• June 21st, 2024
  • Friday, 08:56:20 PM

Cuentos de Mi Chante Chicano: Roots and Lenguas

Photo: Daniel Stange Daniel Stange


Daniel Stange


Yo Soy Chicano. I grew up in the streets of Denver, Colorado. I love my Chicano roots and always associated them with the original inhabitants of the continent many of them call Anahuac. You say América, some say Turtle Island. I tell people that I’m Leprechano because I have Irish ancestry among a dozen other DNA markers. But this DAN is trying to be a simple man. I read and write and share too many opinions. For those who know me sincerely, I can talk excessive. But always seek out words of love to speak. Not always flowery like the poems I adore, but meaningful and thoughtful about the impact that words hold in their power. Or perhaps the power that we allow those words to have.


I have expended a great effort to comprehend the art and culture of Anahuac. Mostly due to my desire to dance and an unexplainable connection to the drums Huehuetl. The understanding of any culture is to live it. There is no authenticity in explaining a culture that you observe from outside. This results in a conundrum for Chicanos when nobody speaks the language of our native grandmothers. Few have the stories of the first nations people and many re-tellings have misrepresented the intentions of the grandfathers. Perhaps this necessitated the new identification as Chicanos? Could it be the same impulse that youth today gravitate to LatinX.?


Certainly, the evolution of languages and cultures expects the alteration of labels. Even in México, the Nahuatl speaking Aztecas called their ancestors, Olmecas. The word Olmecas stems from Ollin and Mecate (movement and measuring rope). The language of the Olmecas is long forgotten, but they are the people that first measured the movements of the Universe. They preserve the root of ancestral, foundational concepts from which we base reality on. Today, the teaching of their wisdom is a challenge for many because there are too many false narratives and flat out lies.


The understanding of any culture is to live it. There is no authenticity in explaining a culture that you observe from outside.


I hope to retain the essence of Chicano in my remaining days. I can appreciate if others don’t choose that identity and I believe we are all multidimensional. More important to me is the relationship that whatever we are calling ourselves, we remember the root of our land and water/blood. That we learn the wisdom of Ancient América, which developed a unique harmony and cooperation with our Mother Earth. That we recognize Spirit is in all things, even the inanimate. That women are the ones who hold power of creation. That energy never dies and only transforms for eternity so there is no lineal time. These are among some key beliefs but certainly not an exhausted list.


My choice of the word Chante is from its Nahuatl origin meaning home. In relation to Calli for house. I have an ambition to develop a literary discourse based in the root cultural treasures of our ancestors. I feel that the most valuable life lessons are developed in the home. Homies are built between relationships that accept each other as family members. I invite you into my Chante to share stories of our culture and reflect on the past few hundred years. People have such short memories now. There are temple constructions in this continent Anahuac that took over 1,000 years to complete. Imagine the collective vision that would be required to accomplish such a thing.


We passed the milestone of many cycles of time since the Colonization of Anahuac. The world remembers Cortez with claims of conquest, but few recount the words of Cuauhtémoc who last spoke to the free citizens of Tenochtitlan. He requested that they hide the real treasure, which is our culture and bring it into the hearts and Homes of our families. He prophesied that one day our new sun would return and that we are living in that time today is with little doubt. Calendars don’t end they just become of little use.


My personal journey to the roots of Anahuac began with the Calendar and questioning the calendar we use globally today. Why is it 2022? When is the new fire ceremony that occurred every 52 years? How could our relationship with time reveal clues to life’s mysteries? What makes my mind question so many mysteries? I do not claim to have answers to them and conversely every time I find an answer there are two more questions that arise. Still, I could enjoy exploring some of the hidden clues that have become our Chicano/Mexicano culture and what facts in science that support our beliefs and customs.


If this is something that you also might enjoy, return to next week’s edition. I want to share some details each week about specific Anahuac beliefs and practices that can enlighten us to our Indigenous spirit.



Daniel Stange is the Grant Manager with Sisters of Color United for Education in Denver, Colorado.



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