CHICANAH: a proposal
Chicano, Chicana, Chican@, or Chican o/a, oh wait, is it Chicana/o?
Yea, that. Those annoying abnormal punctuating efforts we have to search our keyboard for in order to properly convey the complimentary dual essence of our identity.
Chicano is a Spanish variation of the Nahuatl word Mexicah. Mexicah meaning, “the Mexican people” (plural) and where Mexica(tl) would be singular. Mexicah Tiahui, Indigenous moving forward right? Unlike Spanish and English, Nahuatl does not have gender specific language or word formations. Yet, I still see many using Chicano (male gender specific) when referring to our collective nation, totally ignoring wombyn, the life givers of our community.
If in general, a Chicano is “a Mexican-American with a non-Anglo image of himself,” then I believe that is to infer an Indigenous identity. I believe by continuing to use iterations such as Chican@ or Chicana/o, we are displaying a reluctance to completely step into Indigenous values.
Perhaps the reluctance has something to do with the nostalgia of the Chicano Movement of past decades. I know I love those old skool “Chicano Power” stickers and patches my dad would floss back in the 70’s. Whatever the reason, I think it’s important to reflect on this occurrence.
Words create our reality. So, by being stuck on those European gender specific acrobatic spellings, are we finding it hard to verbally commit to the Indigenous values of our community? Are we sowing imbalance by creating a border between our complimentary relatives?
This is why I propose using the word Chicanah.
Chicanah (chee-kaah-nah) is man and wombyn united . When you say Chicanah you are speaking unity. You are sowing oneness; you are sowing a stronger nation by saying/writing a simple but profound word. No more divisive slashes, dashes, and swirly weird shit. Spelled in this way, Chicanah is grammatically correct and inclusive.
If as Chicanah, we already embrace Nahuatl as component of rebuilding our indigenous self, and our goal is to decolonize, why continue employing this divisive spirit in our words?
The Word Manifests our Reality. Right?
Be Impeccable with Your Word.