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Mar 03 2017

I had lunch at Blue Corn Mama Café Restaurant in Sayulita before. The food was exceptional, tasted fresh, and was served with an everlasting smile. After lunch, I left feeling inspired, although I couldn’t exactly pinpoint what had inspired me. There was something lingering beneath the surface. I sensed that there was a story to tell, so I decided to come back and make sure it is being told.

Today, I met Susana Valadez, anthropologist, and owner of Blue Corn Mama Café Restaurant & Galeria Tanana. When she sees me, she smiles with a sincerity that warms my heart. We sit down and she passionately tells me all about herself, and her life’s work, which is protecting, and empowering the beautiful, native Huichol culture that could otherwise face extinction. Profits from the restaurant and gallery flow directly to her non-profit foundation The Huichol Center, which is located in the Sierra Occidental, the home of the Huichols.  

‘’Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he will eat for a life-time,’’ …an approach Susana strongly believes in.

In the Huichol center, the focus is on cultural survival and traditional arts. The local children (and women) are taught in their own native language how to positively stimulate their cultural heritage and Huichol identity. They learn the Huichol numeric system, math, folklore, and native arts, as this is very important to help keep the culture alive.

With educating and empowering the Huichols, they hope to create possibilities for them to stay in their home grounds and become skilled entrepreneurs who are able to generate income for their families, and in turn, create economic self-sufficiency in their own communities.

There are many, many ways in which Susana helps the Huichols through her restaurant and gallery in Sayulita, and her non-profit foundation. Unfortunately, I can’t list them all here. But the very essence of this project is love. Love for a tribal people that face hardships. A tribal people that possess ancient wisdom we can all learn from. A beautiful tribal people that need our kind, gentle support and respect so they can value their native identity.

What can you do?

By eating at Blue Corn Mama Cafe, or shopping at the Galeria Tanana, you directly support the Huichol community. The food is amazingly good, and truthfully the best I have had during my stay in Sayulita. The traditional blue corn is organic and planted by the Huichols themselves (sustainable agriculture is also an area in which the Huichol center offers education and support). Everything is fresh, and cooked right before your eyes. Whether it’s the rituals the Huichols perform in order to protect the crops, or just plain excellent cooking, this is food for the soul. It’s food with a story. Food that feeds not only your hungry belly, but thousands of beautiful native people too.  

After lunch at Blue Corn Mama Cafe in Sayulita, have a look in Galeria Tanana next door. There is beautiful handmade jewelry to find. Either made in the Huichol Center, or by Cilau Valadez, Susana’s son who is a (famous) traditional yarn painter who shares the families dream.

If you’d like to donate to this project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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