Sure, but that’s taking a very strange view of culture. Indigenous culture didn’t just stop the day the Europeans set foot in the Bahamas. Native culture is alive and well. A lot of what we recognize as ‘Native’ is a product of indigenous cultures using introduced elements and evolving into modern cultures, just like every other culture on earth. We don’t say that jazz music isn’t black culture simply because it uses saxophones – instruments invented by Belgians. Mariachi music is a direct descendant of indigenous music and the flag itself is literally an Aztec symbol. Yes, Mexican culture isn’t the same as it was in 1400, but I daresay that no culture is the same as it was in 1400. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t an indigenous culture.
For a very short time. 40 years. And of course Mexicans are no more Indigenous than the British. Should we wave a British flag as America was part for 150 years? CA was part of Spain for around 300 years, but no one ever waves a Spanish flag.
With modern genetics it is pretty easy to tell if somebody has 5%, 10%,or even 25% of European ancestry. If those tests are being done out of personal curiosity or personal medical knowledge, then I don’t mind. If they’re being done to add yet one more layer to discriminate, then it’s a bad idea.
Looking at the data I had access to, which was a large sample from the US:
[li]Those who self identified as white were mostly European[/li][li]Those who self identified as Hispanic or Latino ranged from 100% Native American to 100% European, with the occasional individual who had a big proportion of African DNA. Almost all were a mix of Native American and European.[/li][/ul]
Many of the people still living on that land are direct descendants the Aztecs and other groups who lived there before the arrival of the Europeans. Unlike in the US, the native populations in Mexico were not completely displaced.
Are the Washington Redskins a sign that indigenous culture is represented in the United States? Appropriating somebody else’s culture doesn’t mean that culture is still alive.
When the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire, they did all they could to eliminate Aztec culture. They abolished the Aztec government and Aztec law, they forbid the Aztec religion, they burned Aztec books, they tore down Aztec monuments, and, of course, they killed a lot of Aztecs.
Sure, they didn’t commit genocide. Spanish men wanted to have native men to work their fields and native women to impregnate. But the Spanish also wanted to make sure that future generations would not be Aztecs.
Are you seriously implying that indigenous culture is not still alive in Mexico? If so, that is a remarkably ignorant thing to say, considering the information you’ve been given in this thread.
I’ve already said that I am not speaking specifically of the Aztecs. Focusing on the Aztecs as you are seems to me to be deliberately dodging the basic issue. That issue is that many Mexicans identify with their indigenous heritage (whether Aztec or some other indigenous group), despite all the attempts to destroy it. Are you disputing that fact?
By your argument, people in the UK should not identify with their Anglo-Saxon heritage, because they were conquered by the Normans. I think that people in the UK are capable of identifying with both the Norman and Anglo-Saxon part of their heritage, even though one conquered the other. The culture of the British islands is in large part a hybridization of successive layers of conquerors.
Part of the reason some people in the US have trouble understanding this is because of the rigid racial classification that was imposed for centuries. You absolutely had to belong to the pigeonholes of White, Black, or Indian; there was no real allowance for mixed race people. Mulattoes and half-breeds had pretty much the same social status as the lower of their parents. In Latin America and elsewhere, although there were differences in racial status, the boundaries were much more fluid.
Yes, but only a fraction of the people in Mexico were Aztecs. Rather famously, Cortez got all the neighboring nations to help him attack the Aztecs, because everyone hated the Aztecs.
Yes, there was a concerted effort to stamp out indigenous identity. They burned the books and smashed the idols and melted down the ornaments and converted everyone to Christianity.
But they didn’t assimilate the native population into Spanish identity, because the point was that the Spanish were the new ruling caste, and the native population was supposed to be the new peasant caste. Yes, they were Christianized, but they weren’t assimilated, because then how could you tell who was supposed to serve and who was supposed to rule? Of course that became a problem when the Spanish ruling class spawned half-caste mestizo children. Or even if you brought over a white wife from Spain, the creole children born in America obviously weren’t as good as Spaniards from Spain. And so the elaborate Casta systemgrew up.
The point is that Mexico’s current ethnic identity isn’t parallel to American ethnic identity. Yes, Mexico had conquest, it had genocide, it had slavery, it had immigration, same as the US. But not just like the US, because the native population was never replaced, instead it was ruled over. Even today Mexicans with a very high percentage of European descent are noticeably better off economically than people with a high percentage of native or African descent. But it’s not like the United States, because in Mexico most people are mixed, and only a minority are mostly of European descent.
Little Nemo, have you ever been to Mexico, or elsewhere in Latin America? If so, have you ever spent time in an area away from the main tourist areas?
Incidentally, my major project at the moment is working on the renovation of Panama’s National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, scheduled to reopen next year for the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Panama City. In designing its exhibitions we (including Panama’s leading archaeologists and anthropologists) are dealing with the very issues of national and cultural identity and continuity after the Conquest that we are discussing here.
Is indigenous culture alive because of the efforts of Mexico? Or is it alive despite Mexico’s historical efforts to eliminate it?
Does the American government deserve credit for the preservation of indigenous culture in the United States? Do plantation owners deserve credit for the preservation of African traditions in the Americas?
I’ve said there wasn’t a genocide in the Americas. Some indigenous people survived the settlement of the Americas by Europeans. So some remnants of indigenous culture survive. But that doesn’t mean that the governments of Mexico or the United States can take credit for this.
It’s true that governments in the Americas have been attempting to support indigenous cultures in the last fifty years or so. Your efforts in Panama are a part of that. But let’s not ignore the reality that what current governments are trying to do is to undo the damage they themselves inflicted in the past.
Who’s talking about governments? We’re talking about Mexicans identifying with indigenous people. The question in the OP is “Can Mexican Americans be featured in Indigenous Peoples Day?” I don’t see any indication in the OP that the Mexican participation was something sponsored by the Mexican government, instead of just by Mexican people. Don’t deflect the question.
In fact, there was tremendous ethnic diversity in Mexico prior to the arrival of the Europeans. This diversity is still seen today in that Genetically, There’s No Such Thing as a Mexican, even beyond just the European/Native mixing.
And it should not be too surprising that mtDNA, which is inherited only through the female line, is overwhelmingly Native in Mexicans. It has been found that:
So your argument is that the Mexican flag is not a symbol of the Mexican government?
I’m out of here.
Yeah, I know. But that leaves the poor guy at risk to have his name stressed in the u…
Mexico has made a point of reinforcing its indigenous peoples from the beginning; the results have been mixed, but the intent has always been there.
And the Spanish record in the area is mixed, with people at all levels of colonial authority ranging from full support of the locals and of local economic and cultural growth (Palafox, to name one the Mexicans themselves consider a national hero; Balboa, to name one Americans tend to be more likely to have heard of) to those who would have happily put all the natives to the knife (such as Balboa’s rival Enciso).
Yeah, I should have added “just by looking at them”, which is what I meant. With DNA testing so ubiquitous these days, we can no longer take for granted that having that info is some unlikely occurrence. So, yeah, the folks themselves can fairly easily tell, but even if you traveled around Mexico and saw groups of people you were certain were “full blooded” Indians, you’d be wrong.
A federal law here in Mexico requires the regional indigenous language be taught in the public schools. They recognize 68 different languages.
As a fluent speaker of Maya Yucateca this is great news. Here in the Yucatán a large percentage of residents speak Maya. In my town about 85% speak Maya. Unfortunately very few know how to read and write. Usually just teachers, archeologists, and researchers can read and write. With the Federal law in place they teach reading and writing in the schools. Which is paramount if the language is to survive. The bad news is very few public school teachers know how to read and write Maya.
I am working with the city council to encourage that every sign they install will be in Spanish and Maya. I learned this idea when I was in Basque Country, Spain.
When you talk about reading/writing Maya, do you mean transcribed using Roman letters or in the original Maya glyphs?
I am referring to the verbal, spoken Maya. When the Spanish came, they wrote the Maya using the Spanish alphabet. It wasn’t written before. Just spoken.
In the 1980’s there was a Maya convention and they standardized the writing for the peninsula.
The glyphs, recently decoded, reveal the history of the peoples of nobility.
No, of course it isn’t. It’s a symbol of the Mexican nation and the Mexican people. It has been used by a variety of governments for nearly two hundred years. Likewise the French tricolor has been used as a symbol of the French nation by a series of governments including both republics and empires. If you fly a US flag, are you flying it as an indication of your identity as an American, or as support for the US government? (Of course one can do both, but one can identify as an American even when not supporting everything the US government has done in the past or is doing now.)
And indigenous heritage is an important part of Mexican identity, as indicated by the symbol at the center of the flag. The people participating in Indigenous People’s Day were certainly using it as a symbol of their national identity, not the Mexican government.
All I can say is that you didn’t seem to be interested in learning anything about the issue, so fair enough.
Be that as it may, the United States, and California and Los Angeles have almost no historic Mexican culture. The Mexicans had legal control over California for about 40 years- technically, but in actuality the government in Mexico City had very little control over anything now north of the border. CA was part of Spain for almost ten times longer that it was part of Mexico. The californios deeply resented being called “mexicans” and resented the corrupt Mexico city federal government.
The Mexicans who came to CA did not bring any Aztec culture with them.