“Latino” identity is COLONIZATION

[ 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.”

Wait, what?

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 In it, I detail the major influence that the Nawatl language has had on the “Spanish” spoken by Chicanos and Chicanas in the Southwest.

Click image to order

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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About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

2 Comments on “Latino” identity is COLONIZATION

  1. I’m extremely proud of the youth for finally addressing the misnomer issues. Personally I cannot fathom why people allow themselves to be abused with with institutional genocidal terms.

  2. Mental Slavery, Social Media, and the Masters’ Narratives

    The current controversy over the Confederate Battle Flag has completely ignored the nexus with the project of “Latin America” of the French Empire who first coined the term in France in 1856, and whose plan was to shackle the Mexican People as vassals under Emperor Napoleon III, and then move north to join forces with the southern Confederate States in civil war to reaffirm the Euro-American project of white supremacy and colonization.
    “Latino” is a concept of white supremacy.

    None, but our selves: can free our minds.

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