Modern Challenges « SHAMANISM
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Modern Challenges

Today, the Huichol people are facing many challenges that threaten to tear apart their ancient culture and way of life. Until recently the tribe has remained untouched by the outside world, but now the surrounding way of life is beginning to seep into the High Sierra of Mexico. During the early 90’s the Mexican government made a push to build roads into Huichol territory. Along with the roads came the many negative elements of modern life, including racism and alcoholism.

The Dance of the Deer Foundation fully sponsored and funded the unprecedented move of multiple Huichol villages back into the more remote section of the Sierra Madre mountain range. The Foundation pushed for this action in order to ward off the negative affects of the encroachment of modern society. Today, these villages remain tucked away in the mountains, out of the reach of the modern world. But this is a continued struggle that the Huichol people face. The Foundation has funded the building of an elementary school at these villages in order to allow for the opportunity to learn basic Spanish and writing skills so that the Huichols are not at a disadvantage in modern society. We plan to build a High School as well and are in the process of creating a “Shaman School,” in the hopes of maintaining the Huichol traditions.

Also, by selling the Huichol art, the Dance of the Deer Foundation is helping to keep the family and community structure together. If it were not for the Foundation’s work, many Huichols would be forced to leave their families and go to work in tobacco or coffee plantations, which are extremely unhealthy environments filed with toxic pesticides such as DDT. Not only are there tremendous health risks, but even greater is the risk of tearing apart the tight knit community structure. This would result in the ruin of yet another precious and rare culture. The mission of the Dance of the Deer Foundation is to keep such a thing from happening. By promoting the Huichol art, delivering necessary supplies and giving financial aid, the Foundation is helping to keep the Huichol way of life intact.