THE CHICANO NATION: AN INTERNAL COLONY FORGES ITS INDIGENOUS IDENTITY AND RESISTS THE LEGACY OF EURO-AMERIKKKAN COLONIALISM AND IMPERIALISM IN THE AMERICAS
by Alvaro Luna Hernandez
(A supplement to the 2010 certaindays.org calendar on Indigenous Resistance)
The 1519 European colonial conquest and annihilation of Mexico’s Aztec tribe resulted in a forced European culture, religion and the assimilation of the natives as “Spanish-speaking indians.” The Aztecs had resisted the invasion and continued to struggle against the tyranny of the Spanish invader, who destroyed Aztec civilization, stole its riches and erected institutions in Spain’s own image. To this day, there are still many indigenous, autonomous communities in Southern and Central Mexico that survived the pillage by Spain. These tribes have retained their heritage and native language NAHUATL, among other indian dialects native to the region. Indigenous leaders have always sparked rebellions against Spanish rule. One such revolt led to Mexico’s independence from Spain in September 16, 1821. Mestizo, or “mixed blood,” warriors have been catalysts of guerrilla wars of resistance to reclaim their stolen lands, and demand respect for their culture and for basic human rights. Warriors such as Cuahutemoc, Emiliano Zapata and Benito Juarez led armed struggles to resist the invasion, for agrarian land reform, for cultural rights and for self-determination of Mexico’s indigenous peoples in the 19th century.
Chicanos, Mexicanos, or Mexican Americans, are direct descendants of the indigenous Aztec blood lineage. The Aztces had its genesis in the north, in what is now Southwest United States, their legendary birthplace named “AZTLAN.” Aztecs had a spiritual divine vision ordained by a prophecy to journey South until they saw an Eagle perched on a cactus, devouring a serpeant. At such sighting, they were to build their civilization. The vision appeared to them in a small islet in the middle of a huge lake where Mexico City sits today. The Aztecs drained the body of water and began to construct their nation-state millions of years ago. The magnificent Aztec pyramids still stand today, incomparable to any other archaeological site in North America, as a testament to the mighty Aztec empire. That Aztec vision represents the symbol of what is the Mexican flag of today.
In the history of indigenous civilizations, the Aztecs made enormous contributions to the sciences. Many unearthed codicies, stone monuments and glyphs, such as the Sun Calendar, have been preserved. These glyphs predicted the apocalyptic doom of the Aztces, but their prophetic rise in the coming Fifth Sun, or El Quinto Sol, yet to arrive. Hundreds of Aztec sites await discovery, such as the artifacts discovered in 1968 dating back to 800 B.C. in El Pantano in Central Mexico. These discoveries refute the negative myths and lies perpetuated by the apologists of Euro¬Amerikkkan colonialism that the Aztecs were “barbarians.” The lie that Columbus “discovered America” and the falsification of history were created solely to serve the colonial powers and to justify these crimes against humanity, as FRANTZ FANON eloquently described it in his book THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH.
Following in the murderous footsteps of European colonialism, in the early 1800’s a mass exodus of white colonial settlers departed Jamestown, Virginia, Amerikkka’s first colony, and moved South. It was sponsored by the U.S. government’s colonial expansionism, rooted in its racist ideological doctrines of race superiority, Manifest Destiny and Christian Doctrine of “just war,” as later institutionalized in U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as the infamous Dred Scott case, declaring that people of color were less than human and had no rights white society was bound to respect. The colonists invaded the Mexican State of Coahuila-Tejas, sovereign territory of Mexico. Mexico had outlawed slavery during this time period. The settlers were fierce advocates of the institution of slavery. They hungered for more land to impose their colonial rule against all peoples of color, as they had done to the Powhatan Indians in Jamestown. The settler’s revolt led to the division of Coahuila-Tejas into the “Republic of Texas” in 1836. The bloody battles at the Alamo and San Jacinto record that painful history for La Raza.
The U.S. government’s war on indigenous peoples of the Americas, and against the “Spanish-speaking indians,” encompassed the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, which resulted in numerous massacres, lynchings and land theft of over 50% of Mexico’s national territory, ending with the illegal Gadsen Treaty Purchase of 1854. The colonial military annexation of the Mexican homeland set the international boundry between said countries at the Rio Grande River. Despite the existence of international treaties, such as the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war, it was but another invalid and treacherous treaty forced on the Mexican people under military coercion, at the point of a gun and the threat of further invasion of the entire Mexican territory by the U.S. war machine. These treaties violate all international human rights laws and customs and constitute genocide and crimes against humanity that have gone unpunished. Such has been the tradition of the U.S. government, territorially comprised of a nation of imprisoned internal colonies, in all directions, including the Black internal colony in the South. Colonial racism was institutionalized in the occupied territories.
In contemporary times, Chicano/a activists embraced a distinctly revolutionary nationalism and indigenous identity as native peoples of the Americas. Such identity was popularized by leaders of the militant Chicano Movement such as Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales of The Crusade For Justice in Denver, Colorado. in his epic poem “I AM JOAQUIN.” And in the rallying call for Chicano socialist revolution articulated in the “SPIRITUAL PLAN OF AZTLAN,” a founding document of the 1968 Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in Denver. The Aztlan Plan called for the overthrow of the European-Yankee foreign invaders, the embracing of Chicano Indigenous Identity as “Mestizos,” for self-determination and for an independent Mestizo Nation in the occupied territories of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. Since the occupation many Chicano Mexicano resistance fighters and clandestine groups have emerged to wage guerrilla war against the U.S. government, the likes of Joaquin Murieta, Tiburcio Vasquez, Juan Cortina, Gregorio Cortez, Las Gorras Blancas, and the 1915 armed uprising in San Diego, Texas, that produced the “PLAN OF SAN DIEGO” calling for self-determination and independence of the occupied territories. The San Diego Plan called on Blacks in the South to join the armed struggle for their own national liberation from slavery and for the creation of their own New Republic of Africa in the South. It was violently repressed by the government. This celebration of Chicano revolutionary history and of its rich tradition of militancy continues today by groups such as the student MOVIMIENTO ESTUDIANTIL CHICANO DE AZTLAN (MECHA), Union del Barrio, Barrio Defense Committee, and the non-governmental organization the International Indian Treaty Council.
On January 1, 1994, shots fired in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, were heard all over the world, reminding us of the ongoing struggles of indigenous peoples in the Americas, in resisting the tyranny of oppressive governments. On that historic day, the ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION, or EJERCITO ZAPATISTA DE LIBERACION NACIONAL, with Sub-Commandante Marcos at the helm, initiated an indigenous armed uprising, seized control of municipal governments and declared “free, liberated zones” in Chiapas, in defense of indigenous rights to land, to freedom, for elemental human rights, being trampled upon by the Mexican government. The uprising proclaimed revolutionary solidarity with all other oppressed Red Nations, and other peoples subjugated by colonialism and imperialism around the world. The EJERCITO ZAPATISTA was comprised mainly of indigenous tribes. They were an inspiration to all freedom and justice-loving peoples of the world, partcularly Youth, much like the Cuban Revolution had been.
It is this indigenous revolutionary solidarity manifested by the ZAPATISTAS that must be forged in alliances with the many oppressed peoples of the world, indigenous and otherwise, oppressed by tyrannical governments, not only in the Americas but around the world as well. The movement for indigenous rights must be inseparably linked with the movement to free all political prisoners, pows, such as Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiata Acoli, Russell “Maroon” Shoats, Jalil Muntaqim, Jaan Laaman, David Gilbert, Herman Bell Robert Seth Hayes, Marilyn Buck, and many others, currently imprisoned in the U.S. as a result of opposition to the crimes of U.S. colonialism and imperialism, freedom fighters that come from diverse anti-imperialist movements. This movement must incorporate all forms of struggle/ in the streets, in the classrooms, in prison, and united front actions must take place that will awaken the conscience of the world, as it relates to the movement to free all U.S. political prisoners.
Our cases must be brought before World Human Rights Organizations, U.S. Congressional Committees, including pushing for the re-opening of COINTELPRO hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, a special petition to the new Obama administration, and the forging of alliances with all other progressive countries and movements from around the world, commensurate with the power of the people that freed Nelson Mandela. These actions for 2010, launched by the Native Youth Movement in Mexico in February 2009. must culminate with events on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, and protests at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in support of Six Nations, First Nations and Mohawk Indian’s rights to sovereignty, and to protest the Canadian and U.S. government’s refusal to support the United Nations Declaration on The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples! RED NATIONS, UNITE! PATRIA 0 MUERTE! DEATH TO COLONIALISM, IMPERIALISM! LA LUCHA CONTINUA! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, POWS! VENCEREMOS!