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Nahuatl Conference - 4/4/15

While many of us attended, I think the writer wrote a great piece and I decided to translate it.


Students from Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural (UVI), Esteban de la Cruz Flores and Gabriela Citlahua Zepahua, attended UC San Diego, where they were invited to present their experience as Nahuatl speakers.

As a professor from UVI, based Tequila, Carlos Octavio Sandoval, presented the paper called: "Totlahtol itech wehweyi tepemeh Veracruz: tekitl pampa tikchikawaltiskeh se tlahtol yoltok" which translates to "The Nahuatl from the great mountains of Veracruz: rescuing and strengthening of a living language."

This as part of the event "Nahuatl Across Borders", which was organized by the Center for US-Mexican Studies from UC San Diego (UCSD), directed by Melissa Floca.

In the meeting, they discussed the work being done in United States for teaching Nahuatl and to serve the Nahuatl speakers living within the United States.

The students spoke about their experience as Nahuatl speakers in Veracruz, "they told us that schools banned speaking their native language, and they were told that Spanish was superior, but upon entering the UVI, they learned the value of their mother language, for what they consider to be used for four years and not just in two semesters."

The professor commented that there are teachers who forbid their students from speaking Nahuatl, "we talked about the structural factors that are leading the language shift even though a triumphant speech is heard and it seems that it is fashionable to talk about multi-culturalism and indigenous languages".

He said, that in fact, there is still no political will along with no deep and structural changes needed to revitalize the language. "There are no scientific books in Nahuatl". He stressed that the issue for the need for Nahuatl interpreters United States, because there are many speakers who work or live as migrants, and because of mistakes, there have been cases where have had to defend themselves in court, but aren’t fully fluent in Spanish or English.

Houses Built on Toltec ruins at Tula


Individuals have built houses on Toltec ruins over Las Zapatas II and Queen Xochitl, which house an altar and religious buildings that are “semi-discovered” without protection from INAH.

Both areas are 1640.42 feet from the archaeological site of Tula, which part of what was the Toltec capital of Tollan. The built houses of two or three stories have caused irreversible damage.

On the archaeological remains, there are concrete pillars supporting the elevated tracks of a freight train that links it to Tula Queretaro. It built in the mid-1970s and at night is a meeting place for homeless and drug addicts.

On the hill of La Malinche, there are no other known archaeological structures, which preserved petroglyphs alluding to the founding of Tula. Despite its importance, some people have invaded the area to build houses.

Moreover, Catholics built a small chapel with a cross on a stone platform.

Fingers are being pointed at each other on who is responsible with many claiming to have their hands tied, mainly the government and INAH.
Based on these articles:

At around 7 o'clock, an armed group of 10 people forcibly entered the home of Triqui leader Julian Gonzalez Dominguez who they kidnapped and eventually executed in Santiago Juxtlahuaca. The body of the Triqui leader was then abandoned at the edge of Tlaxiaco-Putla road, near the town of San Isidro.

Ana Velasco Cervantes, member of the State Coordination of RIIO, confirmed that Julian Gonzalez Dominguez was executed by two gunshot fired at his head.

RIIO (International Indigenous Network of Oaxaca) members demanded an investigate.

Many recalled that the Triqui leader of 56 years, originally from Cruz Chiquita, had complained to the authorities that he feared for his life along with two others after alleged threats from Tierra Blanca, who identify with the PRI CNC (Institutional Revolutionary Party - National Peasant Confederation).

The problem worsened in October when a municipal agent Paraje Perez was shot and another person was kidnapped and later found dead in December.

HBO Wants to Make Hernan Cortes TV Series

Though old news, HBO give the green light for Martin Scorsese to create a Cortes series. Benicio del Toro will be executive producer. Though rumors state that del Toro will also play Cortes, no confirmation has been stated. So far, it will be about the entering of the Spanish and fall of the Mexica (Aztecs). No news on how many episodes there will be or when it will air.

The topic of Hernan Cortes is a very sensitive topic. To Mexicans, he represents an outsider who destroyed many things unique with Mexico. Though the upper class Mexicans have been trying to get monuments for Cortes in Mexico since the 1980’s, many Mexicans protest the monument erections.

Lopez Portillo, who was president at the time, twice assemble monuments for Cortes back in the 80’s. Both times Mexicans protested, but eventually had them installed once things calmed down.

Even in the movie La Otra Conquista (The Other Conquest) when actor Inaki Aierra
was dressed and makeup to look like Cortes, actress Elpidia Carrillo who played Tecuichpo aka Isabel didn’t want to look nor want to talk, not even eat lunch with him in that make up even though it’s make believe.

Other than the upper European elite of Mexico having a fascination with Cortes, many non-Mexicans (mostly Americans and Europeans) as well. To be honest, I don’t get. I never understood the fascination.

Even in Spain, he wasn’t praise as much. There was tons of lawsuits towards him along with the nation of Spain against him towards his disobeying orders. There was even Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas who questioned the conquest and occupation of Mexico. Even after his death, his bones never had a proper burial. His bones lost through history until the 20th century. Many times people attempting to destroy his bones.

Though HBO isn’t afraid to show gore like shows like Game of Thrones, the gore for this show is a bit sensitive subject since it’s historical gore.

I think the show would work if Cortes is seen either as a neutral character or the villain like they do on Game of Thrones. Displaying him as the hero will only piss people off. Even fellow soldier Bernal Diaz del Castillo didn’t depict him as the hero in his accounts.

I would like to see actual Nahuas, Maya and Otomis playing their rightful parts of their ancestors along with speaking their right language though I feel like that simple idea will not be done. Also, not depicting the natives as “dumb superstitious savages” would be a plus though I feel like the myths of the conquest has gotten to non-Mexican’s minds as though they are facts.
There was a lecture at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Though lecture was only an hour long without a list of other people doing lectures afterwards, this lecture was enough to stand alone.

The lecture was called Digging for Knowledge: Discovering the Ancient Maya Kingdom of El Zotz, Guatemala which I think the title says it all. Thomas G. Garrison, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at USC who was speaking and was at the archaeology investigation of El Zotz. He was discussing recent discoveries at the site of El Zotz, Guatemala.

The tomb was of the first ajaw (ruler) of El Zotz. While was showing typical artifacts, he eventually went into an interesting find; surviving textile from the Early Classic (AD 300-600) period which are rare. Since the team there was not an expert on retrieving them without damaging them, a team of experts were brought in.

He shown urns and vases which look like similar artifacts from other Maya cities. Some of the artifacts were at the Bowers museum, but not in display.

Then show something interesting Conus and Spondylus shells as rattles along with shells which used canine teeth as the “bell” park of the rattle.

It was interesting to see a lot of artifacts that are in the art.

Later demonstrating all the modifications of the temple and how things were removed to add more to it.

Along with things there were destroyed bc of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Even an artist rendition of how El Zotz was suppose to look, but that seemed like nothing when he shown us a 3d rendering of the tunnels using special cameras which shows how the site looks and the distance to give a good idea on how the site looks for those of us who can’t go.

What made the site hard for further for information is there was very little writing, but had a lot of iconology which helped a bit.

He shown how sacred sites aligned with sacred sites and buildings aligning with other buildings.
Based on these articles:


Today was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Museo de Antropologia, but the highlight of the event was receiving Codex Chimalpahin.

"Aqui comienza la cronica y antiguedad de los mexicanos" - Here starts the chronicle and antiquity of Mexicans, are the first words written in the document.

Codex Chimalpahin was one of many that were displayed in the Codices Exhibit "Los Códices de México, Memorias y Saberes" which is displaying 44 codices that are protected by Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia. These codices include Tira de la Peregrinación, Codex Martín de la Cruz-Badiano, Matrícula de Tributos, Codex Colombino, Codex Siguenza, Codex García Granados, two Chilam Balam books, Codex Coixtlahuaca, Codex Huamantla, Genealogías de Tlaxcala, Codex Dehesa (de Oaxaca), Codex Huejotzingo among many others.

INAH obtained them May 20th, 2014, from the Bible Society of London, who possessed them in 1827. They were going to be auctioned off on May 21st. The codex was acquired by paying 14 million pesos before going up for auction.

On August 18th, 2014, they arrived in Mexico. They were immediately deposited into the Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia's vault.

More info here from a previous article.

Aztec Constellations

Here’s a mix between the images of constellations from Primeros Memoriales with the text that describe the same things in the Florentine Codex, book 7:


When these appeared in the sky, copal was burned three times: when night fell to well into the night, when it was time to sleep to Tlatlapitzalizpan - when conches were blown, and during sun rise.

They were called Mamalhoaztli, fire drill since you could still see them when the sun was rising.

When these constellations would appear, self sacrifice of blood letting and offering maguey spines covered in blood. Men were burned on the wrists with the form of the constellations.


Certain ceremony of eating corn or amaranth tortillas were eaten during this time on the Xochitl, flower, days.


Called this since the constellation looked like a scorpion.

INAH Finds Unique Petroglyph in Calvillo



The INAH division in Aguascalientes in conjunction with the City of Calvillo, the discovery of a unique archaeological piece of its kind at the regional level (center) located in Los Huenchos.

Following a complaint by the Department of Tourism on an attempted looting over the particular piece by unknown group of people, the authorities called the INAH for archaeological study, as it is responsible for safeguarding the area's historic heritage. According to the report conducted by INAH archaeologist, Ana Pelz Marin, the monolith (rock) on which the image of a man with headdress and earrings is depicted; it is 4.9 feet wide and 5.1 feet high and 6.9 feet deep.

According to Alberto Ramirez, chief of INAH in Aguascalientes, the discovery is a breakthrough in archaeological studies in Aguascalientes. Aguascalientes has always been associated entirely with chichimeca culture, but this piece opens up the possibility that there was a diversity of ranges of cultural development.

Ana Pelz Marin explained that the elements of the piece may be noted that it goes with Teotihuacan culture between 200 and 600 ACE. Archaeological investigations in Aguascalientes have registered very recent settlements between 600 and 900 ACE, but in this specific case there should be more investigation.

There is the recommendation that to remove the stone, weighing between seven and ten tons by helicopter since by land is impossible.

Since a lack of staff and budget, the monolith will be detached from the rock, within 15 days to a month, will be studied in the INAH center and sent to the museum currently under construction in the town of Calvillo.

Codex Chimalpahin to be auctioned

Codex Chimalpahin, together with other Nahuatl works, to be auctioned.

The 3 volumes held by the British & Foreign Bible Society, are to be up for auction at Christies on May 21st, 2014.

Though there are many writings from dated right after the conquest to colonial Mexico, the most important sections are from writings from Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin.

The volumes are written in Nahuatl and Spanish. These works are not published nor have they been studied which make them rare. Once thought of lost in 1828, they were rediscovered in 1983.

Based on what the auction house provides, along with my historical knowledge, here is a compiled list of what is important about these 3 volumes:

Volume 1:
• History of the lords of the Chichimecas
• Pedro Vasquez’s translation of Gabriel de Castaneda’s Nahuatl account of the Mixton war
• Nuno de Guzman’s conduct in the torture and execution of Caltzontzin, ruler of Michoacan

Volume 2:
• History of the Chichimeca
• History of Texcoco

Volume 3
• Cronica Mexicayotl in Nahuatl
• "Aztec" Calendar with day signs
• History of rules of Tenochtitlan
• Nahuatl translations
• Documents in the Purepecha language
• Native names of places
• Texcocans accountsof the conquest
• Conquest of Tlatelolco in Nahuatl
• Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc's statements
• Early rulers of Tatelolco in Nahuatl
• Ancient "Aztec" month count and calendar in Nahuatl
• Tons of text in Nahuatl

Volume 1 and 2 has some writings of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl. Only surviving copies of his own writing. His signature is in Volume 1.

Volume 3, The Codex Chimalpahin, is mostly written by Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin; historian was a nobility of Nahua descedent. He wrote in Nahuatl for a Nahua audience. This is only 1 of 6 other different texts in his own writing that have survived. The other 5 are in Public Institutions.

More info which takes you directly to the page for the document from the auction house:

The absence of recorded texts describing the operation of the city of Teotihuacan has led to the Mexican archaeologist Linda Rosa Manzanilla Naim to use techniques from other disciplines to confirm the multi-ethnicity, diet and work developed, in a Teotihuacan neighborhood.

Linda said that from 1997 to 2005, 13 field seasons, in the center of the neighborhood Teopancazco, southeast of Teotihuacan, where she worked with a multidisciplinary team that managed to define the origin of several of 117 burials located in the site.

With the help of UNAM’s Geophysics and Geology division, conducted isotopic studies that determined where each person’s origin. They determined that they are coming from the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, and probably local people of Guerrero.

The occupation of Teopancazco began 150 ACE and lasted until 600 ACE. Its wealth is from the exchanging of cotton blankets, marine mollusks, pigments and face painting cosmetics.

The expert said that they found needles, pins, awls made of bone and shell buttons, which says that the neighborhood did the clothing for the governing elite.

Based on UNAM’s Geophysics and Geology study, it is known that most residents of Teopancazco ate corn tortillas almost every day while others had a more varied diet with fruits and animal protein.

An analysis of physical anthropology found that those who carried weight, was tailoring and sewing, were those who softened the fibers with teeth and had wear on their teeth.