Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aztlan and the Chicanas

Aztlan is the area of dispersal for the People of the Four Rivers (Nahuat / Naghuat), whose original home is the island with the 7 Caves of the Heron, the largest island of 10 islands within Lake Youta, with an area of 42 square miles (109 km2), from which has sprung forth the Nahuat nations of the Mexica, Nahua-Pipil, and others, a history of 1000 years that will continue into en epoca de Nueva Aztlan con el Pueblo Chican@ y los naciones Mexicanos y de la America Central.

Photo from [] showing the ridgeline of the 7 Caves of the Heron, today named Antelope Island. There are no "Aztec artifacts" on the island, as this is the original source for the Nahuat nations, and predates all who came later. The few artifacts that remain show a nation of farmers and merchants.

Antelope Island map, full resolution at [].

Map showing the Lake Youta 4-rivers system, full version at []

Map of California (1838, Britannica 7th edition) showing Lake Youta and the Anahuac Mountains, full version at []

1847 Disturnell Map, full view []

The region surrounding Aztlan is among the oldest inhabited areas in North America.
* "Utah's little known Danger Cave" (2011-05-09, Salt Lake Tribue) []
* Information from "Antelope Island State Park" article retrieved 2015-02 from []. There are forty freshwater springs on Antelope Island. Archaeologists have found that people have lived at Youta Lake for over 12,000 years, making it among the longest continually inhabited areas in all of the Continent. The land had an abundance of fish, birds, and small game animals, as well as the now extinct Giant Bison, Mammoths and Ground Sloths. Today, Aztlan island has American Bison, Mule Deer and Pronghorn.
By 10,000 years ago, artifacts in caves near Lake Youta (Great Salt Lake) show that the ancestors, referred to by archaeologists as the "Desert Archaic people", ate cattails, pickleweed, burro weed and sedge, and used nets and the atlatl to hunt water fowl, small animals and Pronghorns. Among the artifacts recovered are nets woven with rabbit skin and plant fibers, gaming sticks, woven sandals, and animal figures made from split-twigs.

Aztlan undergoes a drought during the 1280s
* "Localized climate change contributed to ancient depopulation" (2014-12-04) [] [] [begin excerpt]:
 Washington State University researchers have detailed the role of localized climate change in one of the great mysteries of North American archaeology: the depopulation of southwest Colorado by ancestral Pueblo people in the late 1200s.
Their data paint a narrative of some 40,000 people leaving the Mesa Verde area of southwest Colorado as drought plagued the niche in which they grew maize, their main food source. Meanwhile, the Pajarito Plateau of the northern Rio Grande saw a large population spike.
The dramatic changes in the Southwest took place near the end of the Medieval Warm Period, the warmest in the Northern Hemisphere for the last 2,000 years. The period had a smaller temperature change than we’re seeing now, and its impact on the Southwest is unclear. But it is clear the Southwest went through a major change.
[end excerpt]

* "Bits of History Suggest Utah Is Location of Mythic Aztlan" (2002-11-17, Salt Lake City Tribune) [] [begin excerpt]:
It was a map drawn in 1768 by a Spaniard in Paris that sent Roberto Rodriguez running toward Aztlan. As a Mexican American, Rodriguez long had pondered the historical location of Aztlan, the mythic homeland of the Aztecs. Six years ago, he and his wife, Patrisia Gonzales, found tantalizing directions in Don Joseph Antonio Alzate y Ramirez's map of North America. Where present-day Utah would be, and next to a large body of water called "Laguna de Teguyo," are the words: "From these desert contours, the Mexican Indians were said to have left to found their empire."
Rodriguez's curiosity originally was spurred by a copy of an 1847 map of the boundaries drawn by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo, but quickly expanded to "a hundred others," including the chart Alzate y Ramirez created for the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris. The maps touched off "Aztlanahuac," a project by Rodriguez and Gonzales, newspaper columnists whose work appears in The Tribune, that has spawned one book with two more on the way. Aztlanahuac led them to gather oral histories on migration from Native Americans throughout the Southwest. Believing that the "Laguna de Teguyo" had to be the Great Salt Lake, the San Antonio couple also traveled to Antelope Island four years ago. There, Rodriguez asked a state park ranger how many caves the island had. The ranger's reply was, of course, seven.
Blomquist, a doctoral candidate in American Frontier History whose dissertation explores Aztec origins in Utah, focuses on the Uinta Mountains. He believes that Aztecs, who would have heard ancestral stories, advised 17th-century Spanish prospectors to look for gold in northeastern Utah. Blomquist also cites a "natural temple site" in the Uintas near Vernal. He says there is a 200-foot-high mound with footsteps carved into it and an altar-sized boulder at its base that mirrors temples he has seen in Mexico, such as Monte Alban outside of Oaxaca.
Then there is Cecilio Orozco, a retired California State University at Fresno education professor who has observed that petroglyphs in Sego Canyon, about 30 miles east of Green River, correspond to the Aztec calendar's mathematical formula of five orbits of Venus for every eight Earth years. On one of the canyon's sandstone walls are two petroglyphs of knotted string, one with five strings hanging down, the other eight.  In conjunction with his mentor, Alfonso Rivas-Salmon, Orozco theorizes that southern Utah is not Aztlan but the earlier homeland of "Nahuatl," the land of "four waters," where the Colorado, Green and San Juan rivers meet to pour through the Grand Canyon (Nahuatl is also the name of the Aztecs' language.). The 1847 treaty map also points to southern Utah as the "Ancient Homeland of the Aztecs."
Along those lines, Belgian scholar Antoon Leon Vollemaere believes he has pinpointed the location of Aztlan on either Wilson or Grey Mesa, where the Colorado and San Juan meet under Lake Powell.
Researchers also cite the close connection between the languages of the Aztecs and the Ute Indians in the "Uto-Aztecan" linguistic group, as well as the coincidence that the Anasazi culture began to decline at about the same time the Aztecs' ancestors were supposed to have left Aztlan.
While the pile of evidence that the Aztecs came from somewhere in Utah may seem high, more skeptical scholars like Northern Arizona University archaeologist Kelley Hays-Gilpin put things into perspective.
Hays-Gilpin acknowledges the linguistic connection between the Aztecs and Utes as well as economic interaction between Mesoamerican and North American peoples. But she offers a twist on the overall migration scheme -- the Aztecs' ancestors may have moved north before moving south.
Hays-Gilpin believes that people speaking a proto-Uto-Aztecan language domesticated maize in central Mexico more than 5,000 years ago, and consequently spread north to an area of the American West that could have included Utah. Out of that multitude of cultures, some groups could have migrated south to northern Mexico, and some of those could have, as she says, "moved to the Valley of Mexico and subjugated some of the confused and bedraggled remnants of the latest 'regime change."
This concept resonates with Utah Division of Indian Affairs Director Forrest Cuch, a member of the Northern Ute Tribe, who remembers his grandmother telling him his people came from the south. Could the Utes and the Aztecs' ancestors also have lived in close contact in modern-day Utah?
"I'm open to it," Cuch says, "because so little is known about the past."
As such, it would be almost impossible to prove the historical location of Aztlan, but Roberto Rodriguez says clearing the mist surrounding the myth may not be so important anyway.
While treading the path of his Aztlanahuac project, Rodriguez began to uncover a history of mass migration akin to the one Hays-Gilpin suggests. For him and Gonzales, understanding the larger scheme of historical movement throughout North America became more vital than deconstructing one elusive origin story.
"[Finding a location] has almost become irrelevant," he says. "Now, we have a bigger understanding, that the whole continent is connected. You have all these stories of people going back and forth."
Rodriguez says all that migration is most significant for Mexican Americans, and for the thousands of people now moving from Mexico to the United States, because it affords them and subsequent generations an answer when someone says, "go back where you came from."
"I just hope kids at school some day will at least be shown these maps," he says.
University of Utah ethnic studies professor Armando Sol-rzano has tailored the Aztlan concept to fit Utah, which is experiencing its own influx of Mexican immigrants.
Sol-rzano, a native Guadalajaran, has his own reasoning as to why Utah was a point of departure for the Aztecs -- that the geographical characteristics of Salt Lake Valley resemble those of Mexico City -- but his interpretation of Aztlan is, like Rodriguez's, a broader one.
Sol-rzano tells of arriving in Utah 12 years ago and seeing the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. "I said, 'My God, this is Aztlan.' I felt a spiritual unity with the land, something I had never felt before outside Mexico."
He compares the concept of Aztlan as a sacred land of harmony with that of Zion in the Mormon tradition. The similarities, he says, show that both cultures are searching for a common goal. Sol-rzano calls his Utah adaptation of Aztlan "Utaztlan."
Had Sol-rzano's own migration path taken him to a different part of the United States, his concept of Aztlan likely would be different. Still, he shares his sense of the myth's importance with people of Mexican heritage all over the country.
"What is happening now is we are returning," Sol-rzano says. "This is an opportunity to rewrite history and make justice."
[end article]

* "History of Archeology in Utah" [] [begin excerpt]:
The earliest written description of archaeological sites in the state was made by the renowned Spanish explorers and Catholic fathers Dominguez and Escalante, who traveled north from New Mexico into western Colorado and then west into the Uinta Basin of northern Utah in 1776. Their detailed journal contains priceless descriptions of the countryside and its inhabitants and mentions ruins in the Uinta Basin near the confluence of the Uinta and Duchesne rivers. Little archaeological information was recorded during the succeeding seventy-five years.
After the arrival of the Mormons in 1847, settlers who encountered archaeological ruins occasionally described them in journals and letters. Intriguing observations were made, for example, by members of the 1849-50 southern exploring expedition who traveled south to the Virgin River area and back to Salt Lake City under the direction of Parley P. Pratt. Journal entries from members of the expedition include references to rock art and "ancient potter" in the vicinities of modern Manti, St. George, and Parowan. Brigham Young in an 1851 letter described ruins that he saw at Paragonah in Parowan Valley: "We visited the ruins of an ancient Indian village on Red Creek, where we found quantities of broken, burnt, painted earthenware, arrow points, adobes, burnt brick, a crucible, some corn grains, charred cobs, animal bones, and flint stones of various colors. The ruins were scattered over a space about two miles long and one wide. The buildings were about 120 in number, and were composed apparently of dirt lodges, the earthen roofs having been supported by timbers, which had decayed or been burned, and had fallen in, the remains thus forming mounds of an oval shape and sunken at the tip. One of the structures appeared to have been a temple or council hall, and covered about an acre of ground."
Government exploration of the Four Corners region in southeastern Utah commenced at about the same time as Mormon settlement in the north. Between 1849 and the late 1870s individuals such as J.H. Simpson, J.N. Macomb, J.S. Newberry, W.H. Jackson, F.V. Hayden, W.H. Holmes, and others traveled the Four Corners area discovering and documenting many Anasazi sites in the Mesa Verde Region of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. In the 1870s members of the Untied State Geographical Survey expedition led by Lt. George Wheeler excavated sites at Beaver and Provo and wrote provocative descriptions of mounds in Parowan Valley. At the latter location (described earlier by Brigham Young above), they estimated that there were 400 to 500 structures.
The initial explorations and observations identified the locations of some of the rich archaeological sites or regions in the state. This knowledge was used to direct the numerous intensive artifact-collecting expeditions that characterized archaeological interests over the next few decades.
[end excerpt]

Maps showing the "Aztec Homeland"
* From "In Search of Aztlan" [] []:
Q: There are several maps that indicate sites of the original Mexica people. If we were to find the actual location of Aztlán, what significance would this have?
A: I think the recent uncovering of these important maps--for example, the map attached to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo--is so important because it pinpoints the original homeland of the Mexica people, now called the Aztecs. It pinpoints that place known as Aztlán. And the importance of that is that it uses existing documents that are valid in the eyes of the United States government to prove the existence of this homeland of the of the Mexica or Aztec people. Now, as Chicanas and Chicanos who have been studying with indigenous elders now for quite some time, we have always known that there is a place in the far north from which the Mexica, the early Mexicans, migrated. We have known from the elders that we migrated from the United States eight hundred years ago. We migrated from the north to the south, from Utah to what is now Mexico City. Although we know that, we also know that the words and the teachings, the knowledge that is transmitted through the memory system, through the oral tradition, is not necessarily valid in the eyes of the powers that be, of the U.S. government, of the Mexican government. And so the beauty of finding these maps is that it gives additional credence, if you will, within the written culture. Aztlán is a real place, a geographical location that is in the present state of Utah.

Q: This map from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has been around for a hundred and fifty years. Why do you suppose no one noticed the reference to Aztlán on these maps before?
A: I think these maps, these documents, had not surfaced before because I think [knowledge has] momentum that grows over time. The Chicano civil rights movement opened the door [for] retrieval of indigenous knowledge, and it’s taken twenty years or thirty years for that knowledge to grow. One of the marvelous ways in which it's growing is that we are able to prove now, by different documentary means, the existence of this place of migration that is now in the state of Utah. Research takes time. It also isn’t in the interests of the U.S. government to even disclose to us, say forty years ago, that we had this treaty that protected our rights, that protected our culture, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

* From “Centeotzintli: Sacred Maize a 7,000 Year Ceremonial Discourse” (2008), pg. 247, by Roberto (Dr. Cintli) Garcia Rodriguez []: Nicola de Lafora, 1771. Mapes de la Frontera del Vireinato de Nueva Espaiia. This map, which predates the establishment of the United States, shows Cases de Moctezuma near the confluence of the Gila and Rio Nabajoa rivers; this most likely corresponds to the Ruinas de las Casas 2das de los Aztecas on John Distumell's 1847 map, which is near Tucson, Arizona. It also shows "Valle de Cases Grandes, Casas de Montezuma," which is possibly Paquime, Chihuahua, depicted by Distumell as "Cases terceras de los Aztecas." This and earlier maps definitively show that these citations -- of a purported Aztecs/Mexica presence in the present-day U.S. Southwest -- was not conjured up by 19th-century U.S. archaeologists, as has been commonly assumed by present-day archaeologists as this map was published prior to the existence of the United States. (However, Spanish explorers may have conjured them up, or Spanish explorers may have simply been recording what was told to them by native peoples of the region).

* From “Centeotzintli: Sacred Maize a 7,000 Year Ceremonial Discourse” (2008), pg. 247, by Roberto (Dr. Cintli) Garcia Rodriguez []: Pedro Garcia Conde, 1845. Carta geografica general de la Republica Mexicana. There are many maps that, similar to Disturnell's, depict the same ancient Mexican Indian migration route. However, on this map, what appears to be the "Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas" notation, instead reads: "Grandes minas de los Aztecas" (Great ruins of the Aztecs. However, it is located in a place similar to Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco's map of the 1776 Domiguez-Escalante expedition. It may correspond to present-day Mesa Verde, Colorado or Aztec, New Mexico, as soposed to the confluence of the Colorado and Green. A second location directly south of that notation and still in the U.S. Southwest — is Ruinas de los Aztecas (Ruins of the Aztecs). This may correspond to Cans Grandes in Arizona.

* "Map of the United States of Mexico (3rd ed.)", 1846 by Henry S. Tanner, documents the Aztecs' earlier presence in what is now Utah, and is the basis for the 1847 Disturnell Map.
Reference Info:
- []
- []
Full map scans:
- High Resolution Tanner map [7MB] in SID format [specialviewer/plugin needed]: []

* The following is adapted from "Maps and some history stating the Aztecs left N. America's Utah area and migrated South to Mexico area" (2011-08-07) []:
Having heard of many legends,myths,stories of migrations these maps may help give evidences of them. The 1847 Disturnell Map [] may show us that the Aztecs did not Migrate North, but Migrated South. Map shows us that the Aztecs once lived north of Hopi tribe.

The map is connected to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and shows three migration points depicting a southerly migration route beginning in Utah and including an "Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas" (Ancient residence of the Aztecs).
The existence of the Disturnell Map and others now clearly show us that places that had names like Montezuma and Aztec were already established priority to archaeological theories that credit the naming of these places on the romanticism of 19th century U.S. archaeologists.
More evidence can be found to support the Aztec claim to North America through  linguistics. The Uto-Azteca language family spreads from as far north as Canada down  through South America.
Researchers of the maps, Rodriguez and Gonzales also believe that Corn and their corn-based diets link the families together as one. According to Rodriguez, "Corn is a plant whose seeds that must be cultivated. They do not blow in the wind. Once you look at it, it's obvious! It is a story about how everyone is related."
In the spring of 2005, The Wisconsin Historical Society and Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin at Madison exhibited the 19th-16th century maps that indicate or allude to an ancient Mesoamerican presence and migrations from what is today the United States.
The exhibit  included chronicles, codices, annals and interviews regarding oral traditions that speak to ancient connections between peoples of the north and south. Part of the objective of the map exhibit examines how cartographers addressed this subject from the 1500s through the 1800s.
This exhibit is the result of part of the work of several Hopi elders, including the late David Monongye and Thomas Banyacya, who passed on their knowledge of these maps. The documents firmly establish that the Hopi never surrendered their sovereignty and point to an ancient Mexican presence in their midst. (A special thanks to Frank Gutierrez, counselor and instructor at East L.A. College, who passed them on to the researchers, and the many other elders who passed on other knowledge, guidance and words to them.)
The overall theme of this exhibit is an examination of maps and chronicles from the 1800s-1500s that show Mesoamerican roots in what is today the United States. It is part of a larger collaborative and ongoing research effort that examines ancient connections between peoples of the north and south. Many of the maps point to several sites, purportedly associated with Aztec/Mexica peoples and their migrations, but also with older ancient Mexican, Chichimeca and Toltec migrations and that of Central and South American peoples as well. It CHALLENGES  the mainstream narrative of U.S. archaeology that tells us that it was the romanticism of 19th century U.S. archaeologists that caused them to place such place names (Montezuma, Aztec, Anahuac, Tula, etc) throughout what is today the U.S.
However, these maps (representative of hundreds more and found at most major libraries and research institutions around the world) clearly demonstrate that such sites were well-established long before 1776. The research also examines oral traditions, many which speak of connections (beyond migration stories of Uto-Azteca peoples) between the north and the south. The concept of origins/migrations is complex, philosophical and spiritual. The researchers here did not set out to find one migration route, but rather, to understand why this information exists on these historic documents. In the process, a clear connection between the peoples of the north and south has been established to the entire continent or Turtle Island. One such connection includes agriculture, specifically maize, which is itself another form of a map.
* 1804 Humboldt Map: This map depicts the same three migration points, plus a fourth, more northern one, pointing to Teguayo or the Salt Lake region as the point of departure of ancient Mexican Indians. Humboldt purportedly made his observations based on ancient pre-Columbian codices.

* This map depicts the same four migration points as depicted on the Humboldt Map. It is also purportedly based on codices.

* 1728 Barreiro Map: This is the oldest post-Columbian map which depicts the four migration points of ancient Mexican Indians found in later maps. Some sources also point to this region as a former home for people from Central and South America also.

* 1569 Camocio Map, TOLTEC EVIDENCE: Several maps associate TOLM with Teguayo. TOLM. is generally found in the present-day U.S. Southwest on 1500s-1600s era maps. Several maps, including the 1569 Camocio map, show its full spelling asTolman, which is purportedly associated with the Toltecs

Origin of the name Chicana / Chicano
The following is adapted from the works of "Tlakatekatl", posted at [] & []:
* "Americae sive qvartae orbis partis nova et exactissima descriptio / avctore Diego Gvtiero Philippi Regis Hisp. etc. Cosmographo ; Hiero. Cock excvde cum gratia et priuilegio ”, or “Diego Gutierrez Map”, published 1562. Full map [], detail []:

* “Desegno del Discoperto Della Nova Franza” map published 1566 by Bolognino Zaltieri of Venice. Full-sized map []. Detail, with Chicana highlighted []. The place name is located right beneath the huge river drawn separating  Baja California and mainland Mexico, in what is modern day el Estado de Sonora (see detail below).

The placement of the name “Chicana” is roughly the same on both maps, and falls somewhere on the northwestern edge of the Mexican state of Sonora. I've compared the antique maps with a Google map of the same region, and the “Chicana” on the maps falls somewhere just north of modern day Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico (see map at []). This place is a natural park called Parque Natural del Gran Desierto del Pinacate, named after the largest peak there “El Pinacate.”
Could the name “Chicana” on the maps be referring to it? Given it’s importance to the various indigenous people that have inhabited the region, like the San Dieguito and the Hia C-ed O’odham, it’s a possibility. Interestingly enough, as I was researching for this post, I came across a doctoral dissertation, “Centeotzintli: Sacred Maize a 7,000 Year Ceremonial Discourse” (Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008), pg. 247, by Roberto (Dr. Cintli) Garcia Rodriguez []; and as far as I can tell, he’s the only person who’s published anything on the Gutiérrez map’s mention of Chicana. However, slightly different from my observation, Dr. Cintli places the site at the mouth of the Colorado River which is west of El Pinacate. About the “Diego Gutierrez Map,” he says: “Perhaps the first fully illustrated map of North and South America, this shows the site of Chicana at the mouth of the Colorado River, near present-day Yuma, Arizona. This may be the earliest recorded use of the word Chicana anywhere. (Other sixteenth-century maps have Chicana in a nearby location, and an early eighteenth-century map of Nayarit Missions places Xicana at the top/center of the map, near the same place; this too may be the oldest written reference to the word Xicana). A little to the south of Chicana is the region of Aztatlam and the site or city of Aztatlam. While this may not be the actual mythic/historic Aztlán, it may be the earliest attempt to depict on a map the purported point of origin of the Aztec/Mexica.”
* "Mestizo: The History, Culture, and Politics of the Mexican and the Chicano: the Emerging Mestizo-Americans" book by Arnoldo C. Vento  (Lanham, MD; New York; Oxford: University Press of America, 1998): “One only has to look at a map to discover the archaeological ruins of ‘Chicanna’ in southern Mexico to verify its pre-Colombian origin.”
* The earliest known example of the term Chicano in print in the USA was in 1926, by a former immigrant laborer turned writer, Daniel Venegas, in his book "Las aventuras de Don Chipote, o, Cuando los pericos mamen" (Arte Publico Press, 1999).
* “the original appearance of Chicano in print is traced to 1947, in a story by Mario Suárez that was published in the Arizona Quarterly.”

Roberto Rodriguez & the Aztlanahuac Project
* Personal website (2001) [], []

"Going Back to Where We Came From" documentary (2002)
* "Gonzales and Rodriguez to Present Screening of Documentary" (2002-04-16) []: The documentary project examines maps, chronicles, and indigenous codices that seem to show the Salt Lake region as the point of departure of the Aztec/Mexica people, and discovers a much larger possibility of points of origin and departure. In 1998 Gonzales and Rodriguez uncovered a series of maps that have located the ancient homeland of the Aztecs in what appears to be Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake."Going Back to Where We Came From" is based in part on many stories shared with the authors by elders throughout the continent who speak to the connections between people of the north and south. The stories affirm that we are where we come from. The film, directed by George Ozuna, features music by the Aztlan Underground and Conjunto Aztlan and a special composition by Joanne Shenandoah.

* "Column of the Americas", with Patrisia Gonzales for "UPI" newswire, archived page 2001 []

* "GOING BACK TO WHERE WE CAME FROM" (1998-08-14) [] [begin excerpt]: After years of being hounded by extreme right-wingers who regularly request that "we go back where we came from," we have finally decided to respond. Regarding the physical location of Aztlan, we've personally never located it. However, we can affirm two things: We are Americans in every sense of the word, and we are fairly certain that at least one of the original homelands of the Mexican (Aztec) people lies somewhere in the present-day United States.
As proof, we offer the 1847 Disturnell map, the official map of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo -- the treaty that ended the U.S. war against Mexico. Most U.S. residents most likely never saw this map in their junior high geography class. There, in the area along the Colorado river, above "Apacheria," between the Jaquesita and Navajoa rivers (in what is today Arizona) is a site called "Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas." This translates to "ancient homeland of the Aztecs." Apparently, those who signed the treaty did not contest this fact or the validity of the map. So if all Mexicans are to go back to where they came from, apparently Arizona, or as some scholars and native elders posit, the four corners region of the United States should be their destination.
Frank Gutierrez, an East L.A. College counselor and Chicano studies instructor, picked up his copy of the map from the Hopi a generation ago. He told us that in giving him the map, the Hopi told him that they had at one point been part of the ancient Mexica, or Anahuac, confederation and acknowledged Mexicans/Chicanos as blood relations. [end excerpt]
The 1847 Disturnell Map, full view [], further information [].

* "1847 MAP ENDS IMMIGRATION DEBATE" (1998-09-25) [] [begin excerpt]: Our recent column in which we revealed the existence of the 1847 Disturnell Map, the official map of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, has triggered an avalanche of letters from hundreds of readers in every corner of the country. The map, which is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., indisputably shows a site -- "Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas," or Ancient Homeland of the Aztecs -- somewhere in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest.
During a recent trip up the Colorado River, we found that the site is not in northern Arizona (as we originally wrote), but in Utah. The map shows that the ancient homeland is north of an area called "Apacheria" near the "Nacion Navajoa" and also the land of the "Moquis" -- the name given to the Hopis by the Spaniards. Many of the original place names were first changed by Spaniards, then subsequently by the U.S. government after the 1846-48 war against Mexico.
This map incontrovertibly proves that rather than being foreigners, Mexicans (and Central Americans, who were also Nahuatl-speaking peoples) are indigenous to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. It also corroborates the oral traditions of Hopi, Pueblo and Lakota Indian elders -- that Nahuatl-speaking peoples are their relatives.
One reader who is familiar with the area, Esteban Diaz of San Bernardino, Calif., wrote: "My grandfather was born in that area of Apacheria (he was Apache), and he would always tells us that this was our land. Clearly he was right." [end excerpt]

* "NATIVE PEOPLES CHALLENGE BORDERS" (1998-09-11) [], part of a series challenging race-based domination against indigenous people [].

* "Tlahtolli: Interview with Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez, elder, activist scholar and author" (2015-03-10, [] [begin excerpt]:
QUESTION: Was there a defining moment in your life when you felt a calling to research and learn more indigenous Xicano roots?
ANSWER: From what I have explained, most of my life was a search for my indigenous roots. But I can say that because I’ve been a writer most of my life, something radical happened I would say in the mid-1990s that was different then how I had lived my life since the 1970s. Going back to the mid 1970s, I had been part of a number of groups including Four Directions in Los Angeles and other groups that had created an indigenous consciousness amongst Chicanos. It was different than the idea that everyone was Aztec Indian. That earlier era had been characterized by that idea. In the mid-1970s through groups such as Four Directions, Chicanos began to have relationships with many other indigenous people from throughout the continent. It was not about a romantic notion of being Indian and it was not about coming from Aztlan. Rather, it was about relationships, specifically relationships with other peoples of the continent. As a writer, I documented that change. It was a break from the 1960s and early ‘70s. I imagine it would take a long time to explain what I did for 20 years after that, but in the 1990s, as a writer, I was given a map that set me off on the search for origins and migrations. I didn’t do this by myself, but rather both my wife and I engaged in a research project that involved the 1847 Disturnell map. This map was attached to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. On this map showed that the Hopi had been independent since 1680 and that the Aztecs lived north of the Hopi. I was fascinated by the map and other similar and older maps. I was fascinated with how the notations ended up on those maps. Because I was familiar with the story, or rather the Aztec migration story, I thought that this might be alluding to this idea on this map(s), but I did not proceed with that assumption. Instead I simply wanted to verify the origin of that information. It is for that reason that everyone thought I was is looking for Aztlan. I proceeded to go to many archives, libraries, special collections, including the Library of Congress. Of the thousands of maps that I went through, I found close to 200 older maps that showed information pointing to the Great Salt Lake as the point of origin of Mexican Indians, not necessarily Aztecs, but probably including Aztecs. That search also took me to many ancient sites and it also took me to meet many elders from throughout the continent. It was at that point where I was told by several elders that it appeared that what I was looking for, was not so much where the Aztecs had come from, but rather, where I was from. At that point, I was told that if that was my objective, to follow the maiz. As such, I dropped my research on maps and instead began to focus on maiz. The search for maps was exhilarating, however the search for maiz was nothing that I could have expected. You could say that I found my roots in a kernel of corn. The thing about maíz is that it is not something glorious, but something humble, something that has kept us alive for many thousands of years. Maiz is not simply important to the peoples of Mexico, but to virtually all peoples on this continent. All cultures are unique and distinct, there’s no question about that, but what is awesome is that most people have a relationship to that humble maiz.

QUESTION: What does corn have to do with our identity as indigenous Xican@ people?  Could you tell us a little about why you chose to write the book “Our Sacred Maiz is Our Mother?”
ANSWER: Re the importance of maiz. In one sense it is a complex answer and at the same time, it is the most simplest of answers. Maiz is who we are. It is what we are made of. It is where we come from. It is what connects us to the other peoples of this continent. Prior to understanding this, like many from the previous generation, I gravitated towards the idea of Aztlan. When you study this story/idea of Aztlan, one comes to understand that it is a story of one people. But when you examine the story of maiz, one comes to understand that it is something bigger, much bigger. It is, in effect, the story of most of the peoples of this continent — that is, from Mexico, Central, South and North America, including the islands in the Caribbean – which is where the word maíz comes from. Of course, this predates the very concept of America by many, many thousands of years. The importance is it also leads to the idea that we are no better or no worse than any other people and that we are connected and related. Some people withn our own culture find that idea unacceptable. But it is not contradictory. Some continue to look for the idea of home or a homeland, whereas I look for connections and relationships. For me, the whole continent is home. Often, this opposition to being connected and related often comes from another quarter;  from mainstream anthropology but I don’t mean to single out anthropology because many of the disciplines think the same way. It stems from post-modern thinking. On this topic, post-modernists stress the opposite… that all cultures are different and unique and are opposed to universalization or the blending of all cultures or the suggestion that we are all related, etc. But of course. All cultures are unique. That is not contradictory, but that other thinking leads to atomization in which people come to believe that no one is related or connected. It actually lends itself to colonial thinking that created the false belief of an empty and wild continent – that it was there for the taking, just waiting to be civilized. What’s important about maiz and maiz culture, is that it is not older or it did not replace other cultures such as those based on salmon or buffalo. Yet what is important about maiz culture is that it radically transformed this continent. In that sense Chicanos come from that same process, a process that is many, many thousands of years old and a process that produced most of the cultures on this continent.
I chose to write the book Our Sacred Maiz is our Mother because in my work, I was given a very powerful message by elders from throughout the continent. The story of maiz rivals that of the story of wheat and rice across the oceans.  They don’t actually rival each other, rather, they are what produced the three great civilizations on this earth. What can be said is that maíz is unique to this continent, created some seven thousand years ago and virtually spread  overnight in all directions, eventually reaching the coldest regions both to the North and South. What is unique about maiz is that it cannot grow by itself. That is why we know we are all related. One of the things that is amazing about maiz is that it documents itself. It is its own archive, but even beyond that, it is part of the germinational seed, born many thousands and thousands of years ago, and we are part of that. What is also amazing is that after having been created some seven thousand years ago, it went viral. It spread everywhere so that at least 4,000 years ago, it reached what is today the U.S. Southwest. It probably arrived many years before that, but there is no evidence yet found, except in the stories. So for us in Arizona, for example where people worry about brown hordes streaming across the border, they are at least 4,000 years too late. Brown people have been streaming forth in all directions for thousands and thousands of years, and that’s the point. In ancient times that’s how culture spread. There were no one-way highways. People spread and came back and forth in all directions. What Europeans did some 500 years ago is introduce artificial borders, psychological ones and political ones and forever changed the continent. But the borders are not real. They are contrary to nature. Of course they did so on the basis of the doctrine of discovery, their papal bulls (1453 and 1493) and El Requerimiento (1514). Those are worthless documents, yet, they have never been revoked, though that is with what purportedly gave Europeans the right to the lands here on this continent. That is what established their “legality.”

QUESTION: In the documentary “Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan: We are one – Nosotros somos uno” (2005), produced by you and your wife, elder, professor and author Patrisia Gonzales, you explore the stories, evidence and connections between indigenous tribes and of Xican@s through the story of Aztlan and the linguistic family connections of Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan) language throughout the Americas.  The film is in English, Spanish and Nahuatl and is woven through short interviews and oral histories by indigenous peoples of many nations.  Why did you take this approach?
ANSWER: The idea of the Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan documentary, which preceded this book, is pretty radical. That is, you can look at it two ways; the method or style in which the different voices are presented and the message or messages within it. In terms of the style, what’s radical is that indigenous peoples speak for themselves; there is no narrator or arbiters of knowledge. There is nobody to interpret. Basically the story follows the narrative of Mexicans and Chicanos searching for their point of origin and in effect being told by elders throughout the continent to follow the maiz. Some people of course question whether Mexicans and Chicanos/Chicanas are native or indigenous peoples and, in effect, that is why this documentary was made. Incidentally, I don’t argue the obvious – that they are Indigenous people. Instead, what I argue is that we are part of a maíz –based culture(s) that came to be, not as a result of war (1846-48) or invasion (1492-1519) but via the creation of maíz. The research was done both by Patricia Gonzalez and myself. Her work resulted in another book called Red Medicine (University of Arizona Press). I pretty much made the documentary, meaning that if she had made the documentary it would have been different because much of her work is about traditional plants, traditional medicine and Indigenous women’s knowledge etc. For me, it’s probably true that I was looking for my own origins and having been raised in Los Angeles, I believe I was predisposed to think in terms of the 1960s-70s. But once the research journey began, that changed. What makes the documentary very unique is that that story of Aztlan, it is not that it becomes secondary, but rather, it becomes a gateway of sorts in understanding something bigger. So the issue is not whether we found Aztlan or not, or whether we were even looking for it in the first place, but rather, what we found was our connection to the entire continent… and to the other Indigenous peoples of the continent. For some, that is not as exciting as finding a point of origin or Aztlan itself. But I think that we did find our point of origin: that humble maiz. It has nothing to do with a nation or nation-state, but understanding that we are part of something bigger. Again I understand that some people think along the lines of peoplehood and nations and nation-states, but that’s not really where I, or we, went with this, primarily because we were guided by elders, and the ones we spoke to, you might say, welcomed us back into a much larger family. It was a journey of respect, relationships and reciprocity, where we learned that we too have stories and we too are part of that same ancient and historic process on this continent.
[end excerpt]

Dr. Cecilio Orozco
* "About Dr. Cecilio Orozco, the "SUN STONE" scholar" (1996) []

* "1847 MAP ENDS IMMIGRATION DEBATE" (1998-09-25) [] [begin excerpt]: The "Antigua Residencia" site also corresponds to the general location that Cecilio Orozco, a professor of education at California State University at Fresno, has long contended is the "Aztec" point of departure on their southward migration. He argues that the migration story of Mexican people was never a myth. In fact, he has located the point of departure in Utah and, more generally, the Four Corners region. This area, he said, was called -- "the old, old colorful land." He has published two books on the subject, "The Book of the Sun, Tonatiuh" (self-published) and "Las Letras del Licenciado Alfonso Rivas Salmon" (Marin Publications). [end excerpt]

* "IN SEARCH OF AZTLÁN" interview with Dr. Cecilio Orozco (1999-08-09) pg. 1 [], pg. 2 [] [begin excerpt]:
Q: In 1980, you saw something in a publication that led you to the state of Utah. What publication was that and where did you go, as a result?
A: The publication that gave me the first positive lead was a National Geographic, January, 1980. They published a pictograph, which they claimed could have been as old as six thousand years. [The pictograph] had a mathematical formula [in it]. It was unbelievable. So the mathematical formula is what led me to Utah, mainly. There are some other things. We also know that the people of that area long ago had called themselves Nahuatl, and that means "four waters." Nahui is four, and -atl is waters. Nauhuatl--land of the four waters--was in the colorful lands by name "hui huit lapala"--hui hui means very old, and lapala means colorful--so the four great waters and hui hui lapala had to be in the area of Utah, western Colorado, northern New Mexico, northern Arizona--it’s the most colorful land there is.
Q: What do other archeologist say about the El Camino de Aztlán?
A: Nobody that I have found has been able to counter the evidence that Rivas Salmón offers. That’s why I published that book Las Lettre de Alfonso Reves Salmón because it takes item by item all the polemics, and the sunstone, and then physically moves his family to the areas where he needed to look at. The seven cities. Aztlán. Etc. So there’s no question, in my research, however, there’s a lot of anthropologists who do not read Spanish that may not have read Rivas Salmón.
Q: You talked about the four rivers area as a possible original site of El Camino de Aztlán. If we explore that area, what might we expect to find there?
A: I think that civilization developed in the land of the four waters, the four rivers, in the colorful lands. It’s very evident. What we haven’t been able to find is where did those people come from? We now think they came from the great plains of America, plains they probably called "the happy hunting grounds." Because there were so many animals, until a glaciation forced them to move into this desert area. Later on a great drought in the desert forced them to move out of there and they went to Mexico and they established themselves on seven entrances to the Sierra Madre. They called them the seven great cities, or rich cities. The Spanish later called these the seven cities of gold. But then they went to Aztlán, to the land of the egrets, and finally to Mexico City, to Tenochtitlán, where the Spanish found them. It’s the Spanish people that asked them "where did you come from?" and they said "Aztlán." So [the Spanish] said, well, they must be Aztecs, and it’s the Spanish that called them Aztecs in Mexico City. But the Aztecs had been Aztecs in Aztlán four hundred years before. They left Aztlán in the year 1116.
Q: Could you name those four rivers, tell me where they are at, and explain why you think that was the original place where this long pilgrimage to Mexico began? And how long do you think it took from the original time the people left there to the time that they founded Tenochtitlán?
A: Well, basically, the four great waters--and remember they didn't call them rivers, they called them waters--I think we have a tendency to name rivers by different names even though they flow in the same canyons--but I think that the reference here is to the Green River coming out of Wyoming and flowing south, and then the Colorado joining it in Colorado, and finally in Utah, and then the San Juan comes out of New Mexico and joins them, and then all of them cut the Grand Canyon. Those are four great waters. The people that were there left, we think now, in the year 500 B.C. I say 500, but they probably didn't all leave in the one year. But the reference here is to a great drought. When the water got scarce, they went in every direction, and some of them went south and finally founded the seven cities in the Culiacan in the west coast of Mexico, then moved to Aztlán, and finally to Mexico City and arrived in Mexico City in 1323, I believe, where they found an eagle and a serpent and founded Tenochtitlán. So they had been traveling for different reasons since, probably, two thousand years before Christ. 
[end excerpt]

* "Researchers say Aztec Homeland was in Utah" (1990-03-24, Deseret News) []:
Aztec legend holds that their forefathers migrated to Mexico City from a land to the north - a land of red rocks and four rivers.
But just where the Aztec (more accurately the Mexica) homeland was located remains shrouded in myth and mystery. Two researchers now claim they have found the Aztec homeland - in Utah.
"For years, we thought we had pinpointed the Mexica homeland in the Phoenix area," said Cecilio Orosco of California State University, Fresno. "But there are no red rocks. We weren't looking far enough north." Orosco and Alfonso Rivas-Salmon, a respected Mexican anthropologist at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, now contend that the land of red rocks spoken of are Utah's maze of canyonlands, and the four rivers mentioned in legend are the Green, the upper Colorado, the San Juan and the portion of the lower Colorado after the confluence of the others. Furthermore, they claim ancient paintings on Utah's canyon walls reflect many of the same symbols and figures found in the Aztec calendar.
Experts say the Barrier Canyon-style rock art in Utah is believed to date to a time well before the time of Christ. According to Orosco, the Mexica migrated from their northern homeland about 502 B.C. History's missing link?
"Utah is sitting on a treasure, a missing link in the prehistory of man in this hemisphere," said Orosco, a professional researcher and amateur archaeologist. "It's right there on the canyon walls. Utah is the home of Quetzalcoatl." Utah archaeologists, however, expressed skepticism at the report.
Orosco and Rivas recently returned from an expedition down the Green River to examine Barrier Canyon-style rock art. They say common symbols to both the Aztec calendar and Utah rock art include snakes with four rattles, knotted rope symbols and other figures dividing time according to the four-year and eight-year cycles of Venus.
Bug-eyed figures common to Utah pictographs have been interpreted by Orosco and Rivas as representing the duality of Venus as the morning and evening star. The use of knots of strings to represent numbers has been attributed exclusively to the Incas of South America, but "I found this numerical representation in many of the pictographs" in Utah.
Orosco and Rivas have identified the calendrical formula symbols on pictographs at Head of Sinbad, Black Dragon Canyon, Barrier Creek and Horseshoe Canyon, all in the canyonlands area of southern Utah. They believe these sites represent celestial observatories.
Drought forced migration Legend holds the Mexica were forced from their northern homeland by a prolonged drought, called the "Rain of Fire." A series of migrations took the ancient ones south, eventually to build Tenochtitlan more than 1,000 years later on the site of modern-day Mexico City. An eagle devouring a snake was a signal from the gods where to build their city, the legend holds.
The Mexica spoke Nahuatl, a language rooted in an Uto-Aztecan family of languages. Uto-Aztecan is a common language root shared by many different Mexican and Southwestern cultures, including all Great Basin tribes.
The Mexica migration out of Utah would have occurred before the emergence of the more advanced Anasazi and Fremont cultures in Utah. Orosco and and Rivas believe the Mexica possessed a detailed knowledge of a calendar centuries before these cultures.
"We must re-evaluate much of our thinking about the greatness and antiquity of Native American civilization," Orosco said.

Dr. Antoon Leon Vollemaere

Photo: "White Rock Bay Sunset" [], showing a bay at Antelope Island, the island of the Seven Herons


* "Long-term daily contact with Spanish missions triggered collapse of Native American populations in New Mexico" (2016-01-25, []

* "Manuscript ‘lost’ for 500 yrs reveals ancient Mexico’s gender-equality" (2016-08-22, []

* "New desert bee species builds nests out of solid rock" (2016-09-13, []


  1. Awesome work, revealing ancient Xican@ history in the Southwest... elaborating Aztlan Underground's anthem "we didn't cross the border the border crossed us!"... glad to see Roberto "Cintli" and Patricia Gonzalez' research on map, corn, Xican@ language, ancestry getting out there... as well as Cecilio Orozco's work, I remember him very well lecturing to us youth in Sacramento at Chicana/o Youth Leadership Conference, giving us a sense of ancient roots, honor and dignity... Xican@s tiahui...

  2. Amazing diligent scholastic work. As an independent
    Scholar, I am always searching for resources about North and South America history