When I was a child growing up in a basement apartment in Queens, New York City, I was surrounded by plenty of things that continue to be a part of my daily life. I can easily remember watching shows like Cowboy Bebop and Hey Arnold! while drinking mate the coca and generally having a good time. Even as an adult, I still enjoy watching animation and cartoons, but this time mate de coca always stirs nostalgic childhood memories for me.
It is honestly a miracle that any knowledge was passed on to me at all especially when my two Quechua awichas (abuelitas) tried to make sure their children assimilated into mestizaje. My maternal side has mostly assimilated, but since my mother grew up around Aymara communities, she was able to learn how to practice hybrid Catholic/Andean spirituality. My paternal Quechua awicha was spiritually “Catholic”, but culturally she lived out her life as Quechua womxn and had immense knowledge on medicinal plants and herbs. Despite her efforts to make sure my father and his siblings assimilated into mestizaje, they grew up surrounded by their Quechua relatives and he learned how to live off the land.
Despite all those contradictions, I was taught at a young age that coca is sacred and must always be treated with respect. Whenever we did ch’alla (ceremonies) or k’oa (smudging), we chewed or drank coca with the intention of connecting ourselves to pachamama and expressing our gratitude for all the things that pachamama has given us. Coca is also used as medicine for altitude sickness, asthma, wounds, broken bones, chronic joint pain, headaches, fatigue and hunger. Coca was always an essential part of my life and just by having the coca tea bags in my home brings me so much peace.
That is why it was quite a shock to me, as I was growing up, to hear that coca was the butt of most jokes in any conversation about Latin America and the Caribbean because of the stigma created by the cocaine wars during 1970’s to 1990’s. It did not help that most people thought that coca in its natural form was as dangerous as cocaine so often times I had to educate others that coca was nothing like that at all. Whether it was with white folks, white latines or mestizes, I was always in a position where I had explain the importance of coca over and over again, that it eventually got emotionally exhausting for me so I do not engage with that conversation anymore. The narrative about coca in relation to cocaine has not changed and I would argue it has gotten worse since there are a lot of restrictions for cocaleros (coca farmers) on how much coca they can grow both for the state and for their own livelihoods.
These days, when I drink mate de coca, it often reminds me of “home” whether that is the Andes surrounding the home cities of my parents in Bolivia or the basement apartment in New York City. Even though there are still misconceptions about coca, in the end of the day, both my communities and me will continue understand the importance of coca and no one can take away the joy it gives us.
ThatNerdyBoliviane was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when they had to move to Toronto for reasons. They are currently struggling to survive in this weird-ass world that does not celebrate awesomeness enough. They self identify as Queer Quechua (Mestize) Bolivian-American and are involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that, they are an avid lover of anime, manga, cartoons, (on rare occasion live-action TV shows if it’s good), and having amazing discussions with other folks about nerdy things. You can visit their blog Home to my Bitter Thoughts or follow them on Twitter @LizzieVisitante.
Latin America is comprised of settler states that continue to uphold anti-black and anti-indigenous sentiments and racism. As a result, many Indigenous and African/Black influences are often left out of the Latin American discourse—that continues to center and uphold colonial imperial ideologies. Of course this definitely includes staple cuisines that have become internationally recognized and associated with Latin American countries. In this article, we will discuss the traditions of one of the most common drinks that we associate with Latin American cuisine--horchata.
We are mostly aware of the Mexican horchata which is made similar to what is now marketed as a dairy-alternative, rice milk. Of course, there are other ingredients utilized to make horchata other than just rice milk, and these are dependent on the Mexican region and/or family recipes. However, in this article we highlight the Salvadoran horchata which is made from semilla de morro, because it made of seeds that resemble the texture of the original horchata that traces its roots to Africa.
As further explained in The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, horchata traces its origin to Africa and it still is a common drink that is made from tiger nuts. Tiger nuts (Cyperus esculentus) or also commonly known as Yellow Nutsedge are also powerful health foods that protect and heals our bodies’ intestinal-tract system. Since they are loaded with resistant starches, their consumption allow us to accumulate healthy gut bacteria that helps fight against diseases or bacterial infections. They are loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals and their natural sweetness allows us to consume healthy and natural occurring sugars that are not as addicting to genetically modified sugars. As a result of past colonial history, this drink made from tiger nuts (originating in Africa) made its way to Spain (est. 1000 AC) where it became known as horchata de chufa. As a result of Spain’s colonial history, this drink made its way to Latin America- in particular Mexico where it has become a staple as noted before in this article.
Due to the consistency and texture of horchata de chufa, when we research for the horchata in Latin America that holds a consistent closest or resembling the most to its origin form, we find ourselves in the Salvadoran cuisine section. Salvadoran horchata, which upholds closer to its African influences, is made from semilla de morro (Crescentia alata), seeds from a fruit that allow it to get some natural sweetness and rough texture. You can watch the Salvadoran horchata process making and its ingredients below—as you will see, the recipe consists of other nuts and rice.
It is important to bring attention to the origins of drinks and other foods that have become a staple in Latin American cuisine, as Latinidad, a term or concept meant to unify all people from Latin American heritage or ancestry, continues to ignore and deny African/Black/Indigenous roots and silence their voices in these discourses. Also, Central American discourses are often ignored in the overall Latinx discourses. That is due to how Latinidad centers Mexican hegemony, over other discourses and histories.
Origins of foods also allow us to address food sovereignty issues, as our access to some traditional foods is impacted and impaired due to climate change, displacement, and other environmental impacts.
Do you know of other Latin American cuisines or staple foods that have African/Black roots? Drop your comments below.
Goldstein, Darra. The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Bamishaiye, Eunice I., and Bamishaiye, O.M. “Tiger Nut: As a Plant, Its Derivatives and Benefits.” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 11, no. 5 (2011): 5157–5170.
Rios, Montserrat, Fani Tinitana, Pablo Jarrín-V, Natalia Donoso, and Juan Carlos Romero-Benavides. ““Horchata” Drink in Southern Ecuador: Medicinal Plants and People’s Wellbeing.” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 13, no. 1 (2017): 18.
“Historic, Healthful Drink from 13th Century Valencia Available in U.S. For First Time.” PR Newswire, 2014.
What is known as Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th until October 15th. It is a time period dedicated to highlighting people who are considered Hispanic in the United States. However, the Hispanic identity in this country continues to ignore the different countries that Latin American consists of—including the Caribbean Islands that also share a similar colonization history led by the Spaniards. It also ignores the different races that exist within this identity (i.e. Indigenous, Black, Afro-Carribean, etc.) as well as our LGBTQIA2S relatives. In order to increase visibility to a marginalized group in Latin America, we are having this Decolonizing Hispanic Heritage Month series that will highlight Indigenous Womxn from Latin America. This will include LGBTQIA2S folks that continue to face harassment and oppression in the settler states that comprise Latin America.
Why is Indigenous Womxn visibility important?
According to the United Nations, Indigenous Womxn continue to be invisible and silenced due to the educational gaps that exist in their communities. Not only do they face the highest educational gaps in Latin America, they also face gaps in employment and health services. Their close kinships to Mother Earth also make them suffer at higher rates as we continue to face the impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, and intensified natural disasters. Our Indigenous Womxn are also the leaders—putting their lives in the front lines—to advocate for Indigenous Rights. This puts them in danger as they are murdered for their activism by those (non-Indigenous folks) who want to silence them and will not benefit from Indigenous peoples from gaining rights. The colonization, militarism, racism, poverty, and oppression they continue to face coupled with gender discrimination, make our Indigenous Womxn vulnerable to these oppressive settler states. However, they continue to be strong and resilient and through our Decolonizing Hispanic Heritage Month, we will highlight some of these powerful voices!
Open Letter from Mayab’ Scholars in Diaspora to The United States, Mexican, and Guatemalan governments
Kaxlan tzij/ Español abajo]
Link to sign your name:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWlVXRs6QryaIGkzz3DyVhCxPqxaEq15l7oh0HNZPi1dVL9w/formResponse
We write this letter as Maya Peoples, activists, and scholars who have been historically displaced from our ancestral homelands and countries to publicly denounce the United States, Mexican and Guatemalan governments for their inhumane treatment and oppressive policies toward our people. In particular, we express our outrage against the outright disregard of our Maya children and youth seeking asylum and refuge in the United States. Since December 2018, five Maya children have died under the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the U.S.-Mexico border, and one under the custody of the Mexican immigration officials in Mexico City.
Jakelin Caal Maquin (Maya Q’eqchi’ Nation, 7 years old), died of a bacterial infection on December 8. Felipe Gomez Alonzo (Maya Chuj Nation, 8 years old), died from flu complications on Christmas Eve. Juan Leon Gutierrez (Maya Ch’orti’ Nation, 16 years old), died from a brain infection caused by an untreated sinus infection, on April 30,. Wilmer Josue Ramirez ( 2 ½ years-old) from the town of Chiquimula, which is Ch’orti’ Maya territory, died from pneumonia on May 14. The next day, a ten-year-old girl from Guatemala — whose name is not yet known — died at an immigration detention center in Mexico City. Carlos Hernández (Maya Achi Nation, 16 years old), died from influenza on May 20., Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez (Maya Mam Nation, 20 years old), was shot and murdered by a border patrol agent in Texas after crossing the border on May 23, 2018.
The United States, Mexican, and Guatemalan governments’ violent and inhumane treatment of our people resulted in these high profile deaths, but countless number of children suffer violent acts and continue to die as they journey to the United States. As Maya people, we ask ourselves: How many more children must die before the U.S., Mexican, and Guatemalan governments realize that this is a crisis specifically affecting Indigenous children and youth? When will these governments take responsibility for their domestic and international human rights violations that have resulted in these tragic deaths? When will the United States offer humane solutions for Indigenous asylum seekers, given that the conditions they escape are a direct result of historic and ongoing U.S. intervention in our ancestral homelands?
Maya Peoples are the majority in Guatemala. Since the formal end of the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), in which the state engaged in genocide and adopted terrorist tactics to eliminate Indigenous Peoples, we have faced extraordinary challenges due to the fact that by nearly every social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and physical measures our communities and families have been uniquely and negatively impacted. The Guatemalan government, through its implementation of neoliberal economic reforms, has created a humanitarian crisis that in particular, has affected Maya Peoples. The high levels of corruption and impunity by high-ranking officials has contributed to state-sponsored violence and repression, and the lack of funding for social services, hospitals, and education has also contributed to these injustices. In addition, while transnational gangs have become a growing concern, the government’s response to this issue has only worsened conditions by militarizing our lands and territories, targeting our traditional government structures, civil society, criminalizing young people, and leaving crimes against girls and women unpunished. Maya women and children, explicitly Indigenous children, are the most victimized and impacted by these oppressive and violent tactics.
Moreover, it is in our ancestral lands and territories where transnational corporations and extractive industries operate. These extractivist industries have created environmental damage and degradation that has resulted in water contamination that has led thousands to flee. Indigenous leaders fighting for the defense of our ancestral lands and territories, and those who contest and challenge these policies, are criminalized, incarcerated, persecuted, and murdered. In addition, many people have to deal with drug trafficking, gang violence, and extortion, which leaves people with no option other than to sell their land and migrate — seeking refuge in the United States. The impacts of climate change exacerbate the injustices we and our people face in our traditional lands and territories. Many farmers have lost their crops due to a decrease in precipitation and rainfalls, and increased droughts.
As indigenous peoples and nations, we face racism, discrimination, violence and death in our homelands, forcing many of us to flee. However, instead of understanding these conditions, Maya people are met with inhumane treatment, virulent racism, human rights violations, and death at the Guatemala/Mexico and U.S./Mexico borders, all of which constitute a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The U.S. Custom and Border Protection Agency has reported that since October of 2018, over 44,000 unaccompanied minors, and over 248,000 family units (parent/caretaker and child) have been apprehended and detained. Considering that Indigenous Peoples are the majority in Guatemala, and that there are 68 distinct indigenous Nations in Mexico, and that Indigenous Peoples are present in other Central American countries, we strongly believe that many of the children and family units coming from these countries, are Indigenous and need distinct migration laws. Tragically, they are being denied the basic human right to ask for and obtain asylum.
The Guatemalan, Mexican and the United States governments must be held accountable for the deaths of our children. Impunity for their deaths is not an option and we demand justice for their families, as well as a humane solution to a crisis that is the direct result of neoliberal economic policies of these countries.
Contrary to society’s erroneous assumptions, as Maya Peoples, activists, and scholars in diaspora, we make important contributions to our respective countries of origin by not only sending remittances that are the bedrock of Central American and Mexican economies, but also paying taxes in the countries we have now made our homes. Therefore, we demand:
- An immediate stop to family separations, and an immediate reunification of children with their parents or caretakers
- The immediate end of the detention of children
- An exhaustive, fair and transparent investigation clarifying the deaths of Maya migrant children
- An investigation and prosecution of officials who have violated Maya children’s human rights
- The resignation of immigration officials in charge of the detention centers where these children died
- The end of contracting privatized detention centers
- The end of inhumane and torture tactics while in detention such as solitary confinement and placing people in “iceboxes” (hieleras)
- Complete medical attention to migrants and asylum seekers
- The complete and full respect of the rights of asylum seekers
- Provision of and access to indigenous and Maya language interpreters to asylum seekers in accordance with Executive — — Order 13166 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular Art. 13
- An immediate stop on detained children being fostered or adopted by U.S. families
- A dialogue with leaders of the Maya diaspora for the development of humane immigration policies
Mayab’ Scholars and Activists in Diaspora:
—Gio B’atz’ (Giovanni Batz). Maya K’iche’ from Los Angeles, CA. PhD in Social Anthropology.
— Floridalma Boj Lopez, Maya K’iche’, Assistant Professor in Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles
— Juanita Cabrera Lopez, Maya Mam Nation, Quetzaltenango & Washington, D.C.
— Gloria E. Chacón ( Maya Ch’orti’ origin), Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego
— Daniel Hernandez, Wīnak: K‘iche‘, Tz‘utujil, Mam, Kaqchikel, Doctoral Candidate, Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa.
— Jessica Hernandez, Binnizá-Zapotec & Ch’orti Maya, Doctoral Candidate, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
— Emil Keme (aka Emilio del Valle Escalante), Maya K’iche, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
— Vicenta Lopez Mateo, Maya Q’anjob’al, MSW Candidate, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
— Oswaldo Vidal Martin (Mam) Registered Mam California Court Interpreter
— Carla Osorio Veliz, Maya Tzotzil from Los Angeles, CA and Eugene, Oregon. PhD student in Geography at University of Oregon
— Ana Ramirez, Maya Akateka, Doctoral Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
— Jesse Ramirez, Maya Akateko, Undergraduate Student, Princeton University
— Emilio Vicente, Maya K’iche’, Immigrant Rights Activist
— Yesenia Pedro Vicente, Maya Q’anjob’al, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
— — — — — -— — — — — -— — — — — -— — — — — -— — — — — -— — — — — -—
[Kaxlan tzij/ Español]
Carta abierta de académicos y activistas Mayas en la diáspora para los gobiernos de Estado Unidos, México y Guatemala
Nosotros, los Pueblos Mayas, activistas y académicos que hemos sido históricamente desplazados de nuestras territorios ancestrales y países de origen, denunciamos públicamente a los gobiernos de los Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala por su trato inhumano y políticas opresivas hacia nuestros pueblos. En particular, expresamos nuestra indignación contra el maltrato absoluto de nuestras niñas y nuestros niños, y jóvenes mayas que buscan asilo y refugio político en Estados Unidos. Desde diciembre del 2018, cinco niñas y niños mayas han muerto bajo la custodia del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los EE. UU., en la frontera de los EE. UU./México, y uno más, bajo la custodia de los funcionarios de inmigración mexicanos en la Ciudad de México.
Jakelin Caal Maquin (nación maya q’eq’chi ’, 7 años de edad), murió de una infección bacterial el 8 de diciembre. Felipe Gómez Alonzo (Nación Maya Chuj, 8 años), murió de complicaciones de gripe en la víspera de Navidad. Juan Leon Gutiérrez (nación maya ch’orti ’, de 16 años de edad), falleció a causa de una infección cerebral causada por la falta de tratamiento a una infección nasal, el 30 de abril. Wilmer Josué Ramírez (2 años y medio) de la ciudad de Chiquimula, que es territorio maya Ch’orti ‘, murió de neumonía el 14 de mayo. Al día siguiente, una niña guatemalteca de diez años, cuyo nombre aún no es conocido, murió en un centro de detención migratoria en la Ciudad de México. Carlos Hernández (nacion maya achi, 16 años), murió de influenza el 20 de mayo. Antes de diciembre, Claudia Patricia Gomez González (nacion maya mam, 20 años) fue asesinada por un agente de la patrulla fronteriza en Texas después de cruzar la frontera el 23 de mayo de 2018.
El tratamiento violento e inhumano de los gobiernos de los Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala a nuestra gente ha causado estas muertes de gran repercusión mediática. No son las únicas. Innumerables niños sufren violencias y continúan falleciendo mientras viajan a los Estados Unidos. Como personas mayas, nos preguntamos: ¿cuántas niñas y niños más deben morir antes de que los gobiernos de los Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala se den cuenta de que esta es una crisis que afecta específicamente a los niños y jóvenes Indígenas? ¿Cuándo asumirán estos gobiernos la responsabilidad de sus violaciones nacionales e internacionales a los derechos humanos que han resultado en estas trágicas muertes? ¿Cuándo ofrecerá los Estados Unidos soluciones humanitarias para Indígenas que solicitan asilo político ya que las condiciones sociales de las que mucha gente escapa son el resultado directo de la histórica y continua intervención de los Estados Unidos en nuestros territorios ancestrales?
Los pueblos mayas son mayoría en Guatemala. Desde el fin oficial de la Guerra Civil Guatemalteca (1960–1996), en la cual el estado-nación implementó políticas genocidas y adoptó tácticas terroristas para eliminar a los Pueblos Indígenas, hemos enfrentado desafíos extraordinarios debido a que en casi todos los ámbitos sociales, culturales, económicas, espirituales y físicos, nuestras comunidades y familias han sido impactadas de manera particular y negativa. El gobierno de Guatemala, a través de la implementación de reformas económicas neoliberales, ha creado una crisis humanitaria que, específicamente, ha afectado a los pueblos mayas. Los altos niveles de corrupción e impunidad de los funcionarios de alto rango, así como también la falta de fondos para servicios sociales, hospitales y educación han contribuido a la violencia y la represión ejercida por el estado hacia nuestros pueblos. Además, si bien las pandillas transnacionales se han convertido en una creciente preocupación, la respuesta del gobierno a este problema solo ha empeorado las condiciones puesto que al militarizar nuestros territorios ancestrales, se ha buscado desarticular nuestras estructuras gubernamentales tradicionales y a la sociedad civil, criminalizando a los jóvenes y dejando impunes actos de violencia ejercida contra niñas y mujeres en general. Las mujeres y los niños mayas, y en particular las niñas y niños Indígenas, son los más victimizados e impactados por estas tácticas represivas y violentas.
Además, es en nuestras tierras y territorios ancestrales donde operan las empresas transnacionales y las industrias extractivistas. Tales industrias han creado daños y degradaciones ambientales que también han resultado en la contaminación del agua, lo cual ha empujado a miles de personas a salir de sus comunidades. Los líderes Indígenas que luchan por la defensa de nuestras tierras y territorios ancestrales, y aquellas y aquellos que disputan y desafían estas políticas extractivistas, son criminalizados, encarcelados, perseguidos y asesinados. Además, muchas personas tienen que lidiar con el tráfico de drogas, la violencia de pandillas y la extorsión, lo que deja a muchas personas sin otra opción que vender sus tierras y emigrar en busca de asilo político en los Estados Unidos. Los impactos del cambio climático profundizan las injusticias que nuestra gente enfrenta en nuestros territorios ancestrales. Muchos agricultores han perdido sus cosechas debido a las inconsistentes precipitaciones, y el aumento las sequías.
Como pueblos y naciones Indígenas, enfrentamos el racismo, la discriminación, la violencia y la muerte en nuestras tierras, lo cual obliga a muchos de nosotros a huir. Sin embargo, en lugar de comprender estas condiciones sociales, los mayas reciben un trato inhumano, enfrentan un racismo virulento, violaciones a sus derechos humanos y hasta la muerte en las fronteras de Guatemala / México, y México/ Estados Unidos, todo lo cual constituye una violación de la Declaración de los Derechos de las Naciones Unidas y la de los Pueblos Indígenas (UNDRIP). La Agencia de Protección de Fronteras y Aduanas de los Estados Unidos ha informado que desde octubre del 2018, más de 44,000 menores no acompañados y más de 248,000 familiares (padre/madre y niña/niño, o guardian y niña/niño) han sido detenidos y apresados.Teniendo en cuenta que los Pueblos Indígenas son la mayoría en Guatemala y que existen 68 naciones Indígenas en México, y que los Pueblos Indígenas están presentes en otros países de América Central, creemos firmemente que la mayoría de los niños y las unidades familiares que provienen de estos países son Indígenas y necesitan leyes migratorias particulares. Trágicamente, se les está negando el pleno derecho humano a solicitar y obtener asilo político en Estados Unidos.
Los gobiernos de Guatemala, México y los Estados Unidos deben tomar responsabilidad por la muerte de nuestras niñas y niños. La impunidad por su muerte no es una opción, y exigimos justicia para sus familias, así como una solución humana a una crisis que es el resultado directo de las políticas económicas neoliberales de estos países.
Contrariamente a erróneas suposiciones de la sociedad dominante, como Pueblos Mayas, activistas y académicos en la diáspora, hacemos importantes contribuciones a nuestros respectivos países de origen no solo enviando remesas que son la base de las economías de América Central y México, sino también pagamos impuestos en los países que en los que nos hemos asentado y hecho nuestros hogares hoy en día. Por lo tanto, exigimos:
- La anulación inmediata de las políticas de separación de familias, y una reunificación inmediata de las niñas y niños con sus padres o guardianes.
- El fin inmediato de la detención de niñas y niños.
- Una investigación exhaustiva, justa y transparente que aclare las muertes de niños migrantes mayas.
- Una investigación y enjuiciamiento de funcionarios que han violado los derechos humanos de las niñas y niños mayas.
- La renuncia inmediata de los funcionarios de inmigración a cargo de los centros de detención donde han fallecido estos niños.
- El fin de contratos a centros de detención privatizados.
- Anular las tácticas inhumanas y de tortura a las personas en detención, como aislamiento solitario, y ubicando a personas en hileras.
- Atención médica completa a migrantes, y personas buscando asilo político.
- El respeto pleno y completo de los derechos de las personas que solicitan asilo político.
- Provisión y acceso a intérpretes en idiomas mayas e Indígenas para personas que solicitan asilo político en conformidad con la Orden Ejecutiva 13166 y la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, en particular el artículo 13.
- La suspensión inmediata de leyes temporales que ofrecen poner en adopción a niñas y niños detenidos, con familias estadounidenses.
- Un diálogo con los líderes de la diáspora maya para el desarrollo de políticas de inmigración humanitaria.
Académicos y activistas del Mayab’ en la diáspora:
- Gio B’atz’ (Giovanni Batz). Maya K’iche’ de Los Angeles, CA. Doctor en Antropologia social.
- Floridalma Boj Lopez, Maya K’iche’, Profesora titular de sociologia, Universidad del estado de California, Los Angeles
- Juanita Cabrera Lopez, Nacion Maya Mam, Quetzaltenango & Washington, D.C.
- Gloria E. Chacón ( Maya Ch’orti’ origin), Profesora asociada, Universidad de California en San Diego
- Daniel Hernandez, Winaq: K‘iche‘, Tz‘utujil, Mam, Kaqchikel, candidato de doctorado, Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (Nueva Zelanda).
- Jessica Hernandez, Zapotec & Ch’orti Maya, doctoranda en ciencias ambientales y forestales, Escuela de ciencias ambientales y forestales, Universidad de Washington.
- Emil Keme (aka Emilio del Valle Escalante), Maya K’iche, Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill, EE.UU.
- Vicenta Lopez Mateo, Maya Q’anjob’al, MSW Candidate, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
- Carla Osorio Veliz, Maya Tzotzil de Los Ángeles, CA y Eugene, Oregon. Doctoranda en Geografía en la Universidad de Oregon.
- Ana Ramirez, Maya Akateka, estudiante de doctorado, Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill, EE.UU.
- Jesse Ramirez, Maya Akateko, estudiante de grado, Princeton University
- Emilio Vicente, Maya K’iche’, Activista por los derechos de los inmigrantes .
- Yesenia Pedro Vicente, Maya Q’anjob’al, Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill
 Ver: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/sw-border-migration
Author: @RyRyLoo (twitter), Iona
This is the reality of being a Hawaiian, not only in this day and age, in the past as well. Our history is that of loss, and near extinction. So yes, we WILL sound off our pū. We WILL scream “KŪ KIA’I MAUNA” at EVERY protest or function. Because it is in our people’s blood to be angry, hungry for justice. Our kupuna have done whatever they could to preserve whatever was left of Hawai’i for us, their mo’opuna. And now we will do the same, in hopes of broadening not only our population as kanaka- But to also broaden others minds of our existence. Hawai’i is not just a tourist destination; we are country that has been in a state of crisis since America touched our shores. That’s not hatred, but fact. The greedy white man, takes, and gives nothing back. Consider this movement us native kanaka taking back what America took. Not just Mauna Kea, but our kingdom, our justice, and our prosperity. This fight goes even further beyond science, and desecration of our ‘āina. This stems back to the bayonet constitution, the great Mahele, and so many other events in Hawaii is history that damaged our people. No more, not tonight. And not ever. Ku ha’aheo e ku’u Hawai’i. Eō kanaka ‘ōiwi!
Author: @kuakamahao (twitter)
The Hawaiian Homestead act was to guarantee Hawaiians homes in every district on every island, however, they gave us the shittiest land their was. The wait list is too long, Hawaiians started to move to the mainland because the cost of living here is too high. Everything is set up against us. They build hotels over our heiau (temples) and they steal our sacred rocks from them too. Foreigners buy out whole access roads and land that we go to gather plants for lāʻau lapaʻau (medicine) and go hunt on. Every island has its own problems weather its windmills, rail, or billionaires forcing people out and buying up whole islands. One of our islands Kahoʻolawe was used as target practice by the U.S. and now has been messed up so bad it is uninhabitable. And we fought for that with Aloha ʻĀina ( love of the land) its our movement. Just like our kūpuna would swim to Kahoʻolawe or ride the boats there to protect it, we are all gathering on Mauna A Wākea (Mauna Kea) to protect it from a Thirty Meter Telescope being built on it. Our governor has declared a state of emergency and has brought in police forces from all over the islands as well as national guard from here and American Sāmoa. Were being called terrorist for protecting our most sacred mountain. In a Hawaiian point of view, the Mauna is our piko (center) it is what connects us all together and keeps us grounded. Our mauna is the connection between Papahānaumoku and Wākea (kinda like earth mother sky father) were tired of outsiders coming in and taking whats ours and telling them that we should show aloha. Thats a bunch of bullshit. I appreciate you listening to my story and i would appreciate if you could share this and learn more about our protest. They' re happening all over the world. Mahalo nui.
Author: @Holierdenthou on Twitter.
I ask that you stand with Kānaka, the indigenous peoples of Hawai’i, as well as countless kūpuna (elders), kia’i (protectors), scientists, scholars and Hawai’i residents who do not consent to the desecration of Mauna Wākea. I ask that you immediately stop the thirty meter telescope “TMT” project. This issue of western ideologies suppressing and exploiting native peoples and their land is deep rooted in white supremacy, colonization, and must end here and now. A large community, including scientists, have supported Kānaka protecting Mauna Wākea because it is not about being anti-science, it is about anti-erasure. It is about listening to and respecting Kānaka voices and the entirety of a culture being forced to fight for their existence in their own homeland. Hawai’i nei already faces exploitive gentrification, and irresponsible over-development, and those affected most are the same community you actively choose to dismiss. Our illegally occupied state has one of the highest homelessness populations and Native Hawaiians make up nearly 40% of that. Time and time again, Kānaka have been oppressed and exploited on their own land. I ask you do what is right and stand in solidarity with those rightfully fighting for the prosperity and protection of land and culture.
Address this email to whomever you are reaching out to. Add and edit as you feel! Sign off with your name. Send to the following:
•David Lassner, UH Mānoa President:
•Governor David Ige:
Please follow these tweets to learn more from @ Holierdenthou- (twitter)
De la Sierra Norte y Las Valles Centrales a Los Angeles: Chinantec and Zapotec Diasporic Indigenous Societies
By: Chinantec Power
Earlier this year I was in conversation with a friend in which I was asked, “You’re Chinanteca? Where are the Chinantecos at in LA? We know where the Zapotecs and Mixtecs are at, various parts of LA county, the IE, San Diego, Central Valley and NorCal, but I didn’t y’all were here too? When did your people arrive?”
That question and the suppression of accurate Indigenous representation in mainstream media prompted me to write a small piece of my people’s history.
Yes, Chinantecos and Zapotecos are here in the San Gabriel Valley and various parts of LA county, land of the Tongva people. If you go along Rosemead Boulevard, specifically in the Pasadena, Rosemead, and Temple City area, you will find that many of us live within a 5–15 minute radius. Our networks stay close. It is how we create opportunities for each other in employment and higher education. Those of us, Zapotec and Chinantec, in the San Gabriel Valley arrived mostly during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. My uncle and father were among the first men to arrive from our pueblo in the 1980’s and paved the path for the migration of our paisanos and the formation of our diasporic Indigenous societies in the United States. The women of our pueblo also played a vital role in managing property, land ownership, and raising the next generation of Chinantec and Zapotec youth, both back home in Oaxaca and the United States. This is a part of a centuries long struggle for survival, sovereignty, and autonomy. The intent behind this is to send resources back home to create livable and stable living conditions after multiple generations of land dispossession, removal, and genocides. The earliest one I know of is one before the Mexican revolution. The second one was executed by the Catholic Church during my grandmother’s generation. During the arrival of the Catholic church, my people were murdered and tortured if they refused to convert or practiced our traditional religions. I am still trying to recover and understand the history that has been stolen from us by public education on both sides of the border. Colonial violence destabilized our economic, social, and geographical systems to the point where migration out of the town and into the United States was the last option for our survival.
The most popular destination for establishment was along Rosemead Boulevard, crossing through Pasadena, Temple City, San Gabriel, past Valley Boulevard. This is because we had paisanos from other Zapotec pueblos in the Sierra Norte working in restaurants in the Valley. They helped my older relatives attain housing and employment in these locations. Now over 20 years later we can be found all across the Valley, Long Beach, Koreatown, and South Central Los Angeles. There are Indigenous nations from other pueblos situated across California, with Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Central Valley being the most popular location of settlement for southern Indigenous migrants. Every pueblo from Oaxaca and across Latin America that has migrated to California has its own migration story. There are thousands of us and we are inextricably linked to each other, for our survival depends on our networks, or relationships to each other and our pueblos. Governments on both sides of the border do not recognize us or our nationhood, therefore we rely on each other much more. Our ways of organizing are not something created within the past five years, rather they are hundreds and thousands of years old, as old as our societies. They were cultivated by our ancestors and passed down to us, with more recent forms being changed by the ways colonialism harms us.
Migration from southern Mexico is difficult, expensive, and deadly. We have lost some paisanos along the way and the process of getting the individual home and funerals are emotionally painful and expensive. It takes community emotional and financial support to identify the individual, retrieve them, their belongings, send them back home, and host funeral services. We heal in community with family and paisanxs.
We migrate, survive, and grow together. Our displacement from our homelands comes with different kinds of losses. However, we try to keep as much with us from our homelands as possible. We cannot lose our culture. That is at the core of who we are, it is part of our soul so we bring it and create it wherever it is that we reside as well. Tlayudas, entomatadas, enfrijoladas, chapulines, and tamales de hojas de platano are staples in my home. They are popular foods in the Sierra Norte and Central Valleys of Oaxaca. My relatives brought their recipes to the United States too. Mexican grocery stores do not have a lot of the main ingredients that go into our traditional foods so we have to go to our paisanxs or Oaxacan grocery stores or restaurants in Koreatown and other parts close to the center of Los Angeles. A lot of my paisanxs and relatives live in apartment complexes without yards that leave room for gardening or farming like in our pueblos. Therefore some of us make urban gardens in our patios. My family will go to the swapmeets to buy vegetables and some of the traditional herbs in Zapotec and Chinantec cuisine that we cannot find in grocery stores to plant in our patio gardens. We like to have the freshest fruits and veggies, things that remind us of life in our pueblos. Our pueblos are very much centered in farming, so these gardens are an important piece of us too. We find home in each other and create it around us too.
Language also travels with us during our migration. Our native languages are Chinanteco and Zapoteco, not Spanish. For many of us English is our my third language like it is for me. Spanish was my first, then Chinanteco, and lastly English. The public education system in the United States and in Mexico discourages Natives from speaking our Native languages and instead imposes colonial languages like Spanish and English onto us. There has been a decline in fluency of our Indigenous languages in my pueblo because the public school punishes and traumatizes students for speaking Chinanteco and Zapoteco in school. The arrival of the Catholic Church during my grandmother’s generation was the first to discourage our native languages from us. I speak very little, but am relearning now that I am an adult. It is important for Indigenous people to receive institutional support when it comes to sustaining and nurturing our Native languages or these thousand year old languages may die out. For the time being, we teach each other and keep these languages alive among ourselves. Still, it is difficult to do that due to discrimination and marginalization we receive from mestizxs, Mexicans, Americans, and their institutions. Languages that are most spoken within colonial systems are English and Spanish. Community translation then becomes an important tool for us.
Our stories and histories show me that we have strength in community. There are colonial traumas, such as internalized racism and misogyny, that we need to heal from and not regenerate onto each other. However, we find strength as a collective and when we support each other. We survive not alone, but in congregation with our paisanos. That is the way we were raised and how our pueblos were created. That is how we will continue to be and proudly.
By: Jessica Hernandez
Chapulines (grasshoppers) are an ancient traditional food in Southern Mexico that is currently still enjoyed and cherished by indigenous populations of Oaxaca, Puebla, and other southern regions. As a result of increase tourism, chapulines are now sold in many central locations and are advertised as exotic or a food to dare others to eat.
However, how do they taste? While many will find eating grasshoppers a delicacy or something that would never cross their food plates, chapulines are a traditional and cultural food that represents the many fights indigenous peoples (pueblos) had against colonialism. It is to no surprise that the indigenous communities that still serve chapulines in their cultural gatherings, are one of the strongest in the region and country of Mexico.
Chapulines have been enjoyed for centuries, dating back to pre-Colombian years—before settlers arrived to Mexico. They are often gathered in spring until summer (May to August) and are cleaned and prepared to be toasted in a comal or fried in a frying pan. The seasoning of chapulines depends on the cook, but they are often enjoyed with lime and chile to give it a salty, spicy, and sour taste.
Yes while chapulines (grasshoppers) are relatively small insects, you will be surprised at their nutritional value! 3.5 ounces of raw grasshoppers will provide you with over 14-28 grams of protein—depending on the size of the insects. This is a lot given that you get 53.4 grams of protein from a chicken breast—which is 10 x the size of grasshoppers.
In some places, chapulines have taken over peanuts as they are served as a botanas or bar food. Let us know if you have ever tried chapulines and whether or not you liked them? Remember that they are a traditional & cultural food to many indigenous peoples, so while they may not be your pallet, they hold a cultural significance and importance to many!
We are an online platform for Indigenous & LGBTQIA2S from Mexico, Central and South America. Our blog entries are always opened!