30.10.13

Ancient Footprints of the Colorado River: By Alfredo Acosta Figueroa

This book covers an immense amount of information regarding the nature of the land surrounding the Lower Colorado River Basin Valleys and feels like a manifestation of  a lifetime of work by Alfredo Acosta Figueroa.  This is a primary text for me not only because it directly relates to the tradition and culture of the region that I am from, but because the author is my Tio (my great uncle).  I remember being very young and listening to him and my Tata (grandfather) talk about all sorts of exciting things.   Now as I'm trying to understand the motivation for creating a positive push in my work - this text feels wholly relevant to a lot that I'm making.


This text begins by discussing the mythical city of Aztlan - a place where all native americans originated from.  Figueroa makes a hearty argument that this place isn't mythical at all, but is directly in the Palo Verde Valley.  Figueroa speaks about the historical relevancy of many Intaglios in the area and about various drawings/codices that support his argument.


"The origin of Mexico was on the Colorado River and was the Confederation of Anahuac, which extended from the Rocky Mountains in the north down to Nicaragua. The official version of the Mexican Government states that the nation began when it became independent from Spain on September 16, 1821, and that the mother country is Spain, La Madre Patria Espana. This is a gross misinterpretation of the origin of Mexico since the origin of Mexico as a nation is deeply rooted in its cosmic traditional culture since time immemorial."


Early on, Figueroa's aim becomes clear - one of understanding origin and restoration.  Restoring the land and culture of the Mexica people back to a time when the land was not so disrespected and community was an integral part of culture.  This notion is not unlike other contemporary texts - Terence McKenna spoke avidly about turning back towards the past, toward an Archaic Revival.  Figueroa mentions the destruction of many clues and sacred sites to the past,

"Most of the codices were deliberately destroyed by European zealots living among the colonizers in Mexico, 'silencing the voices from the past'."


Both of my parents are from Blythe, a small town in the Palo Verde Valley.  Many times I've traveled to Blythe as a child, less so as an adult, but I've always felt the vastness of the desert was something sacred that commanded respect.  Many of Figueroa's points relate to the lack of respect there is for this desert as there are many projects that aim to desecrate the land.

The question becomes, how does culture begin to have a cosmological relationship again when many of the clues of the past traditions cannot be found?  Figueroa makes an incredible effort to speak about various cosmic traditions of the past.  I will be rereading this text to absorb its magic power of the past and desert, as well as to study it's cosmological links more closely. 

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