Cate Cameron is both a cultural/humanitarian photographer as well as an onset still photographer in the motion picture industry. She is also the founder of Cameras 4 Change, A registered non-profit, C4C engages and inspires marginalized and vulnerable populations. Through educational photography workshops, and provides them with the opportunity to transform through creative self-expression, sharing and collaboration.
From: The Flowers Are Talking by Cate Cameron
The peyote people of the Sierra Madre:
The Huichol—or the Wixáritari, as they call themselves—are an indigenous people that live in the Sierra Madre Occidental region of Mexico. They speak Wixarika, a wholly unique Uto-Aztecan language. Their traditions and lifestyle, maintained for generations, are strongly linked with nature and richly steeped in folklore and shamanism. Their art, particularly their beading and yarn paintings, are renowned for their intricacy and beauty.
Annually, the Huichol take part in a pilgrimage to a sacred spot called Wirikuta. There they harvest peyote—which they use, according to their tradition, to heal and regenerate their souls. This pilgrimage is one of their most important rituals: Considered both an honor and the root of their cultural identity, it allows them to commune with the gods.
Living much the same way that they have for thousands of years, the Huichol are now experiencing a period of transition brought about by the introduction of western culture, electricity, and other hallmarks of modernity. Their artisans have engaged by selling their art, but in many remote communities their lifestyle has been much in tact until recent. There has been both a migration of community members to cities and, alternatively, progressive encroachment on their native communities.
In the summer of 2014, I stayed with and photographed the small communities of La Cebolleta and La Laguna in Jalisco. They are very proud and self sufficient people, whose art and religion is deeply intertwined. And though they’ve worked valiantly to maintain their traditions, it’s apparent that an era of change has begun. As someone fascinated by the intersection amongst time, tradition, and culture, witnessing and documenting the beginning of this arc is a great honor. I am planning to return to these communites as part of an ongoing project.
My work would not be possible without the Ha Ta Tukari initiative and I would like to also give thanks to Isla Urbana, Proyecto Concentrarte, and Luum for allowing me to work in this way, and begin this journey.
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