Borders vs People

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Have you ever looked at the picture on the Mexican flag–at the eagle resting on a nopal, eating a snake? For many, it’s the symbol of home for several reasons. The legend is that the Aztec people who went on to found the legendary city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, originated from somewhere farther north. Theories for the migration of the Nahua people suggest that they may have been looking for warmer climates or more bountiful resources; regardless, they began to move south. Theorists suggest that the Nahua people originated from places now known as Texas, Utah, Nevada–reaching as far up as to just graze Wyoming.

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Well, upon trekking south, to what is now Mexico city, the people came upon the scene that is now the Mexican coat of arms: an eagle devouring a snake on a nopal. The legend says that the Aztec god of war and sun, Huitzilopochtli, spoke to their leader in a dream; Huitzilopochtli said that when the travelers came upon that scene, they would be home. And so, Tenochtitlan was founded on Lake Texcoco. Upon the Old World’s discovery and invasion of the new, lands were taken, claimed, and bought from people with and without the authority to sell, eventuating in what we recognize now as the United States of America and Mexico.

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My dad told me this legend when I was little, pointing out that the Aztec people, the Mexican people, originate from this land that has been branded the U.S. Many Mexicans, descendents of Aztecs and other indigenous people, are Native Americans. In fact, the Aztec language Nahuatl is very similar to languages of Native Americans on reservations in the United States. And, while recognized Native Americans have had no easy time in U.S. history and even in the present day, their struggles should be the same–protecting their home and history rather than being forced from it. Semantics and manipulation of connotation denote the Mexican to be the “Illegal Alien” while Americans in Mexico are “Expatriates”. So really the question is, why are people like Trump (who is of German and Swedish descent) able to continue the theft that began when Colombus, Amerigo Vespuchi, and Cortes broke this land with European flags?

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Side Note: Plans to build an “Aztlan Inspired” theme park in Coachella Valley, CA that will be, apparently, modled with “…sets, soundstages, water features, Aztec Pyramid and Temple will become the bases of the theme park.” I’m not sure how this makes me feel, but it’s damn ironic. No news yet on the park’s actual development.

 

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