On August the 12th 1521, amidst the eminent collapse of the defenses of the capitol city Tenochtítlan of the Mexica, the traditional council of the Confederation of Anahuac issued a mandate for the future generations from the center of Mexico. These instructions are known traditionally as the Nahuatilámatl, or el Mandato de Cuauhtémoc. Passed on from generation to generation the Nahuatilámatl survived to provide an essential link of continuity, memory, and history for the revitalization and regeneration of the cultural identity as Indigenous Peoples for the generation of Xicanos that would take on the struggle for Indigenous Self Determination in the field of learning and education: MEChA.
Learning and education are not always synonymous. For over 522 years, the Original Nations of the Great Turtle Island Abya Yala have endured the one of the most extreme forms of colonization and genocide in all of human history. The pogrom of genocide has extended into the very fabric of our conceptions, intellectual processes, historical self-awareness, and psychological health.
In 1990, the First Continental Encounter of Indigenous Nations, Pueblos and Organizations took place in Quito, Ecuador. Among the delegations participating were the founding families of the Danza Azteca Huehuecoyotl. In Quito in 1990, we were witness to the long awaited rebirth of our Continental Confederacy of the Eagle and the Condor as foretold in the Nahuatilámatl. One of the themes addressed in this historic encounter was Indigenous Education:
“We as indigenous peoples 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 devloped a cosmovision, 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 reverance as they enrich our daily lives. This is our true spirituality, which is at the base of our culture…”
Today, the traditional circle of families known as HUEHUECOYOTZIN continues to perpetuate this powerful call to destiny and harmony for all humanity. As a constellation of families living among the O'odham Jeved Territories we follow the teachings and practice this discipline of the Mexicayotl, a contemporary expression of the ancestral way of life of the Nican Tlacah, the Indigenous Peoples of Anahuac, the Great Turtle Island Abya Yala, Cemanahuac.