Ancestral words, academic freedoms and Anahuacalmecac
December 5, 2018
Today Anahuacalmecac students in advanced studies of Nahuatl participated in a unique symposium organized for our students and staff by the Huntington Library. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based educational and research institution established by Henry E. Huntington and located in Los Angeles County in San Marino, California. The Huntington Library is five miles away from our community, and a world away from our community’s social reality. Our students were introduced to some of the oldest books ever printed in the Americas and several of the first examples of Nahuatl-Mexicano ever printed on earth. Through our temachtiani Victorino Torres Nava’s persistence, we gained access these priceless volumes for our students with the support of the Huntington Library’s curator Steve Tabor and Community Relations specialist Kate Zankowicz. We are very thankful for this special experience. This type of access is never organized for anyone but PhDs much less for middle school and high school students…but then, this is Anahuacalmecac.
This journey began In early 2015 when Tata Cuaxtle and Tlayecantzi Marcos Aguilar co-taught a class on Ancestral Knowledge focused upon texts in Nahuatl available online from the period shortly after the Spanish invasion. Including a re-read of Schroeder’s texts on Chimalpahin’s writings and Bierhorst’s interpretations of Cantares Mexicanos. We also analyzed Leon Portilla’s long-established interpretations of Aztec philosophy including concepts such as “rostro y corazon”. Seeing the books firsthand was a priceless experience for our students. The texts included original printings of Nahuatl, Mixteco and Zapoteco religious writing, grammatical guides and dictionaries (more on that later). We are proud that our students’ first question of the curator was “How did you acquire these books in the first place?” One of our Zapoteca student-scholars stated on the way home, “I am inspired to learn my language from my grandparents even more now.”
#decolonizedminds #xinaxtin #inalienablyindigenous