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Mexican Indigenous Influence on Chican a/ o Art  


To pinpoint the Mexican indigenous influence on Chicana/o art, one can begin by examining the subject matter. In the poem, “I Am Joaquin,” by Corky Gonzalez, the poet Gonzalez makes many links to indigenous culture s of the Aztec and Mayan people. When writing this poem, Gonzalez must have had an eye turned to the past and understood that it is impossible to sever the past from the present. In Rudolfo Anaya’s,  Bless Me Ultima , Anaya also incorporates themes that were relevant to the indigenous Mexicans as well as to Chicanos. One of these themes is imperialism,  colonialization , and conquest. Indigenous Mexicans experienced  colonialization  after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was broken by the United States. Chicanos still live in occupied land and therefore have first-hand experience with the effects of  colonlization .   

In the video, Professor Fermin Herrera discusses the value in studying Nahuatl, stating that studying this language can help Chicana/ os  “come to a better understanding of ourselves as a people…and our contemporary culture. ” Professor Herrera’s analysis shows why Chicana/o artists incorporate their ancestral heritage into their work since this heritage can help Chicana/ os  learn further about themselves and the world they occupy. Everybody has a past, and this past should not be  neglected since it can serve as a roadmap for personal introspection and to make sense of the surrounding world. Without this roadmap, every experience becomes new and cannot be understood with a larger context. Additionally, people without a past are not a people as it is a shared past as well as the customs and traditions of this past that  united  a people.     

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