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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson's picture
Brent Patterson is the Political Director at the Council of Canadians. He works with the Council's chairperson Maude Barlow, its campaigners, organizers and chapters across the country on trade, energy, water, and health care issues. The Council has political staff in Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax, Delhi, Durban and Mexico City.

UPDATE: The Blue Planet Project and the struggle to protect the Wirikuta from mining

| November 11, 2012

A photo taken by Barlow on Saturday morning (November 10) as she rode by horseback to a sacred site of the Wixarika in Wirikuta near Real de Catorce, more than 600 kilometres north of Mexico City.

A photo taken by Barlow on Saturday morning (November 10) as she rode by horseback to a sacred site of the Wixarika in Wirikuta near Real de Catorce, more than 600 kilometres north of Mexico City.

On November 13, 2009, Vancouver-based First Majestic Silver Corp. purchased underground mineral rights in the Wirikuta desert, near the town of Real de Catorce, in the state of San Luis Potosi, in Mexico. On September 23, 2010, the leaders of the Wixarika (Huichol) nation signed a declaration of opposition demanding “the immediate cancellation of all mining concessions” in their sacred lands.

Professor Darcy Victor Tetreault has written, “Every year, the Wixarika indigenous people of central west México walk 500 kilometres to the sacred land of Wirikuta, where according to legend, the sun was born. Wirikuta is one of the most biologically rich and diverse deserts in the world. In 2001 it was declared a Sacred Natural Site by UNESCO.”

The Wixarika oppose First Majestic Silver because:
- of the sacredness of the land;
- Indigenous peoples have the right to be consulted about any project that affect their territory, yet no consultations have taken place;
- the mining concessions granted to the company by the Ministry of Economy violate the Hauxa Manaka Accord signed in 2008 by president Felipe Calderon to protect the sacred sites of the Huichol people;
- the management plan of the Natural Protected Area of Wirikuta explicitly prohibits mining;
- the mining claim overlaps the only aquifer in the Wirikuta, an underground water source that provides water to 16 villages and supports the ecosystem of the desert;
- the vast amount of water needed by the mine, and the pollution to water that can result from mining activities;
- the mining claim threatens the Cerro Quemado mountain, an important site for the Huichol ceremonial migration.

Blue Planet Project
- In May 2011, the Blue Planet Project helped to cover the travel costs of Wixarika delegate Jesus Lara Chivarra to Vancouver to intervene at the First Majestic Silver’s annual shareholders meeting, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6901.

- In November 2011 and February 2012, Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero highlighted the struggle to protect the Wirikuta in campaign blogs, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11818 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13457.

- In May 2012, Campero participated in Wirikuta Fest, a cultural event of 60,000 people in Mexico City calling for the protection of the Wirikuta from First Majestic Silver’s mining plans, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15471.

- In June 2012, Jesus Lara Chivarra was a keynote speaker at our ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ public forum with more than 400 people in attendance. In addition to the Friday night keynote address, he participated in the Saturday workshops and the Sunday strategy session, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15550.

- In November 2012, Blue Planet Project co-founder Maude Barlow travelled by horseback to the sacred land of the Wirikuta (see photo). Her blog on that experience is coming shortly.

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