<i>La Muxatena</i>: A Sacred Rock Formation at the Heart of an Indigenous Social Movement for Environmental Rights


  • Sam Orndorff San Diego State University, USA


This piece reviews the role that a revered rock formation in Nayarit, Mexico, played in a recent historical struggle (2009–2019) against the development of a large hydroelectric dam. The rock formation, called Muxatena, is a sacred site and ceremonial gathering on the bank of the San Pedro Mezquital River. Indigenous peoples in the watershed have coalesced at Muxatena for generations and recently prevented displacement by making Muxatena visible in their social movement for place-based autonomy.

Author Biography

Sam Orndorff, San Diego State University, USA

Sam Orndorff is a Geography PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program at San Diego State University and University of California Santa Barbara. His MA thesis, “Indigenous Social Movement in Nayarit: Resistance to the Las Cruces Hydroelectric Dam” analyzes how Nayeri people struggled against displacement in policy, sociocultural, and environmental arenas.

La Muxatena.