In the beginning stages of reconnecting with our Indigenous consciousness, subscribing to the “Spanish trickery” narrative of the image of the Mexican Guadalupe is one of the first rebellious stances many of us take. In my Indigenous reclamation process I also once held that stance. When learning about the atrocities against our people anything evoking a Spanish or Christian likeness can trigger righteous anger and defensiveness. In that beautiful initial phase of unlearning colonizer lies we tend accept any iconoclast, rebel spirited conclusion that (understandably) lifts Indigeneity and puts down Spain or Christianity. However when we do this there is a lot if knowledge that gets thrown out with the bath water so to speak.
While we understand how these defensive stances come into being we aim to push forward with a non-victimized perspective of our Mexican-Indigenous ancestors along with not perpetuating implied notions that Mexicans are superstitious and naive people. Rather, our Ancestors were creative, resourceful, and ingenious in the face of a brutal genocide.
In the case of this topic of the Mexican Guadalupe we also assert she is not merely a “synthesis of old and new” worlds. At least not in the subservient way it is often framed that centers the narrative in Spanish superiority, intention, and origin. Please make no mistake the Mexican Guadalupe and the Juan Diego story are of Indigenous origin, creation, and purpose.
The more I studied the highly advanced intelligence of our ancestors and the Indigenous mobilizing power of the Mexican Guadalupe’s image and story, the “Spanish trickery” narrative seemed too deficient and eventually offensive. Continuing to grow in knowledge and experience of analyzing the various popular Mexica topics the Tolteca way— with my mind and my heart, I have concluded many years ago that the “Virgen de Guadalupe” as the image and story is popularly known, is in fact of Indigenous Mexican creation and intention.
The intention is not so much to debunk what I figure to be deficient arguments that conclude the “Virgin de Guadalupe” (image and story) to be a hoax. I can easily go into an “academic” mode and do all that pedantry. Rather, it is to dethrone the dominant narrative of Tonantzin-Guadalupe from being ironically centered in the veneration of Spanish intelligence while disrespecting Indigenous ingenuity. Whether one believes the apparition story to be completely true or whether one believes the Spanish pulled an okey-doke on arguably the most intelligent and savvy society in the world at that time, both sides are premised on and reinforce the “dumb Mexican” stereotype.
“The Toltecs were truly wise; they conversed with their own hearts. . . . They played their drums and rattles; they were singers, they composed songs and sang them among the people; they guarded the songs in their memories, they deified them in their hearts.”
Another focus is to exercise our Indigeneity beyond the growing inundation of superficial, secular, culturo-political pomp and circumstance displays and memery we see at mainstream events and on social media. One of these exercises to help take us beyond the superficial when assessing historical narratives of our people is the Toltecayotl practice of “Conversing with Our Hearts” (perhaps a form of intuition depending on your definition).
Western methodology and research has walked hand in hand with the colonization of our people. By building our “heart conversation muscles” in analyzing information it can lead us to achieve new dimensions of knowledge. We can also delegitimize and outmode the current status quo conclusions about Indigenous peoples that have often been, at the least–unhelpful, and at worst– hostile to us. As an example, terms like “superstitious” and “pseudo-” in reference to Indigenous spiritual sciences is colonizer labeling of old that perpetuates the intention to belittle and castrate us from accessing our Ancestral knowledge. Let us work to ensure that our future generations are not held subject to the limited capacities of Western methodologies, knowledge keeping, and understandings of reality.