Nican Tlaca

Nican Tlaca is a Nahuatl term used to refer to “us Indigenous/Native people” as a way of distinguishing us from the Spanish invaders. While the term Nican Tlaca has been documented and used at least since the 1500’s, it was made popular in recent times by the organization Mexica Movement with the intention of creating a unifying label for Mesoamerican diaspora peoples. The understanding is that Nican Tlaca means “we people here,” which infers one to be of the Native people.

Nican Tlaca Pronunciation

Nican Tlaca = Nee-kahn tlah-kah

Nican Tlaca Definition

Nican = Here

• where Ni is personal possessive and Can is reference to a place (a community/circle)

Tlaca(h) = Person of the Earth; Earthling; Man

• where the Tl is the root for Tlalli (Earth) and Acah is “someone”

Nican Titlaca

Nican Titlaca pronounced  Nee-kahn tee-tlah-kah

Some find the use of the term Nican Tlaca bothersome because allegedly the term Nican Titlaca is more grammatically correct. It is most likely that Nican Titlaca is the original term, from which Nican Tlaca was derived. In all likelihood Nican Tlaca was probably abbreviated from Nican Titlaca similar to how we sometimes abbreviate English or Spanish to create slang terms in our informal conversations.


Another term that has been proposed is Macehualli (ma-seh-wah-lee) which means “one who is deserved into being”. It is also used as a sentiment for “commoner/ common people” as an alleged distinction from “the nobles” of Mexicah society.

Ma = “to be”
Ce = “One” or “Complete/Whole”
Hua = “to be created”


This is a fun term. Nochantlaca means “homeboy/homegirl”. 

No = “my”
chant = “home” (as opposed to a literal house)
tlaca = “person”

Personally, I feel that the term Nican Tlaca has the same intended sentiment as Nochantlacah. Albeit, probably in a more unrefined way.



More Nican Tlaca Info

About the author

Miguel Quimichipilli Bravo— Chicano-P'urhepecha from Venice, CA. Native-Indigenous spiritual activist, educator, lettering artist, musician, and Native spiritual run organizer since 2002.