Central America, Culture, Europe, UK

The totemic Mexicans off to COP26

The world is coming to Glasgow at the end of this month which gives us a reason to focus on the totemic Mexicans off to COP26. Every day is a school day.

Why totemic Mexicans I hear you ask.. well, why not?

And the proud hombres have never been backward in coming forward… Pancho Sanchez anyone?

And so to the mission in hand..

An indigenous community in Mexico is sending a message to Biden, Johnson, Putin, Xi Jinping, Merkel, Macron et al and let’s hope they stand up and take notice.

And it is shaped in the form of a hand-carved totem that is travelling 9000km from the Totonacapan region.

A little bit of Mexico

Things are looking up: The totem

Totem Latamat is travelling to cultural hubs across the UK before being placed in The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow which will host Indigenous elders and the Sacred Fire for the duration of the conference.

Who knew?

Well, the totem is cut from a single cedar tree and stands 4.5m tall.

After COP26 the totem will be returned to the earth in a ceremony hosted in Dumfries.

All of this is part of ORIGINS, a year-long Indigenous and art and culture festival showcasing the work of leading  artists and activists exploring the themes of climate, Covid and colonialism.

And the man behind it all is artist Jun Tiburico, a painter, earth sculptor, and poet in the Indigenous language of Totonac.

A language apart

I’ve got my eye on you: Mexican culture

Jun has exhibited his work across the globe and is the ambassador of the Totonac language.

And if that’s not enough, he is also the founder and artistic consultant of the Cumbre Tajin Papantla Cultural Festival, in the state of Veracruz (and, no she’s not Penelope’s sister).

So, a lot to absorb there.

And as usual, I suppose you want me to fill in the gaps.

And it’s one of 68

Looking at you Xi: And a warning to the world leaders

Totonac is one of 68 native languages in Mexico with more than 350 linguistic variants.

Just so you know should you think that a burst of La Bamba or an arriba, arriba andale arriba, will draw some interest from the central Mexicans.

And the Cumbre Tajin Papantia Cultural Festival?

Well, our amigos (and excuse me for falling into lazy Spanish) give us the lowdown.

‘Cumbre Tajin is an annual spring equinox festival that takes place in Papantla, Mexico. It’s a celebration of Totonac culture as well as indigenous cultures from around the world.

‘With more than 5,000 activities and 300 artists, it has workshops, craft shows, holistic healing, music, dance, and spectacular light shows at the El Tajin archaeological zone.’

A word on the totem

Blessings on you: The ritual

And maybe a word from Jun: ‘For the Totonac people, birds are our messengers.

‘In the totem, they tell us that we must take care of all life…

‘At the top of the totem are hummingbirds, representing the aspiration for a new consciousness: they are messengers of peace between humans and nature. And I’ll vouch for that as I found in Tobago.

‘The face on the reverse represents the state of emergency in the world.

‘We are so close to reaching the peak of this crisis and the raised arms of the Totonac culture represent the
balance that we must find in the mind and the heart.

‘We need to act quickly to care for the world through prayers, thoughts, connections, and laws.’

Mexican wave

Give it a shake: The maracas

So we’ll be keeping an eye on the passage on their way, the totemic Mexicans off to COP26.

And here’s where it’s going…

18th – 21st October
Rollright Stones, Oxfordshire

21st – 24th October
Manchester University

24th – 27th October
Hexham Abbey

27th October – 14th November
Hidden Garden, Glasgow

From 14th November
Return to Earth Ceremony
The Crichton, Dumfries

Speedy ye back: And it had to be Senor Gonzalez

And we expect to see them in Dumfries when they meet up with the totemic figure of travel.

 

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