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Rarámuri Resilience: Chihuahua 2021

Tour Overview

CWB – USA announces its first live, in-person tour since the onset of COVID-19! We are partnering with Comisión Estatal para los Pueblos Indígenas (State Commission for Indigenous People) in Chihuahua, Mexico, and U.S.-based Big Heart Circus. Together, we will perform and lead workshops alongside the Rarámuri (Spanish: Tarahumara) people of Chihuahua.

Tour Context

The Rarámuri are an Indigenous people of what is now called northern Mexico. They resist assimilation by retaining their distinct culture, language, and dress. The Rarámuri ancestral homelands range throughout Chihuahua, one of Mexico’s largest states. Migration is part of their culture, as well as an effect of economic stress caused by ongoing attempts at colonization.

Their traditionally nomadic lifestyle now includes migrant agricultural labor. We will perform for communities who, due to limitations on their traditional lands, now include paid labor alongside their subsistence lifestyle. When the Rarámuri people travel, they set up seasonal residence organized in interdependent groups. Typically, men look for seasonal labor, while women and children sell handcrafted goods on the street.

Rarámuri live in what Western society considers extreme poverty. They typically lack access to hospitals, Western healthcare and social services, and running water, like most of Mexico’s Indigenous people. The COVID-19 pandemic strained their precarious living conditions and impacted access to food, shelter, and adequate clothing. Intergenerational group living is essential to the Rarámuri people’s social structure, yet it places elders at extreme risk during a pandemic.

COVID-19 Safety and Community Consent

CWB – USA commits to taking anti-colonial action in its effort to be “without borders.” We are sensitive to the history of biological warfare waged against Indigenous people, and the contemporary reality of medical neglect. To that end, tour participants and community members are vaccinated. All performances and workshops will be held outside.

In practice, this tour might look a little bit unusual. CWB – USA will enter Rarámuri communities on a case-by-case basis, rather than confirming our schedule ahead of a tour. The performances and workshops may lack a clear beginning or end.  Instead, the experience of being a guest is paramount. This fluidity better responds to Rarámuri cultural norms.

Tour Partners

CWB – USA joins Comisión Estatal para lo Pueblos Indígenas and Big Heart Circus. The mission and vision of the Comisión are as follows:

Somos la instancia que diseña, coordina e instrumenta las políticas públicas que aseguren la consulta permanente, el respeto irrestricto a los derechos humanos y a su cultura y el desarrollo integral de los pueblos indígenas, así como el aprovechamiento sustentable de los recursos naturales con que cuentan.

Ser la Comisión garante de la consulta y el diálogo con los pueblos originarios del estado de Chihuahua, que promueva acciones para su desarrollo integral y que propicie la sustentabilidad de sus recursos naturales; teniendo siempre en cuenta las diferentes formas de vida, ofreciendo respuestas que mejoren su realidad y trabajando con inclusión, respeto y tolerancia.

The State Commission for Indigenous People designs, coordinates, and implements public policies to protect the human rights and culture of Indigenous people. Additionally, it develops sustainable use of natural resources.

Its mission is to promote consultation and dialogue with the original people of the state of Chihuahua. The Commission strives to account for different ways of life by working with inclusion, respect and tolerance.

The Big Heart Circus is an autonomous collective of individuals. These artists volunteer their time to provide free circus and performance for disenfranchised and marginalized communities.
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