpulli received the founding members of the Council – Alberto “Coyote” Ruz, Odin Ruz, Laura Kuri and Arnold Ricalde – other participants that have dedicated their work and energy to many editions of such creative events, as well as new members who wish to join the team for the first time.

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Laura Kuri, co-founder, Vision Council – Guardians of the Earth

Always with the permission of the four elements, represented in a beautiful altar, sitting in circle around the fire as our ancestors used to do and having the presence and authority of the Elders that lead the host community, various meetings took place during the weekend, in which the inhabitants of the community and the visitors had the chance to get to know each other and share our ideas to start working together to organize the XIV Vision Council: “The Call of the Sage”, a name chosen democratically by the participants, due to the abundant presence of this magical, sacred and medicinal plant in the zone where the Teopantli Kalpulli is located. The date when the event will take place was decided democratically, as well, and with due respect for the presence of the Full Moon: from November 21st to 27th, 2015.

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A year seems a long time; but given the dimensions of the event that we want to carry out, and the current conditions of the Teopantli Kalpulli, it is evident that the 13 months that separated us from the encounter were hardly enough time to complete all the work required. In first place, the community, as it is right now, doesn’t have the capacity to host the number of people expected to attend – around 600 – which means that it is urgent to begin working now to convert this tiny community into a space that can meet the needs of hosting, feeding, hygiene and safety of all the participants.

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Planning composting toilets and campgrounds

The Xalisco Seed Group started to sketch the requirements that need to be fulfilled to host several hundreds of people during a week: camping spaces, community kitchens, laundry and dishwashing stations, restrooms, showers, etcetera. Of course, all that implies many resources, both material and human: a lot of construction and remodeling work is required, taking into account both the social and environmental impacts, and it is important to be able to count on the knowledge and advice of different specialists in a variety of areas, and also to meet the requirements that the community’s authorities establish for an event of this scale.

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Field inspection and survey of spaces, Teopantli Kalpulli

At the beginning it seemed like an almost impossible task, as the group conducted a tour of the 37 hectares of houses and fields that comprise the community; but with the help and interest of all the participants in the meetings –some of whom were architects and permaculture designers with experience in bioconstruction and other useful skills – it was possible to narrow down the stages that the project should have, to outline the next steps and dividing the workload by commissions.

For the first stage, it was decided to begin with the Commissions of Administration, Logistics, Fundraising, Communication, Volunteers and Social Movements. According to each one’s aptitudes and interests, each one of the members of the Xalisco Seed Group of the should choose a commission and organize with the other members to start working on projects ranging from the construction of showers and composting toilets, installation of rainwater harvesting systems, mapping and the capacity calculation for the Teopantli Kalpulli, recruiting of volunteers, publicity, planning the budget, designing strategies for fundraising and studying the needs of nearby communities to find ways to incorporate them into the events – because the master plan, after all, is to leave a greener, more conscious bioregion in its wake.

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Construction of composting toilets, Teopantli Kalpulli, Dec. 2014 (Ananda Ríos)

But not all was work and planning during this first encounter. The experiment of creating a more harmonious and organized society starts with us, so all the necessary tasks to live together during the weekend were performed by the participants to the encounter that are integrating the Xalisco Seed Group: we all had to coordinate to prepare the food, make all the arrangements to enjoy the moments when we gathered to eat, to clean up after the meals, etc. To cook and serve the food for a large group of people is a magnificent opportunity to implement everything that is theorized during the meetings: collaboration, dialog, organization, tolerance and harmony are essential in order to successfully achieve that activity we all love and that we cannot do without: eating. That is one thing for which we are always ready and enthusiastic.

The healthy and delicious food we enjoyed during the weekend presented an affirmation of our best intentions of working as a team and carrying out a successful event that during a very special week in November 2015 will nourish the bodies and souls of hundreds.

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Wrapped in an atmosphere of harmony and joy, we also prayed, meditated, danced and sang together, blissful and spontaneous, reaffirming one another of the main ideas of the Vision Council: that spirituality and connection with the Earth are beyond any religion or tradition. That the only creed we who seek a better world must profess is LOVE.

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When the weekend was over, we had managed to be more than a work team; we had become a real family. We returned home, aware that as long as we are willing to put aside our individualistic ego and seek the communal welfare before our pure personal interest, and as long as each one of us are very clear about the tasks we have to accomplish and we fulfill our duty with joy and dedication, things will flow and the Universe will take care to arrange whatever is necessary for our goal to be reached.

The race against Cronos has begun. We have a titanic job ahead and to be sure, there will be moments when it will seem like a year is not enough for all the labor that needs to be done, but while we keep the faith and determination strong in our hearts, we will know that our effort is worth it, for it is focused in reaching a dream that we share with more and more human beings. All of our energies, time and dedication will be offered to sow the seeds of change and new consciousness in the new generations, a seed that will sprout in a more conscious humanity and a happier planet.

The Vision Council currently seeks creative, energetic participants everywhere. If you’re interested, contact tracylbarnett(at)gmail.com.

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Huicholes Film wins best documentary: Red Nation Film Festival

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The film Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians has won Best Documentary Film by the Red Nation Film Festival, the premier showcase for Native American and Indigenous film in the United States. The award was shared with The Life, Blood and Rhythm of Randy Castillo, by director Wynn Ponder and producer Johnny Depp.

The selection was the only Latin American film to be awarded.

Upon receiving the distinction, director Hernan Vilchez and producer Paola Stefani said: “This award is received on behalf of the Huichol people, bearers of the words and deeds of the spiritual struggle they launched to defend their sacred territory of Wirikuta, and the message they bear: the urgency of caring for life on the planet.”

They added: “We are grateful to all of those involved in the effort to carry the Wixarika message to all hearts. Thanks to the jury of the Red Nation Film Festival and all who support us in this collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. We are one, all sheltered by the Mother Earth herself.”

Joanelle Romero, Executive Producer and Founder of the Los Angeles based Red Nation Film Festival, experienced a deep personal connection with the Huicholes film.

     “This is a very important film because it not only involves all the issues that we face (as Indigenous People) but the bigger picture is the spirituality that is key to my heart and the Festivals.  It is the power of our medicine through film in telling the truth as we walk with our ancestors.”

     The California premiere of the film screened at the Red Nation Film Festival in Beverly Hills on Nov. 7 and is making multiple stops in in the greater Los Angeles area, including two events at local colleges and a special community premiere hosted by various grassroots organizations.  Film director Hernan Vilchez and a Marakame (Huichol spiritual leader), one of the film protagonists, will introduce and discuss the film at 30+ screenings in 20 different North American cities. Its US premiere at Rice Cinema in Houston, Texas, packed the house, and subsequent stops in Austin, San Antonio, Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque were similarly well received.

The film was represented at the Red Nation Film Festival by the local screening committee, which organized the program, set the agenda and drew the connections between local issues and those portrayed in the film – and there are many, according to Felicia Montes of the spiritual artivist collective, Mujeres de Maiz, “Our Xican@ Indigenous and immigrant communities know the struggle of land, culture and spirituality and have a long relationship with this community- the screening will bring together these circles and issues once again.

The documentary presents the emblematic case of the defense of Wirikuta, sacred territory to the Wixárika (Huichol) people against the threat of transnational mining corporations. The Wixárika people, native to the Sierra Madre, have since time immemorial made their pilgrimages to this land; now they find themselves at the forefront of a spiritual crusade to protect life, evidencing the internal contradictions in our materialistic world.

“This documentary combines stunning cinematography with engaged and compassionate storytelling to bring an underrepresented tale of resistance to Cinema Politica audiences and beyond,” said Ezra Winton, co-founder of the Montreal-based media arts organization.

The movie, which drew 3,000 people to a single showing in Mexico City, won awards in Argentina and brought a mining industry executive to tears in Chile, has been sought by viewers in more than 40 countries, many of whom are going on to organize showings in their own cities.

The film crew has organized an Indiegogo campaign to cover costs of the film and tour production and to continue carrying the message throughout the world At www.indiegogo.com – search words Huicholes Film.

For details about the various screenings visit www.huicholesfilm.com. You can also find information on Facebook: @Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians and Twitter: @PeyoteGuardians, and it can be rented online at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/huicholesfilm.

US/CANADA FILM TOUR ITINERARY – Nov./Dec. 2014

 

USA

Nov. 7 – California Premiere: Red Nation Film Festival – Laemmle Music Hall Theater – 7 pm

Texas

Houston

Nov 5 – Rice Cinema – 7 pm

Nov 6 – East Side community screening – 7 pm

Austin

Nov 7 – 5604 Manor Community Center – 7 pm.

San Antonio

Nov 8 – Esperanza Peace and Justice Center– 6 pm

Nov 9 – San Antonio Public Library – Mission Branch – 2-5 pm

Nov 10 – San Antonio Public Library – Igo Branch – 2-5 pm

 

New Mexico

Taos

Nov 12 – Taos Mesa Brewing Co. – 8:30 pm

Nov 13 – Taos Center for the Arts – 7 pm

Santa Fe Nov 14 – Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – 7 pm

Albuquerque

Nov 15 – La Plazita Institute | Nov 16 – Indian Pueblo Culture Center – 1 pm

 

California

San Diego Area

Nov 17 – San Diego State University – 5 pm

Nov 18 – Chula Vista Public Library – 2 pm

WorldBeat Cultural Center – 7 pm

Los Angeles Area

Nov 19 – Fullerton College Campus Theater – 6 pm

Nov 20 – Pasadena City College, Harbeson Hall – 6 pm

Nov 21 – Legacy LA – 6:30 pm

Bay Area

Nov 22 – San Francisco – ANSWER Coalition – 6 pm reception – 7 pm screening

Arizona

Phoenix

Dec 1 – Crescent Ballroom – 7:30 pm

Tucson

Dec 2 – The Loft Cinema – 7 pm

Sedona

Dec 3 – Sedona Film Festival – Mary Fisher Theater – 4 pm and 7 pm

Flagstaff

Dec 5 – Center for Indigenous Music and Culture – 7 pm

Colorado

Denver

Dec 6 – Mercury Café – 2 pm

Northern California

Fort Bragg

Dec 9 – Spirit House – 6:30 pm

Mill Valley

Dec 10 – Throckmorton Theater – 7 pm

Santa Rosa

Dec 11 – Arlene Francis House – 7 pm

San Francisco

Dec 12 – California Institute for Integral Studies – 7 pm

CANADA

Montreal

Nov 24 – Cinema Politica/Concordia University Auditorium – 7 pm

Toronto

Nov 26 – University of Toronto – OISE Auditorium – 6:30 pm

Nov 27 – York University, Mirkopolis Theater – 7 pm

Vancouver

Nov 28 – SFU Woodwards Auditorium – 7 pm

Nov 29 – Dogwood Centre – “What are we doing to care for our world’s life?” Community Dinner and networking with organizers – 3 to 8 pm

 

US Venues working on confirmation

 

Northern California tour – Dec. 8-15

Press Contact, USA & Canada Film Tour: Tracy Barnett | 210-867-9767 | tracy@tracybarnettonline.com

 

HUICHOLES FILM NOMINATED BEST DOCUMENTARY: RED NATION FILM FESTIVAL

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Nov 4, 2014 –¬– The film Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians has been nominated for Best Documentary Film by the Red Nation Film Festival, the premier showcase for Native American and Indigenous film in the United States. The film ranks among some tough competition, going head to head with producer Johnny Depp in LaDonna Harris: Indian 101.

“This film is a very important film because it not only involves all the issues that we face (as Indigenous People) but the bigger picture is the spirituality that is key to my heart and the Festivals. It is the power of our medicine through film in telling the truth as we walk with our ancestors,” said Joanelle Romero, Executive Producer and Founder of the Los Angeles based Red Nation Film Festival.

The California premiere of the film will take place at the Red Nation Film Festival in Beverly Hills on Nov. 7 before making multiple stops in in the greater Los Angeles area, including 2 stops at local colleges and a special community premiere hosted by various grassroots organizations. Film director Hernan Vilchez and two Marakate (Huichol spiritual leaders), the father and son protagonists, will introduce and discuss the film at 30+ screenings in 20 different North American cities.

They will be represented at the Red Nation Film Festival by the local screening committee, which will help decide the program, set the agenda and draw the connections between local issues and those portrayed in the film – and there are many, according to Felicia Montes of the spiritual artivist collective, Mujeres de Maiz, “Our Xican@ Indigenous and immigrant communities know the struggle of land, culture and spirituality and have a long relationship with this community- the screening will bring together these circles and issues once again.”

At the same time we are preparing for our US Premiere this Wednesday, Nov 5, at Rice Theater in Houston.

“The documentary does what all great art should do: bring people together and persuade them to act for a vital cause,” said Charles Dove of Rice University and former director of the theater.

The documentary presents the emblematic case of the defense of Wirikuta, sacred territory to the Wixárika (Huichol) people against the threat of transnational mining corporations. The Wixárika people, native to the Sierra Madre, have since time immemorial made their pilgrimages to this land; now they find themselves at the forefront of a spiritual crusade to protect life, evidencing the internal contradictions in our materialistic world.

“This documentary combines stunning cinematography with engaged and compassionate storytelling to bring an underrepresented tale of resistance to Cinema Politica audiences and beyond,” said Ezra Winton, co-founder of the Montreal-based media arts organization.

The movie, which drew 3,000 people to a single showing in Mexico City, won awards in Argentina and brought a mining industry executive to tears in Chile, has been sought by viewers in more than 40 countries, many of whom are going on to organize showings in their own cities.

The film crew has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help defray the expenses of the film and tour at www.indiegogo.com – Search word: Huicholes film. For details about the various screenings visit www.huicholesfilm.com. You can also find information on Facebook: @Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians and Twitter: @PeyoteGuardians, and it can be rented online at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/huicholesfilm.

US/CANADA FILM TOUR ITINERARY – Nov./Dec. 2014

Nov. 7 – California Premiere: Red Nation Film Festival – Laemmle Music Hall Theater – 7 pm

Texas 

Houston

Nov 5 – Rice Cinema – 7 pm
Nov 6 – East Side community screening – 7 pm
Austin
Nov 7 – 5604 Manor Community Center – 7 pm.
San Antonio
Nov 8 – Esperanza Peace and Justice Center– 6 pm
Nov 9 – San Antonio Public Library – Mission Branch – 2-5 pm
Nov 10 – San Antonio Public Library – Igo Branch – 2-5 pm

New Mexico
Taos
Nov 12 – Taos Mesa Brewing Co. – 8:30 pm
Nov 13 – Taos Center for the Arts – 7 pm
Santa Fe Nov 14 – Museum of Indian Arts and Culture – 7 pm
Albuquerque
Nov 15 – La Plazita Institute | Nov 16 – Indian Pueblo Culture Center – 1 pm

California
San Diego Area
Nov 17 – San Diego State University – 5 pm
Nov 18 – Chula Vista Public Library – 2 pm
WorldBeat Cultural Center – 7 pm

Los Angeles Area
Nov 19 – Fullerton College Campus Theater – 6 pm
Nov 20 – Pasadena City College, Harbeson Hall – 6 pm
Nov 21 – Legacy LA – 6:30 pm

Bay Area
Nov 22 – San Francisco – ANSWER Coalition – 6 pm reception – 7 pm screening

Arizona
Phoenix
Dec 1 – Crescent Ballroom – 7:30 pm
Tucson
Dec 2 – The Loft Cinema – 7 pm
Sedona
Dec 3 – Sedona Film Festival – Mary Fisher Theater – 4 pm and 7 pm
Flagstaff
Dec 5 – Center for Indigenous Music and Culture – 7 pm

CANADA

Montreal
Nov 24 – Cinema Politica/Concordia University Auditorium – 7 pm

Toronto
Nov 26 – University of Toronto – OISE Auditorium – 6:30 pm
Nov 27 – York University, Mirkopolis Theater – 7 pm

Vancouver
Nov 28 – SFU Woodwards Auditorium – 7 pm
Nov 29 – Dogwood Centre – “What are we doing to care for our world’s life?” Community Dinner and networking with organizers – 3 to 8 pm

US Venues working on confirmation

Denver and Boulder, Colo. – Dec. 6-8
Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and Nevada City, Calif. – Dec. 9-15

Press Contact, USA & Canada Film Tour: Tracy Barnett | 210-867-9767 | tracy@tracybarnettonline.com

El Llamado de Quetzalcoatl: Materializando la Visión

Closing circle
Por Tracy L. Barnett
Traducido por Angélica Narákuri

TEMICTLA, México – Si alguna vez hubo duda de que Quetzalcóatl vive, esa duda fue disipada en una luminosa, húmeda y brillante semana en el corazón de México.

Aquí en Temictla, un valle sagrado, una pequeña ecoaldea y un centro de retiro espiritual en el borde de Chalmita, un destino de peregrinaje para millones de personas de diversas tradiciones, una extensa familia se reunió bajo la luz de la luna creciente, en Noviembre de 2013. Es una familia de muchas naciones y muchas tradiciones, una familia cuyos miembros multitudinarios se han dedicado en cuerpo y alma a la supervivencia de la humanidad y de la vida en la Tierra.

Casi todas de esas cerca de 500 personas presentes – gente representando docenas de diferentes naciones, tribus, tradiciones y pueblos – habrían coincidido en que el ingrediente principal para sobrevivir en los difíciles tiempos que nos esperan en los próximos años es extremadamente complejo y al mismo tiempo profundamente simple. Todo se resume en una palabra: amor.

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Lourdes house

Bienvenidos a CASA! Bem-vindos a CASA! Welcome HOME!

CASA is the Council of Sustainable Settlements of the Americas, a network of projects that are working towards sustainability in diverse countries of Latin America. Sustainable Settlements are: EcoVillages, EcoNeighborhoods, EcoTowns, Transition Towns, Nomadic Ecological Project (EcoCaravans), Permaculture Centers, Organic Farms, Collectives, Networks, Cooperatives. Projects who are creating a regenerative and sustainable culture through the continent. CASA is part of GEN, the Global EcoVillage Network, connecting this network to the the EcoVillage movements around the world.

This video was produced by the Común Tierra Project which since 2010 travels throughout Latin America documenting sustainable communities, creating multimedia educational materials and building networks within the movement: www.comuntierra.org.

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1,000 Drums in Guadalajara

 
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The ancestors must have been smiling as a small procession representing the element of Fire, dressed in red and white, made its way through the crowded city streets of the Guadalajara historic center, beating an ancient rhythm with their ceremonial drums and trailing the smoke of copal from their saumadores. Traffic and shoppers stopped to marvel at the spectacle, and a few tagged along.

As we approached the Plaza Tapatía, we began to hear the drums. The drums in our hands trembled as if to join them; we felt the vibration in the air and under our feet. As rounded the corner into the Esplanada Hospicio Cabañas a spectacular sight greeted our eyes – thousands of participants filled the plaza, grouped in rings around the ceremonial fire and groups of drummers beating in unison on massive table-sized drums. We followed the procession around the circle and took our places carefully on an elaborately assembled mandala made of various colors of sawdust and the four colors of corn.

The purpose of the event was to unify our hearts with each other, with the Mother Earth and with all of humanity, ultimately raising the consciousness of all who witnessed it, and helping raise the planetary vibration to one more in harmony with each other and with our environment. As we looked around at the smiling, dancing, drumming beings all around us and listened to the words of the event organizers – Ana Teresa Sánchez from Casa Lahak,  our own Abuela Esperanza from Teopantli Kalpulli and many, many more – we felt the pulsing rhythm pound its way through our own drums to our hearts.

Here are a few images from this truly amazing event.

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Katira

Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians

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.

Esperanza Means Hope