“Inevitably, cultural self-government and cultural self-determination must precede their political and economic counterparts if these latter areas are to have any substance and significance.”
The Nations Within – The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty
by Vine Deloria Jr. and Clifford Lytle, ©1964
The destruction of the thousands of AMOXTIN (books) that existed in the Mesoamerican centers of learning during the first phase of Spanish invasion of the Americas may perhaps never be accurately evaluated in terms of the effect on the heirs of these sources of knowledge. The autos-de-fé by Archbishop Zumarraga of the libraries of TEXCOCO are the most well known but were doubtless countless others that escaped notation in the colonial histories.
What is known is that every commercial and cultural center of ANAHUAC had its own AMOXCALLI (library) and that the art and science of writing - TLACUILOA - was extensively instructed in the TELPOCHCALLI and CALMECAC, the two major educational institutions of the Nahuatlaca. The scriptures of the Nahuatl are a complex system combining: text, image, and color in a phonetic representation that requires the talent of the artist and el conocimiento del sabio TLAMATINI for its expression on two dimensional matrices. Yet the ability to read, not merely interpret, the Nahuatl written script was nearly universal in the all urban centers where public education was obligatory.
It is well to remember that the Anahuac Culture of meso-america integrated urban development where the centers of population followed the spiritual tradition of being CHAKRAS (ceremonial centers), each a dynamic focus of space and time. The primordial orientation of the culture, reflected in the name of the language itself, NAHUATL, is the principle of harmony with the forces of creation. This entailed above the balancing at all levels of the cosmic duality that represented the highest level of Nahuatl philosophy – OMETEOTL.
|If there is to Be Four: There must first Be two: the Two must Be One|
The negation of the existence of a written convention for Nahuatl began with the first arriving Spaniards. Although the initial accounts of their encounter with the Meso-American civilizations were full admiration, the Spaniards quickly reversed themselves and began to negate all positive aspects of the culture.
It became necessary in order to justify the imposition of the colonial superstructure to diminish the civilization, culture, and language of the Nican Tlacah indígena to a savage and unenlightened status.
The denial of la escritura Nahuatl served the immediate purpose of forcing all official, legal transaction to be conducted in the European scheme, with Latin Characters. The demeaning process via sets of cognition of the Euro-centric schools of anthropology and linguistics has preserved this bias in the highest levels of academia. It is taught that the criteria for recognizing a written language is that the symbolic elements cannot have a representation outside of the phonetic, a definition that suits the Indo-European languages and relegates all others to an inferior status. As a direct consequence, the scriptures, the history, systems of knowledge, and languages of the Nican Tlacah of indigenous Mexico are relegated to expressions of only folk dialects, and not languages of Peoples.
Furthermore, this prejudice has shielded the continued colonization of the continent from impartial intellectual evaluation, denying in precept the existence of the surviving Indigenous Peoples as cultures and civilization except in terms of the nation states currently enjoying international recognition in the hemisphere.
Five hundred years after the invasion by Spain, Mexico (los Mexicanos y los Chicanos) still suffer from the violent imposition of a European psychology on the national identity. The latinization of Mexico is a deliberate colonial project that is ongoing but it began officially when Spain imposed a Spanish Only policy in the Vice-Royalty of New Spain in the 1500's.
Indeed, with the publication of the first Spanish language grammar in 1492 which was given blessing by the Royal Family of Castille, el idioma Castellaño became a language which was engineered to serve the purpose of empire as stated: "Language is the perfect instrument of empire."
The educational policies of "Intellectual Apartheid" since 1492 under the project of America applied by the colonizers results in the psychological genocide of the succeeding indigenous generations.
They are acts of war - psychological warfare that utilizes the instruments of the state to bring to bear weapons of mass destruction that wreak disaster and trauma over generations. And while the elites of the Hispanic-American and Anglo American corporatists compete hemisphericallly, they also collude in conspiracy as European-Americans both to defend their hegemony continentally in the present era of ascendancy and competition for world domination by the rising of the Asian economic powers led by China.
Yet MEXICAYOTL has endured. Within la Republica Mexicana the Mexican language is the mother tongue of over two million and in AZTLAN a new generation - El XICANO - has revived the consciousness of our ancient indigenous identity. This consciencia is not a romantic idealization, but a process reborn, an expression of the our relationship with the surviving Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples that form the family of Uto-Aztecan languages.
However, to escape the parameters of the European intellect (AKA: the OK Corral) and participate in the regeneration of our indigenous self determination and destiny, the path of communication and thus unity and confederacy with our Indigenous Nations is in the shared Spirit of our Languages: In Nelhuayotl, In Aztlan.
More profoundly, in an indigenous context not limited to anthropocentric conceptions of society, communication of harmonization of the people with the powers of nature and the cosmos requires the ceremonial and non-verbal (moving-image) aspects of the culture. These ceremonials and their caretakers are the remaining bases of resistance to the total psychological conquest of the people. Their survival over 500 years of European domination is a testament to eternal and universal values of the Nahuatl culture and Peoples: the Nican Tlacah.
“WE AS INDIAN PEOPLE KNOW THAT THE DEFENSE OF OUR TRADITIONS BELIEFS AND KNOWLEDGE ARE A CENTRAL PART OF THE STRUGGLE FOR OUT DEFINITE SOCIAL LIBERATION AS A PEOPLE. UNFORTUNATELY , THOSE THAT OPPRESS AND EXPLOIT US, IN WHICHEVER COUNTRY WE ARE, ALSO KNOW THIS. IN THAT SENSE, AND ENORMOUS INSTITUTIONAL BUREAUCRACY HAS BEEN CREATED THAT SEEKS TO SUPPRESS OUR VALUES IN ORDER TO SUBSTITUTE THEM WITH OTHERS THAT CORRESPOND TO EACH GOVERNMENT.
IN GENERAL OUR CULTURE IS RESPECTFUL OF THE EARTH AND OF NATURE. WE FEEL WE ARE A PART OF THE EARTH AND IN HARMONY WITH HER. BASED ON THIS FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF, WE HAVE DEVELOPED A COMOVISION, WHICH EMPHASIZES THE HARMONIOUS AND COMMUNAL EXISTENCE BETWEEN MAN AND OUR NATURAL SURROUNDINGS. OUR INDIVIDUAL DESTINIES ARE IN UNION WITH ALL LIFE, INCLUDING ELEMENTS THAT ARE CONSIDERED INERT BY WESTERN CULTURE. THAT IS WHY WE SHOULD NOT ABRUPTLY BREAK FROM OUR ENVIRONMENT AND THE CREATION OF OUR SYMBOLS, WHICH WE REGARD WITH REVERENCE AS THEY ENRICH OUR DAILY LIVES. THIS IS OUR TRUE SPIRITUALITY, WHICH IS AT THE BASE OF OUR CULTURE. . . . . .”
From a report written for the 1990 Continental Conference on the 500 Years of Indian Resistance attended by 120 representatives of Indigenous Nations from throughout the hemisphere –Commission of Culture, Religion and Education.
Quito, Ecuador - July, 1990
Quito, Ecuador - July, 1990