Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz

Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz

Director, Original Caretakers

Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz is the General Coordinator of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people, and has been an Otomi Ritual Ceremony Officer since 1988. Born in Tultepec, Mexico, he holds a doctorate of rural development from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and is the President of the Mexico Council of Sustainable Development.

Bastida Muñoz is a member of the steering committee of the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative, and has served as a delegate to several commissions and summits on indigenous rights and the environment. He has written extensively on the relationship between the State and Indigenous Peoples, intercultural education, collective intellectual property rights and associated traditional knowledge, among other topics.

Q&A with Mindahi

Tell me about your work with indigenous communities

My name is Mindahi Bastida from the Otomi-Toltec-Mexican original peoples. I have been working with indigenous peoples and communities mostly from the Americas and other parts of the world such as Australia, Japan, Africa and the Arctic. As indigenous peoples, in our communities, ever since five centuries ago, have been facing several ways of dispossession of our lands, such as mining, concentration of land, invasions to our territories and so on. Our work is directed towards the protection of our Mother Earth as Original Caretakers and also through the Unification Process among Indigenous peoples and other allies.

For some of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other places around the world, more than 500 years have passed since the contact was broken among us, due to colonization process. Today, there is an urgent need for native peoples to come together and to help human beings come back in balance with Mother Earth. Our Mother is suffering a lot for irresponsible actions from humans that are provoking multiple crises, from Climate Change to individual crises of all forms of lives.

In our views, Native peoples are key actors in orden to support sustainability of our Mother. Traditional indigenous knowledge is essential for the biocultural diversity protection and conservation of the world. But most native peoples do not have contacts with other native peoples or are being ignored by other societies.

So it is necessary for our leaders of native peoples to come together and share knowledge, ideas and actions by means of the Unification process. Not only for their own benefit but also for the sake of our Mother and other societies.

In the long term the Unification process can support self determination of peoples, safeguard Mother Earth and mantain a permanent dialogue with other cultures for the sake of all.

Based in the Eagle and Condor Prophecy, the Unification process is taking place in the Americas. Our main mission is to take care about life as caretakers of our Mother Earth.

Why is it important to protect and preserve sacred sites?

The Biocultural Sacred Sites are the source for sustaining life systems on the planet; they are critical nodes for maintaining Biocultural and intercultural cohesion. They are essential for the good living as they provide the spiritual energy which sustains the flourishing of life. They are vital for the survival of humans and all beings.

Ever since some centuries ago, Mother Earth has been deeply and negatively affected by human irrational actions. Specifically there are sacred places which have been desecrated or are being highly affected. For these reasons we urge the healing and/or protection of sacred sites. We can recover good living through this task. For this it is necessary to draw on the wisdom and action of spiritual leaders from indigenous peoples with the support of allies: individuals, communities, organizations, institutions and governments.

Beyond this we need to share ideas and actions within the Unification Process to safeguard Mother Earth.

How does the Center assist you in your work?

CEE is key in supporting the protection and preservation of Sacred Sites and the ongoing Unification Process among Indigenous Peoples and other actors. The Center has been organizing and participating in events where indigenous spiritual leaders presence is important. Their wisdom, based on the traditional philosophies and cosmologies of Native peoples, is vital for the life in this world.

The Original Caretakers Program is one of the most important programs that CEE is strengthening.

CEE always finds the ways for us, as original caretakers to be involved or participating at the local and international level where we can participate and share our work with other organizations, communities and institutions.

What can other faith communities do to support Indigenous peoples?

Most Indigenous Peoples have their own spiritual practices. Some are mixed with other faith traditions. Other faith communities are beginning to support Indigenous peoples’ spirituality and struggles by respecting and honoring our spiritual traditions. However, some faith communities still threaten our spiritual practices and they push for conversion. These practices have affected not just the spiritual lives of peoples’ cultures but the life systems.

We need other faith communities to acknowledge the spiritual practices of indigenous peoples and understand the intrinsic value of these practices for life on Mother Earth.
Whenever there are meetings or events that affect indigenous peoples spiritual beliefs and lives they should be present at all times, especially to ensure that their rights to prior informed consent is met for any development project.

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