Voices of Maiz, have your voice heard

Tesuque white flint corn from the "Braiding the Sacred" corn growers' gathering in Pojoaque, NM (September 2016). Photo by Devon G. Peña
Tesuque white flint corn from the "Braiding the Sacred" corn growers' gathering in Pojoaque, NM (September 2016). Photo by Devon G. Peña
2016 planting of the heirloom white flint corn field or 'milpa' of The Acequia Institute. This milpa is adapted to the high altitude environment. La Corrillera, San Luis, CO (June 2016). Photo by Devon G. Peña
2016 planting of the heirloom white flint corn field or 'milpa' of The Acequia Institute. This milpa is adapted to the high altitude environment. La Corrillera, San Luis, CO (June 2016). Photo by Devon G. Peña

UW anthropology professor and founder and president of the Acequia Institute, Devon Peña, is part of Voices of Maíz, “a collaborative project among various organizations, communities, and individuals coming together to amplify the voices of communities internationally to restore and re-engage the sacred in corn, and to show the fundamental role of Indigenous cultures in the creation and conservation of maize.” Voices of Maíz received funding from the Swift Foundation in support of their mission to organize a series of reports and an exhibition on the cultures, threats, and future of maize (corn) civilizations to be held at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convening in Cancun, December 4-17.

The Acequia Institute — which hosts a seed library and plant breeding program for native land race varieties of maize at an acequia (communal irrigation ditch) farm in Colorado — will attend the conference as part of an international delegation of indigenous-led and collaborating NGOs working to protect the biocultural diversity associated with maize as a whole way of being in the world. This important work will be shared with delegates from over 160 countries, and will be a rallying call for continued efforts in support of biocultural diversity.

To learn more, or to contribute stories or photos to the project, see the Voices of Maiz website or send submissions to devonpena@gmail.com or kswifta@gmail.com.

An additional presentation of the exhibition, along with press conferences and workshops, will take place at the Feria de la Diversidad Biocultural in Mexico City, November 27-30.