So-called "Hispanic" Heritage Month

Despite my own contentions with the term "Hispanic" because of its obvious conveyance of Spain's cultural dominance over our identity, the following article is good. It shows the denial and reluctance to accept who we are as so-called "Latin Americans" which stems from the conditioning and miseducation we received over the past 516 years of oppression. This labels of identity, fostered by someone other than our own selves, that we ultimately aligned ourselves with and pledge allegiance to, as if the people who created these terms had the majorities best cultural interest in mind.

Afro-Latino’s View on National Hispanic Heritage Month
Written by Christopher Rodriguez - Blacktino.net

"National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated throughout the nation between the dates of September 15 and October 15, to observe the historical contributions Hispanics/Latinos have made in the United States especially in the arts, literature, music, politics and education.

Since I was born in the United States, this was a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of people, which has become a hallmark of our nation’s history.

It is one of my favorite times of the year that allows me the opportunity to attend numerous cultural events and I can taste food samplings from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. I get to see dance troupes, panel discussions, keynote speeches highlighting the positive aspects of Hispanic/Latino culture.

However, in the late 1980’s, I was serving as EEO Manager at a major scientific research and development agency, and I decided that it would be a good idea to celebrate the contributions of Africans in the Americas. I invited Dr. Marta Vega, a pre-eminent Afro-Caribbean Scholar and founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center in New York City. As a History major, I was taught by Puerto Rican and other Latin American Scholars that Latino culture is an amalgam of Spanish, Indian and African cultures. I was working on the assumption that it would be interesting for everyone, especially African American employees who were not aware of the African presence in the Spanish speaking Americas.

I naively organized this event to educate employees in our federal workforce about the diversity of Latin American culture, and showcase the African contribution to Latino culture, as we know it today. Much to my dismay, I received a flood of phone calls from Latino employees asking why was I planning a Black activity during Hispanic Heritage Month. I was truly amazed at the uneducated responses, because these employees were individuals with advanced graduate degrees, who had received training at some of the most prestigious universities in the world. Yet, they were totally miseducated about the African contributions in their homelands.

Even when I presented the callers with historical facts, I was unable to assuage their concerns, because they may have seen my actions as divisive. They perceived this activity would elicit racial discussions, which will divide employees based on race. I decide to go ahead with the event despite the fact that they decided not to attend. The activity was well attended by primarily a non-Latino audience, who appreciated the new found knowledge they received from Dr. Vega. I guess my Latino compatriots decided to go on strike and not attend the event.

Initially, I was emotionally wounded from this experience, because I started remembering my own grandparents who were people of obvious African descent, who could not celebrate their time and contributions on this earth. How could it be divisive to celebrate my own family? Even though while growing up my Christian parents shielded me from the whole discussion of race, because according to them we were all children of God. Obviously, these arguments were a pretext for something which was deeply ingrained in the cultural upbringing of most Latinos.

I did not want to dismiss it as simply racism, but the question remained what are the historical roots of these sentiments, and how can I address this issue in a strategic fashion? The idea came to mind to, that I must write a book about the roots of these racial sentiments and attack the mythology that racism is not a factor in Latin American and Caribbean culture. The experience of researching and reviewing historical documents of the race based immigration policies; abolitionist’s movements in Spain and the Caribbean; educational policies and labor laws governing people of color in the Americas; was a journey comparable to Alex Haley’s famed book “Roots.”

As a result, I have gained incredible spiritual strength from my wounds, and this has led me to places I would never have imagined. The ancestors showed me how to turn this experience from being a lemon into lemonade. As National Hispanic Heritage Month comes closer, I want to encourage all Afro-Latinos to think about what will be your contribution to the education of our people, and serve as a bridge to Latinos and African Americans and highlight the commonalities of our legacies in the U.S. and the rest of the Americas."

Christopher Rodriguez is an activist, author and lecturer and has written a book entitled the Latino Manifesto: A Critique of the Race Debate in the U.S. Latino Community. For more information go to www.Latinomanifesto.com.

© Copyright 2007 Blacktino e-News Network

Original source: Blacktino.net


The Universal Language

Struggle: The Universal Language
Written by Infinite Rahe Allah

“It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.”
Juvenal (55 AD - 127 AD)

This coming August 15th 2008, Paraguay will be inaugurating their new president, Fernando Lugo, sometimes referred to as “the bishop of the poor.” The people of Paraguay are hoping for a leader to bring radical and broad sweeping changes to the country. They are hoping for a strong president with firm leftist views. The poor of Paraguay are looking for someone to address the issue of land reform.

In Paraguay, the wealth is the land. According to the Paraguayan constitution, every person is entitled to a piece of land. Currently, 1% of the country’s seven million people own 77% of productive land. In the meantime, 45% of Paraguay’s population is in poverty. Much of the poor are landless people. Paraguay’s poor rely on subsistence farming. They need the land solely to grow food to feed their families. There is a dire need to redistribute the land amongst the poor. The poor are growing weary of requests from the government to be patient. There lives are on the line.

This dissatisfaction is leading some of the poor to resort to land invasions of the wealthy. These land invasions result in destruction of property, burning of tractors in some instances, as well as reports of hostages taken. Desperate actions like these will undoubtedly force the government to put down such uprisings with violent force (police, military). Unfortunately, if it comes to the use of force to resolve these matters, the poor in Paraguay will be painted as savages in much the same way as the poor in Louisiana trying to survive Hurricane Katrina.

The events in Paraguay impact original people in the U.S. by serving as a reminder of the constant hurdles many of us face. Those hurdles are comprised of lack of educational resources in inner city public schools, fewer prospects for decent paying jobs, and societal ills like drugs and crime.

In poor urban areas populated by black and brown people, school resources like textbooks, class space, and staff are often scarce. This reality often leaves our children at a disadvantage. Overcrowded classrooms place an undue burden on instructors to adequately provide the learning environment our children need. Class sizes are often as large as 35-40 and in some cases 50 students in a class.

Statistics from the 2007 U.S. Census reveal that black and so called Latinos 18 years and older are graduating from high school at approximately the same rate as whites. Although blacks and Latinos are graduating at the same rate as whites, they are not as well prepared academically for college. At the four year college degree level, black and Latino people dip in their stats. 10% of blacks and Latinos finish four year degrees compared to 20% of whites. This is certainly a recipe for failure. A four year degree is a useful tool in a competitive job market where the goal is a career or job that can provide financial security.

Before the college level, the poor prospects of securing decent paying jobs for blacks and Latinos complicates the education of their children. According to the 2006 U.S. Census, 20% of black and Latino families are living below the poverty line compared to only 7% of white families. Black and Latino parents are often forced to work two jobs to provide for their families. This leaves them little time to reinforce their children’s learning at home. By the time parents get home, they are often too exhausted to review homework and stay up on issues with children in school.

This is a spiraling effect because poor families that live in impoverished communities have to send their children to public schools that are underfunded because of the tax bracket of that community. Let’s face it: those parents are products of that same poor public education system. They need to review the “new math” themselves before they can offer any assistance to their children.

The “new math” is not just the struggle to remember some old algebra and geometry concepts. On another level, it can be viewed as the systemic calculations that multiply the impact of drugs and violently divide the community between the living and the dead. The impact of drugs and violence has put to sleep the community scholars, revolutionaries, and young stars who never had a chance to shine.

Whether you’re in Paraguay without access to useful land or in the U.S. without access to quality education, decent jobs, and stable communities, the underlying reality is lack of resources equates to a constant cycle of poverty. In Paraguay, land reform is desperately required and in the U.S education, employment, and community reform are required to reverse the cycle of poverty

Original Source: www.originalthoughtmag.com (Get a subscription, burros!)

"Unifying the Body"

Venezuelan Indian Affairs official seeks solidarity among hemisphere's indigenous peoples

Visit to Sioux Nation is first step in forging unity

CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX RESERVATION, S.D. - The Venezuelan vice minister for Indigenous Affairs visited four Lakota communities in early August to explore possibilities for friendship, student and cultural exchanges and other mutually beneficial projects between the Native peoples here and in the South American country.

Aloha Nunez, a member of western Venezuela's Wayuu tribe, spent five days among Sioux Nation people at Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, Rosebud and Pine Ridge. At 25, Nunez is the youngest person to hold a ministerial office in Venezuela. She was accompanied by Yancy Maldonado, a Yekwana tribal representative from Venezuela's Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, and Sabine Kienzl from the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Washington, who acted as an interpreter.

The Ministry for Indigenous Affairs was created in January 2007 in order to boost policies that benefit Venezuela's many Native communities in line with the country's 1999 constitution, which guarantees indigenous rights for the first time in Venezuela's history.

''This has been a particularly exciting experience,'' Nunez said of her visit with the Lakota communities in a press release. ''We have been able to witness how the traditions and culture are still alive here. This has been a first step for the contact of our peoples. We hope to come back and establish more direct contacts with other communities in the United States.''

More than 200 people welcomed Nunez to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's reservation, where she spoke about Venezuela's current programs and plans to benefit that country's indigenous communities. She also explained the ministry's goal is to forge unity and solidarity among all the indigenous peoples of the Americas ''in their struggle and resistance for more than 500 years of oppression. Before, we used to be ashamed of our backgrounds. Nevertheless, we are now experiencing a revival of our ancestral roots and traditions.''

The Lakota communities participate in Venezuela's CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s discounted heating oil program, which was established in 2005 to help poor communities deal with harsh winters and rising energy costs. More than 200 tribal communities across the northern U.S. benefit from the program.

But the vice ministerial visit was to foster personal relationships and exchanges, Kienzl told Indian Country Today.

''It was really a great trip. The object was to just start a dialogue with Native people here, to get to know each other and to cooperate in various areas in the future. Native tribes in Venezuela know very little about tribes here in the U.S. It was a very good opportunity for the vice minister to see the reality of the U.S. Native tribes, which is very different from what is being portrayed by the media outside.''

One of the issues that she said shocked the vice minister is the high suicide rate among Native youth.

''This cannot be. This is terrible. Twenty-seven people committed suicide just on the Rosebud Reservation in the last three years and 80 percent of them were young people! This is not acceptable.''

Native peoples in Venezuela don't share these same problems, Kienzl said.

''The whole system is different there. The Native peoples are not considered dependents. They have their own territories, their own land where they can practice their own legal system, their own criminal system, their own rules and their own cultures, but they also have representation in the government since they are not nations apart like here.''

She said Native peoples here know little about their counterparts in Venezuela, too.

''People on the reservations generally know nothing about what's going on in Latin America. The Indian peoples in Latin America have become very, very strong political actors in the last decade. There is so much going on so I think putting people here in touch with their counterparts in Venezuela would really enrich both parts.''

Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty could not be reached for comment because he was already in touch with some of his counterparts by attending the Inaugural Indian and Anti-Imperialist Warriors of the Americas Congress in Caracas along with two other Native representatives from the U.S.

The congress gathered delegations from throughout the world. During the congress, Chavez swore in 18 delegations from various countries as nonviolent warriors who will fight against ''misery and imperialism.''

In an e-mail to Kienzl, which she shared in part with ICT, Joseph Brings Plenty wrote, ''I love Venezuela. It has been great being here. I have had so many wonderful experiences. I got to meet and see some of the peoples and their cultural dances. I also participated in one. It was lovely. The vice minister also danced. It was wonderful.

''I was very impressed by her tribal people. The indigenous peoples of South America are beautiful. I felt like my spirit had truly been lifted. I'm witnessing a unity of indigenous peoples that I have never witnessed before in my life.''

That's the whole point of exchange, Kienzl said.

''People here, especially on the reservations in the Midwest, because of their difficulties - the oppression, the problems with alcohol, the drugs, the unemployment - I feel the people are sad and they've become resigned to a certain extent and they need to be motivated.

''They need to see that alternatives are possible, that there are Native peoples in other countries that also faced very difficult situations in the past, but they became strong and got united and they achieved a lot both in the political and economic areas. It's possible to get out of this situation. This was one of the most important messages of the vice minister: that only through unity is there strength.''

Original source: www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096417959

Posted from: www.angryindian.blogspot.com


A Novel Discusses Asian Latin America

Monkey Hunting: Asia meets Latin America in a novel

The newest novel by Cuban-American writer, Cristina Garcia, narrates the story of five generations of a Chinese-Cuban family

"What do you get when you cross thousands of years of Chinese dynasties with the sugarcane plantations of 19th Century Cuba and the rhythm of the African slaves? Well, in addition to an exciting travel in time, you get Monkey Hunting (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) Cuban-born Cristina Garcia’s latest novel.

“This was the hardest thing I’d ever written because it was so far from my own experience,” Garcia said in a recent interview with the independent paper, LA Weekly. “I had to keep fighting off self-inflicted charges of ‘Fraud!’ every working day of it. Basically, my main character is a 19th-century Chinese male. Need I say more?”

That man is named Chen Pan, a failed farmer who left China after signing a contract to work “beyond the edge of the world to Cuba.” But as soon as he arrives at the island, he’s sold to slavery and forced to work in a sugarcane plantation. The novel spans five generations of the Chen family, including Chen Pan’s granddaughter, Chen Fang, who’s raised as a boy in China, and Domingo Chen, Chen Pan’s great-great-grandson, who after the Revolution migrates to New York and ends up in Vietnam...."

Original link: http://www.laprensa-sandiego.org/archieve/may16-03/monkey.htm

Asian Ancestry in the Americas

The visitors are descendants of Koreans lured to the Yucatan Peninsula a century ago by false promises. In ensuing decades, they spread to other parts of Mexico and abandoned the Korean language.

By Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 16, 2008

The teenagers and young adults struggled as they rehearsed an ancient Korean song, a kind of lamentation to leaving home.

"Uno, dos, tres," began Fermin Kim, 48, a chaperon for the group.

Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo. . . .

The words burbled out in a discordant drone, tentatively and unsteadily -- sounding very much like, well, Mexicans suddenly asked to sing in Korean.

The young Korean Mexicans had arrived from Mexico City, Tijuana and the Yucatan Peninsula on a recent afternoon and come to a sprawling Lynwood shopping center designed to look like Mexico. As they were dropped off by shuttles, they passed a statue of Mexican independence leader Miguel Hidalgo and a replica of the Angel of Independence in downtown Mexico City.

They came, perhaps fittingly, to Plaza Mexico -- a place that was created by a Korean American who has a habit of slipping into Spanglish.

Los Angeles is a city where the large Mexican and Korean communities co-exist in ways that both bring them together and separate them. They share the immigrant experience and communication barriers that come with it. But the different languages -- Spanish and Korean -- can also be an obstacle.

Here, however, the fusion was literal. The teens and twentysomethings bear strong Korean features but consider themselves true Mexicans. Even their older chaperons, Fermin Kim and David Kim, 70 (not related), no longer spoke Korean -- though they are third- and fourth-generation Korean Mexicans who have no Mexican blood.

The group of 20 were to perform that night for Korean and Mexican dignitaries in one of the banquet halls. They practiced the Korean folk song over and over, as Korean Americans and Latino waiters looked on. They only really felt comfortable when they started to consider which Mexican song to perform.

"And all for what, and all for what, if in the end you lose?" Rafael Kim, 23, of Mexico City crooned.

They were the descendants of Koreans lured in 1905 by ship to plantations on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. Instead of finding a better life, they were sold to plantation owners and forced to cultivate henequen, a plant whose tough fiber was used to make things like rope.

The Koreans and their descendants would come to be known as the Henequen, in part because they were so hardy and hard-working. They had fled a Korea that was under Japanese rule, and despite their struggle, they sent money back home, hoping to help their countrymen gain independence. But few ever saw their homeland again.

In the ensuing decades, they spread to other parts of Mexico -- and increasingly intermarried with Mexicans. Little by little, they abandoned the Korean language. Alberto King, a 23-year-old college student in Tijuana, said that although his mother looked Korean she spoke only Spanish. Her own parents had stopped speaking Korean.

"The Mexicans at first would not accept them. So their own parents decided to cut off the language and just talk Spanish," King said. "It went really badly for them because of the language."

Fermin Kim said fights were a part of life in grade school, when they would be called chinos (Chinese). In the beginning, intermarriage was strongly discouraged. He said he had a Mexican girlfriend and his grandparents reacted by asking, " 'Where did you find her?' They got mad." He ended up marrying another Korean Mexican. David Kim, his fellow chaperon, said that despite being one of the older Henequen, he married a Mexican woman.

For decades, as Korea struggled under foreign rule and wars, the Korean Mexicans were largely forgotten. Various estimates place their numbers at up to 30,000. But as South Korea began to prosper economically and the centennial of the Koreans' arrival in Yucatan drew near, attention focused on them.

They were visited by South Korean politicians and were invited to their ancestors' homeland. Korean Mexicans were flown to South Korea to get special job training. South Koreans built hospitals and schools in Mexico and were feted by Mexican officials.

"When the centennial happened in 2005, we almost got celebrity treatment," Fermin Kim said. "That's something we never had in 99 years."

That year, a group of Korean Mexicans was brought by the Korean-American Foundation to Plaza Mexico in Lynwood. The visitors were surprised by how many people of Korean descent live in the Los Angeles area.

"We didn't even know there was such a large Korean community so close by," Fermin Kim said. "We didn't even know there was a Koreatown. We hadn't integrated with Koreans here."

Plaza Mexico, which opened in 2002, was the vision of Donald Chae, a Korean American who grew up among Latinos and who has traveled throughout Mexico. Chae tells people that, "I don't speak Spanish. I speak Mexican."

"I am a Korean American Mexican," he quips. "I'm still waiting for my pasaporte."

The center was built with Mexican stone and boasted touches like a swap meet with a facade designed after the colonial-era governor's mansion in Guadalajara and a shrine for the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Chae said that when he spoke to the young Korean Mexicans, he could tell they were surprised he spoke Spanish fluently. He in turn was struck by how strongly their identity was rooted.

"They're real Mexicans," Chae said. "They have a real Mexican way of talking. They use a lot of doble sentidos (double entendres). Mexicans use a lot of double meanings."

But he said it was important that they learn about the other culture that informed their lives and those of their ancestors.

"When you don't know your culture," Chae said, "you get lost."

By 6:30 p.m., the spectators had taken their seats. A Korean woman dressed in a blue sequined dress sang the American and Korean national anthems. A few of the Korean Mexican youths tried to gamely mouth the words of the latter.

The consul generals of Mexico and Korea gave speeches. Four of the Korean Mexicans performed a tea ceremony as Hyun Kim led them with hand signals. Then a Mexican folkloric group and a Korean dance troupe took turns on the stage.

Dressed in their mix-and-match outfits, the young Korean Mexicans looked on with mouths slightly agape as the teenage Korean girls used wooden sticks to rapidly beat elevated drums.

Then the 20 Korean Mexicans took the stage.

Arirang, Arirang, Arariyo. . . . The song describing a woman, looking as her husband walked away up a crooked road.

The audience smiled and clapped. Moments later, the youths jumped into the Mexican song they had decided to sing: "Cielito Lindo."

From the brown Sierras,

Heavenly one, they come descending,

A pair of dark eyes, heavenly one. . . . .

Ay ay ay ay, sing and don't cry. . . . .

As people streamed out of the hall, Rafael Kim said he was moved most of all by the Korean girls who danced so gracefully and full of purpose, as if they knew full well who they were.

"You feel a sensation of pride, because you're a Korean descendant, just like them," he said in Spanish. "I see them dance so beautifully, and that I didn't know of things like this as a child, it makes me a little sad. It's a feeling of discovered feelings."

As he walked away, Woo Jun Lee, a stocky middle-aged Korean American, ran over to Kim so they could all take a picture together.

Waving his hand, Lee cried out: "Hey, paisano!"



"The Indigenous Intifada"

The trigger of South America
By Hamid Golpira

The Indigenous Intifada of the Americas has won another victory.

With 90 percent of the ballots counted, it seems that Bolivian President Evo Morales received over 60 percent of the vote in Sunday’s recall election, ensuring that he will stay in office until his term ends in 2011.

Morales, who is a member of the Aymara ethnic group, became the first indigenous leader of Bolivia in nearly 500 years after his inauguration in 2006.

The indigenous people of Bolivia and the rest of South America have suffered through five centuries of oppression, which began with the European invasion and conquest of the Americas.

In Bolivia, the situation has been terrible for the Native Americans, even though it is one of the few indigenous majority countries of the Americas.

The “white” upper class of Bolivia has monopolized power for 500 years while the indigenous people have lived under a caste system which places them at the bottom as virtual serfs.

The upper class of Bolivia identify themselves as descendents of the white European settlers, although many are actually light-skinned mestizos, so there is also an element of denial in the country’s racist caste system, which is often the case in racial caste systems.

The indigenous people of Bolivia were kept down, their rights were trampled upon, and they were given little or no access to social services, adequate health care, and higher education. In addition, they were rarely given the opportunity to acquire higher-paying jobs and most are still not even earning a proper living wage in Bolivia, which is one of the poorest countries in the Americas, despite its vast natural gas reserves.

The “white” upper class retained their privileged status through this caste system, which marginalized the Native Americans for centuries.

And these are the same people who are behind the efforts to oust Morales and the illegal autonomy referendums recently held in the provinces in the eastern lowlands of the country, where many of the “whites” live.

Morales’ victory in the 2005 presidential election struck fear into the hearts of the “white” upper class because they realized that they were beginning to lose power.

When Morales took office and began implementing his plan to restore the indigenous peoples’ rights, rewrite the Constitution, redistribute wealth to the poor, and renationalize the country’s hydrocarbon assets, the “white” community became even more desperate.

The illegal autonomy referendums were a part of their counter-revolutionary response to the threat to their power and privilege.

Che Guevara was killed in Bolivia and his remains were interred in a secret grave there for 30 years until they were discovered in 1997 and sent to Cuba for reburial in a more dignified grave.

It is said that the revolutionary sprit of Che lives on in Bolivia.

Indeed, in one of his first acts after taking office in 2006, Morales hung up a portrait of Che Guevara in the presidential palace.

Commenting on the importance of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Frantz Fanon once said: “Congo is the trigger of Africa.”

And across the ocean, in Africa’s twin continent, South America, which separated when Pangaea broke up millions of years ago, Congo has a sister country, Bolivia.

For today, Bolivia is the trigger of South America.

Bolivia is now the center of the Indigenous People’s Movement of the Americas.

The winds of change are blowing across the continent of South America, from Tiahuanaco to Ecuador and Venezuela.

In the early 1990s, the Native Americans decided that they could no longer tolerate the fact that an official holiday named Columbus Day was being celebrated on October 12 to commemorate the arrival of the European conquistadors and settlers, so they renamed the day Indigenous People’s Day.

On October 12, 1992, Native Americans across the hemisphere united from Kalaallit Nunaat to Tierra del Fuego to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, on the very same day the European settlers were celebrating the 500th anniversary of the invasion of the Americas. Many say it was the first time that the Indigenous People of the Americas had ever united for a common purpose.

Something really changed on that day and things will never be the same. The collective consciousness of Native Americans was reawakened.

At one of the many ceremonies held throughout the double continent of America on October 12, 1992, a traditionalist Native American made a speech in which he said that most of the Indigenous People of the Americas believe that time is cyclical.

He went on to say that Indigenous People’s Day 1992 marked the end of the 500-year cycle of oppression for Native Americans and the beginning of a positive cycle for the Indigenous People of Great Turtle Island, which is a very ancient name for the double continent of America first mentioned in the Walam Olum of the Lenni Lenape nation.

In addition, according to the Maya calendar, the current time cycle began in 3114 BC and ends on December 21, 2012.

Bolivia is the trigger of South America. And Bolivia is also the trigger of all of Great Turtle Island.

And what will happen when the trigger is pulled and the shot is fired? Changes that we can’t imagine.

As the I Ching says: “Change proves true on the day it is finished.”

Original source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=175270

Much respect to Intelligent Indigena for the post.



Chavez proposes renaming Latin America to Indian America

MEXICO, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has proposed renaming Latin America to Indian America, the Mexican media reported.

"Let's call our continent Indian America instead of Latin America," Chavez told a meeting of the Indian community in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.

He said the notion Latin had been enforced by the Europeans, while Indians were the continent's indigenous population.

The outspoken Venezuelan president, who has led his country since 1999, said his move was aimed at restoring "historical justice."

Mexican political analysts believe Chavez' surprising idea stemmed from his nationality.

Chavez is of mixed Amerindian, Afro-Venezuelan, and Spanish descent. He is an outspoken opponent of globalization and U.S. foreign policy.

Originally posted by "The Latin Americanist"; Original source- http://en.rian.ru/world/20080812/115976867.html


Popol Vuh and the History of the Black Family

Paz! Tau!

Within the Nation of Gods and Earths, we advocate that the Original man is the Blackman, and that "black" comes in shades, which manifest into the various hues of brown, "red" and yellow. Thus, making all people of color- "Original people" and "of the Black family". While it may be the perspective of many in indigenous communities that they are 'not' Black. Likewise, those skeptical that there was indeed vary strong interaction between African and Native American peoples. There seems to be some evidence in the traditions of our people. Such as the Dine (Navajo) creation story of the "Black God" and his arranging of the stars, or as we may find in the Mayan "Popol Vuh", Voltan, who was said to have come East from across the ocean. While many in traditional tribal communities may dismiss the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths and to a degree the Nation of Islam as politico-cultural-byproducts from the Civil Rights Movements, the spawn of Black Nationalism, our teachings actually draw from earlier traditions in many ways, irregardless to their more recent introduction into the mainstream America, via the 1960's search for identity and unity. The truth is the truth, and will only be seen by those who are pure of heart and open to embracing a clearer understanding of our history on this beautiful planet and more insight into our oneness. Below I have posted an article written by my brother Supreme Understanding Allah (of Bengali descent, for all those who claim that the Five Percenters are an exclusively "African-American" movement). It is very introductory and serves as a platform to begin approaching and exploring of the Popol Vuh.

Popol Vuh: The Community Book
By Supreme U. Allah
April 19, 1999

The “Popol Vuh” is known as “one of the rarest relics of aboriginal thought,” part of the richest mythological legacy of the Americas, that is, that of the Quiche Indians of Guatemala (Bancroft 42). It has been subtitled “The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya” (Goetz IX), though a more accurate translation of the title would be “The Book of Community”, of the “Book of the People”. The Popol Vuh contains the popular traditions, mythology, religious beliefs, migrations, and development of the Indian tribes which populated the territory of the present Republic of Guatemala after the fall of the Maya Old Empire. For this reason, it is an invaluable resource to us now, as much so as it was in its antiquity.

The book itself is said to have existed “long ago; but its sight is (now) hidden from the searcher and the thinker (Goetz 18).” It is supposed to have descended from a long tradition of preservation by oral tradition (according to most western scholars), thought it’s inscription by the use of the Mayan hieroglyphs is also quite possible. We are told that the Popol Vuh is indeed an old book which ancient kings and lords would draw upon for inspiration as well as prophecy and divination. It was first transcribed in Latin script from the Quiche language sometime between 1554 and 1558, but the document was not found until 150 years later by Father Ximenez of the Dominican Order in a town the Spanish had renamed ‘Santo Tomas’.

Of the numerous puzzles related to this book, one is the question of the identity of its original author. It is suggested that he was a learned Quiche Indian who had memorized the traditions of his people and, upon learning Spanish from the missionaries, putting them in writing. Father Jimenez (to who we owe the translation of the title as “Book of the People”) came upon the Quiche document, most likely due to his benevolent treatment of the Indians in his attempts at converting them, and took it upon himself to single handedly translate it in whole. It is speculated that he then returned the original book to its owners, but whatever its fate, the original manuscript of the Popol Vuh is now lost to the world.

The mythology found within the Popol Vuh is of an interesting character. It describes the gods (who are clearly man-like, if not simply man) as very human characters, displaying tendencies to act in ways that can be summarized as similar to the Greek gods, and in much the same way, a conflict between man and God is ever-present. There have been numerous attempts to discredit the authenticity of the Popol Vuh by comparing its creation account and some of its later storytelling with that of the Old Testament. Some scholars claim that the native element was overridden by strong Christian influence, and even the narrator of the Popol Vuh himself states “we shall write now under the Law of God and Christianity,” and continues to say, “we shall bring it to light because now the Popol Vuh, as it is called, cannot be seen anymore, in which was clearly seen the coming from the other side of the sea and the narration of our obscurity, and our life was clearly seen (Goetz 79-80).” Was the tradition tainted by missionary influence? Possibly yes, but the creation account could just as easily have been borrowed from the Aztecs as from the Bible, and the Popol Vuh’s description of the waters from which the world emerged are authentically native, though a striking similarity may be evident.

Another problem comes up in the issue of translation. Scholars claim faulty translation as far back as Ximenez’s attempts to record, word-for-word, the Quiche story in Spanish. Numerous versions of the book exts now, each offering slight differences in wording and interpretation. The version I purchased in Mexico describes the creation of the first man as resulting in “a heap of black clay with a stiff, straight neck, a wide, crooked, toothless mouth, and blind, discolored vacant eyes poorly placed at different levels on each side of the face near the temples. (Gomez 9)” The account continues, “However, the new creature had the gift of speech and sounded more harmonious than any music that had ever been heard before under the heavens. (Gomez 9-10)” Though the gods would continue to make three more races of man before finally arriving at one which they were satisfied (the second and third were violently destroyed), the first, the Black race, was allowed to live and given time to multiply and improve their kind.

I have not found this in the other translations I have come across. Another significant fact to note is the repeated use of the color ‘black’. The first speaker at the Black Christ in the Americas symposium in Cosby Hall at Spelman College (November 20th, 1998) mentioned briefly that “Ritual use of the color black was widespread in the Mesoamericas,” and that there were sacred connotations associated with deities and the otherworldly. I have found ‘black’ to be the single most-used color found in the Popol Vuh, with no other color coming near its frequency in use. The first race described is Black, as are pots, stones, animals, and so on, however, the final race is created from yellow and white cornmeal dough, (Gomez 16) and this all may allude to the racial makeup and migrations of the Native Americans. The first two migrations (there is said to have been one 35-40,000 years ago, and another, more definite one 16,000 years ago) from Asia were “Diminutive Blacks” (Van Sertima 253), while a third migration approximately 2000 B.C. lending the Americas its Mongoloid strain. With the Spanish conquest, the white race of man is finally added to the picture. Could the yellow and white formation of man point to his most recent development in the Americas (or in the world)?

The Popol Vuh is full of mysteries and puzzles that lay unsolved; it has been designated the “Bible of the Americas” for all that it contains. One must study it with the same eye for profound insight and esoteric knowledge as any book of its caliber, in order to begin to grasp the spectacular cosmology of the Native American peoples.

Works cited:

1. Bancroft, Hubert Howe. The Native Races of the Pacific States. Vol. 3 San Francisco, 1883.

2. Goetz, Delia, and Sylvanus G. Goetz. The Popol Vuh. Trans. Adrian Racinos. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.

3. Gomez, Ermilo Abreu. The Popol Vuh. Yucatan: Dante, 1992.

4. Van Sertima, Ivan., ed. African Prescence in Early America. New Brunswick: Transaction


Racial Profiling: Traffic Stops and Tyranny

Paz! Tau!

Las matematicas de hoy es "poder". En Ingles.., "poder" is "power". It was once said that 'true power', only comes through the truth. It is through the power of truth do we see the essence of what it means to be "powerful". Not powerful in terms of money or material accumulation. Not "power" in terms of forcing your will upon others. Power, as in the ability to influence people, places and things and most importantly, ones' self. The "power" to bring change to our own lives. Unfortunately, we live in a society where power is abused. It is misconstrued as a privilege and not something that beings are endowed with from their creation. Thus, it is dangled in front of our faces and we are taunted and teased by the misconception that we "have no power" over the conditions in our lives, especially in regards to the government's influence in out lives. They create policy that allows them to excercise unnecessary displays of economic, social and cultural heirarchy and which further instigate tension amongst the masses. "Power" is very much in perception. If you are perceived as "powerless" then there is always someone seeking to have "power" over you. And those who think that they have "power" over you are, in the universal scheme of things, really the powerless, because they operate not on their own accord, but on someone else's. They operate under someone's influence and will. Just as the police do. Nevertheless, the disgusting display of abused power is nothing more than a tool or method of instilling paranoia and fear in the population. Can someone say terrorism?

"FIGHT THE POWER!"- Public Enemy, from the 'Apocalypse 91' album

So what power do we have against or over racial profiling? Let's build!

Traffic stops and race

Most traffic stops in Illinois end in a ticket or a warning and nothing more. But in a small percentage—about 1 in 100—the police ask to search the vehicle.

That's called a "consent search." New statistics show that about 9 out of 10 times, drivers—white, black or Hispanic—say OK.

The stats also show that these searches are impressively productive in turning up drugs and other contraband.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and others want these searches stopped because of a disparity revealed in those statistics: The cops ask Hispanics and blacks more frequently to consent to searches than they do whites.

You're three times more likely if you're black and more than twice as likely if you're Hispanic to be subjected to such a search during a traffic stop.

That is unfair and unwarranted, the advocates say. For that matter, police find contraband less often with black and Hispanic motorists than they do with whites.

But let's slow down here. These stats show that such searches are:

•Rare. The number of consent searches was small—slightly more than 23,000 out of the more than 2.4 million traffic stops conducted in the state last year. Police in the state searched 1.9 out of 100 black motorists who were stopped, 0.6 out of 100 whites and 1.5 out of 100 Hispanics.

•Valuable. The searches often find contraband like drugs in vehicles. Almost a quarter of the time, police find contraband in vehicles driven by white drivers. They find it about 14 percent of the time in cars with black drivers and 11 percent of the time with Hispanics. That is a significant success rate.

Racial profiling—stopping motorists because of race or ethnicity—is unjust and repugnant. It is toxic to public confidence in law enforcement and the cornerstone notion that we enjoy equal protection under the law.

We've supported the collection of statewide data on such stops, which began in 2003 at the urging of then-state Sen. Barack Obama and other lawmakers.

And we continue to support more scrutiny into whether police are making stops for reasons that involve race or ethnicity.

The answer, though, isn't to ban all cops from asking motorists to agree to a search. That's a valuable law enforcement tool. The better alternative: Train cops about when searches are warranted and ferret out cops who abuse the authority.

Article originally posted by "The Latin Americanist"; original source- http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0731edit3jul31,0,7794156.story