Lic. Raúl Noriega

Remarks by Lic. Raúl Noriega, president of the organizing committee, upon the presentation of the festschrift volume A William Cameron Townsend en el vigésimoquinto aniversario del Instituto Lingüístico de Verano (1961) to

William Cameron Townsend


Dear William:

In the name of a great Mexican who is unfortunately no longer with us, Dr. Manuel Gamio, and of the secretaries of the organizing committee, Prof. Jiménez Moreno, Dr. Comas, Prof. De la Fuente, and Dr. Benjamin Elson, I am presenting to you a book that reflects in part this pendulum that touches the history of our indigenous America every day, the pendulum that sinks in the darkness of the centuries at one extreme, and that penetrates towards the future and in the most modern horizons of our contemporary era. I hope, William, that this book on which sixty-one people participated with great enthusiasm and affection for you, I hope that this book will be an appreciated memento and that it will accomplish the goal of being a true testimonial for those for whom it was done. I hope, also, that within twenty-five years we do not present you with just a book, but rather with a small library, also as a testimonial, written by all of you.


Excerpt from "William C. Townsend, Ejemplo," Novedades, January 24, 1961

The laws of all countries, the preamble of the Charter and Declaration of Principles of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, project plans for solutions, but require the union of all of our wills to correct such individual and collective aberrations and to achieve that those judicial-political documents apply universally.

Nevertheless, without hoping that the miracle takes place, there are men and women who are working quietly and heroically to hold back the destructive avalanche for which we are all responsible.

Against the forces of "civilizing" penetration that crystallize in true cataclysms for large nuclei of undefended populations, the only available forces of protection are in the spirit of those who, having a mystical sense of life, defend their God in the image of man and develop missionary work that is expressed in the word of the Gospel and in the mind of those who, inspired by an agnostic mysticism, with the voice of the Master, transmit the teachings and knowledge that raise walls of self-defense for the native populations.

Different people are inspired by the same faith—which must be held in the human being, whatever may be his origen and the circumstances of his life, without distinguishing by the color of the skin, since this establishes neither intellectual nor moral differences—faith that also is inspired in the idea that our planet cannot be an inheritance divided between a few political powers, supreme owners of the instruments of production and destruction, but rather that the Earth is the inheritance of all people.

William Townsend is one of those mystics in whom converge two tendencies: one that seeks the salvation of souls by perfection and its identification with a divine creator; and the other that applies whatever positive there is of civilization so that not just souls, but also bodies, are saved from the hells that are formed by pain, sickness, misery, victimization and premature death.

During his long life, Townsend has been a cordial example of enthusiasm and sacrifice. He has gone to the most hidden corners of our continent; wherever it has been possible for him, he has established a school and during his long and difficult pilgrimage, he has enjoyed the virtue of having others put into his hand the food, medicine, clothing and education that others need.

In that way many children of yesterday, grown men and women today, are not afflicted by bitterness and are not handicapped, because they count with defenses to fight against the monstruosities of dehumanizing civilization that we have created without wanting to.