Despite what some believe was a government effort to undermine its effectiveness, Wirikutafest went off without a hitch this past weekend. Café Tacvba, Julieta Venegas and Calle 13 played at the music festival in support of the Wixárika people (commonly known as Huicholes), one of Mexico’s oldest and most traditional Indian groups.

The Wixárika holy land in the desert of San Luis Potosi, called Wirikuta, is still under threat from Canadian mining company First Majestic who plan to exploit the area for its silver and gold, with potentially grave ecological and cultural consequences for the region, a UNESCO protected site. Many local residents however are in favor of the mining project, citing the fact that it would bring much-needed jobs.

Last week, Mexican officials announced the creation of an ambiguously titled "Mining Reserve" which they say will prohibit mining in a 45,000 hectare area inside the Wirikuta perimeter, and offered 761 hectares of the sacred mountain Cerro Quemado to the Wixárika. Indian leaders refused the offer and pointed out that this area is just small portion of the 140,000 hectares of holy land they are trying to protect.

The festival, held in Mexico City’s Foro Sol, also featured Los Caifanes, Enrique Bunbury, Lengualerta and Eli Guerra, and was organized by Café Tacvba singer Rubén Albarrán, Roco Pachukote of La Maldita Vecindad and Aho Colectivo to raise funds for the Wixárika in their struggle.

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