Mexica — as used on this site
Mexica pronounced (meh-shee-ka) is a broad term used on here to refer the collective of Mexican area Indigenous peoples of which there are many. Most people who claim Mexica today cannot actually claim actual Mexicah-Tenochca lineage. More accurately we “Mexica” comprised of numerous Indigenous nations within Mexico (“Meso-America.”) Descendants of the P’urhepecha, Apache, Zapotec, Raramuri, and Huichol are just a handful of the many nations who make up modern Mexicas.
On this site, the term Mexica is used with the intention of giving Chicanah (Chican@s,) or so-called Latino’s of Indigenous roots, a “home base.” A space to claim a more accurate identity while they travel their road of Indigenous Reclamation.
Using the term Mexica is not meant to infer or suggest that all “Meso-american” originated people should use it for nationalistic purposes. However, being that the destruction of Indigenous culture and peoples was a systematic process, it is felt that Mexica , being abundant and popular in historical resources is a good first step, identity base to employ in the Systematic Rebuilding of Indigenous consciousness for “Meso-american” peoples living in the U.S.
Mexica = Aztec
Mexica, pronounced (meh-shee-ka) are synonymous with what people generally know as Aztec. Aztec is more of an anthropological term to reference the Mexica. From my understanding, the term Aztec was not used often. A name that was more common for the Mexica was Tenochca (teh-no-ch-ka). The Mexica belong to the Nahua family of Indigenous peoples of which there are many nations.
At the time of Spanish/Latin/Christian arrival the Mexicah held sway over the majority of what today is called the country of Mexico. This fact is also the reasoning for naming the country Mexico. This also where we get the word Mexican, Mexicano, and Xicano from.
Because of this famous world altering clash between the Mexica and Latin European peoples coupled with lack of cultural education in the U.S., it is obvious why most people (including Chicanos) assume all Mexicans to be Aztec-Mexica.
Mexica — What it means
Mexica roughly means ” people of the navel of the moon” from Nahuatl metztli (moon) and xictli (navel.) Nahuatl is a very profound language that has layers of meaning and symbolism.
Mexica are Nahuatl speaking peoples
The language of the Mexica is Nahuatl. It is the most spoken Indigenous language in North America. From what I have gathered it is the most recorded and documented of all Indigenous languages in the “Americas.”
It is estimated that 1.5 million speak the language but I am confident the number is much greater. A couple reasons being the unlikeliness that the many populations of native people would even partake in such a census, as well as the resurgence of Indigenous identity and practice of Nahuatl among Chicanah and other so-called “Latino” peoples.