The modern and ancient Indian thought is filled with images of respect for nature. The deep respect for life is beautifully expressed in the love for nature. As Wixaritari Indians we believe that every element of this territory (land, plants, animals, etc.) is sacred. We never forget Wimakame, our Mother Earth:
“We are part of the Earth and the Earth is part of us. The flowers that smell in the air are our sisters; the defiles, the wet grasslands, the animals -like the deer and the eagle- all together form a unique whole”
The water flowing through rivers and streams of our territory is not just water, is also the blood of our ancestors. Each brilliant plant who born, every grain of sand on the beaches, every drop of the rivers and streams, the dew in the shade of the forests, every hill and also the sound of the insects are all sacred things. Our lands are not for sale. No offer would be sufficient and no offer would be accepted. If we sold our land it not be treated as something sacred and we could never teach things reflected in the clear water of the lakes to our children. We are twinned with rivers to quench our thirst, to lead our way and to feed our children.
The Te+waris (Mestizos) do not understand our way of life, they do not know the differences between two skin colors, they do not treat the earth as a sister but as the enemy; they conquer territories and then leave, leaving behind their dead without caring at all. They treat Wimakame and Tayeu Yuawi (Father Sky) as if they were just things we buy, like beads that are exchanged for other objects. The Te+wari appetite finish eating everything on the lands, converting them into deserts. In our worldview, the world is as a whole. Everything is for everyone, without distinction. Our way of life is different, when the teiwari visit our communities and attend our ceremonies, we feel ashamed of not understanding them, nor they to us. Our culture is different from the modern world; in the Te-wari towns is no peace, there we cannot hear the rustling of leaves from the spring at the moment of their openness, or the fluttering of the insects; we discovered that because we are part of nature. The noise of the populations insult our ears.
We have preference for the soft winds that whisper over the pools, for the scents carried by the clear wind, for the rains of every season and for the plants that fill the air with odors. If we sold our land, we lose the immense value of the wind, knowing that the air is part of the spirit that sustains our life. Therefore, for the Wixaritari Indians air is invaluable, because all beings share the same breath: trees, plants, animals and humans. The Te+wari’s are not aware of the air they breathe and deteriorate the natural environment where they live; in contrast, the Wixaritari do rituals for air to stay and give life to their area. The first breath of life of our ancestors came from the breath of the gods. So all indigenous and mestizos must treat the earth as sacred. In our land everyone can enjoy the wind, the scent of flowers and meadows. Human beings must respect animals and treat them as brothers, as sacred. If all animals were killed, the man would perish in a great loneliness of spirit: the fate of animals is the same as men. We must teach our children that the ground beneath our feet contains the ashes of our ancestors; the earth is enriched by the lives of our fellow men and must be respected. We must teach them that everything exist to live in harmony and that every suffering of the earth is going to be a suffering for us and our next generations. We must teach them the meaning, value and respect for Mother Earth.
Because of that, in each indigenous village we strive to preserve nature. What has happened to the sacred animals and plants in other places? They have been destroyed, many have disappeared due to many changes! In the modern world there is fear and survival is threatened. ’Progress’ is destroying the earth and living things because for whites and mestizos is more important to dominate nature than to protect it.
So the Wixaritari, particularly the Ma’arakate or Singers, speak at the ceremonies about respect and love for the earth and nature in a permanent and constant dialogue with the gods of the inside of the earth.
Our elders, keepers of our history, teach to us the ancient routes of the sun and stars to know how to raise our children and to pass this sacred knowledge to them. The present work is focused on this knowledge, to transmit and preserve it, just as have done countless Wixaritari generations.
This document contains remote knowledge from eight elderly Wixaritari through word and song transmitting by the way ancestral knowledge from generation to generation. With respect, the indigenous communities took the agreement to choose the elderly participants on the transmission of that knowledge. This also reflects the demand of the elders who have seen from the incursion of formal education in Wixaritari communities, as well as the presence of different government programs, not taking into account the reality and history of their own indigenous culture has meant that the word of the elders seems relegated or forgotten. We infinitely appreciate the cooperation of all the interviewed elders from the communities of Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlan, San Andres Cohamiata and San Sebastian Teponahuaxtlan as well as the collaboration provided by the Unit of Support for Indigenous Communities of the University of Guadalajara.
López de la Torre, Rafael. Interviews and Compilation. El respeto a la naturaleza. Legado de los antepasados Wixarika. Acento Editores, Mexico, 2006. (p. 11-14)
Translation: Francisco de Tavira
Para leer la versión en español http://frenteendefensadewirikuta.org/wirikuta/?p=1