Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Tarahumara Aren’t Running

The Tarahumara Aren’t Running:
Standing Firm at Copper Canyon

Randall Gingrich and Tom Barry
Coming to Santa Fe from Sierra Tarahumara

When: Tuesday, June 18
Time: 4 PM

             202 Galisteo Street
              Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Tarahumara of the Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon) aren’t running. Many know of the Tarahumara or Rarármuri (“those who walk/run well”) from reading Born to Run and other accounts of their long-distance running feats.

Now, instead of running, the Tarahumara are taking a firm stance against a government-sponsored megatourism project. With the assistance of the Defensa Tarahumara network and Tierra Nativa in Chihuahua City, Tarahumara communities are resisting a culturally and environmentally destructive plan to bring luxury hotels, a golf course, and “adventure tourism” ventures to their homeland in the Sierra Tarahumara.

In February a couple hundred Tarahumara marched to the Palacio del Gobierno in downtown Chihuahua to demand that the state government end its tourism project, which is stealing their land, contaminating their water, and threatening their livelihoods. They joined a protest organized by mestizo farmers and ranchers who were demanding that the killers of assassinated water-rights activists be brought to justice. The newly mobilized Tarahumara brought their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington in March, which insisted that the Mexican government respond to the Tarahumara complaints.

Randall Gingrich, founder and director of Tierra Nativa, will present a video about the threats to the culture and environment of the Sierra Tarahumara  -- and the current unprecedented resistance. Over the past two decades, Tierra Nativa has supported Tarahumara opposition to illegal logging and mining operations. The latest threat is “Adventure Tourism” including cable rides, golf courses, and luxury hotel complexes – without adequate water supplies and with resulting sewage contaminating the Barranca del Cobre. Gingrich has been key to the success of several Tarahumara communities in mounting legal actions to stop the megatourism project – both in international forums and in state and federal courts.

Tom Barry directs the TransBorder Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington. A longtime New Mexico resident, Barry is researching a book on climate change and the water crisis in the greater transborder region. In close collaboration with Defensa Tarahumara, Barry is writing a chapter on climate change induced water crisis in the Sierra Tarahumara and an investigative essay on the megatourism project. Barry is the author of numerous books on Mexico, Central America, and U.S. foreign policy, including the Challenges of Cross-Border Environmentalism and Border Wars.

If you are interested in supporting the work of Tierra Nativa and the TransBorder Project, learning more about these issues, or arranging media interviews, contact:

Randall Gingrich

Tom Barry

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