In the fight for the land against mining multinationals, the Huicholes represent us all. They are the last Peyote Guardians.
In his two-hour indie documentary, Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians, Hernán Vilchez captures one of the last Mesoamerican civilizations to preserve their distinctive way of life in an ever-globalizing world – still able, until now. The Huicholes tribe has been a largely resilient culture that lives in parallel to contemporary Mexico. Carbon dating proves their people’s existence long before Christ and their beliefs predate those of mainstream religions, practicing an early form of animistic and pantheistic mysticism.
Every year they perform an 800-kilometre pilgrimage to the top of the Cerro Quemado, a sacred mountain in the fertile semi-desert area of Catorce, where the hallucinogenic Peyote cactus grows. Eating the fleshy gourd is at the heart of the tribe’s spiritual knowledge and core to their existence, connecting them to their ancestors and guardian spirits through psychedelic visions.
The earth where the cacti cultivate has evaded drought – which is widespread in surrounding regions – but is now falling foul to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). N.A.F.T.A. grants mining concessions to Canadian multinationals out to quarry natural riches in the Huicholes’ holy land. Read more.
Huichol Shaman photo by Kila: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Huichol_shaman.jpg