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Charitable Projects and Programs
Huichol Artists Cooperative
For many years the founder of the Earth Spirit Foundation, James Endredy, has been helping to keep alive the earth-honoring traditions of the Huichol ceremonial centers of Santa Catarina, Las Latas, and San Andreas by helping the people to earn money through sale of their unique and inspiring artwork so that they don't have to leave their homeland in search of work. However, through increased pressures on traditional communities and lifestyles the amount of Huichols leaving their communities has continued to increase. Most often this leads to hardship and despair simply because they are unprepared for the realities of living in modern cities. As a response to this situation many Huichol Elders are in the process of forming an artist's cooperative in conjunction with the Governor of the state of Zacatecas, where many displaced Huichols now live. Currently, the ESF is in the process of coordinating efforts through ESF board member Casimiro de la Cruz Lopez towards the formation of this cooperative - Cooperativa TEKA YUAWI. If successful, the sale of Huichol artwork will enable artists and their families to return to their sacred mountains and continue to help preserve this precious earth-honoring culture from becoming extinct.
In addition to the Huichol artists cooperative, ESF has the goal of donating 500 copies of The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story to schools throughout the Huichol Seirra. This project has come about due to the profound effect that a donation of 20 books by James Endredy to Huichol Elders has inspired. The Elders have made it very clear that they feel it vitally important that every Huichol child know the messages of this important book, and we want to make that happen. Currently, we are working toward having a Spanish language edition of the book published in Mexico so that the book donation will have a greater impact on the Huichol children now learning Spanish.
Preservation of Sacred Sites
Members of ESF are currently involved in feasibility studies toward helping to protect a number of sacred sites in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Since our resources are limited at this time we are concentrating our efforts on those smaller projects that we can readily impact in order to create momentum for helping with larger areas in the future.
As with the sacred sites initiative, we are looking at this project from a very practical standpoint and our first order of business will be aimed toward raising public awareness through our programs and newsletter. One project that has been identified as needing immediate attention is focused on developing a strategy of cooperation in preventing the sacred peyote cactus from becoming extinct in the United States. More news about this important project will be available in the upcoming weeks.
During 2015-16 we hope to add to our workshops many other educational opportunities including courses on sustainable living, working with plant spirits, adolescent rights of passage, and endangered languages of earth-centered cultures, among others.