Probably the documentary over Afromexicans that I’ve liked the most. Its in Spanish but it talks about not just la Costa Chica (what most documentaries about Afromexicans focus on) but about African and West Indian immigrants AND Black Seminoles, something I hadn’t seen mentioned before. Its only 11 minutes long but the full documentary is supposed to be uploaded eventually.
Also its just nice to be able to share this with my mom, she’s from Durango, normally thought to be predominantly white or mestizo, but she herself is [visibly] afromestizo. I’ve read about Black Seminoles having been in Durango and Coahuila and its just nice to be able to share this with her when I know that despite facing discrimination and racism due to her hair and skin, no one ever spoke about black ancestry. Instead, it was attributed to the an indigenous (Tepehuano and Tarahumara) ancestor here or there, more specifically “Si pues tu mama esta haci de negra por que tu tia [insert diff name every time] era india..piel negra.. pera era india,” hmm.
Man from the island of San Andrés plays the jawbone of a horse or “La Quijada de Caballo”. It’s used as a #percussion instrument in various places in #LatinAmerica.
It is made with jawbone of a donkey or horse that is boiled and dried until the molars become loose and cause chattering. The first technique involves striking the end of the jaw with the palm or fist, causing vibration of the teeth. The second is obtained by rubbing a row of teeth with an object.
It can be heard in the various rhythms of #AfroPeru, Dominican Republic, Afromestizo of Mexico, Colombia, #Guatemala, #Belize, and the music of Chiloe #Chile.
#diaspora #innovative #gifted #learningsomethingneweveryday #creole #musician
Juan was born in Cali, Colombia, to a mestizo father and mulata mother to a very Catholic family who retains traditions passed down from his indigenous and black heritages, growing up in Queens, Long Island, and in South Texas borderlands. He has been heavily involved in the Latine community at NYU since his freshman year, currently serving as President of LUCHA (Latine umbrella organization), the Omicron Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha (oldest and only Latino Fraternity), La Herencia Latina Latino Heritage Month committee, as well as advocating for Latine issues in all their intersectionalities as a Student Chair of the University Ad Hoc Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity created in the wake of the Cole’s Forum last semester. He is a Social & Cultural Analysis Latine Studies and a Religious Studies double major. He personally identifies as an Afromestizo Latino, a bisexual cis-male, a Roman Catholic Liberation Theologian, and a guerrilla style Academic, also being a Knight at the Foot of the Cross of the Militia of the Immaculata
Read what Juan has to say below
I believe in Heaven and Hell. The existence of a variety of “invisible creatures/things”, right beside us is one of the many dogmas that all Catholics are expected to believe. This is, of course, tied to the parallel dogma that this reality is not all there is, and there is Heaven and there is Hell. What’s complicated and what changes from culture to culture, particular church to particular church, Abrahamic religion to Abrahamic religion, is really how these creatures and parallel worlds break down. I grew up with a firm belief in angels and demons and duendes (fairies, the fae, etc.), and that all these creatures are spiritual creatures that usually cannot be seen by your average Christian, let alone your average human, and that they live and exist quite literally next to us.
What’s interesting first is that our English language breakdown of “Heaven and Hell” full of “Angels and Demons” in our imagination is a rather aggressive reduction of more elaborate constructions. In brief. English language Hell is an evolution of Germanic Hel which is a translation of Latin Infernos which is a reductive translation of the two Greek words Hades and Tartaros which is a translation of the Hebrew Sheol and Gehenna (respectively), which correspond to a place in the afterlife where one awaits the Final Judgment of God and another place for the truly sinful where one is punished in a sort of firey pit. Demons as a class of spiritual being refer general to beings in/from Hell, which is a reduction again from the Latin Daimon and Satyros, from the Greek Daemones (considered to be local spirits, rather spirits of a location generally, say a Daemon of NYU, a Daemon of Washington Square Park) and Satyros, which is a translation of the Hebrew Shedim and Se’irim, respectively, referring to “spirits” in a more general sense (i.e. there are good shedim and bad shedim) and “hairy/wild beasts/monsters”, respectively.
Likewise, our conceptions of Heaven and the Nine Choirs of Angles in constructions such as Dante’s Divine Comedy and Milton’s Paradise Lost are tied to classical astrology where there are a total of 9 “celestial spheres”, in order of distance from Earth are the Lunar (Moon), the Mercurial (Mercury), the Venial (Venus), the Solar (Sun), the Martial (Mars), the Jovial (Jupiter), the Saturnial (Saturn), the Fixed Stars (The Zodiac), and then the Throne of God transcending Creation (so Earth + 7 Classical Planets + Ether), corresponding of course to Guardian Angels, Angels (Angelos, Messengers), Archangels (separate from Arch-Angels, Chiefs), Principalities (Princes), Virtues, Powers, Dominions, Ophanim, Cherubim, Seraphim, and then the 7 Archangels comprising a tier of their own or being assigned as chiefs of each of the 7 planetary spheres.
What usually happened as Christianity spread is that certain words are by necessity translated and thus syncretizes with particular ethnic cultures, so early Hellenic Jews reconciled Jewish mythology with Hellenic mythology, later Roman mythology, then Germanic and Anglo mythologies, as far as US Christian trajectory is concerned. Sometimes syncretism occurs via Imperial imposition, such as when the Christian Churches became the official religion of the Roman Empire, all Sol Invictus spaces were automatically turned into Christian Churches, or it occurs as a form of cultural resistance, where the Incas of Peru equivocated Illapa, god of vengeance, with Santiago Mataindios, a colonial twist of Santiago Matamoros by the Spanish conquistadores, as both beings existed to kill and punish them. Alternatively as well, syncretism has a parallel axis where there is the “body of faith” being forced upon and the “body of faith” being forced to react; Santeria Lukumi retains a significant amount of Yoruba traditions, even the language, even as many Santeros may identify as Catholic and are Catholic by any Canon Law and dogmatic definition, but my family traditions of leaving glasses of water or bowls of dried food at the altar in order to appease the saints is certainly not orthopraxic, European Catholicism, but they know not where it comes from.
And so in my cosmology of the world as an Afromestizo (Black, White, Indigenous) Colombian immigrant who grew up in a Jewish part of Long Island and also in a Chicano part of South Texas, I grew up on stories of a mohan in every river that I should be wary of, that Lilith may come at night and give me nightmares or even kill me, that La Santa Muerte may be Our Lady of a Holy Death or a current incarnation of some Aztec goddess of Death or La Parca of Spanish traditions; the fae exist in all the bushes of Central Park, Seelie Fairies in the Spring and Summer, Unseelie in the Winter and Fall, and spirits all around me, whether it be ghosts of those cannot move on to the afterlife or the collective energies of a place manifested into a spiritual being; every wind and breeze contains an wind elemental, every body of water has a water elemental, every fire whether it is a candle wick or a volcano has a fire elemental, and every forest or mountain too has its own elemental. It is best to carry around amulets, and holy water, and a piece of iron, and something silver and something gold, and a medal of St. Benedict with the minor exorcism prayer inscribed, because you never know what life will throw at you.
I have amulets of the Hand of Fatima, perhaps Muhammed’s daughter Fatima or it’s the Hand of Our Lady of Fatima or the Hand of Mary otherwise, or perhaps it’s called a Hamsa, or a Jamsa, or perhaps it is the Hand of God or the Eye of God, but regardless it protects against the Evil Eye, el Malojo, even though no one knows what it means or how it’s done, but it’s because of other people, and it can affect you. It is also wise, however, not to think violent thoughts of any other person, never imagine evil and play out such acts in your mind, or you will by accident cause demons to possess you, and come after them as well. Is that the evil eye, perhaps?
I believe the ancestors watch over me, and I also believe in the communion of saints in Heaven, but nobody is sure whether they are the same body of people. We have stories of sorcerers who summon demons to do their bidding, but sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. We have stories of people having their prayers fulfilled being an angel interceded, but sometimes it is for good and sometimes it is for bad. We all know not to drink blackberry juice when visiting another person because it covers the taste of blood and they could be doing magic on you. We know certain herbs are for certain things, and aguapanela con limon cures all illnesses, but we do not know whether the thing itself has the power or it is God who grants it, and we do not know where this comes from.
I have seen many of these beings. My family who is religious believes that it is due to the Spiritual Gift of Discernment of Spirits, and that I am strong in the Holy Spirit because it is said Wisdom grants such powers of knowledge of the invisible. My family who is atheist believes I experimented with too many drugs in my adolescence.