Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians

Saturday 28th June 6.30pm

Hernán Vilchez | Argentina/México | 2014 | 110’ | HD | Spanish with English Subtitles

A moving cinematic journey about the Wixárika People, one of the last living Pre- Hispanic cultures in Latin America, and their struggle to preserve Wirikuta, their most sacred territory and the land where the peyote grows, the traditional medicine that keeps their knowledge alive.

In 2010 the Mexican government granted concessions to several Canadian mining companies to explore and exploit the area, a natural reserve of 140,000 hectares of desert and hills in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, rich in gold, silver and other valuable minerals, and that according to the Huichol worldview, maintains the energy balance of the region and the whole planet.

What unfolds throughout is not a conflict between different political or economic parties, but a conflict between two different views of the world . The first is a Cosmovision that does not harm anyone or anything to exist, and, as a bonus, works for the benefit of all.

The second is hegemonic in our contemporary global world and one that values material gain as the ultimate goal. This view is increasingly understood as the paradigm through which we are destroying the planet and its resources.

“Beautifully-made. Tragic, but ultimately Empowering.” – The Yes Men

Hut 9 (Old Theatre) @ Addison Rd Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd Marrickville

Drinks and traditional food available, $8 online or the door.

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About the Huichol

The Huichol people, like other native peoples who keep their connection to the Earth alive, are aware that each of our actions, for better or worse, affects everything else. So within their spiritual tradition they dedicate time and resources to dialogue with the “essences of life”. They do not work only for themselves. They work for us all.

Director´s biography 

Hernan Vilchez was born in Argentina in 1971. He studied filmmaking in Argentina and Cuba. Specialized in filming indigenous and ancestral ceremonies around the world, he has worked with the Australian Aborigines of Arnhem Land, the Batwa pygmies of Uganda, the Taquileños of Lake Titicaca, the Waorani and Shipibo of the Amazon jungle, the Wixáritari of Mexico, the Mentawai of Siberut Island, the Diola of Senegal, the massive Kumbh Mela celebration in India and the Party of Yemanja in Bahia, Brazil.

HUICHOLES: Los últimos guardianes del peyote

La película nos presenta el caso emblemático de la defensa de Wirikuta, el territorio sagrado de la etnia huichol, ante la amenaza de la explotación minera. Este pueblo originario emprende una cruzada espiritual para proteger la vida, poniendo en evidencia las contradicciones internas de nuestro mundo materialista.La familia Ramírez Ramírez nos adentra en el viaje de peregrinación ritual que emprende hacia Wirikuta, para ir al encuentro de los ancestros espirituales que habitan este territorio. Con ellos nos sumergimos en la cosmovisión de la cultura wixárika, según la cual la tierra y cada ser que la habita, cada elemento de la naturaleza, son sagrados. En Wirikuta crece el peyote, elemento central de la espiritualidad wixárika, ya que es la vía de acceso al diálogo con los dioses.

Transversal a este ritual milenario que se viene repitiendo generación tras generación, aparece el conflicto: la amenaza de las empresas mineras que, de concretar sus trabajos de explotación, podrían contaminar y destruir Wirikuta, conviertiéndolo en un territorio estéril e inhabitable. Profanado.

El documental nos acerca también a las diferentes acciones de alcance público que el pueblo wixárika emprendió para dar a conocer la defensa de Wirikuta y su significado.