Last updateFri, 19 Aug 2016 9am

Chapala hosts celebration of Indian tribes

More than 300 visitors from Wixárika and Otomí communities in Jalisco and Durango congregated in Chapala Monday, August 15 for a belated commemoration of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. 

The observance, normally held worldwide on August 9, was established by the United Nations in 1994.

Activities began early in the day with a nautical outing to the Isla de los Alacranes for a traditional ceremony at the rocky outcropping recognized by the Wixáritari (Huichol people) as XapaWiyemeta, the southern spot on the tribe’s five-point map of sacred sites. It is a place where rituals are performed to propitiate favors and give thanks to their rain and corn deities. 

There the throng of indigenous travelers took turns ducking down inside the tiny thatched-roof Kalihuey shrine to leave offerings of candles, food, coins and hand-crafted ritual tokens.

Returning to the mainland, the group headed to the Centro Cultural Antigua Presidencia for a more conventional commemorative event led by Felipe de Jesus Alvarez Cibrian, president of the Jalisco Human Rights Commision, Chapala Mayor Javier Degollado and  other government officials.

José Ángel Díaz Serio, Wixárika governor of San Andrés Teponahuaxtlán, took advantage of the forum to reinforce his people’s demand for protection of XapaWiyemeta as cultural patrimony site. He underlined the need for fencing and informational signs to raise public awareness, instill respect and prevent littering the frequent plundering of offerings caused by tourists who visit the island. 

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