I spent some time over at my Bis-Abuela’s yesterday. For those who are wondering what a Bis-Abuela is, that is the Spanish term for Great Grandmother. My Tío Abuelo (Great Uncle in Spanish) Tito lives with her. As you can see from the picture he is a very smooth looking Chicano. He is the neighborhood go to “Jefe.” People bring him many types of different offerings for his guidance and spiritual advice on many things.
I have never truly had the opportunity to ask my Tío Abuelo Tito about our ancestors and so I thought I would use the time I was visiting to do just that.
Me: Tio, why do the neighborhood dogs bring you offerings? Actually, why do the neighborhood animals bring you offerings. I have seen cats, birds, and even the rooster who lives on the next block come to your door.
Tio: Mija, long ago before we were San Antonio we were part of something bigger. Our Ancestors The Nahuas built the foundation of who we were to become in Tenochtitlan.
Me: Where is that Tio? I have never heard of the place. Is that here in Texas? Oh wait, is that the small town in Arizona where they tried to burn all the Spanish language books?
Tio: No, Mija. Tenochtitlan was founded way way back in the early 1300’s. We came together and with the help of other tribes, Tepanecs and Acolhua we formed the Aztec Empire.This Great Empire was our land until Los Conquistadores y La Malinche overpowered nuestra gente.
Me: Wow, that is a long time ago. How are you still alive?
Tio: Mija, (while laughing) I was not alive back then. I have kept our ancestors alive through our voices, our cuentos, most important la memoria de ellos. These are important for you to know. You can not go forward in life si no sabes where you come from. I am not just talking about who your birth mother was or who your dad was but from where WE actually come from. They come to me to hear the cuentos of their Ancestors. They bring offerings as a peaceful gesture.
Me: So, I come from this place too?
Tio, Si, Mija. You have Aztec blood in you. Tú eres indígena. Tú eres Aztecah.