The twelfth month of the traditional Mexika calendar system is known as Tepeilwitl, “the Feast of the Mountains.” It is believed that the Teteoh known as Tlalok, along with his helpers the Tlalokeh reside within the mountains and misty caves that dot the Mexican landscape. Tlalok and the Tlalokeh are responsible for the rain and are venerated heavily in Mesoamerican cosmovision.
The feast of Tepeilwitl is held in honor of the mountains, Tlalok and the Tlalokeh, and the people who had died water-related deaths. It was thought that those who died by drowning had been selected by Tlalok to join him in Tlalokan, “the place of Tlalok.” The festival also honors the Teteoh known as Xochiketzal, who is considered the female counterpart of Tlalok. …
Tlaxochimako (offering of flowers) is the 8th month of the Mexikah calendar system. It was also known as Mikailwitl or Mikailwitontli (the small feast of the dead.) Like most of the other months in the Mexikah calendar system, Tlaxochimako lasted 20 days, and concluded with a large feast to commemorate the passing of the month (The final month, Nemontemi only lasts 5 days). This year, the 8th through 27th of August take place during Tlaxochimaco.
The feast was characterized by the collection of flowers from nearby mountains, which were then fashioned into garlands and used to adorn the idols of the various Teteoh. As with most other feasts, the festivities included sumptuous meals which were painstakingly prepared the night before, and a day filled with music, song, and dance. This feast is notable for one dance in particular in which the city’s sex workers, known as the awianime (ahuianime), danced with high ranking warriors (more about this below). …
An Open Letter to The Urban Review
A recent publication in The Urban Review journal has come to our attention. The journal presents itself as one that deals with “Issues and Ideas in Education,” so it was surprising to see their publication of the article entitled, “Early Pioneers of the Americas: The Role of the Olmecs in Urban Education and Social Studies Curriculum’’ by Greg Wiggan, Annette Teasdell, Marcia J. Watson‑Vandiver, and Sheikia Talley‑Matthews. In their article, Wiggan et al peddle the long discredited notion that the Olmec were not indigenous Americans, but rather that they were black Africans who traversed the Atlantic Ocean millennia before Christopher Columbus. There are variations on the hypothesis, but the general idea is that Africans established (or helped establish) one of the oldest major civilizations in the Americas, the Olmec, which scholars credit as being a major inspiration for the Mesoamerican Indigenous cultures that followed. …
When you hear the phrase “white nationalist” the sad image of an angry young skinhead toting a nazi flag and snapping out the fascist salute may come to mind. But here in New Mexico, we have a brand of white nationalism rooted in “hispano” identity. And while the people promoting this ideology may look very different from the angry skinhead, their objectives are no less dangerous.
So, what is a hispano white nationalist you might ask?
The ideology that drives hispano white nationalism is rooted in the (false) historical narrative that New Mexicans are directly descended from Spanish conquistadors and that New Mexico has a unique, distinctly “Spanish” (NOT Mexican) cultural inheritance. Those that promote this confused ideology will recoil in disgust at the very idea of being called a “Mexican,” and will be quick to respond to such an accusation with “I’m not a Mexican! …
The controversy surrounding Española’s celebration of Juan de Oñate recently boiled over when a coalition of community activists and Indigenous rights groups demanded that representations of Oñate be removed from the city’s annual parade. This demand prompted an outcry from a small, but vocal segment of New Mexico’s white hispano community, who saw it as an existential threat to their cherished fiestas.
The thing is, very few people have a problem with commemorating the events that led to the establishment of communities in northern New Mexico. The history is well documented of how these communities were settled by a handful of Spaniards accompanied by a large number of Indios Mexicanos. It is the insistence that these fiestas serve as a platform for celebrating Juan de Oñate that people take issue with. …
The years following the Mexican revolution saw an upsurge in a form of nationalism characterized by the exaltation of Mexico’s indigenous past. As a result, Kuauhtemok — the last sovereign Tlahtoani of the Mexika Empire — was elevated to a symbol of national pride and unity. The Declaration of Kuauhtemok is a text in Nawatl that has been circulated since the late 1960’s within the Mexicayotl movement, where it holds the status of a foundational and prophetic document.
This movement claims that it is the final decree given by Kuauhtemok prior to the fall of Mexiko-Tenochtitlan on August 13, 1521. Allegedly, this message was memorized and spread throughout Mesoamerica by a series of runners, and has subsequently been passed down via oral tradition to this day. It is the position of the Chimalli Institute of Mesoamerican Arts that the text actually dates from the mid 20th century and is best understood as part of the mythologizing of Kuauhtemok in his role as cultural hero. Nonetheless, analysis of the text, its origins, and the means of its circulation provide important insight into the formation of contemporary folklore in the context of nationalist movements. …
Titlahtoa in Mazewaltlahtolli? Do you speak the Nawatl language? If you grew up Chicano, Chicana, or Chicanx, odds are that you use hundreds of words every day that are of Nawatl origin!
Out of the 63 Indigenous languages currently spoken in Mexico, Nawatl remains the most widely spoken with nearly 2 million native speakers. Here are 8 words of Nawatl origin that are common in Chicano communities!
1. Jacalero: From Xakalli, hut. A person who lives in a hut. Often used to describe a transient or poor person.
2. Tlapaleria: From Tlapalli, paint. A small neighborhood hardware store.
3. Tocayo: From Tokaitl, name. Someone with the same name. A namesake. …
Indigenous lateral oppression is not decolonization
Sadly, the latest online trend within the “latinx” community is to relentlessly attack Chicanas and Chicanos who identify as Indigenous. Given the fact that being Indigenous is a cornerstone of Chicana-Chicano identity (and is manifested in our culture, language, traditions, and blood), I find such attacks…curious to say the least.
The basic argument goes something like this: Chicanas, Chicanos, and Chicanx folks did not grow up in traditional Indigenous communities, and therefore can only call themselves “Indigenous descendants” and not “Indigenous people.” Apparently, there is only one “authentic” Indigenous lived experience, regardless of how history has played out for the Mesoamerican diaspora. This bizarre bit of wordplay ignores the entirety of Chicana-Chicano history and reeks of identity policing at its worst. …
Corn is one of the great contributions made by Mesoamerican civilizations to the world. Modified and manipulated by the hands of my indigenous ancestors, it remains a pivotal part of our identity. Here are 68 different ways you can say “corn” in Indigenous Mexican languages!
Sunuko /Tarahumara (Chihuahua)
Os /Huave (Oaxaca)
Getta /Zapoteco (Oaxaca)
Golgoxac/ Chontal (Oaxaca)
Mojk /Zoque (Rayón Chiapas)
Cuxi’/ Totonaco (Jicotepec de Juárez Puebla)
‘inï /Triqui (Chicahuastla, Oaxaca)
Ixim/ Tseltal (Bachajon Chiapas)
Xob/ Zapoteco (Mitla Oaxaca)
Xoa’/ Zapoteco (Zoogocho, Oaxaca.)
Batchi/ Mayo /(Sonora)
Nnan/ Amuzgo (San Pedro Amuzgos Oax,)
CuΟi/ Chinanteco (San Pedro Tlaltepuzco Oaxaca)
Ixim/ Yokot’an / Chontal (Chontal…
The eagerly awaited Breaking Bad film “El Camino” debuted recently on Netflix. And while public reception has been mixed, I thought it was a satisfying and well executed farewell to the character Jesse Pinkman. But while sitting on the couch watching the end credits roll, I couldn’t help but ask myself “where did all the brown people go?”
The city of Albuquerque is as much a character in the Breaking Bad universe as Walter White, Saul Goodman, and Hector Salamanca. And throughout the entirety of Breaking Bad (and now in Better Call Saul) the presentation of Albuquerque has always felt authentic. The locations, the dialogue, and most importantly the people of Albuquerque looked and behaved as they do in real life. …