• June 22nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 10:31:32 PM

Cuentos de Mi Chante Chicano: Toltecayotl Ihuan Kalpulltin

Photo: Daniel Stange Daniel Stange


Daniel Stange


Yo Soy Chicano. Soy Toltecatl or at least I strive to reach that state of being. When Nahuatl words end with “yotl” it means the essence of – so Toltecayotl is the essence of Toltecatl. Modern history books call the Tolteca a specific tribe during a specific era in time, but those who live this culture understand that a Toltecatl is an artist, in the broadest sense of the word. All forms of life can be expressed artistically. Everyone can develop a talent or behavior or even call it a discipline that seeks mastery. The artist stimulates the emotional and spiritual sensations of our minds and hearts as well as our entire anatomy. Love is a product of the artists capabilities and most consider the artist to be the highest achievement of the human condition.


No culture, without its unique artistry will be distinguished from its contemporaries. The Mother Cultures across the world have sincere and exact models and images that the artists within that culture have reproduced and displayed and exhibited. These memorial icons and images that clarify cultural traits, give identity and purpose to the members of the culture. Yet, the symbols and iconic graphics, books and sculptures produced throughout Anahuac are among the least well known and lesser understood. Usually, the academic and historian descriptions are flat out lies and intentionally falsified as to their original intent. The dilemma that would reconcile the perspective towards Native America is consistently shielded by other Americans that refuse to feel guilt or shame for the sins of the past.


Maybe that’s another native characteristic that América has developed, such an adoration for modern actors and musicians. They’ll let their favorite actor commit public acts of violence as we recently saw. And scoff, when starving artists complain of the economic abuse. Most artists are tokenized as though anybody can be an artist, so their skill is difficult to value. Ever more popular these days is the utilization of art therapy, because psycho-analysis is as boring as the word sounds. Perhaps the reality is that again, our ancestors in Anahuac had been so more advanced in social conduct and civility. They never built a museum to display art, but in their everyday objects they excelled in design, texture, originality and display.


Art was critical to education in Anahuac. The Aztecs had Cuicacalltin – meaning houses of songs, where children were consistently encouraged to increase their artistic capacity. Cuica is melody, Cuicani – the singer, Call – house and the ending “tin” is sometimes used to reference plural objects. In the title, I used Kalpulltin to indicate many Kalpulli – union of homes (community) These Calpulli were the structural units of society and the local political parties of Anahuac. In all nation/tribes there were matriarchal divisions of family groups that centered around the women and larger confederacy states or regional governance committees and had a supreme court of elder women that would preside over the highest debates and provide or restrict authority. The reason we have 9 supreme court judges is because of the Haudenosaunee Clan Mother systems.


Today, the Mayan nation is governed through 13 Jaguar Women. There has been Indigenous governance continually for all the history we know. The matriarchal clan systems of Anahuac adopt the attitude that everyone in the clan is related. And every Chicano knows that Momma rules the roost. The woman is the home fire, Chantico, spirit of the family. The connection through their womb is beyond the comprehension of men that dare to dictate their reproductive rights and choices. This is not aligned to natural law. Who can say that every native rule was aligned with nature, but certainly more than we see today. We are destroying our natural environment!Reviving our original governance could save our nation.


Each Kapulli or Clan was dedicated to being self sufficient. They grew their own food, made their own attire, educated their children, provided commerce, built their structures and social interactions that would revolve among cycles of time. The measurement of movement is unique, as clearly as each person is distinct from another. Cycles of nature revolve from start to finish, birth to death, growth to decay. All natural objects have their proper time cycles from seed to flower, and we observe some of them like when we say a dog’s years are 6-7 years to one of ours. But who lives in their mother’s womb for 12 months? Our human cycle is different from that of the Mother Earth’s 365 and 1/4 of a day. To be more aligned to our nature we need a 9-month calendar that is based in our body. 260 days we get when we group the 20 fingers and toes with our thirteen major articulations. Then to conduct events and we also keep track of the moon’s cycle that overlap the solar count with ours, so there are 9 full moons regularly during the 260 – Tonalpohualli.


These cycles have a tremendous effect on our human experience and most of us today do not even know when the next full moon is. We all think that society’s fast-paced business is pulling and pushing us around, but it’s actually the cosmic forces that move us and we are not paying them the attention they deserve. So, the plastic culture that we created is a fine distraction. Most of us are punching that clock to ensure we have enough to eat, but the Kalpulli system was designed to secure that, and families do not have to be stressed about shelter and food. We need at least that basic need filled to even begin participating in the community.


Herein lies the classic mystery of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? The individuals of the community that practice Toltecayotl are best suited to manage and operate a Kalpulli. When individuals have low self-respect, envy and greed among their fellows, they cannot share. So, we need healthy communities, but we need healthy individuals and each one develops the other. Today’s kids never learn to play in the sandbox anymore. Children require discipline to grow their ethic and moral values.


We hope everyone does at home, but so many of us are still trauma distressed. And the catch 22 is that you have to be the one that agrees to work on your own issues and recognize your Nagual and those shadows or sub-conscious anomalies that we all experience.


When you find an artistic output or activity that will focus your artistic capacity you are heading into the path of the Toltecayotl, so do yourself a favor and get jiggy with it.


Next week, I will share what I have learned about native education systems.



Daniel Stange is the Grant Manager with Sisters of Color United for Education in Denver, Colorado. Read the sixth edition of Cuentos De Mi Chante Chicano here.


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