ONE WHO IS DESERVING BECAUSE OF THE SACRIFICE
Berenice Sanchez is the Food Sovereignty Programme Co-Ordinator for Mexico, of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). I met her for the first time in New York in May 2013, where we found ourselves together for the Project Access Tribal Link training for the 12th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Berenice carries a precious gift encoded in her DNA that few will ever see, I was fortunate to be one of those who has....and I shall never forget it.
To encapsulate her proud lineage: The Azteca became known as the Mexica, then the Mexica became known as the Nahua-Otomi....the speakers of the Nahuatl language of the once mighty Aztec Empire of central Mexico. The meaning of the name of her proud Tribal Nation in English is "Those who are deserving because of the sacrifice"....for it was the Nahua-Otomi people who supplied the fierce warriors of the Aztec Imperial Army.
Their Creator God Quetzalcoatl (Feathered serpent) told them that 4 times the world of mortal man had been destroyed, and that he (Quetzalcoatl) had to go to the underworld to rescue the bones of those who lived before.....then he re-emerged, and in order to give life back to those bones - he pierced himself... and with his own fertile blood he brought his people back to life. He also taught them that there are 9 levels of the underworld... As a pro-traditionalist Lokono-Arawak who knows that my own people view 4 and 9 as sacred numbers - these facts have not gone unnoticed by me.
The 13,000 people who live in Berenice's autonomous indigenous town of Magu, north-east of Mexico City (the old Aztec capital) in the state of Mexico (in the country of Mexico); is divided into 13 Otomi communities (4 and 9 = 13). Her people are the ONLY ones in ALL of Mexico who HAVE NEVER and WILL NEVER pay ANY tribute or tax to the past Colonial or present-day Neo-Colonial governments in Mexico....hell - they did not even pay any tribute to the Aztec Empire that crushed all enemies before them; and most people believe it is because of the unbreakable will and legendary fierceness in battle of these people.
The lingering effects of Colonialism (like the lingering effects of slavery for another race of mankind) - exacted it's own price in the lives of Berenice's fore-bearers, her maternal grandfather once tried earlier in the 20th century - to teach his beloved native language (equal to the European languages in the curriculum) to the non-indigenous students of the non-indigenous school that he became the Headmaster of.....but the parents of those students literally stoned and injured him for it! Before him, Berenice's Great Grandfather was a fighter in the Rebel Army of the famous Mexican Amerindian Revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata.
Thankfully, by the time her maternal grandfather (who raised her along with his wife - her maternal grandmother) died; the grandchildren of those same non-indigenous townspeople - who reacted with such hatred to his willingness to share his love for his own native language with them....FINALLY reciprocated that love, and the students lined both sides of the street from the school - to his final resting place in the cemetery....as a final show of their love and respect for their old Amerindian Headmaster.
The Nahua-Otomi people believe that Cancer is the result of the negative emotions you keep inside of you and never cleansed from yourself.....and the cancer rate among the traditionalists of her people is non-existant.... Alas, the cancer of Globalisation - spearheaded by an all pervasive and insidious 'Corporatocracy' , is proving to be a harder negative force to cleanse from the minds and bodies of these proud people.
In 2012 Bernice began to hold workshops in her community about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and she dedicated her life to motivating her people to implement their rights as recognised under International Law; instead of waiting for the dominant non-indigenous society and powers that be - to do what they would have done already ....if they truly wanted to treat us with the dignity, respect, justice, and EQUITY they are fond of pretending to want for 'their Amerindian brothers' ....(whom they only seem to remember at election time).
In Berenice's own words:
Damon Gerard Corrie
13 Highgate Gardens
Wildey, St. Michael
Tel: (246) 228-0227 Fax: (246) 437-2018
Copyright © 2013 Damon G. Corrie