To my dearest child, the immigrant:
I am Tenochtitlan, land of the Aztecs, your motherland. Gone are the days when we were the dominant culture. We have been conquered by a stranger, who tore down our beliefs and placed a cross in our hands. Our worship forever changed; our language replaced with their language. My dearest child, you are no longer just an Aztec. Now you are the product of a painful war between us and them. I wish we had joined other tribes from our land and fought against them. But the reality is that now we are a different culture. You were once called an Aztec, now you are called a Mexican. Do not be ashamed, instead remember me, your motherland.
Remember me as you travel to another land. You leave me because I can no longer feed your hunger, quench your thirst and protect you from the modern day conquistadors. These modern day conquistadors are wealthy just like the first conquistadors. They use their wealth to build monuments of power at the cost of people like you. It saddens me that you must leave me, but I understand that you have a family to provide for. I hope that as you travel and settle in the other motherland that you teach your children about me. Teach them about your motherland.
It is likely that this new land will not richly mention our history or their current involvement with your motherland. You must teach them about us, the Aztecs, the Mexicans, and even all of us Latin Americans. Now that you are in this new land, treasure it just at its original natives did at one point in history. Prior to being forced out of their lands, just like you, they were conquered by a stranger. They were taken out of their own homes and made slaves. They were perceived to incompetent, though you and I know that given our cultural and historical similarities, they were much more incompetent. This new land that you are going to is beautifully chaotic. It possess a complicated history marked by slavery, oppression, and injustices.
I must warn you of the sufferings you will encounter in this new land. You may find yourself working in the fields or meat packing factories for long hours only to receive a minuscule paycheck and harassment as a tip. At times you will be haunted like animals, to be packed in a bus and shipped back to “where you came from”. Do not let what happened in Postville Iowa, 2008, frighten you. Yes, it was an outrageous I.C.E. raid. Be wary my child, this new land is not always welcoming. So as you wipe the sweat of your face and feel your back ache remember that I will always be your motherland loving you from afar. The new land is rich because of people like you and others cultures who share our tragic history of oppression.
I hope that in this new land you follow the urgency of Martin Luther King Jr. and join hands with your new African-American brothers and sisters. They too were conquered, though unlike you their ancestors were forced into this land. Eat with them, share your stories and have discussions. Embrace the Hotinoshonni’s vision of coexistence. My dearest child, join hands with every color of skin and stop these conquistadors from stealing innocent cultures. Echoing Alice Walker, do not believe them when they tell you this is not your land. It is your land. I leave you with a gift, it is a simple lens. This lens is made up of compassion, empathy, and marvelous creativity. Use it wisely and pass it down only as a gift. This way it will be free for everyone to use. So march on my dearest child, I Tenochtitlan, your mother land will always love you.
Your motherland, Tenochtitlan.
Inspired by Dr. King’s letter and Welch, I decided to write a letter to a migrant worker from the perspective of Tenochtitlan. Tenochtitlan is modern day Mexico City. This city was founded by the Aztecs. Legend has it that the Aztecs build the city after seeing an eagle holding a snake by its peak while resting on a cactus. This was a sign from their god to build their kingdom. To make the long story short, the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs and other tribes. Spain ruled over Mexico for a long time and it was not until September 16th 1810 that Mexico gain its independence. Thus with this date in mind, I reflected on my personal cultural history while incorporating some of the struggles migrant workers face. Such as the raid in Postville, Iowa. This a small town with a large amount of Latin American immigrants. ICE basically showed up at a meat packing factory and deported a significant amount people. For more info on this raid: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/magazine/postville-iowa-is-up-for-grabs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0