Monday, November 5, 2012
This may not be Real de Catorce, but the blue deer keeps leaving a lasting impression on the mind of those who visit Potrero de Palmita, a Huichol community established in the Sierra del Nayar that has recently been opened to tourism and allows everyone to learn about the Wixarica culture, whose deep roots make it one of the last ancient cultures that are still alive and in all its glory.
Haydi, a small smiling girl dressed in the traditional attire, walks along with tourists while she tells the legend of “The wolf and skunk.” When she’s done, she proudly exclaims “And I’ll say it in my language, too!” as she states that she likes Wixárika better because it sounds nicer.
Tawexikta, which is where Haydi offers her tour, is a modest community through which Potrero de Palmita is looking to attract the interest of tourists due to its culture, and is looking to turn it into a comprehensive development center that will help improve the economy, while educating on the respect for the environment and their culture.
Storytelling is not something trivial for Haydi. The Huichol have preserved their oral tradition intact and proud of it. If you ask the village elders how to get a book with all their legends, they’ll say it’s impossible because for them it’s important to sit together every night to listen and learn those legends from their elders. And it is this very daily family gathering what keeps them together.
At “The Place of the Sun” (the Spanish translation of Tawexikta), the cooperative has built a complex of four traditional cottages, featuring all the amenities, a dining room, a craft market and a ceremonial center where the marakame has a special space for cleansing and rituals.
The trip from Riviera Nayarit will take you through the city of Tepic, where you can stay overnight and then continue the journey up north towards the Sierra del Nayar, by taking the road that leads to the Aguamilpa dam. The journey is a delightful mix of landscapes where the mountains are bordered by the Santiago and Huaynamota rivers.
Once you reach the dam, you’ll have to take a boat towards the community of Potrero de Palmita, a joyful town that reflects its happiness through its colorful crafts, which will welcome you with open arms.
Learning the language, learning how to make corn dough tortillas, and craft making with beads are attractions offered by this community, as well as horseback riding, boating and hiking.
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