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The Embassy

The Aztlanahuac Cultural Embassy will be located in Teotihuacan, Estado Mexico,

Mexico. It will be a place for gathering and grounding into the beautiful legacy of our

Mesoamerican ancestors. This space will serve as a haven for those who have not had the

opportunity to visit these sacred monuments that speak to the spiritual connection and

intelligence of our ancestors. Due to five-hundred-years of colonization, and the violence and

oppression that come with that, descendants of peoples all over Abya Yala are largely displaced

from their ancestral lands. Whether that be folks leaving their communities in search of jobs in

the city, to people leaving their home-countries completely. The diaspora is numerous and

widespread over North and South America, and the world. When we lose our direct connection

to our homelands, we also lose our relationships with the peoples that surrounded our

territories. This loss of relationship is as impactful as our loss of home because context is as

much a part of our identity as our place of belonging.

The colonization of the “New World” largely coincided with the ideological birth of

nationalism, so for the inhabitants of Abya Yala, to be colonized also meant the indoctrination of

a nationalist identity since the end of the 18th century. The result of this was that as diasporic

peoples, we have adopted a lens that sees great separation with our relatives across Abya Yala.

This separation is not a historical reality. What we know from oral tradition and what is confirmed

by the archaeological record is that people across Mesoamerica, South America, and the

Caribbean as well as North America were deeply connected by trade routes and a legendary

grain for the western hemisphere: maíz/corn.

Born in Southern Mexico, by the cultivation and selection of teosinte about 9,000 years

ago by human hands, corn unifies us. Corn is not a crop that can spread naturally like common

weeds. It can only be grown by intentional cultivation. The significance of this is that in order for

corn to have spread across the western hemisphere as it did, it was necessary for people to

travel and pass the corn with the knowledge of how to care for it. This of course means that

travelers and peoples along their path must have been in contact for at least one growing

season, likely multiple in order to successfully pass and receive the wisdom of maíz agriculture.

This process, of course, took place over countless generations. Archaeological evidence in the

eastern United States demonstrates that as little as 1,000 years ago corn had newly become a

large scale crop in the region. The journey of corn and the migration of peoples along with its

trade across the Americas, thus, has been one in motion since its birth.

The word maíz was first heard by Spanish colonizers in the Taino language on the island

known as Hispañola, formerly and forever Ayti. Through the survival of this term for corn, we

know the Caribbean nations had this important crop. Today, the story of the continent of North

America is not told in a manner intertwined with that of the Caribbean nations. However,

according to archaeology and genetics in the last decades, the Caribbean was settled by

indigenous peoples of Central America and northern South America as much as 7,000 years

ago. This was 2,000 years after the birth of the corn in Southern Mexico. Did the people who

populated the Caribbean already hold the knowledge for cultivating maíz when they settled? Did

they possess maíz seeds? The answer to these questions has yet to be illuminated. However,

we do know that by the time of the Spanish invasion of Abya Yala, corn was an important crop in

the Caribbean. In fact, the most widespread name for corn used in the last 500 years has been

the name given to it by the people of Ayti and the surrounding islands.

The path of movement of the maíz thus provides a map of connection and relationship

among people from South America through North America to the Caribbean. Recalling and

honoring this connection is an important part of the vision of the embassy. Now, though this

history is incredible, its connection to Teotihuacán specifically may remain a question. The

answer to this is simple. Teotihuacán is a site that was uniquely multiethnic. In fact, the layout of

the city was made of neighborhoods where people from specific regions in Mexico lived among

one another and next to people from other regions. This is evidenced by the accumulation of

items from specific places like regions in Oaxaca, the coasts of Mexico, Yucatán, etc in specific

barrios in Teotihuacan. Additionally, artifacts with origins in Teotihuacan have been found across

Mexico and Central America and artifacts across Mexico and Central America have been found

in Teotihuacan. In this way, we can see that this site of ceremony and commerce was a hub that

brought many maíz-based peoples together to co-exist and commune. The vision of the

embassy is to honor this memory by creating a space to once again come together, from across

the diaspora of maíz-based peoples whether they be in their homelands or displaced, in order to

ground in our connections to each other and the powerful histories of our ancestors.

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We Need You

The journey to opening the Embassy has taken years of outreach and relationship building.  Yet, we are still building. We need you.  We invite you to join our effort and CO-CREATE with us.

This Embassy belongs to you.

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