Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Doag O'otham of Durango, Mexico

By Tupac Enrique Acosta
April 27, 2103

She had travelled over a thousand miles and bridged a thousand years of history, but when Vicky Flores Flores arrived at ASU West last week to participate in the DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery International Conference, she was returning for the third time to visit her relatives among the O’otham Nations.  She came from the traditional O’dam Community of Santa Maria Ocotan in the State of Durango, Mexico which lies along the Eastern flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range in the heart of Mexico.  Her people, also known as the Tepehuano, consist of some 26,000 O’dam peoples distributed in 2 municipalities and 6 communities that cover one of the largest land bases of Indigenous Peoples south of the US-Mexico border.  A majority of the O’dam of Durango are still fluent in the language.  Santa Maria Ocotan lies at about 9,000 feet elevation among the mountain pine forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Map by Tupak Huehuecoyotl

I first met Vicky in Mexico City at a continental Indigenous Summit in 2010, where I was doing media work, recording interviews of the different delegates from across the hemisphere that were attending.  When I asked her for an interview she graciously agreed and it became very clear to me very quickly that this was a special opportunity.  In beginning the interview when I asked Vicky to introduce herself, she stated she was “O’dam”.  We were conversing in Spanish but I then told her that I lived in Arizona which was the homeland of the O’otham nations, and shared a few O’odham words that I had picked up from talking with Shannon Rivers of the Gila River Akimel O’otham.  The rest is not only history, but perhaps at the end of the day her travels to the O’otham Jeved here in the north may become the fulfillment of prophecy.

It was in 1990, in Quito Ecuador that the First Continental
Encounter of Indigenous Nations, Pueblos, and Organizations convened for the first time after nearly 500 years of colonization and genocide.  We gathered in Quito over twenty years ago to reaffirm our self-determination as Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of the continent, and made commitments to each other as survivors of the greatest holocaust ever committed upon humanity to organize ourselves together under the principles of the Continental Confederation of the Eagle and the Condor.   According to traditional histories, this ancient continental confederacy was the original United Nations of the hemisphere, and extended from pole to pole and coast to coast across our entire continent of Abya Yala [the Americas].  The Eagle represents the symbol of the Indigenous Nations of the North and the power of “Sees Far”, while the Condor represents the Indigenous Nations of the South and the power of “Sees Within.”

At that gathering in 1990 in Quito, it was revealed that along with the tradition and memory of the Eagle and the Condor came a legend of the Prophecy of the Reuniting of the Eagle and Condor in a process of healing from the violence and trauma of centuries of colonization.

The two-day international conference on DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery held at ASU West last week was a continuation of that decolonizing work, and also a fulfillment of those obligations made twenty-two years ago, but the story goes back of course even further.  

TONATIERRA of the Izkaloteca, Maya Vision of the Maya Nations, and the Techantit Cultural Center of the Nahuat Pipil Nations were the conveners of this international conference.  Among these three organizations, within our shared cultural mandates and instructions, in spite of the centuries of oppression, suppression, and repression, there continues till today the interdependence and foundation in daily practice of our ancient calendar systems and teachings of the milpa, our ways of life as People of the Corn Mother.  When we look forward from this perspective, and with these teachings, it is a vision of the past seen from the future that we become.

And so when Vicky Flores Flores arrived at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix on Friday April 19th after having to sleep overnight in the airport in Mexico City because of a mix up in the connecting flight, she was just in time to make it to the afternoon session of the DISMANTLING conference and give the closing remarks at the end of the first day.   She spoke in her O’dam language, and as had occurred during each of her other prior visits to Arizona, the O’otham relatives could understand her message. 

The event convened a broad representation of academics and Indigenous leaders from across the hemisphere who presented on the historical process of the imposition of the Doctrine of Discovery over the past five centuries, within the present context of Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery as called for by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues during the 11th Session of May 7-18, 2012 in New York.  Two recommendations from this session of the UNPFII served as objectives for implementation for the DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery International Conference (DDD):

4.            The Permanent Forum recalls the fourth preambular paragraph of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which affirms that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust. Legal and political justification for the dispossession of indigenous peoples from their lands, their disenfranchisement and the abrogation of their rights such as the doctrine of discovery, the doctrine of domination, “conquest”, “discovery”, terra nullius or the Regalian doctrine were adopted by colonizers throughout the world.  While these nefarious doctrines were promoted as the authority for the acquisition of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples, there were broader assumptions implicit in the doctrines, which became the basis for the assertion of authority and control over the lives of indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources. Indigenous peoples were constructed as “savages”, “barbarians”, “backward” and “inferior and uncivilized” by the colonizers who used such constructs to subjugate, dominate and exploit indigenous peoples and their lands, territories and resources.  The Permanent Forum calls upon States to repudiate such doctrines as the basis for denying indigenous peoples’ human rights.

9.            The Permanent Forum recommends that States include in all education curricula, in particular the school system, a discussion of the doctrine of discovery/dispossession and its contemporary manifestations, including land laws and policies of removal.

In bringing these issues forward towards implementation, nearly one hundred high school students including members of the Native American Educational Program of the Phoenix Union High School District attended the conference.  Chief Jake Edwards of the Onondaga Nation, members of the Haudensaunee - People of the Longhouse also known as the Iroquois Confederacy shared the message of Great Law of Peace with all conference attendees, which also included many non-indigenous folks.  Chief Edwards presented on the history of the confederacy, and its establishment over a thousand years ago as the oldest democracy in the continent.  He also shared the story and meaning of the Haudenosaunee Wampum Belts which document the principles of mutual respect and self-determination that must prevail between the Indigenous Nations and the non-indigenous societies of the settler states of the Americas.

Onondaga Nation Chief Jake Edwards
Also attending the conference were delegations of Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples from the entire hemisphere, from the Lenape of the North [Canada] to the Mapuche Nation of the South [Chile].  Representatives of the Maya of Totonicapan [Guatemala] and the Nahuat Pipil [El Salvador] , the Arhuaco and Embera [Colombia] joined with Indigenous Nations of the O’otham [Arizona] and the O’dam of Mexico [Durango] and the Havasupai to receive the Continental Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Abya Yala intent on regenerating the historical and political vision of responsibility and traditional alliance that has sustained the collective cultural identity and nationhood of Indigenous Peoples for millennia. 

Sharing at Gila River Rez
Before returning back to Mexico, Vicky Flores Flores visited among the O’otham Nations relatives of Salt River and Gila River communities sharing language, food and the spirit of the O’otham-O’dam Himdag, for which there is no border on the land or in time which cannot be overcome with patience, hard work, and a lot of love.


This story is to be continued, as Vicky Flores Flores has extended and invitation to receive a delegation of the O’tham to visit her home community in Durango, Mexico. Plans are still in the making, but she suggested that the best opportunity falls in Mid- May when the O’dam ceremonies are in full swing.  Keep posted.

Tupac Enrique Acosta, Yaotachcauh

Tlahtokan Nahuacalli


Gathering the Relatives at Salt River Rez

Photos of Santa Maria Ocotan, Durango Mexico

Embassy of Indigenous Peoples
Livestream Video Link:
The Doctrine of Discovery 

March 23, 2012

Virginia Flores Flores at the Arizona State Capitol House of Representatives
Message to the O'otham Nations

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Age of Abya Yala

In icuitlacuah oquipantiac in tlapetlanilli.

Le pego el relámpago en la
cuitlacuaitl, en la pura nuca, but by that time it was too late.

They had already begun to laugh out loud, and that beginning was the very first wispy whisper of the roaring wind of their resistance, which came to be later documented in the Archives of Áztlan under the chapter known as the Atecocoli, a chapter which had neither beginning nor ending but kept on growing in remembrance and aspirations as the tale tellers grew, yes, grew older as the elders.

It was too late to expect for federal recognition from the United States government as “Native Americans” and being exactly 160 years after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), the government of the Republic of the United Mexican States would never flinch now to explain why or how as a political sovereignty recognized within the United Nations system, how could they (as States) transfer territorial integrity to the government in Washington, DC over lands, rivers, mountains, caves, glaciers, and entire ecosystems that they never even knew the name of, except only as shadow provinces of a New Spain that never made it past Geronimo into the New World, tracing projections of the way points of Americo Vespucci, Adams, and Onis.

“Sabes what?”  He said, not questioned but said as only a truly close relative might, could and did say: “Sabes what?”  He began asking out loud to the other ones, who there were not that many (they were not the masses, but only the surviving veteranos of the Movimiento Chicano), as a matter of fact at times there were only a few, or two, or an even one.

It was the multitude in miniature.

“Do you realize we live in the age of Abya Yala?”

He said it out loud but the question part of it went inward to return again four decades later (Gregorian) understanding that it was not resistance but fulfillment that created the high and low pressure zones, states of correlating social sciences trying to account for the lack of human relationship as human beings (what else?) across the territory of the lands of Abya Yala. [AKA: the Americas].

“We are no longer in America.” It was a declaration of voluntary departure. “We no longer live in America, this is now the age of Abya Yala”, and it was a statement of celebration in the powerful hushed tone of reverence and just simple luck to have lived long enough to sense it, see it, and realize that they had become the veteranos of the movement in spite of it all and because of it all.  Because of it all, La Causa had called and they had not resisted but fulfilled its mandate to go where all men and all women had gone before, those who had the good sense to go before and become the ancestors of those of us now going to find out just how they did it, how did they fulfill their love for life and humanity, and so they said it again repeating:

“Let us say with absolutely no risk of sounding ridiculous that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”

It sounded good but in actuality the preference was for: 

“Prefiero morir de risa que vivir sufriendo.” 

And so it began, once, again.  Beginning with an echo, the laughter came out with that wispy nostalgia, whispering the question loudly in clear free flight, and with night sky of the desert wind for a trail:  “Where have you been?” 

I was trying to remember.  Already I was trying to remember what it was like to live in America before the Age of Abya Yala.

Chapter 1. Cemhueytlalpan - Pangaea

hueytlalpan:  continente m  continent

ixachitecatl: indígena americano, nativo americano, amerindio, gente autoctona que habita en las tierras de todo el continenteamericano, desde Alaska y Groelandia, hasta la Patagonia chileno-argentina.
Indigenous person of Ixachitlan, Abya Yala [the Americas], (native american), amerindian, auctocotonous peoples who live in the lands of the entire continent Abya Yala [the Americas], from Alaska and Greenland to Patagonia of Chile and Argentinia. 

Ixachitlan: América (Lugar de la gran tierra), así nombraban los aztecas al continente americano antes de la llegada de los españoles.
Abya Yala [America] (Place of the great land), thus was named by the Azteca the continent before the arrival of the Spaniards. 

ixachi: bastante, suficiente, grande, gran, mucho
full, sufficient, great, much, 

Anahuac, Cemanahuac
Hueytlalpan, Cemhueytlalpan

Gaea |ˈjēə|
variant spelling of Gaia (sense 1). Gaia |ˈgīə| |ˈgaɪə| |ˈgʌɪə|

1 (also Gaea, Ge) Greek Mythology the Earth personified as a goddess, daughter of Chaos. She was the mother and wife of Uranus (Heaven); their offspring included the Titans and the Cyclopes. [ORIGIN: Greek, 'Earth.' ]

2 the earth viewed as a vast self-regulating organism. [ORIGIN: 1970s: coined by James Lovelock, at the suggestion of the writer William Golding, from the name of the goddess Gaia.]


Gaian |ˈgaɪən| noun & adjective

pan-combining form

all-inclusive, esp. in relation to the whole of a continent, racial group, religion, etc. : pan-African | pansexual.
ORIGIN from Greek pan, neuter of pas 'all.'-

There are 5 results for «relampago»

tlahuetequi: rayo m, relámpago m
tlapetlalli: relámpago m
tlapetlanalotl: relámpago m
tlatomitl: rayo m, descarga eléctrica f, relámpago m
tletletl: rayo m, relámpago m

Thursday, April 4, 2013

5 de Mayo


According to the traditional ancestral teachings of the Nican Tlacah, the Indigenous Peoples of the Nahuatl Nations, all of humanity shares equally in the warmth of Father Sun, and the sacred sustenance from Mother Earth.  Besides being a scientific formula written in cultural terms,TONATIERRA, this relationship serves as TEOXICALLI: a nest of consciousness and context for the full development of our collective human awareness and cognition one which allows for the emergence of understanding, respect, harmony, and peace, CENYEMILIZTLI.

Living with Wellness
Sumak Kawsay


At the horizon of a new day, a New Sun, the Izalotekah bring these traditional teachings forward upon the celebration of 5 de Mayo. More than just a historical commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862 the indigenous ceremonies related to 5 de Mayo have an ancient astronomical significance. It is during these days celebrated annually by the Indigenous Nations of Mexico, that a certain constellation of stars gains prominence over the southern horizon in Anahuac for the first time since winter: the CHACANA: the Southern Cross, also known as the constellation of the Confederation of the Condor, Tawantinsuyo.

La Chacana

Chakana Cross
Three Steps
Emergence – Presence - Return

The three steps represent levels of attainment of consciousness in the three 'worlds' or tiers:
 * Hanan Pacha: the upper world of the stars, celestial beings and gods (also represented by the condor)
 * Kay Pacha: the middle world of Mother Earth and human life (also represented by the puma)
* Uqhu Pacha: the lower world of the underworld and death (also represented by the snake)

Central hole
The central hole represents the Incan capital of Cusco, the portal from one tier to the next, and the Eye of God.

Twelve points
The entire symbol additionally represents the cyclical year, with each of the twelve corners corresponding to a month.

Four arms
The four 'cross' arms represent:

    * the four directions of the compass,
    * the four 'classical elements' of earth, air, water and fire,
    * the four main stars of the Southern Cross, an important constellation for the Inca, who believed that was the centre of the Universe.
Star Turtle's Island
As members of the Indigenous Nations of the Continental Confederacy of the Eagle and the Condor, El 5 de Mayo is thus also a commemoration of the ancient Treaty between the North and the South which mutually binds us to this day as Nations of the Indigenous Peoples of this continent Abya Yala and the world.

On August the 12th  1521, the traditional council of the Confederation of Anahuak issued a mandate for the future generations from the center of Mexico, in Tenochtitlan.  Nearly five hundred years later, the traditional circle of families of Izkalotlan
continue to perpetuate this powerful call to destiny and harmony for all humanity, known as the Nahuatilamatl


logo final.jpg

The Zacapoaxtla Battalion

and the Battle of 5 de Mayo, 1862


Originating from settlements of the Indigenous Nations of the Nahuas, Chichimecas and Toltecas, the region known as Zacapoaxtla is recognized for providing the majority of fighters at the Battle of 5 de Mayo in 1862. These some 4,000 Indigenous Peoples faced the bayonets and rifles of the 8,000 man French Army armed only with only machetes and valor.  They emerged victorious, and left the legacy of one of the most significant military victories by the Indigenous Peoples of the continent against those who would subjugate us to colonization.

The French were arrogant and Eurocentric in their thinking, and were eventually deported back to Europe.  Today we face the same battle, and must recall the same courage as in 1862.  But today our weapons are not instruments of destruction and death.  Today we are called to battle not in a military campaign, but against the doctrines of cultural supremacy, racism and fear that would deny the reality of our common humanity that we share with each and all.

Today our weapons are our Principles: Respect, Dignity, Cultural Self Determination and EDUCATION, as we advance in the
Battle against Ignorance, the Battle of 5 de Mayo!

!La Batalla de 5 de Mayo es todos los Dias!
It's not about what we want, it's what we WILL!

Facebook Album

Chacana Izkalotecah

Embassy of Indigenous Peoples

XINACHTLI: Inevitably


An Indigenous Peoples Studies Educational  Program

of Cultural Empowerment and Competency

Tupac Enrique Acosta 1991

“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 that existed in the Mesoamerican centers of learning during the first phase of Spanish invasion of Abya Yala [the Americas] may perhaps never be accurately evaluated in terms of the effect on the heirs of these sources of knowledge; the autos-de-fe 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 had its AMOXCALLI  and that the art of writing – TLACUILOA – was extensively instructed in the TELPOCHCALLI and CALMECAC, the two major educational institutions of the Nahuatlacah. As script, a form of writing- the complex system combined text, image, and color in a phonetic representation that required the talent of the artist and el conocimiento del sabio for it’s expressions.    To read (not interpret) the Nahuatl written language was however most nearly universal in the urban centers where public education was obligatory.    It is well to remember that the meso-american culture was predominantly urban where the centers of population followed the spiritual tradition of being 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, in harmony with the forces of creation.   This entailed above the balance at all levels of the cosmic duality that represented the highest level of the highest of Nahuatl philosophy – OMETEOTL.

Of the thousands of Nahuatl codices, there survive today fourteen that are given the recognition of being representatives of the traditional writing system.   Of the fourteen, only one, the Codice Borbonious, is generally accepted as being of Pre-Hispanic origin.   Coincidentally this codice is also the only one that is attributed specifically to the MEXICA or AZTECA pueblo.  The rest are for the most part documents solicited by the Spanish authorities, both civil and ecclesiastic, for the purpose of gathering more information on the culture they were subjugating.  One of the most extensive sources of the writing tradition comes from the mandate of the Spanish Crown for maps of the dominions in the Vice-Royalty of New Spain. 

It fell to the TLACUILO to supply the maps and they did so using, the surviving tradition of the ALTEPEAMATL, el libro del pueblo as well as name-portraits of the founders and the TEKW’UTLI in authority.  Under the law of La Reforme Agraria in Mexico, these ALTEPEAMATL have been recognized as valid legal documents securing land title for indigenous pueblos, with the condition that they be readable.   

Besides the codices, there are other examples of the writing tradition that take their names from the media on which they are presented, such as lienzos, rollos, tableau, etc.  Finally, there are murals, sculptures, ceramics, and the inscriptions on stone.

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 civilization were full admiration, however, the Spaniards quickly reversed themselves and began to negate all positive aspects of the culture.  It became necessary in order to impose the colonial superstructure to diminish the civilization, culture, and language of the indigena to a savage and unenlightened status.   

The denial of the science and art of the Nahuatl script as an instrument of human literature served the immediate purpose of forcing all official, legal transaction to be conducted in the European scheme, with Latin Characters.  This demeaning approach within of the Euro-centric schools of anthropology and linguistics has preserved the bias at the highest levels of academia.  It has 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 history, systems of knowledge, and languages or indigenous Mexico are referenced as dialects only.

Furthermore, this prejudice has shielded the continued colonization of the continent from impartial intellectual evaluation, denying in precept the existence of the surviving indigenous civilization except, in terms of the nation states currently enjoying international recognition.

Nearly five hundred years after the invasion by Spain, the Indigenous Peoples of Anahuac Mexico still suffer the imposition of a European-American Psychology of domination upon the national identity. 
Spain imposed a Spanish Only policy in the Vice-Royalty of New Spain, which resulted in the suppression of the continuity of development, in intellectual terms, of the indigenous cultures. The criminalization and stigmatization of  a Peoples’ aboriginal form of expression as a deliberate policy results in the psychological genocide of the succeeding generations.  The success of the policy is reinforced by the other levels of genocide: physical, cultural, and political -  but  the pogrom of psychological genocide is the most pervasive of sciences and necessarily so.

South of the Rio Bravo, the European allegiances  (Hispanic, Latino, Portuguese, etc,)  are a numerical minority and to retain control over the predominantly indigenous population of Mexico overt colonization is not viable.  Instead, the concept is to control the Mexican allegiance by ursurping the symbolism and nationality of the ancient indigenous political confederacies of Mexico (Aguila y Nopal, Piedra y Agua, TENOCHTITLAN) thereby subverting the liberation of the Nican Tlacah, Indigenous Peoples of Mexico Profundo in an age of DECOLONIZATION.

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 born of the relationship and historical struggle for liberation with the surviving indigenous nations that form the family of Uto-Aztecan languages in the territory.

However, to escape the parameters of the European intellect and participate in the regeneration of our indigenous destiny, the path to communication and thus confederacy with the other nations of Aztlan is through the language.  More profoundly, in an indigenous context not limited to anthroprocentric conceptions of society, communication processes of harmonization of the people with the powers of nature and the cosmos requires the ceremonial and non-verbal  (movement-imagery) 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-American domination is a testament to the enduring values of the Nahuatl 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

The Legend of Truth and the Doctrines of Power