You are conflating Mexico the country with Mexican cultural identity, which originated in 1519 when the Spanish began to refer to the inhabitants of Mexico-Tenochtitlan as “Mexicanos. The Spanish men almost immediately mixed with Mexicanas. Colonial documents are replete with mentions of the Mexicanos who were brought to colonize New Mexico. So the Mexican cultural identity in New Mexico is certainly older than 20 years. (Why do you think our state has a Nawatl name, after all?) And while I love New Mexico, its culture is no more unique than any other part of Mexico. Our food, language, customs, kinship, and connection to the land are reflective of the Mesoamerican diaspora that settled this land, along with the Pueblo and Plains cultures that were here for millennia.

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(Chicano/Nawa/Mazewalli) Archaeologist, filmmaker, and founder of the Chimalli institute of Mesoamerican Arts. Professor of C/S at Colegio Chicano del Pueblo.

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