CHICANAH: a proposal

CHICANAH: a proposal

Chicanah: A Proposal

Chicano, Chicana, [email protected], 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 [email protected] 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.


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Wabanaki

    Pretty Savage!! Information… And just to expand on what I mean….I truly enjoy the information that has been given. Not many of us know the difference or how to differentiate many meanings of the natuatl language…


  2. Paul Garcia

    Agree with this, but since the movement we have several generations who don’t even know the terms Chicano power, Chicana, or moviemento politics. Without Chicano studies in primary grades we are doomed to assimilation or accommodation.

  3. Two-Spirit Urban Chichcimeca

    This is good stuff here to our steps how we treat gender and learning how to reclaim that. Just one comment on the word “wombyn”, not all mujeres are “womb” mujers. There’s many gender variation to the binary. Some of us are comfortable with the assigned gender some of us not. So walking through a place where we are only given a he or she but our identity is more complex then a European binary is also a step to re-indigenize or decolonize our gender spectrum. This is my constant challenge walking through ceremonial places and “traditional” spaces where we have not yet began to deconstruct this. Thanks for putting this up.

    1. Quimichipilli

      Tlazocamati. The 2-spirit subject can be challenging for secular western lifestyled people coming into traditional or ceremonial scenarios. A man and a woman have certain energies & dynamics and thus, different responsibilities and rules. Same goes for the 2-spirit, there are certain dynamics they bring to traditional ceremonial settings. A lot of it is based on male-female principles of creation. That is why both men, women, and 2-spirit have things they can, and cannot do ceremonially or socially. Then of course tribal traditions vary across the hemisphere so, not always a blanket Indigenous view on the subject. Definitely a topic that deserves a lot more time to discuss tho..and going back to the word Chicanah, it holds the same equality regardless.

  4. Elias

    This is an honorable intent. My initial feeling is, hmmm (might have to get used to this?) … but at the same time, it seems to ironically ADD to the mix … for instance, [email protected] with an X is a 90’s concept that I feel connected to, a generation from – but PART OF – initial Chicana/o Movement yrs … maybe with a suggested indigenous, Malcolm X, queer, mystery to it (depending on the individual and the region) …. it was my generation’s respelling, re-envisioning, aesthetic, initiative, ownership … but I’ve always felt connected to the early movement yrs as a revolutionary and creative era.

  5. Xochipili

    We mustn’t continue the myth that all of us are “chicanah”. The meshika tribe didn’t encompass all of present day Mexico. We all have respective regions from which we can self identify with. We should encourage fluidity of identification, whether we want to start a new tribe/band/whatever…we reserve the right to express ourselves in whatever form it manifests itself in.

    Although I understand your point, that the english language structures our reality, and the way our brain functions with it, this is why it’s important to learn other languages and other ways of living.

    1. Quimichipilli

      Yes. This is a proposal for those of us who identify with and utilize the term “Chicano” and more specifically those seeking an inclusive variation of the term.

Leave a Reply