Xica Media ofrece un paquete de estudio (libro imprimible PDF) con actividades y materiales sobre la cultura tradicional mexicana de Tonalá, Jalisco. Estas actividades propuestas cumplen con el Nuevo Modelo Educativo, cumpliendo con cada punto pedagógica de los requisitos dentro de los Campos de Formación Académica, Áreas de Desarrollo Personal y Social, y Ámbitos de la Autonomía Curricular.
En este paquete encontraras cuentos locales de Tonalá donde los estudiantes analizan la importancia de los cuentos regionales. También el paquete incluye un escrito breve sobre la matemática y ciencia nahua donde los estudiantes podrán practicar matemáticas con los símbolos nahuas. Practican los idiomas como el español, náhuatl, e inglés. Hay actividades para que conozcan como era la música prehispánica y los instrumentos, así como conocer elementos básicos y físicos de la danza mexica tradicional.
The stone engraving commonly referred to as the “Aztec calendar” was developed over generations in ancient Mexico. It has been attributed to the Mexica but is considered Anahuaca Tolteca. It is said that the agricultural, cosmic, energetic, philosophical, mathematical, medical, and spiritual information embedded in the Huei Cuauhxicalli Iixiptla (Great bowl of the solar eagle: the sun, its representative) took 260 years to document and two years to carve into rock.
The ancestors found that human beings had collective and individual cycles; they discovered these phenomenons at every level of perception (stars, sky, earth, nature, self) and documented them in their sacred books/codices (Amoxtli), sacred objects, and sacred sites. This stone was created to help us define our purpose as human beings on the planet through citing the cycles of nature while looking at ourselves and our own cycles within natural law.
The ancestors found that our human cycles repeated within the seasons and/or the movements of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. By being conscious of these corresponding cycles, they created a glyph system to help us decipher our individual and collective time and place. It provides us a personal and cosmic consciousness that has no start and no end. It is also a map that looks at environmental cycles and the moment in the count of time that one is born.
The ancestors believed we were a reflection of the cosmos and documented time in cycles. The cycle of nature contains 365.25 days and is based on the sun. The cycle of human beings is 260 days, based on the moon, and is considered a ceremonial and ritual cycle. There are 20 day signs with definitions and descriptions that apply to phenomenons at many levels of nature, including our internal psyche. They have an order and each one influences every level of life – from the natural world to the environment around us to our feelings or even physiological medical diagnoses.
This stone and the information it contains has been demonized, buried, and misunderstood for hundreds of years. The fusion of bodies of knowledge that it encapsulates brought fear to the Europeans during the invasion of Cemanahuac and the Americas, who saw the world through a Western paradigm that separates things – people, land, information, etc. The comprehensive knowledge of life in macro and micro, physical, spiritual, and energetic brought fear to the invaders, who attempted to destroy, burn, bury, and kill it out of the people. By demonizing the ancestral knowledge, the Spanish were able to get additional funding to by the Catholic Church to continue their pillage.
In the generations since, many brave investigators have faced death in keeping and deciphering the ancient cycles and information in this stone. It is because of their sacrifice that we can share this little bit of knowledge today. Tlazocamati.
About the flash cards
On one side of the card is one of the 20 day signs. On the back of each card is the name of the sign in Nahuatl, Espanol, and English. The number of its order (in the 20-day cycle) is also noted.
Print flashcard pages 5-10 double-sided on heavy-weight paper, then cut.
Glyph images are from the Codex Borgia (Lacambalam, 2002.)
A special thank you goes to Maestro Arturo Meza, Dra. Ma del Rosario Gonzalez Lopez,
Maestro Tlakati, Maestra Teresa Cabrera Sanchez, y Maestra Liliana Ambriz.
Introduction and design by Iris Rodriguez.
For additional information
To further understand the meanings of each symbol, it is strongly recommended to connect with respected elders who follow the Mexicayotl. Interpretations are like recipes, they may vary from person to person. Using a journal to document reflections of the days signs and their natural energies and manifestations is suggested.
The Totonaltzin 2018 (available only in Spanish) is a functional daily planner with plenty of room for notes and contact information that also contains the traditional day count. The manual contains detailed descriptions of the corresponding numerals, year signs, day signs, trecenas, months (meztli), and other critical ancestral knowledge of our individual and collective time and place.
The following 12-part kids series is an earth-conscious show (in Spanish and indigenous Mexican languages) that documents the journey of a young girl from the city and her abuela as they search for clean water. They visit and speak to nature, receiving teachings as they search for the “guardians of the water.” This show features many indigenous communities and their water creation stories in their respective languages.
The wars against the sacred geographies of Mother Earth and our bodies/communities are connected. The simultaneous attacks on the geographical and personal landscapes feel overwhelming. As the earth has her body stripped with pipelines, border walls, extractive resource industries, and massive pollution we experience things including police brutality, gentrification, over incarceration, femicide/stolen sisters (by-products of colonization/border wall/man camps), and a legislated stripping of our civil and human rights and access/ability to assert/defend them.
The intent to “repeal net neutrality” is a modern example of ongoing, inter-generational colonization. History teaches us this method of silencing results in cultural genocide and facilitates literal genocide. It has been used as a tool of war for generations. We still remember the burning of our sacred books (amoxtin). We still feel the systemic media bias, propaganda, and false narratives about POC in the headlines. We know about the colonial versions of history and myths replicated within public education systems.
The killing of open internet is a battle that our generation is faced with – one that affects all other front lines.
The attack on the ability to speak and have our voices heard affects us collectively and individually. It is a war against the sacred tradition of storytelling by killing our ability to add our stories to a public, global codex of human experience and knowledge. For frontline communities in resistance, it is a war against our ability to let the world know we are being attacked and need assistance. For all people, it is a war against the ability to build relationships that reach beyond borders, to connect/reconnect as individuals and communities, to decolonize, and to save the planet.
“A Net Neutrality repeal would remove one of the very few most important first amendment protections communities of color have today, at a time when free speech protections are more important than ever. The right to speak and be heard; the ability to seek opportunity, stay connected, and protest injustice — these are core civil rights. In a digital age, protecting core civil rights means enforcing, not repealing, Title II Net Neutrality.” – Malkia Cyril, executive director at the Center for Media Justice.
Yes, the “traditional” non-technology-based flows of communication continue to exist within our communities and not everything on the internet is good. Yes, technology can disrupt our relationships to those next to us by expanding access to those far away from us. And yes, perhaps we can survive and continue to communicate without internet like our ancestors did. But for us in this generation, losing what we have would result in a blood sacrifice. Many of frontline communities and earth defense movements now depend on the internet to resist, assert, and voice their right to exist.
Stop FCC Chairman Pai from Killing Net Neutrality – Protect Your Voice Online!
Trump’s FCC is planning to roll back net neutrality rules — with the vote to kill open internet protections expected on December 14.
Without net neutrality:
Big internet providers like Comcast and Verizon will be able to block online content, slow down websites, and charge fees to control what all Americans see and do online
As a result, startups, independent voices, and movements that can’t afford to pay for fast lanes will be silenced on the internet — and all of us will lack the freedom the internet was build on.
It’s now up to Congress! Congress should force FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to stop his plan to end net neutrality rules now, before the FCC votes it through in mid-December. The only way Congress will act is if they hear the call to protect the open internet NOW.
What to Do?
We need to drive as many calls to Congress and FCC as possible before the December 14 vote to stop it from happening. We’ve already driven 500,000 calls since November 21, over 10x as many than in the entire month of October, and still counting! Here’s how to help:
Send people directly to 202-759-7766. This will connect the caller to our Battle for the Net call tool which includes a suggested net neutrality script.
Use the template social media posts, emails, graphics, and website modals below.
On December 14: Join hundreds of activists, musicians, lawmakers, former FCC commissioners, and others from around the country at the FCC to protest the repeal of net neutrality. More details and register here.
More on #NetNeutrality
In 2015, the FCC made sure that companies couldn’t stop our voices from being heard online by passing the Open Internet Order. This made sure big internet companies like Comcast and Verizon had to treat internet service like a utility — just like phones or electricity — and couldn’t charge more for fast lanes or slow down websites.
NOW, Trump’s FCC is trying to roll back these protections, and end the internet as we know it. (A brief analysis of the FCC’s plan here). Now is the time to fight, forcing the FCC and Congress to feel enough pressure that we stop this rollback.
Sample Tweets and Facebook Posts
While you’re eating turkey and pie, the FCC is planning to end #netneutrality. Tell Congress to protect the free and open internet: www.battleforthenet.com
The FCC is planning to announce a vote to end #netneutrality just before Thanksgiving. Tell Congress to stop them: www.battleforthenet.com
The FCC is getting ready to vote on its plan to end #netneutrality on 12/14. Tell your representatives in Congress to save it: www.battleforthenet.com
Planning to shop from your couch this holiday season? The FCC is planning a vote to make that harder. Tell them to protect #netneutrality: www.battleforthenet.com
The FCC wants to allow big companies to control what you see and do online. Tell Congress to stop them and to protect the open internet. www.battleforthenet.com
ALERT: #Netneutrality is in danger. The FCC is expected to vote to kill the rules in December. But if we flood Congress with phone calls right now, we can stop the vote! battleforthenet.com
Trump’s FCC wants to allow Internet providers to block apps, slow websites to a crawl, and charge extra fees online. Call your members of Congress now to stop this: battleforthenet.com
Call Congress now to stop Trump’s FCC from announcing it’s plan to kill #netneutrality. Enemies of the open Internet want to control what information is available to us and charge us more to access content online. Only we can stop them, battleforthenet.com
We of this generation are faced with great challenges as the survivors of genocide living through the seemingly incessant inter-generational attack on our communities, our lands, our cultures and way of life. Reconciling hundreds of years of stolen knowledge, decolonizing while trying to survive capitalism and colonial governments, and raising conscious children who bridge thousands of years of sacred knowledge with modern technology seem like impossible feats given the circumstances – yet it is happening. Our existence is our resistance. And despite the over saturation of negative information, false information, and colonial culture and its paradigms, the generations (living and passed) of our tribe/families/nations are coming together, weaving a fabric that is allowing us all to restore our respective life ways, our collective humanity, and life on the earth.
Recently Xica Nation had the honor of connecting with Atquetzali Quiroz a 15-year-old danzante and earth defender from Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her parents, Mary Anne and Sergio Quiroz, lead Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli and are deeply involved community building and cultural preservation across the U.S. and Mexico. They recently opened a multicultural center, the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, a collective, safe space where indigenous and immigrant peoples of many nations come together. (You may remember them a viral video from last year of their group as they entered and offered danza the Sacred Stone camp.) Xica Nation had the pleasure of speaking briefly to Atquetzali about her recent participation in the Paddle to Protect project.
What is your name/age? Where are you from? How do you identify?
My name is Atquetzali Quiroz. I am 15 years old from St. Paul, Minnesota. I am Indigenous Mexica Nahua and Filipina.
What is Paddle to Protect? Where is it located? Who is involved?
The Paddle to Protect is a 250 mile canoe journey bringing awareness to Line 3, which is a pipeline that goes through Northern Minnesota and crosses the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Reservations. The Paddle started at Itasca/ the headwaters of the Mississippi river and went downstream to Big Sandy lake. The significance of Big Sandy Lake is it is one of the places that will greatly be affected by Line 3 but also, in 1850 over a hundred Ojibwe people were killed by the US government. There were six core youth paddlers all Indigenous or youth of color. There were a few indigenous and non indigenous adults also there to support.
What are some of the highlights of your experience with Paddle to Protect?
I loved getting to know the rest of the youth on the trip. Before the trip I had never met most of the youth or I had just met them within the past year, it was amazing becoming closer to everyone. I enjoyed being able to experience how my ancestors lived, being close to mother earth and the water. It was also amazing to see the different scenery the river runs through, from swamp to forest to city.
How can the public support you/this project?
You can support the cause by visiting the links and learning more about pipelines and the affect they have on people and Mother Earth. With the knowledge you gain, educate others about what you have learned. Look up local pipelines in your area and bring awareness to them.
A Xica Nation featured interview with the founders of Akat Café Kalli and Sin Fronteras Coffee.
What is your name, age, location? How do you ID?
We are Rocio Cervantes Garcia, Mexicana and Jose Rodriguez Xicano. We live in Oakland, California.
What is the story behind the project?
Akat Café Kalli is a community-based café in Oakland, California. Without our community, we would not have been able to get to this point. Much love and respect to each and every person who has supported our little coffee shop. Before we opened up our doors, as a family, we took a risk yet an active role to create our own income and have more autonomy over how we engage in economic activity. We were on unemployment, trying to finish up our M.A. programs and trying to be active present parents. While it sounds overwhelming, when we considered the relationship between ourselves and our potential means of gaining income, we decided that the best option would be to work for ourselves and keep our values intact. We know that there are many folks out there who do what they love, contribute to their community and get paid for it too; much love and respect! They deserve it. We know there are also many folks who would rather actively participate in generating their own income but face many barriers. Inspired, we did what we thought was necessary and took on the struggle to become more self-determined.
We began in 2012, making artisan coffee and hosting poetry readings for community members and arts and crafts workshops. We hosted workshops that shared skills, music, and art and informed of the empowering actions happening in the community. The community also organized their own events and gatherings at the café. Akat Café Kalli became a place of connection for us and our community, this is where Sin Fronteras Coffee started.
What is the Sin Fronteras coffee project?
As a Mexicana/Xicana Family, we are creating solidarity relationships and economic justice. Sin Fronteras Coffee imports, roasts and serves organic Zapatista coffee to community. Sin Fronteras Coffee is about the relationship to self, each other, production and land. It’s about creating solidarity economics with community in the Bay Area and autonomous communities in Chiapas and other regions. Sin Fronteras Coffee aims to build agency and shift the value back to the relationships.
In January we had a chance to work part of the coffee harvest in autonomous Zapatista territory. We learned about the production of coffee and how it helps to build autonomy and self determination in those communities. It was a humbling experience and we came back with a deeper understanding of the importance of supporting their coffee work and how to apply the essence and values we connected with to our own geography. The work, time, energy and resources that go into harvesting coffee and preparing it for exporting is extremely difficult. Each harvest is a struggle and victory, then the market comes into play and for many producers, the market literally devalues that specific struggle. Sin Fronteras Coffee is about understanding the production process and valuing the work people put in by sharing their story, sharing resources and paying a fair price for their coffee.
Once the coffee arrives to our café, it is on us to roast, brew and share the experience of the different steps of the production process. Imagine a coffee space where one’s relationship to production is valued appropriately, where there is opportunity and support to grow, where the coffee and espresso served in the café directly contributes to autonomous Zapatista communities and self determination in the communities where the coffee was harvested. This is what Café Sin Fronteras is about.
We are raising resources to import a ton of coffee, purchase a coffee roaster and build a taller de café, a coffee workshop. We are dedicated to creating this community space to roast and brew coffee, highlight the relationships involved in the production of coffee, create “sustain to gain” opportunities for coffee workers all while doing it in a good way- based on collaboration and participation. The key ideas here are relationships and solidarity economics.
The goal is the creation of a community coffee workshop and café, the tallercito, where the community and those who have migrated to the Bay Area from their coffee homelands can share and gain knowledge about the:
production of coffee
operation of an autonomous coffee business
social/cultural/political implications of our interactions with coffee
Why should folks support the Sin Fronteras coffee project?
Too many times in coffee the focus is on the branding and quality of the end product, rather than the quality of the relationships involved in producing a drip coffee, latte or a bag of coffee. The community does not generally have enough information about the production process of coffee and the important relationships involved. Our aim is to shift the value back to these relationships by highlighting the stories, and the message of the coffee producers – from their struggles and victories, based on their location, societal and cultural realities.
There is a lack of coffee spaces which offer solidarity coffee with a welcoming artistic and cultural environment which builds with the community from the coffee lands from which the coffee originates. We aim to do this work in a vibrant community cultural space where people come together to create and engage in positive interactions not only the transaction. Finally, it is vital to shift resources to projects like ours where growth starts from below and expands horizontally and circles back through collaboration and active participation.
Essentially, we will:
Collaborate with coffee producers and workers to create opportunities for economic sustainability and agency – “sustain to gain”
Contribute in generating sustainable income by shifting the value back to the relationship between producers, coffee shop workers, coffee drinkers and the land.
Build a tallercito, a coffee workshop space where community and people from the coffee lands living in the Bay Area can share and learn about all things coffee.
Promote the growth of autonomous coffee spaces operated by graduates/workers of the tallercito.
How can folks support the Sin Fronteras coffee project?
Understand our project, the work we have been doing and the work of the coffee producers and how it is all related and how it directly connects to building autonomy. We encourage folks to pre order coffee from us online and to make a donation at www.sinfronterascoffee.com
Xica Nation recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rebel Mariposa of San Antonio, Texas for a special two-part series about her powerful culinary and artistic community work.
Part I: La Botanica
Part II: “Aqui Estamos y No Nos Vamos” art show
Rebel Mariposa is a self-identified queer Tejana living in San Antonio, Texas who is trailblazing consciousness, cultura, and the arts in her own unique way. She is the chef and owner of the highly acclaimed La Botanica and is also a curator, artivist, and dancer.
Part I: La Botanica
Via La Botanica’s website:
“Given our incredible history and culture here in Tejas, our food embodies the rich traditions of TexMex, Gulf Coast, New Mexican and Mexican cuisine. Our food and drinks have been designed around accessible and seasonal ingredients. But more than an eatery, La Botanica aims to be a gathering place for an eclectic beloved community.
“Edible gardens in our sizable wrap-around yard supply fresh veggies and herbs for our kitchen, serving as an accessible laboratory for those wanting to learn to grow their own food. We also have film screenings and live music on our lovely patio, regular installations by local artists, cooking and gardening classes, and benefits for to raise funds for movements that advance social justice.”
What is your current position and/or project?
I own and run La Botanica Texas’ first vegan restaurant with a full bar, a community venue (and recently voted one of the best lesbian bars and runner up for best vegetarian in SA by the San Antonio Current.)
What is the story behind the famous La Botanica? Where did the vision begin?
There was no direct vision for La Botanica it was something that was destined to happen from I guess day one of my existence or perhaps even further back. I come from a line of self starters, self employed, husting familia. Farmworkers, curandera/midwife, artists, activists. I spent my working life doing all sorts of jobs and when La Botanica opened it all made sense, my journey to get me to that moment. It was a great and satisfying feeling. I don’t know where I will go from here but I know La Botanica was meant to exist and I am grateful for the other 3 co-owners for presenting the opportunity for it to unfold and exist. Also extremely grateful to work with such a great staff. the staff is what really makes La Botanica so great. It takes a village, it’s the bands, djs, customers that also make La Botanica what it is. All of that mixed together makes magic.
Were there any challenges as La Botanica manifested?
Por supuesto! Brown, queer women run business, oh and with a vegan menu in Texas! I would and still tell my staff sometimes “against all the odds, we are here and we are making it.” When I first moved back I would say most people I talked to didn’t know what vegan was, they assumed it was vegetarian, that has changed a lot in the past 3 years.
What has the response been?
In the beginning we got lots of not so great feedback, we were thrown in the deep end and learning to swim in front of an audience. Lots of critiques and and doubts pero now two years later we are going beyond just staying afloat we are actually swimming. We still have a ways to go to get to an island and take a rest but I am grateful for each day.
What are some of the top selling menu items?
Do you have any upcoming events/projects?
We are also turning 2 this June. We got a our 2nd annual love fest prom happening in June too!
We are gonna start a Community Hands-On Automotive Class Thursdays 6pm. July 20th is our first class in a 3 months series. For more info join our email list http://eepurl.com/cGOs_P
How can people connect with you and/or support?
La Botanica is located at 2911 N St. Mary’s St., SATX 78212. Come eat, drink, dance with us! We are also available for catering and La B can be rented for private events.
We are on all the social media sites, follow us and like us. Subscribe to our email newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cGOs_P
Was there a particular moment in your life when you felt called to focus on questions of: identity, gender, and/or decolonization in your life’s work?
At different stages in my life, as I evolve as I experience different isms and I am called to do that work. For example when I was in 8th grade we moved to the north side of town. I was attending Tafolla Middle school, that is in the heart of westside-raza, so when I attend a middle school on the northside I had never seen that many white people in one place, the classrooms. The cafeteria, the parents, etc. I was thrown for a loop so I turned to writing, I wrote a poem about walking and feet and shadows and how both shadows no matter the color of the skin of the person are the same color. So I have had several moments like those in my lifetime where my world shifts & I see things thru a new lens and I create work around that awareness. Art is always how I have dealt with paradigm shifts, moments of shock and awe, pain, anger and joys.
Aquí Estamos Y No Nos Vamos, highlights the resistance, solidarity, anger, hope, and healing women of color are experiencing in response to the abusive and oppressive rhetoric that is/was disseminated during Trump’s campaign and carried on into his presidency. The art speaks to a transformation of a social or personal strife that translates into piercing visions of the present and a futuro con Esperanza. The artists featured in this exhibit believe that art must address the abuse on our bodies, communities, and lands.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
The women of color artists featured in this exhibit are working class, immigrant, queer, and create artwork ranging from traditional visual art to sound art to sculpture to textile and much more.
What are some things that you have learned on your journey along the intersections of identity/multiple marginality/health/decolonization?
Everyone has an important and an unique story to tell. Each version a thread in the weave of life. We have so much internal work to do ourselves, so much healing that will take generations. I am turning 37 soon and I am definitely less prejudiced & colonized, than I was at 27 but I am still deconstructing, learning everyday how to be a better human to myself, others and this planet. It’s a life work/journey. I feel like I am smack in the middle of my life and I have come so far but it’s only half of the journey – what will come of the other half? Vamos a ver.
What is the story behind the “Aqui Estamos Y No Nos Vamos” art show?
Representation. We have been here for hundreds of years and we aren’t leaving or being intimidated by a white man, please they been trying to do that to women of color for centuries and mira we haven’t gone anywhere if anything we are getting stronger. I see it in women of all ages there is a strength that is emerging from deep within that is unstoppable.
What has the community response been like?
People love the exhibit. I am very humbled by all the positive responses. This show was not easy to take on for me or the mini curators, as like to call them all though after this show they are no longer mini. Eliza Perez and Jess Gonzalez and I were all going through personal things in our lives on top of huge work loads and then we took on the responsibility of doing a political driven women of color exhibit, nombre it was exhausting and emotional but also nurturing and healing. Also the best response for me is that the artists in the exhibit are happy with the show. It’s not easy pleasing artists and especially that many.
How can people support this project?
WOC start and keep making art :)
I am currently assisting Sarah Castillo with her upcoming NALAC exhibit, and working with Julysa Sosa on her first show in September through lady base gallery, also got some san antonio public art stuff in the works… http://www.ladybasegallery.com/ and in March 2018 Eliza, Jess and I will be teaming up again to curate the Shttps://www.instagram.com/julysasosaphoto/ society for the study of Gloria Anzaldua exhibit in San Antonio location:TBD
Our rights as womyn and mothers to assert jurisdiction over our own bodies and lives are being deconstructed at an alarming rate – dare I say as alarming as the miles of ice cracking and melting off the poles of our Mother Earth.
With no more lands to conquer on the U.S. mainland, the personal landscape has become a frontier. The 21st century geography of colonization and population control: the body of womyn and in particular, womyn from marginalized communities.
It is true that legislated dominion over native peoples bodies has gone on for over 500 years. But generations of wasichu methodologies in law and capitalist structures have reached a point of refinement that demands our attention because of its power to creep so deeply into the personal, affecting our realities and influencing if not outright controlling our sacred personal decisions. The State of Texas is of particular reference and leads the attack but it is certainly not the only one. The current situation is inextricably intertwined with colonization, thus impacting native womyn across borders.
But within the context of the U.S., this imposition of state control over a womyn’s body manifests in the forms of womyns right to choose, access to healthcare (including mental health services), access to assistance programs, womyns right to (and access to) choose the form of maternity medical care, womyns right to (and access to) determine the birth experience, family law legislation, domestic violence, litigious abuse, access for non-citizens and mothers/kids in FAMILY PRISONS to obtain birth certificates for U.S.-born children, trans and LGBTQ rights, and in other ways with intersections too numerous to describe.
And of particular importance is that at every single crossing point between the State and marginalized communities – and in particular womyn – from the greater MeXicanx community, there appears increasing forms of legislation imposed upon the living geographies and landscapes of the brown female bodies in ways which overtly and covertly carve pathways to unjustly deny access and exercise of our human rights. The system seems be in a rush to find ways to justify taking power at any moment over our bodies, quickly legislating definitions/layers of illegalities and constructing legal, economic, and geographic barriers that directly work against us to obstruct our ability to exercise our human rights, our health/well-being, our families, and our life experience on this planet as we know it.
Perhaps this article is only a drop in a bucket, but there is simply no other way to deconstruct and decolonize this mechanism without having a few critical conversations. And today’s topicis no exception: the right to choose (and access to) maternity care, asserting jurisdiction over the self in determining the birth experience, and working with pregnant womyn and mothers from marginalized communities.
Our featured guests include yaocihuame (warrior womyn/community leaders) and come from Houston, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and Guadalajara, Mexico. We are honored to have with us:
Maribel Valdez Gonzalez, Educator, San Antonio, Texas Donate Gisela Sarellano, Danzante, El Paso, Texas Donate Marisela Orozco-Herrera, Danzante and educator, Houston, Texas Emerita Citlalli Ramírez Grande, Danzante and culture worker, Guadalajara, Jalisco Rachel Caballero, Student midwife at Mama Sana clinic in East Austin, Texas Nana Yvette Mendez, Elder, San Antonio, Texas
Maribel Valdez Gonzalez
Emerita Citlalli Ramírez Grande
Nana Yvette Mendez
You are invited to read and listen to their stories, they are critical and important. You are also personally invited to counter the systemic attack and effect change NOW through donating to the fund drives for these hermanas.
Author’s note: I can personally testify to the fact that online donations towards the birth of children really DO make a direct impact at a time when pregnant womyn, and in this case community leaders, need it the most. Thank you.
What is your name? How do you ID? Where are you at/from?
My name is Maribel Valdez Gonzalez. My family is from La Laguna Grande, Zacatecas, Mexico. My mom, brother, sister, and I are living in San Antonio, Tejaztlan for the first time, together. Many of my extended family members still remain in Zacatecas, while others have migrated to other cities in Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and California. I identify as Mexican, Xicana, and part of an alterNATIVE peoples residing on this side of the arbitrary, but enforced southern border of the United States. I am indigenous, colonized, and different from white America. Relatively speaking, I am light-skinned, but not white passing. I am in a strong cishetero-appearing companionship with Antonio Manuel Castillo Gonzalez. The foundation of our companionship is based on our relationship with our closest relative, the land.
What community movements are you involved in?
I am an educator. I teach 7th grade English Language Arts in a historically looted community. I teach at a school that is homogeneously brown. Being a teacher in a public school is extremely difficult because I have to reconcile being an oppressor (if I want to keep my job) with doing my best to help students love themselves. I believe in teaching culturally-relevant curriculum, social emotional skills that deviate from white supremacist norms, and encouraging my students to express themselves with informed opinions. My humble purpose in life is to be an example for others. I am honored to be in the presence of youth and I take that responsibility very seriously. At this time, I have taken a break from getting involved in movements beyond my school community, so I can focus on my home altar. I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and very much focused on my spirituality and faith to ground our family in a good way before our baby, Aztlaneci, enters this world.
What type of birth experience are you choosing to have and why?
I am choosing to have the birth ceremony in the comfort of our home. I have a doula, who is my ceremonial sister, and a midwife who will assist in the ceremony. The birth ceremony is the first ceremony. I consider it a ceremony because it is a way to demonstrate honor for the ritual, gratitude, humility, and strength. I have no fear because I understand my womb to be my connection to the earth, my ancestors, the dreamworld, and the life force that will give us our child. I have faith. It will be a sacred experience that will not be tainted by the traumas that many womxn of color experience in hospitals. We will be singing prayer songs and there will be medicines present. It will be an answer to a prayer. I want to be in the presence of folks who want to help me give birth to my child. I do not want to be controlled, or forgotten. By having the ceremony at home, my family and I will be given the autonomy to demonstrate our responsibility to our child, future generations, ancestors, and community as a unified commitment.
What other birthing experiences have you had?
My companion and I had a daughter by the name of Ayotzintli Valdez Gonzalez. She remains an ancestor after I miscarried at 3 months. We remember and honor her on a daily basis. She is with us always.
Does politics and/or economic play a role in this decision? How?
As a Xicana, woman of color, and mama-to-be in the United States, every choice I make is political. My decision to have a home birth was informed by my spiritual beliefs and the fear I carry as a young Xicana in institutions such as hospitals. In those spaces, my body is objectified in ways that take away my dignity and the sacredness of the birth ceremony. My body and my home are sacred ceremonial sites.
How can folks support you?
I am asking for folks to help with donations to cover the costs of midwifery services. We believe that having access to midwifery services is birth justice. With every $50 or more donation, we are giving away a WE THE PEOPLE Defend Dignity 24×36 lithoprint signed by the photographer, Arlene Mejorado, and myself. We will also ship 4 stickers of the same print. While my likeness is used for the prints that were seen all over the world, my family and I are not getting compensated for any of it. We are very fortunate to be able to share some of the prints with those who support our campaign as an incentive. We are deeply grateful for those who choose to support us.
What is your name? How do you ID? Where are you at/from?
Gisela Sarellano, Mexica, El Paso, TX
What community movements are you involved in?
I have been entrusted with the responsibility of danza Azteca Omecoatl and serve them as their capitana. Additionally, I am a minister of Native American Church Teokalli Tlauizkalpantekutli Ketzalkoatl.
What type of birth experience are you choosing to have and why?
I chose to birth at home with the help of a midwife. Although I respect everyone’s personal preference, I believe that birthing with a midwife is the closest to how it was intended. Going through the experience and actually being an active participant in said experience is very important to me. In my opinion, I believe it is the most natural way and the best way for both mother and child.
What other birthing experiences have you had?
My 9 year old son, Xicahua, was born in a hospital with an obstetrician. This was far from ideal as the doctor induced my delivery to fit her schedule instead of waiting for my baby to come on his terms and on his time. Though it was nonetheless life changing and unforgettable, I truly felt robbed of the birthing experience.
Does politics and/or economic play a role in this decision? How?
The fact that home birth is not covered by Medicaid or traditional insurance absolutely factored into my decision. Instead of simply being able to enjoy and celebrate the fact that I was being blessed with another child I had to try to figure out how I would be able to afford to birth at home. Thankfully, there is a midwife in our traditional community who first offered to greatly discount her services then changed her mind and offered me her services free of charge in appreciation for the service work I do within the community.
How can folks support you?
Thanks to the generosity of my midwife I do not assistance in paying for her services, however my danza circle has started a fundraiser so that I may have some bonding time with my child. I work for an attorney who is allowing me to take as much time off as I need, however he is unfortunately unable to provide me with paid maternity leave. Without financial assistance, I will only be able to take two weeks off, if that.
Anything else would you would like to share?
Thankfully my pregnancy had been rather uneventful and without complications, until now. My baby has refused to turn and, at 39 weeks, is still in a breech position. We have tried all traditional and non-traditional methods we can think of, but she will not budge. Bearing that in mind, my wonderful midwife has suggested that birthing in a hospital is the safest thing for the baby. This is far from what I had in mind and most certainly not what I planned. It has, however, been a great lesson in surrender, and accepting that my child and Creation, have other plans, and that is ok too. Sadly, if we have to go through with a C-section, it entails a much longer recovery period for which I am not financially prepared.
UPDATE: The Xica Nation family would like to welcome the arrival of Matlalihuitl, who arrived on May 18th. Congratulations, Gisela!
What is your name? How do you ID? Where are you at/from?
My name is Rachel Caballero. I am AfroLatina. I honor my African and Indigenous ancestors. I am currently in Austin, TX. I am from the US Mexico Borderlands/ El Paso- Cd Jz.
What community work are you involved in?
I am currently a student midwife involved in an organization called Mama Sana Vibrant Woman. MSVW is a community organization that works to facilitate access to culturally appropriate, quality, prenatal and postnatal care for women of color in Austin/Travis County based in Austin, TX. We exist to provide culturally respectfully and reflective reproductive health and wellness for Latina and Black women. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control data showed that for Black women, maternal mortality was 40.4 deaths for every 100,000 live births between 2011 and 2013. This is compared to 12.1 for white women and 16.4 for women of other racesOur focus is prenatal support. Currently birth outcomes and maternal health are worse for Black mothers in the U.S. we exist to change that. For Latina mothers issues around language and cultural respect come into play. For all women access to home birth is an issue. In Texas currently medicaid does not pay for home birth. The process for midwives to become medicaid providers is long and duly, midwives who are self employed and many have low volume practices, becoming a medicaid provider is not possible.
MSVW Our organization is a collectively ran non profit made up of Latina and Black women. My work with the organization is to provide birth support as a doula, and lead our birth companion program. Our Birth Companion program provides free one on one birth support. It is a goal of mine to create a community of birth workers of color who reclaim the practices of their cultures and ancestors and bring them to birth work and healing work. We trained 27 birth companions this past year in our first year of funded work. We connected 5 women to home births at no cost.
What services does your organization provide and what population do you serve?
Currently our organization provides holistic full spectrum support including weekly groups, birth companion support during all stages of pregnancy, quick access to prenatal care, and access to network of midwives. During the Pregnancy and Birthing Circles Program which is our weekly prenatal support group, mothers choose topics they want to learn about as well as going over more traditional pregnancy related information, participate in free yoga + movement, community meal, meat birth companions, receive a prenatal check from a midwife. On occasion we invite holistic practicioners to provide massage and acupuncture. The care given within the PBC Program is informed by the principles and practices of midwifery.
We provide Free Childbirth Prep Classes in English and Spanish. We provide monthly socials and events including Mama Spa Day, Kandake Circle by and for self identifying Black Women.
As a person on the front line of maternity care in Texas, in what ways do you believe politics and/or economics play a role in decision-making around maternity care and the birthing experience for WOC?
I think when it comes to health care in general politics always play a role in decision making. For many women of color our politics inform our choices about the way we live, what we eat and wear etc. In my experience as a doula/birth companion in maternity care decision making before or during the labor room comes down to two questions – Is it safe for my baby? Is it safe for me so I can care for my child? more so than politics or economics.
In my work I have known and supported many different women from different belief systems. Part of my work as a birth worker/student partera is that I listen and support all women in their choices. Regardless of politics or how much money they have they have the power to decide for themselves what they want and need. Being on the “front lines” of maternity care means upholding that wherever we are, hospital or home. I am “with woman” on her path. I walk alongside her during her journey.
Currently the political climate in Texas has made it clear that our bodies as woc do not matter. Genocide continues and we are here living within it all. The medical system in the U.S. is violent. For this reason the role of the birth companion and partera is even more important. It is a calling- and necessary role during these times. I have seen time and time again entering the hospital supporting a WOC she is dismissed or ignored, talked down to, or poked and prodded unnecesarily. There is little dignity. Specifically when I have supported Black Mothers birthing in hospitals there is alot of racism and I have witnessed many painful and traumatic experiences in the hospitals towards Black Mothers.
More mothers should have the option of having baby at home or a safeplace that is not the hospital. Decisions around maternity care are connected to economics in that a WOC who is homeless, has violence at home, not enough room, may not want to or be able to have a “home birth” not all women have “homes” in the physical sense, so they have no choice but go to hospital. And less so not able to even consider home birth since she will have to pay out of pocket.
As WOC our choices are already cut short in the U.S. and especially in Texas. We don’t have real choices. We are seeking to change that.
How can folks support this project?
In order to provide support and more homebirth we must continue to fundraise.
People can donate to our pay pal or mail checks. People can volunteer their time or expertise. People can refer more women of color needing support by visiting msvwatx.org , [email protected], 512-710-5729
Como te llamas? Como te identificas? De donde eres/estas?
Emerita Citlalli Ramírez Grande. Me identifico con la naturaleza, con todo lo relaciónado al cuidado, conservación y resguardo del medio ambiente y cultura. Mi familia es de Jala Nayarit- Jomulco. Estoy viviendo en Guadalajara.
A cuales movimientos o circulos sociales te integras?
Grupos de danza Mexica y de conocimiento de calendario Mexica.
Que tipo de expereiencia de nacimiento desean tener? Pueden tener? No pueden tener?
Tipo de nacimiento/ el mas natural acorde con lo tiempos naturales posibles y queria una experiencia en agua. / pueden tener; puedo tener el del seguro del ISSTE por el trabajo y otro llamado MetLIfe que es el que intentare a ver si me aprueban en los papeles para que juan pueda estar conmigo por que en el seguro no dejarian a nadie conocido mio a que me acompañe en mi parto, además de que en el seguro, hay muchos prácticantes de medicina, cualquiera puede intervenir o decidir si se va a sesarea el parto, y meterte la mano para ellos prácticar las medidas en tu vagina de las dilataciónes. además que te están precionando para decidir para la implantación de un metodo anticonceptivo implantado al final del parto. Y POR ESO NO QUIERO EN ISSTE.
De que manera influye el dinero y/o la politica en esta decision? Como?
Por politica de trabajo tengo ISSTE eso si puedo acceder, y económicamente no puedo tenerlo con la que yo queria para que me apoyara en parto en agua, puesto que ella cobra $ 15,000 para recibir al bebe, más $ 4,000 para pagar la duola y $ 3,800 un curso prepedeutico y el hospital donde te permitan tener la tina $5,000 esto sale un costo de más de $20,000. No lo tenemos, yo gano $5000 a la quincena, contrapenas tendria unos tresmil sueltos para pagar uno privado y no tener que acudir al ISSTE. me es más barato en un hospital privado chico por el parto con un medico común que cobrarian entre $5000 a $10000, que un parto natural que está por arriba de los $20,000. La Duola Maricela que está trabajando en una asociación de Duolas para poder incertar una politica de que en el ISSTE se tenga el derecho de una duola (están en esa lucha ellas) me platica que en Jalisco (Norma caracola) es de las más baratas, que las demás parteras o parteros naturales cobran de $20,000 para arriba.
Como puede el publico apoyarte? Tienes un enlace para donaciones o Paypal?
Con tan solo el hecho de leer lo que vayas a escribir (me es suficiente), para documentar la experiencia que a mi pensar se está lucrando con lo natural, al bolerse en estos tiempos venderse como moda como slogans de be natural- organic y por lo tanto triplican los precios, que yo que trabajo en una dependencia gubernamental =/ NO PUEDO PAGAR LO MÁS BE NATURALMENTE POSIBLE =(
Algo mas que gustas compartir? Las raices que deverian estar accesibles al publico, se están convirtiendo en un medio mercantil para cobrar o obtener ganancias mayores, sin olvidar, que solo poca gente podria pagarlo.
What is your name? How do you ID? Where are you at/from? My full name is Marisela Orozco-Herrera. I didn’t mind adding on my duality’s last name but I’m pretty attached to my own so I made sure to keep it. At work I still go by Ms. Orozco. I was born and raised in Houston, TX. I identify as native, xicana, and indigena aunque mi sangre es de todas partes de este mundo, soy de estas tierras.
What community movements are you involved in? I have been involved in la danza Azteca for the past 11 years. I’m currently a part of a a Houston based group, Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl. Many of us are educators. I currently work as the librarian for a charter school where I bring in many of the Mexica teachings into the curriculum, the kids really connect to it. I’m also working with a group of like minded people to create a better learning environment… a type of school for our children and community. This past year I was also fortunate enough to be involved in the Peace and Dignity Journeys as a runner down the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Houston. The prayer for the seeds was very powerful and means so much for us in the way of maintaining pure and healthy foods, coming together from many indigenous groups as one, sharing our knowledge of the seeds… the process of planting, harvesting, and continuing that knowledge through shared time together. Not only as physical planting seeds but as the seeds of humanity, as people healing ourselves, our families, and communities in order to continue life in a more trauma free existence where we can continue to nourish one another through our culture and traditions. We are the medicine that our ancestors left us, it’s embedded in us, we just have to continue to plant, harvest, and share this knowledge.
What type of birth experience are you choosing to have and why? What other birthing experiences have you had?
This is my first pregnancy so I haven’t had any other birthing experiences. I’m not one to easily rush to the doctor or reach for an aspirin bottle when I don’t feel good. My grandmother was a curandera so she was always our family doctor. It only felt natural for me to seek out other knowledgable women to help guide me in the task of bringing new life into this world. We are currently going to a neighborhood birth center that is located right down the street. I’m planning on giving birth to our little one in water there with the help and support of two midwives y mi dualidad. I feel more comfortable in their hands than at any hospital so I just pray everything goes well throughout my pregnancy and during labor so that I don’t have to step foot into a hospital. They’re all about making me feel at home and bringing in our own medicine such as our sahumador, copal, hand drum, guitar, and any other element we may want to bring in. I know that our baby won’t be rushed away from me after birthing, he’ll be in my arms and will remain in the same room with us at all times. I don’t like the idea of being drugged up or plugged into machines while going through the experience of bringing life into the world, I don’t think that this should be the norm. Much of what we experience in our day to day lives such as getting an education, finding work, deciding where to live, and attaining medical care is political in a way or to some extent. There are standards on what is considered to be appropriate for specific people when it comes to all of the above.
Does politics and/or economic play a role in this decision? How?
One thing my husband and I have had to deal with is the limited access to care that our insurance has to offer. They will not cover any percentage of my care at a birth center so we must pay everything out of pocket. Even having to obtain an ultrasound has been a bit of a struggle since many imaging centers that are covered by our insurance refuse to work with midwives. I’ve expressed this frustration with our midwives. I’m sure they have already felt this emotion in dealing with these types of institutions and the way that they are viewed in this profession compared to doctors. Still, they don’t even flinch. They keep a very positive outlook and work with us on adjusting our payment plan to better suit our needs. Their support is incredible!
How can folks support you?
We haven’t created any fundraisers for our expenses
From the sacred forests of Central Texas and by way of the mountains of Jalisco, the Yacatsol project has just dropped “La Cultura Nos Cura,” a 5-track EP of “conscious cumbia, brujx pop, 3bal, and tamalerx huaracherx.”
“Gotta stay trucha, pon ojo Families imprisoned, ICE raids, and who knows They want us scared, like cucuy! cucuy everywhere! Together let’s break through the fear”