From: Associated Press
Published October 6, 2004 12:00 AM

Mexican Officials Seek to Pacify Indian Group with Promises of Christmas Trees

MEXICO CITY — A protesting Indian group that had threatened to cut off water supplies to nearby Mexico City received a promise of Christmas trees this week as part of a federal package aimed at ending their protests.

Since September, a group of Mazahua Indians from the State of Mexico have been protesting damage caused to their land just west of the city by dams created to help supply water to the metropolis.

The Mazahuas, lead by a group of Indian women bearing ersatz wooden rifles, blocked chlorine shipments for water purification plants and briefly declared themselves in rebellion.

This week federal environmental officials said the Mazahuas had agreed to accept reforestation aid, including seedlings for thousands of Christmas trees, as a partial settlement for ending the protests.

Christmas trees have become increasingly popular in Mexico, where nativity scenes were once the main Yuletide decoration. But Mexico must import a large part of its trees from the United States and Canada.

Given their proximity to the country's largest market for trees and the area's cool, high-mountain climate, the trees should represent an additional source of income for the communities. Other projects would include timber harvesting and fruit trees.

Other federal agencies have promised water treatment plants and other development projects for the impoverished area.

Source: Associated Press

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