My Indigenous culture has had a very large influence on my life, this is because i grew up with elders and parents that taught me not to be ashamed of my culture and to rather embrace it and strive to learn more about it. My biggest inspirations are of course my parents because they are the ones who have been raised in that culture, they gave me a name in my language which i feel is the way to start decolonizing ourselves and they enrolled me in a school that teaches everyone aztec culture, language and heritage. I thank my parents for taking me to ceremony, Danza circles, and other cultural events like Powows, sweats and indigenous people gatherings and these types of programs so i can learn more about not just my culture, but also others peoples cultures. Navajo people are cool. My elder Tata Cuaxle has taught me my language, songs and how to use Aztec instruments and him being a really fun elder to learn from and to gain experience from and that is something i have always looked up to from both Cuaxle and my parents. They three have inspired me to learn what i can about my peoples culture, language and history with the colonizers and i want to take native american/indigenous studies to bring the history and knowledge back to my community to keep the youth woke and to show them that the problems they face in life is a result of colonization and white privilege. On behalf of all natives, i believe we should have easy access to our history, culture and language which is why i want to bring that back to my community and to help fix these problems of colonization by introducing more culture and heritage to the youth.
We started the day off with learning about Aztec battle strategies and formations we used in war. We learned about the diamond, inner and outer circle, straight line, and another one that supposedly intimidated the spanish. Tata Hector and John were our teachers and they taught us discipline, self control and strategy and the knowledge that comes with it. I feel it is mentally and physically challenging and i feel it is physically challenging because of this thing we do that is kind of like horse stance called Pyramid. Its where you do a horse stance position and you left hand grabs your right. I when my legs start to hurt and i feel like collapsing, I prayed to my great grandma, but it was weird because I didn’t have any intentions of praying and i was so sudden like i closed my eyes and started praying. After that we did aztec math and we learned about the divinity of the nepohuantzintzin and how important the nepohuantzintzin was to the aztec people. Nepohuan means to count and tzin is a way of expressing endearment and its kind of like spanish where ito/ita is used to express endearment for example, you can say abuela, but abuelita would show that she extra special to you. We also weaved baskets after lunch and mine came out a lot better than i expected, although not complete, it looks nice and i thing the weaving techniques are from a tribe that is native to the pitzer college area.
Day 3: we woke up and started the morning with Aztec Martial arts and we started by practicing what we remembered the day before which was learning about the discipline, self control, a defense routine and how the martial art correlates and aligns to animals, orbital cycles of stars and planets and mathematics. But anyways, Hector and john who were the people teaching us these martial arts showed us about the center point in a persons energy and balance which is their belly button, i will finish this blog later…
Around 7:30 all of the students gathered up at the Benson Theater because we were going to watch a movie. The movie was called The Sprit Game and it was about the Iroquois tribes traditional game which is what we now know as lacrosse. This game has been a game the tribe has played for thousands of years and is a popular sport in the americas. A group of Iroquois natives started a team and they are from new York and they all come from indigenous communities and reservations where they grew up playing lacrosse. The main goal of the team was to reclaim their own sport and show the world that they represent the game and all their ancestors who played this game before they. One of the most Controversial parts of the film was when the pope came to the United Sates and he eventually came to new York where he and other cultural leaders were going to met up and the chief if the Iroquois nation was suppose to stand amongst the leaders of these world religions and represent the Iroquois nation. He was going to speak about a document the pope has called the Doctrine of Discovery where it talks about how the pilgrims came to this land seeking religious refuge and religious freedom, but it never mentions the atrocities committed against not just indigenous peoples of that region, but they speak for all natives who have had these atrocities committed against them for the sake of their religion. Catholicism and christianity have all had a negative impact on Existing native peoples, cultures and religion and the introduction of these foreign religions has lead to the near extermination of indigenous peoples, cultures and religions and that is why the chief of the Iroquois nation and the people are trying to convince him to destroy the document because of its historical inaccuracy and its wrong ideas. The chief wasn’t allowed to stand amongst the cultural and religious leaders for the stupid fact that he had antlers on his traditional hat and they say that as a threat so they confiscated his has and it was dehumanizing because of the fact that they are taking away one part of your identity and its wrong because you wouldn’t take the popes hat away so that was wrong.
I feel like the highlight of my day was the theater activities we did earlier. The first activity we did was pretend like we are passing around a cat, fish and a match. the students and staff are suppose to act it out and pretend like they are carrying the item depending on what everyone says it is. Everybody was being very creative with their gestures and that only added to the realistic feel and atmosphere of the whole activity. We also met a woman who had a small icebreaker where we all share who “our rock” is meaning a supportive figure or role model in your life and a lot of people share information about their tribe and tribal affiliations and to me its personally interesting getting to know everyone and who they come from. and one last thing, food was another favorite part of today. the food is good.