[ Kurly Tlapoyawa ]
A recent blog post by Aya de Leon regarding Dia de Muertos and colonization has been making its rounds on social media. In it, she lambasts white people for “colonizing” the Mexican tradition. This is not a new argument, and it gets restated every year around this time.
We should note that while calling out others for “colonizing” Dia de Muertos, she herself lays claim to the tradition, because she is a “latina.”
Without any obvious awareness of irony, she ends her blog post by stating:
“Take back your own indigenous culture. Fight to reclaim your own spirituality.
Please. Stop colonizing ours.”
“Ours?” Not so fast…
Anyone else think it’s a little strange that a black Puerto Rican is talking about “colonizing” a Mexican tradition as if it’s hers to defend? It’s this sort of pseudo-intellectual silliness that the “latino” label engenders. Stop colonizing our indigenous cultural inheritance with “Latino” nonsense!
Perhaps she needs to heed her own advice.
Interested in Mesoamerican history? Check out my book “Totacho: Our Way Of Talking” available on Amazon.com. In it, I detail the major influence that the Nawatl language has had on the “Spanish” spoken by Chicanos and Chicanas in the Southwest.
Kurly Tlapoyawa is an archaeologist, author, and ethnohistorian. His research focuses primarily on the interaction between Mesoamerica, Western Mexico, and the American Southwest. Kurly has lectured at UNLV, University of Houston, and Yale University on topics related to Mesoamerica. His recent book, “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” was published in 2017. In addition to his work in Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Kurly is a professional stuntman with over 35 credits to his name. Kurly lives in New Mexico.
Follow Kurly on twitter @KurlyTlapoyawa
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