Crowdfund Cihualpilli by Iris Rodriguez
Xica Nation Press | Xicana Chronicles
Copyright 2017


Iris Rodriguez, Author

I was born and raised in my mother’s ancestral homelands of Texas.  We are children of the nopal, mesquite, pecan, and the corn.  We are people of the deer still dwelling the enchanted forests and caves of Central Texas.  We remain in the birthplace of our humanity, living in the same cities along the same springs and ancient trade routes as always.  From the missions to the urban rez and barrios, we still live and play in the sacred hunting grounds of our ancestors.  Our springs, rivers, and forests are still the veins, arteries, and lungs of Texas for people of all nations.  We carry deer medicine as we sit upon the northern doorway to the peyote gardens that sit south of us, past the forests of mesquite and nopal.  Walking and trading through our lands was done with respect and in many languages.  Our stories are written in stones and nature but often dismissed as primitive and/or prehistoric and no longer living.

Over the past 500 years, six nations have imposed their governments upon our lands.  Many of us no longer remember our family names or traditions as wave after wave of Europe has separated our hearts from our traditional life ways and millennial relationships with the earth and cosmos.  Many have been born into assimilation and colonization.  Many continue to resist.

For the past 14 years I have engaged in “digital resistance” to decolonize and fight oppression in my community.  I have engineered digital strategies with resistance movements that have exposed “contamination” on the scale of genocide, reached into the family prisons and concentration camps in Texas, and displayed in the halls of the United Nations in Geneva for a week.  These digital visions were birthed – and raised – in the barrios of the U.S. and Mexico and felt around the world.  I firmly believe our power of communication as a digitized generation is unprecedented in human history and that our stories can transform the world.

But there is a story that I haven’t yet shared – my own.  I haven’t been okay.  A whole generation of womyn from my community and our sisters across the continent are not okay.  And to be honest, we haven’t been okay for hundreds of years.  As I sit to write down my stories and this book, I am reminded that all our struggles are connected; that my story is one of many.  Battlegrounds for brown mothers and womyn exist in the physical and personal geography.  What is happening to Mother Earth is akin to what is happening to my sisters and to me, behind closed doors and with the permission of the law – the abuse and control of our physical bodies, the disregard for our lives and spirits, and the legalized and institutionalized systems that result in our inability to assert jurisdiction over our own territory/ies.  On top of the inside attack from our own men.

I can no longer keep silent.  In search of liberation, survival, and healing, I turn to my own words in order to set myself free.  I choose to turn poison into medicine for myself, my kids, and anyone that finds strength in what I have to share.  I sit in the midst of kindling ashes with my babies at my side and a journal in my hand, an open heart, and an obsidian tongue.

Four and a half years ago in 2013, I was forced to walk out of my life as I’d known it.  I walked with my babies in hand across the border…south…to places I had never been or imagined.   I left my car at a borderland Whataburger at 2 a.m. along with a lifetime of material possessions, memories, family, and friends in the United States.  I have not returned since.

We often hear the stories of those crossing the border north.  My upcoming book, Cihualpilli, is a story of what happened to me when I crossed the border south.

My mother picked cotton in the lands of her ancestors.  I still struggle to break the chains.

Cihualpilli is written in English, Spanish, TexMex, and Nahuatl.  I offer my stories and poems, stories from the elders I’ve met along my journey, stories about our life ways and the land, and stories of the queen Cihualpilli Tzapotcintli.  My prayer is that Cihualpilli shines light across borders to disinfect the toxic legacies of colonization, white supremacy, patriarchy, and machismo.

These stories can no longer remain buried.  Help me unearth them and bring them to life.

Write yourself into this herstory >>> NOW <<< by sponsoring Cihualpilli

About the author

Iris Rodriguez is a digital strategist, multimedia producer, author, musical artist, and poet from San Antonio, Texas. Since 2002 her projects have addressed issues such as environmental racism/justice, family detention, decolonization, cultural arts, guerrilla media, womynism, and public archives. She is the founder of Xica Media, a Xicana-powered network of six independent multimedia channels reaching over 120 countries in three languages.

She is a graduate of the (former) Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate of the Racial Justice Communications course by the Praxis Project (National Labor College, Washington, D.C.) as well as the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (George Washington University, Washington, D.C.) In 2009 she was awarded the Cesar E. Chavez “Si Se Puede” Award by People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER.) In 2015 one of her collaborations, Visions From The Inside, went on display at the United Nations in Geneva for one week.

Published by Xica Nation Press / Part of the Xicana Chronicles series