#AyoyotesOnTheGround evokes sacred drum beats across the U.S. and Mexico against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Images from the Segunda Llamada of #AyoyotesOnTheGround at the Sacred Stone Camp. Image by E'Sha Hoferer.
Images from the Segunda Llamada of #AyoyotesOnTheGround at the Sacred Stone Camp. Image by E’Sha Hoferer.

The call to defend Mother Earth and her waters at the spiritual resistance camps near the Standing Rock Reservation has sparked a spiritual movement throughout the broader Mexicanx Xicanx community on both sides of the border.

Recently, a moving video documenting the arrival of danzantes at the Sacred Stone Camp went viral, a video which served as a reminder that we as Mexicanx-origin peoples had both a place and responsibility with this spiritual resistance.  A call to prayer and action was then made for all danzantes to offer their sacred dances to this prayer, featuring the hashtag #AyoyotesOnTheGround.

The vision for #AyoyotesOnTheGround was for “the heartbeats of our sacred huehuetls and the sounds of our ayoyotes to move across the territories we occupy, in unison.”  There were several cities offering prayers at the same date and time that danzantes at the Sacred Stone Camp would be offering their danzas.

Here are a few images from the event by Mayahuel Garza of Albuquerque, New Mexico who helped organize the event:

One of the cities present for the first Ayoyotes on the Ground solidarity danza on September 10th was San Antonio.  Here are two short clips via Laura Rios Ramirez and Greg Harman:

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Part of the #AyoyotesOnTheGround call to action included a call for donations and supplies.

Jefes of the Danza Conchera in the U.S.,  Helga and Jose Garza, helped organize the event and donation drives.

“On Sept. 10, 2016, Ayoyotes on the Ground was blessed to pray, dance and sing with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. We were also able to deliver over 1200lbs of food and supplies including, over 600 lbs of fresh  vegtabales. We hope to make another supply run and Danza Ceremonia, to once again unite our prayers with those of the Protectors and their  Supporters.
On this trip we would like to take blankets, tarps, coats and other winter supplies.
Thanking you in advance for your support.
!Tlazocamati!! !In Teotl!!!”

– Via Helga Jose Garza

There is currently a call for blankets and other items here:  https://www.gofundme.com/2prbfmc

Call for FireWood for the Water Protectors: https://www.gofundme.com/firewood-for-the-water-protectors-2tytq7w

UPDATE: More #AyoyotesOnTheGround t-shirts will be available for online sale soon!

The “Segunda Llamada” of #AyoyotesOnTheGround was held this past Saturday, October 8th.  Prayers in were offered at the Sacred Stone Camp, Jalisco, Mexico, Montgomery, Texas, and the Sacred Springs Pow Wow in San Marcos, Texas.

Here are videos taken by E’Sha Hoferer of the danza at the Sacred Stone Camp:

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Here are a few images from the cities that participated:

As we head into fall and winter, state repression at the prayer camp by police armed in full military weaponry is increasing.   Your prayers and sacred dances are being solicited in defense of the water and Mother Earth, and against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

To learn more about the international call to prayer and action to protect the water, please visit the following links:

 

Danza Mexica arrives at the Sacred Stone Camp

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By Don Grey Day

There is currently a gathering of nations of historic proportions occurring at the Camp of the Sacred Stones in Cannonball, North Dakota near the Standing Rock Reservation.  Nations from across Turtle Island have arrived to camp, pray, and resist in solidarity using non-violence against the Dakota Access Pipeline in protection of the water and mother earth.

The Danza Mexica of the Mexicanx Xicanx peoples has also been represented at the camp.  Last Friday, September 3rd in Dallas, Texas at the Energy Transfer headquarters, a protest was held as well by those in solidarity.

NOTE:  There is currently a call for danzantes and spiritual warriors to attend a danza at the Sacred Stone Camp at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Don Grey Day, who filmed the entrada of Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli to the Sacred Stone Camp had this to share:

A delegation from Oregon had come in before them, so I was sitting there and listening to them speak. Then, during a a prayer song, I could hear a drum beat in the distance. I thought that someone was driving into camp playing their stereo loud, so I looked. Nope, I didn’t see anything, but the drum got louder so I stood up to look again because I could see cars lined up against the darkening skies after sunset. Then it hit me.. Aztecs were coming! I got my phone out, and walked into position and started recording. I could make out movement but not really see anything yet. Then various cameras were flashing as they took pics. To me, being Lakota, it looked like lightning strikes and they were dancing with a storm. It was like something sacred had entered our camp and was announcing their presence with lightning and a rhythmic thunder being. That’s when you can hear me saying, “Aztecs people..” to whoever might see the video I knew was going on Facebook. Just as the flag of their nation came into camera view, I let out a war whoop in welcoming and in honor for the dancers… It seemed to have ignited a prairie fire and it took off! Earlier in the day, we had a run in with DAPL’s private security guard with their dogs and pepper spray so tensions were high and spirits were low… Until they danced out of the darkness and into our circle to stand in Unity with the Oceti Sakowin… I am still in awe at the visuals from the video. The lighting and timing couldn’t have been any better!! It was an honor…

Here are a few clips witnessing these historic events:

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Via Don Grey  Day.  Camp of the Sacred Stones.  Cannonball, North Dakota.[/su_column]
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Via Sacred Stone Camp video: Aztec Dancers Join Sacred Stone Camp.  Camp of the Sacred Stones.  Cannonball, North Dakota.[/su_column]
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Video of protest outside Energy Transfer headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Via Bryan Parras. Danza begins at 1:12:00 and interview at 1:58:30.

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To learn more about this historic gathering of nations to protect the water and how you can help, please visit the following links:

Sage against the machine: Josie speaks

A Xica Nation exclusive video interview with Josie Valadez Fraire, an indigenous Xicana/MeXicana who was recently harassed and detained by Denver police for praying with sage at an anti-Trump rally in Denver, Colorado.

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From the Justice for Josie FB page.

From the Justice for Josie event page:
“On Friday, July 1st, Josie was handcuffed, detained, cited and had a mugshot taken by DPD for smudging sage……. Josie was a peaceful demonstrator at a Trump protest and was exercising her First Amendment rights to let her voice be heard that his hatred was not welcomed in Denver……..Lets support Josie in court and the Constitutional Rights and Spiritual belief’s of our Indigenous People.”

Video of incident:

Exclusive Xica Nation interview:

After the incident:

A message from Josie:

Link to Spanish language interview with Josie:  
http://www.telemundodenver.com/noticias/local/Mujer-arrestada-en-protesta-habla-sobre-su-experiencia_TLMD—Denver-385274191.html

How you can support:

  • Share news, pictures, updates about Josie and the incident across your social media networks
  • Connect with Josie directly or on the Justice for Josie page and share words of encouragement
  • Send donations to Homies Unidos Denver on Josie’s behalf
  • Burn your sage and pray for Josie and all our relations under attack across Turtle Island

 

Tlahtolli: Interview with Yvette Mendez, elder and indigenous activist from Texas

TLAHTOLLI is a new series on Xica Nation featuring exclusive interviews with community leaders, spiritual elders, thinkers and artists that participate actively in community work and empowerment within the greater [email protected] nation.

We recently caught up with Yvette Mendez who is an artist, activist, danzante, and healer now living in San Antonio, Texas. She is a much sought-after elder who devotes her time and energy to various projects across Texas, particularly in Austin, San Antonio and Ruidosa out in the western borderlands of the state.

Hello, Yvette, and welcome to Xica Nation. Could you please tell us about yourself? What is your background? How do you identify?

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Photo credits:  Krysztof Zenyase Tellez-Barragan

My lineage is rooted in my father’s tribe, the Mescalero/Chiricahua tribes of the Apache nation. Both my grandmother and great grandmother were prominent healers from the “Tsehitcihende” (“Hook Nose”) Band of the Mescalero Tribe, Apache nation.

How did your journey into ceremony begin? Were you born into the tradition? What was your experience as a Xicana/Mexican American walking an indigenous path? Feel free to use the terms by which you identify.

My grandmothers were my early teachers.   Through them I became connected to my native roots, and learned about my culture and various healing modalities from the Apache traditions.

My great grandmother still spoke fluent Apache, she spoke no Spanish, nor English.  My grandmother spoke Spanish.  Most of our people blended in with the Mestizo Mexicans.  My grandmothers were healers.  I remember people would come all the way from the valley to see my grandmothers.  They were well known in the region around the border.  They would heal people and they would also do “trabajos” or bad juju, meaning if someone did something bad, you would see them to settle scores.  They were powerful women who practiced the old ways.  I loved being around them.

I grew up harvesting mesquite beans, nopales, tunas and other natural foods that just grew wild.  I would help my grandmother take the thorns off.  She would set newspapers on the ground and we would sit in a circle cleaning off the cactus pads, or she would make us gather tender mesquite beans which we would boil and eat.  We always ate with our hands and out of a big pot or plate. I still don’t like to use forks and spoons.  Even though I am an educated woman, I still prefer to eat with my hands and tortillas, old style.  I have never forgotten where I came from.  That is why I consider myself blessed.  I learned many things from my grandmothers, and many other grandmothers in my indigenous communities.

When I was about 19 or 20, I took a trip to the mountains of Mexico in Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, where I met the late Maria Sabina. It was here where my awareness expanded and my spiritual journey began.

Since then I have continuously returned to Oaxaca for the last 35 years. Throughout that time I’ve worked extensively with respected medicine peoples of various tribal traditions including the Mazatec, Zapotec, Mexica, Ojibway, Lakota, and Mayan nations. For many years I was active in the tradición of the danza Mexica in the U.S.

I have also had a chance to study midwifery and plant medicines, as well as the ritual uses of herbs and tobacco. But my area of focus is in relationship to water, and its ritual use in all aspects of healing.

Could you tell us a little more about the community works you’re involved in?

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Photo credit: Southwest Key Programs

I conduct an annual water ceremony through the use of the sacred “Turtle Mother” medicine wheel and am the standing medicine woman for the annual “moondance” ceremony on ancestral Apache lands near Austin, Texas.

I give lectures at water and environmental symposiums at various universities and am also involved in two important land conservancy projects. I am currently a council member of Alma de Mujer Center for Social Justice (Austin), an umbrella organization of the Indigenous Women’s Network, and President of the Chinati Ixtlan Cultural and Land Conservancy group in West Texas (Ruidosa.)

What is a land conservancy? What is Chinati Ixtlan?

The Chinati Ixtlan land conservancy is a beautiful preserve of 500 acres of ancient ancestral Apache lands in the mountains of West Texas in the LaJunta Region.

A land conservancy is a nonprofit organization and trust that works with landowners who are interested in conserving land who donate it to preserve the natural state of the environment for its scenic, productive or historic value.

In the case of Chinati, its importance is historical in nature, as it is the original ancestral grounds of the Apache. But it also has tremendous productive potential as a way for us to reclaim our ancestral ways of life, and thus preserve and maintain our cultural heritage and connection to our tribal lands.

In ancient times the Chinati region was the crossroads, meeting grounds, breadbasket of the various migratory Apache tribes.  Here they would gather to meet intertribally to exchange goods, find mates, do ceremonies and basically all the relevant cultural exchanges among the people.

Why should people care about land conservancies? Why are they important?

It is important that we as human beings not only begin to take a real concern over what is happening to our planet, but most importantly what is happening to us.  It does not take a rocket scientist to take note of the fact that as a human species we have become very disconnected from our natural state as human beings.  We have lost our way, and thus our humanity.  We have lost all self-respect and thus respect for everyone else including our animal and plant relatives.  We have total disregard for the sacredness that is life and all the natural elements such as the water, the air, the fire, and the earth.  We have forgotten how to take care of the earth, ourselves, and our families and communities.  We have become very selfish and materialistic.  We have totally bought into the illusion albeit a very strategically designed system of materialism and individualism.

Packaged and sold to us by the U.S. government, the media and various institutions.  We are completely bought in and blinded by all the fancy gadgets, and superficial fast paced way of life.  We have forgotten to walk in beauty, calmness, to stop and smell the roses now and then.  This fake way of life is killing us literally, and making us very unhappy.  Depression and suicide is at an all time high.  Our teenagers and children are very angry and sad.

In my years as a teacher in public school, I saw it everyday in the faces of my students.  So much ADD and ADHD, children on meds.  People walk around in a constant state of anger and agitation.  No one is recognizing the simple fact that we have forgotten how to live as human beings, interdependent on each other and every other living organism on the planet.

My dream is that through this community and conservancy we can begin to reclaim what it means to walk in balance within ourselves and with nature.  There is much work to be done, but many people seem to be interested in a new way of thinking and living.  Really it is not new, it is just re-membering what was lost, putting ourselves back together again, and healing our hearts and mind from our experiences with colonialism and genocide.

As a people we lost a lot when the white man came, we are all a product of that conquest.  It was not just a conquest of a people but of the heart and minds of the people.  We are all sons and daughters of ancestors who went through some very nasty things, and we still carry in our hearts the wounded memories of the souls of our ancestors.  We may not know how to articulate it, but it is a very deep pain that sometimes defies logic and understanding.  But it has an origin, and that origin is a forgotten memory of pain and suffering at the loss of our ancestral lands and ways of life.

But the time for crying and suffering is over, we are at a point where we need to take an active stand on how we think and live.  It is the time of awakening consciousness of finally liberating ourselves from our past to begin a new future.  It is a time of renewal and healing but we must act fast.

Each and everyone of us has a mission in life and a responsibility.  We need to take charge of our lives and dig ourselves out of the rut we have been in.  There are many ways to do this and we can learn from our ancestral traditions.  These are the kinds of teachings we will have at Chinati Ixtlan.

In your experience as a strong, outspoken mujer in the community I imagine you have gained much insight on navigating the multiple paradigms we as mujeres exist within. In your opinion, why is it important for wombyn to become vocal, active participants in their communities and sacred circles?

Photo credit:  Polo Perez
Photo credit: Polo Perez

I think it is very important for women to practice using their voices.  By this I mean to speak up and speak out.  As women our voices have not been valued very much.  But our voices are important because we are the teachers, the caretakers, the mothers, the healers.  As women we have many different responsibilities, the greatest of which is being a mother, of raising decent human beings.  It is a tall task, and a very challenging one in this day and age.

I believe it is hard for us because many times our men carry so much anger, and violence in them.  It is not a natural state for them but has become the only way they know how to be.  They too have suffered a lot.  Their ability to be men and the protectors and providers of their families was taken away, and they were made slaves of the Spanish, and then the English.  Their women, mothers, and sisters were raped, many times in front of them.  That was a tactic used to disempower them, to emasculate them.

Unfortunately in their anger, they took it out on us, and we have taken it for a very long time.  They have also punished themselves by avoiding us, by finding solace in the bottle, or in drugs, or sex with other women. Colonization has really fragmented and destroyed our integrity as families, it has also eroded our ability to communicate with each other as couples, and has created a huge gender gap.  This is a very real problem, and a stark reality we live every single day.

The term “feminism” in our community has become a very bad word, which in and of itself speaks to a problem of gender bias.  If we choose to be leaders and use our voices to question their machismo or need for control, they call us man haters, and untraditional.  (Traditional meaning stay at home, shut your mouth, and stay in your place.  This is not okay.) Our men need a lot of healing too.

As leaders of our sacred circles we have a right to grow and develop our own paths.  It does not have to be threatening.  I believe the fear of machismo is deeply rooted in the conquest and colonialism.  We need to be strong enough to heal ourselves, and then have enough love to help our men heal too.

How can we overcome this? What steps can we take to begin and/or contribute? Where do we go from here?

Before we can heal, we have to understand our past, who we are, where we came from, what we really want out of this life.  If we cannot know who we are, how can we expect to have a healthy relationship with men, with our parents, friends, other people.  We need to learn self-love.  We always think of love as something external that we give to others.  In truth, before we can love others we need to learn to love ourselves for the beautiful flowers that we are.  Flowers come in all shapes, sizes, colors.  Nature doesn’t discriminate.  It does not matter if your are short, tall, gordita, prietita.  You are beautiful just as you are.  We are much too critical of ourselves.  We need to show kindness to ourselves, not to berate, belittle or devalue our worth.

We have false images of what beauty is because of the media.  Photos of real women are altered, and we buy into it.  Always trying to obtain the next fashion, change our hair color, use all kinds of poisonous and harsh cancer causing chemicals on our bodies to try to fit an image.  This is not self care or self love.  We have to learn to accept our faces, our bodies, and our minds exactly the way they were given to us.  Nurture your minds and your spirits, and your beauty and inner light will shine like a star.

Are there any upcoming community events you’ll be working with?

On February 28th from 1-6 p.m. I am sponsoring an event at Alma de Mujer with Russell Eagle Bear of Shield the People, a spiritual resistance by the First Nations peoples who are organizing in solidarity with the Lakota to “protect and shield the people, natural resources and cultural heritage” from the Keystone Tar Sands / XL Pipeline devastation to Mother Earth.

Basic Indigenous Ethics

Macehualli Traditional Code of Conduct

This is a list of Basic Indigenous Ethics or Code of Conduct compiled from various sources.  No matter your spiritual experience or knowledge, we all need helpful reminders to keep us on track. The majority of these bullet points on manners and state of mind are from the book The Sacred Tree and random internet posts I’ve come across. You will see these to be good,  practical, and universal teachings. These Indigenous Etiquette  bullet points shed a little more light on the Circular Mentality teaching. When reading this code of conduct please reflect on how the practice  of these can affect The Four Circles.

Macehualli Telpochcalli Ethics

  • Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Who show ignorance, or conceit, and anger, remember, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that all will find right guidance.

  • Respect all things that are placed upon this earth, whether it be people, animals, land, or elements.

  • Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

  • Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will return to you.

  • No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.

  • Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

  • Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

  • Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your beliefs on others.

  • Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due.

  • Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.

  • To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation or the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important task. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

  • Observe moderation and balance in all things.
  • Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

  • Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, meditation,  in times of quiet solitude,  and in the words and deeds of wise elders and friends.

  • Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially sacred objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.

  • Respect the privacy of every person. Never intrude on a person’s quiet moments or personal space.

  • Never walk between or interrupt  people that are conversing

 

Content courtesy of:
mexica

Donations in Memory of Alonzo Perez

“We continue to mourn the passing of one of our young warriors.

1780817_10152645279814569_1296267524_n (1)Alonzo Tlakaelel Perez was raised in our indigenous traditions and died last week in a horrific accident. We ask for your support, and with all due respect, your help.

Monday (today) at Franklin High School there will be a candle light vigil at 5:30pm

Tuesday 5-9pm Viewing and visitation at Sunset Funeral Home – WEST 480 N. Resler.  El Paso, Texas.

Wednesday 10:30am Funeral Mass at San Francisco de Assis 5750 Doniphan

Please spread the word about the Wells Fargo account to collect donations for his family. The name of the account is “In Memory of Alonzo Perez,” and the account number is 6356917119 with the routing number of112000066.

Please honor us with your presence, your support, and your love. Tlazocamati”

Currently Seeking Stories, Links, and Contributors

Xica Nation is currently seeking stories, links, and contributors in the following categories:

  • Events – Community events to share
  • Food is Medicine – Information about traditional foods and healthy eating
  • Good Reads – Recommended reading lists (books, magazines, etc.)
  • Kids – Recommended books, videos, culturally relevant and earth conscious educational material (and lesson plans for sale)
  • Links – Links to community resources
  • Radio – Contributions/shows of 30 minute – 1 hour segments, songs and music videos
  • Stories of the Land
  • Stories of the People
  • Video – Culturally relevant and earth conscious videos
  • Xica Style – The millennial and modern fashion

XicaNation.com is an online library that documents positive stories, traditional knowledge, and other realms of the 21st century experiences of the indigenous cultures of the greater U.S./Mexico borderlands.

We are seeking positive stories:
– that empower
– of the people
– of the lands
– of remedios, medicinas, plantas, traditional ways

These stories can come in the form of a link, article, photo, video, or audio.

For additional questions please Contact Us.