The tribe of the Huichol (Wixáritari - Healers, Sor- cerers) consists of about 20000 members who live in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in north western central Mexico.
The Huichol live in a secluded area of the Sierra which is very difficult to get to. Because of this remoteness, they are one of the last indigenous tribes of Mexico who have preserved their original way of living and their religion.
The Huichol see themselves as preservers of the earth. Once a year they make a pilgrimage to the holy de- sert Wirikuta, a place that symbolizes the heart of the earth to them . It is here that they collect and gather the Peyote (hikuri). This revered cactus is eaten in a ritual setting to receive visions.
These visions are represented in the intricate and stun- ningly beautiful sculptures, bracelets and adornments which the artists/shamans produce in exquisite and intricately detailed work using glass beads.
In creating the sculptures, a wooden model is made which is then coated with wax and then each bead is carefully and meticulously pressed into place.
Currently, Wirkuta - the holy desert - is being threat- ened by mining corporations who are pressing to exploit the resources found there. The Wixáritari fight with all their available means to prevent this and ask internationally for support in helping to preserve this sacred land.