nahua people


The Codex Laud is a Precolumbian Mexican document dating between the 13th and 15th centuries outlining ritual practices associated with the Nahua calendar. It is one of only a few indigenous American documents which survived the Spanish Conquest, in which an unknown amount of other indigenous codices were destroyed in the name of colonialism. 

384ren  asked:

(p1) hey, im a white artist planning a fantasy/sci fi oneshot comic that'll be around 10-15 pages (this is important bc i wont have much space ill have to flesh out characters & backstories). i have read the entire magical native american tag and im concerned abt falling into that trope-i have a "shapeshifter" character who im basing off nahua peoples (i did research on shapeshifting lore & found the nahual, which i thought was fitting) however, she doesnt have magic or like an extra strong

connection to nature, she has a mask built with technology and was designated as a “guardian” of her city. the only other character who is being drawn in the story is a black woman who IS close to nature and knowledgeable about flora/fauna bc she is loves it and studies it. im worried this isn’t enough of a subversion/aversion of the trope, though, and i would appreciate a critique/advice. thanks for all the work you do on this blog by the way!!

Magical Native American (Nahua): Portraying Culture vs. Trope

This is another case of “the stereotype has roots in cultural practices”, which means you might superficially appear to be falling into a trope but if you want to respect the full depth of culture you have to use it.

Some Indigenous cultures do indeed have shapeshifting as part of their practices. This isn’t made up, and is often fairly important within the religion (on either side of good or evil). As a result, depending on the Indigenous practices you use, you can indeed have Native shapeshifters that aren’t just Magical Native. Cutting it out because you want to avoid the trope isn’t the way to go, because sometimes, yes, stereotypes do have roots in history. See: Stereotyped vs Nuanced Characters 

The key is to make sure it’s cultural. Instead of just taking any old beliefs about how shapeshifting works, the role of shapeshifters, and the concept of “Natives are so advanced"— you take their actual full contextual practice and build that into your character. This means you legitimately create a Nahua shapeshifter with all of the little quirks and trappings that would identify the culture to a savvy reader.

So, you will need sensitivity readers from the Nahua, because unfortunately research you find online is often appropriated/has been twisted around to fit the concept of Magical Native within new age circles. The fact you don’t have her powers be extra strong is a good sign, but I would make sure you’re not cutting out cultural practice by having her be indifferent to nature— again, this is something that is often part of the legal definition of being Indigenous, so having an Indigenous person be indifferent about their home rings false. (We just treat environmentalism a little bit differently— we won’t necessarily pack up camp to make it look like we were never there, because nature is meant to be lived in, not kept "uncorrupted”)

Indigenous cultures have animal powers. Indigenous cultures have nature powers. The difference between Magical Native and an Indigenous person living their culture is the Magical Native is white people’s ideas about what those practices involve, and an Indigenous person living their culture is based upon an actual set of practices that are as close to reality as possible. So long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be fine.

~Mod Lesya

i wish there was a way to kind of like, tactfully ask people to consult with u re: character development research in a way that’s not objectifying or generalizing

i’ve been thinking about this a lot as i work on snakeladders because i have a cast of characters that represent an array of experiences that i obviously don’t share and don’t always feel comfortable speculating on. none of these elements are particularly central to their characters or arcs – i think the representation is important, but I also think it’s inappropriate to tell stories about marginalization that you don’t experience, since that’s not your story to tell

still I’d like to retain an element of authenticity in my portrayals of these people. i never feel confident in my independent research without at least being able to ask someone if I’m on the right track.

so please, if you represent any of the following identities or circumstances, would you mind reblogging this and giving me some advice, even if it’s just to point me in the direction of resources I can read myself that are accurate and appropriate?

basically, i want to know:

- things that people representing these types of characters don’t often consider
- suggestions for small details i can include in my portrayals of these characters that people of similar backgrounds will recognize and identify with
- whether or not you’d be comfortable with me asking you questions down the line. i won’t be offended if you say no, especially considering that we likely don’t know each other at all! i don’t need any direct consultation at this time but i would love it in the future as i delve more into these characters’ personal stories and motivations.


- Friday: Friday is mixed and was raised by her (black) mother but her father is/was Samoan. I haven’t made any hard decisions about this character, his influence on her life, or his inclusion in the story, but I do have some larger concepts related to him regarding the shifting geopolitics of future-earth re: climate change and the fallout of late-stage capitalism and stuff and there are some topics involved where I need to tread lightly.

- Southpaw/Santiago: Afrolatino, trans, a cyborg. Southpaw was born on Earth and is Dominican. Both he and Anjel speak spanish as their primary language. I’m back on this duolingo jam with the vague thought that it might help me portray these characters better in the future (and mostly because by now it should be a requirement to learn spanish in this gotdamn country but that’s neither here nor there), but anyone willing to help me out with an occasional translation for these characters would be amazing, and I’d absolutely pay you for your services.

What I want to be sure to get right with this character is, obviously, that he’s trans. While he does struggle with confidence, vanity, and reliance on a meticulously-sculpted image/persona, he doesn’t struggle with gender identity at this stage in his life. I want to find ways to communicate this clearly, tastefully, and fairly early-on so that people who are looking for this representation will want to read the comic. I’ve posed the question before to my followers whether this information is appropriate to include in character profiles, and my response was about a 50/50 yay/nay split, so I’m up in the air about it.

Another topic I want to be sure to handle well with him is, not romanticizing or exploiting his disability, but also not ignoring it. This is a character who survived a traumatic accident that a loved one did not, and carries a lot of guilt with him because of it.

Anjel: Southpaw’s younger brother. Gay, cyborg lite. A lot of the same as Southpaw, but Anjel was born on Ganymede. The complex of space stations/colonies on Jupiter’s moons are referred to as the Galilean Complex, and considered an independent nation, making Anjel Dominican-Galilean. Jokes that he’s an alien, actually feels like an alien sometimes. His dad teased him a lot about being gay when he was younger. The kind of stuff that’s not meant maliciously, but still stings when you’re a kid, so he resented him when he was alive and now feels robbed of the opportunity to reconcile with him. He feels overshadowed by his brother in a lot of things. He’s shown more aptitude than his brother in Red Storm, but has no interest in pursuing an independent career. He’s just there for Southpaw, feeling both intensely protective of him as his only family on Ganymede and a living memory of his father, but also resentful of him for holding him back and being their father’s favorite.

I feel like I have a decent grasp on this character for the most part (beyond the cultural differences expressed in the entry about Southpaw) but I just want to be careful to show nuance to the gay boy/black boy with daddy issues trope. Anjel and his dad loved each other but never got to develop a healthy relationship, and it’s a wound that will never fully close.

- Roadrunner: Roadrunner grew up on Earth, spending his early childhood travelling and his adolescence trying to figure out how to emulate being a “typical” suburban teenager in Nevada. His mother is Lakota and his other mother is indigenous Mexican – I’ve been researching Nahua peoples in Mexico to try to inform this character’s background but I don’t know much about it yet. The cultural influences that inform his personality and values are pretty complex considering his upbringing, but I’m sure that he would identify with certain spiritual or cultural practices of his parents. I just don’t know yet what those would be. I’m interested in developing his parents as more important characters later in the story. I’m also interested in the concept of his Lakota parent being two-spirit, but this is definitely a topic I would prefer to speak to a primary source about rather than trying to research it on my own and risk running into wrong information.

The concept of trying to force the western framework of gender onto a culture that identifies it differently is a subject I actually do intend to explore with Raze, but Raze is a pretend alien and the ways this affects real people needs to be handled with more respect.

- Mastodon: Donnie is Filipino and was raised by his older sister, a tattoo artist in Manila. I don’t have a ton of framework for his background or his home life, but again, I just want to make sure I don’t overlook anything.

There’s a lot more but this is my core cast as revealed so far. I might reblog this later with more stuff but yeah! Sorry for such a long post but yeah, let me know if you would like to help me out!


The Codex Borgia / Yoalli Ehecatl is a PostClassic Mexican manuscript which dates from the 13th - 15th centuries. Written in a highly complex pictorial script, the codex recounts the religious beliefs of the Nahua peoples and outlines the ritual behaviors associated with particular calendar dates.

According to written and oral accounts, Aztlán is the mythical homeland from which the aztec/mexica migrated, along with other nahua tribes, at about AD 1113, to reach the valley of mexico in the 13th century. The term aztlan means “the place of whiteness” or “the place of the heron”.
Aztlán: myth or historic place?
the migration of the Aztecs from their homeland is narrated in many indigenous and colonial sources. modern scholars have long debated whether Aztlán was a real place or simply a myth. The mexica/Aztecs told the spanish that their ancestors had reached the valley of Mexico about 300 years before, after having left their homeland Aztlán-chicomoztoc, traditionally located far north of tenochtitlan. In aztlán, the mexica ancestors dwelled in the place of the seven caves called chicomoztoc (chee-co-moz-toch), where each cave corresponded to one of the nahuatl tribes which would later leave that place to reach, in successive waves, the valley of mexico. these tribes, with slight differences from source to source, were: the xochimilca, chalca, tepaneca, colhua, tlahuica, tlaxcala and the group who were to become the mexica. oral and written accounts also mention that the mexica, and the other nahuatl groups, were preceded in their migration by another group, collectively known as chichimecas, who migrated from north to central mexico some time earlier, and were considered by the nahua people “less civilized.”

archaeology and historical linguistics actually support this traditional account. it seems now clear that the mexica were the last of many tribes who migrated toward the valley of mexico from what is now northern mexico and/or the southeastern united states due to a period of serious droughts, between 1100 and 1300 ad. this evidence includes the introduction of new ceramic types in central mexico, about the same time of the mexica arrival, and the fact that the nahuatl language, the language spoken by the aztec/mexica, is not original of central mexico

This was a poster for a theater play called La Cuauhtémoc that will be presented in the city of Xalapa by the Compañía Veracruzana.
The play will take place in a post apocalyptic Mexico in the year 2040, in a hospital where life and death struggle.

I had to change some details for the actual poster that will be displayed in Xalapa’s streets, but I liked this version better.

Xolotl can be understood as the Dog God, Quetzalcoatl’s twin, and as a xolotl, a kind of dog.
In nahua religion, most people went to Mitclan (the underworld, land of the dead) after dying. There were 9 levels that had to be crossed in a 4 year long journey in order to reach the resting place for all souls.
In the first level, a xolotl helped the dead person cross a river, therefore dogs were related to the world of the dead.

© 2017 Camilo Moncada Lozano  

La Malinche

Main illustration by Intagliogia

La Malinche (also known as Malinalli, Malintzin, or Doña Marina) was a close confidant of the conquistador Hernán Cortés.  Born around 1500 to a Nahua family near the border between Aztec and Mayan lands, La Malinche is believed to have been sold into slavery by her family as a young girl.  In 1519, she was one of 20 female slaves given to Hernán Cortés by the Mayans.  Fluent in both Nahuatl and Chontal Mayan, La Malinche quickly distinguished herself as translator, negotiator, and cultural mediator for the Spanish.  Within a few years, La Malinche bore Hernán’s son and married Juan Jaramillo, a Spanish hidalgo, with whom she had a daughter.  It is unclear what happened to La Malinche after 1526.  Estimates of her year of death range from 1527 to 1551.

La Malinche can be seen as victim of slavery, a traitor to her people, or as a founding mother of Mexico.  A slave sold into bondage by her own family, she may not have felt she owed allegiance to the existing powers of Mesoamerica.  Conversely, she may have been hoping that the Spanish could save the Nahua people from the brutality of the Aztecs.  Her defining characteristic may be her ability to not only survive but also thrive during a dangerous time.  


The Codex Fejérváry-Mayer / Tezcatlipoca is a PostClassic Mexican manuscript dating from the 13th - 15th centuries. It is one of only a few surviving indigenous Aztec manuscripts and records the religious practices of the Nahua people. The name Codex Tezcatlipoca means “Book of the Smoking Mirror” and was given to this manuscript based on the importance of the deity of the Smoking Mirror in the codex.

anonymous asked:

If I have Nahua ancestry (my bisabuela is from a community of Nahua peoples in Puebla) is that the "same" as Aztec, or is that only Mexica?

It actually would be neither Aztec nor Mexica. The reason is a little complicated and requires some explanation.

Aztec is the term historians and archaeologists use to identify the pre-Columbian and Contact peoples living in the Triple Alliance cities of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. It is a term based on the semi-mythical homeland of the Mexica, Aztlan. It’s not a term that would have been used by the Mexica themselves.

Mexico, with an o, is one part of the name of Tenochtitlan. The whole name is actually Mexico Tenochtitlan. It is why Mexico City is called Mexico City and where the country of Mexico gets its name. Tenochtitlan was the more powerful city of the three and after the Conquest became the staging ground and seat of power for the Spanish colonial government.

Mexica are the people of Mexico. So the only people who are Mexica are people from Tenochtitlan during the pre-Columbian period.

Puebla, to the south of Tenochtitlan, in pre-Columbiain times was made up of a variety of different ethnicities and towards 1519 had come under the sway of Aztec rule. To quote Wikipedia as a handy source,

The regions of Acatlán and part of Chiautla were dominated by the Mixtecs. Tepexi was dominated by the Popolocas. The central part of the state was dominated by the Olmec-Xicalancas and Nahuas, with strong cultural links to the Toltec-based culture at Cholula. The north was populated by the Totonacas, the Mazatecos and the Otomi, whose cultural center was in El Tajín. In the 14th century, Nonoalca ruler Xelhua, came to dominate almost all of the territory of Puebla. In the 15th century, Aztec domination took over the same area and more. Initially, the center and south areas were under the control of Tenochtitlan with Texcoco dominant in the north. Aztec domination continued until the Spanish Conquest.

But that’s pre-Columbian times and the make up of Puebla, like almost all parts of Mexico, was drastically changed during the colonial period as people died of disease, were recruited to conquer other Natives, or simply saw other economic opportunity in other parts of the country. It’s possible your bisabuela is Mexica if her pre-Columbian or even early Contact ancestors were from Tenochtitlan and settled in Puebla. But it’s more likely that she is part of another cultural/ethnic group that was already in Puebla.

That being said identity, ethnicity, and heritage, while intertwined, is not a simple thing to tease out. Culture and ethnicity is not based on genetics and can be adopted and used by anyone. A lot like languages. And genetics is not always reliable in terms of tracing ancestry because, contrary to what people might think, ancient people moved around. A lot. Sure, it may have taken longer and was more riskier, but that didn’t stop a lot of people.

I’ve noticed that people are becoming more and more concerned about who they are. I think this ties in with globalization and how it makes us all more similar than different. Whether globalization is a good or bad thing can be debated for ages and still not be resolved. And as people try to look back at their roots and figure out that identity based on heritage for themselves they run into tangled issues like this.

I can’t tell you to not be hung up on where your ancestry comes from, because it’s obviously important to you. I’m afraid I don’t have any good advice on sorting this thing out because it’s not something I’ve dealt with. That isn’t to say I know my family history well, and I don’t, but that any remnants of past cultural practices are long forgotten. My family has simply changed too much to have any claim to any culture or ethnicity. We’re now simply American and even then the label is inadequate at times.

I guess all I can really tell you is to use a broad label like Nahua for now, but continue to do some research. Look into the history of the town or part of Puebla your bisabuela is from. Start with recent history and begin to work your way backwards until you reach the pre-Columbian period. Maybe that will help you whittle the label down to something more specific. What you find might surprise you. There is a town in Puebla that I’ve visited called Chipilo and is made up of a large community of Italian-Mexicans. You might find out some of your roots are Italian.

The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), or Palo Volador (Pole Flying), is an ancient Mesoamerican ceremony/ritual still performed today, albeit in modified form, in isolated pockets in Mexico. It is believed to have originated with the NahuaHuastec andOtomi peoples in central Mexico, and then spread throughout most of Mesoamerica. The ritual consists of dance and the climbing of a 30 meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. According to one myth, the ritual was created to ask the gods to end a severe drought. Although the ritual did not originate with the Totonac people, today it is strongly associated with them, especially those in and around Papantla in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The ceremony was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in order to help the ritual survive and thrive in the modern world.