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I think about who we might have been if we weren’t colonized and enlisted into the machine.

My mother’s birthday is October 12th, all my life it was on the calendar as Columbus day.

My neighbor flies an American flag, his family has been in Oregon for five generations. His family came on the mayflower, that’s what he says when we first meet.

Both my great grandfathers were murdered for their land in Mexico. They were meztizo, a mix of Spanish and Indigenous. Their mothers and made better by breeding out the Indian. Being Indio is not desired. So we aren’t that. But we are.

My family is now four generations midwesterners but we are still Coahuiltecan pushed off of our land, murdered, assimilated, surviving by code switching silently so that our culture is so muted and shrouded it is lost…

My neighbor never served. Only settled, generations of settling, stealing, benefiting from our ancestors’ knowledge, land, medicine. All the while, keeping it from us the meztizos. Too ignorant to know what to do with it.

I didn’t learn the songs of our people until my mid 30 but I learned cadence and marching songs when I was a child from my parents.

My parents both served this country but were never granted citizenship.

Thank goodness my father finally did before trump took office…his green card wouldn’t have been enough. My parents after serving, to the government weren’t enough. Too Indio, too brown.

My mother told us about when she had to barricade her door when she reported for duty to keep her superiors from coming into her room at night. Helping himself to government property. Hoping to breed the Indio out more…

I wish I took lessons from the stories. My shipmates tried to breed the Indio out of me too.

But that’s what this machine is, isn’t it?

I pledge allegiance to the land i hope to one day return to it, And to the creatures, plants and soil, on which I stand, all nations, under a sky, in solidarity for social justice and an end to war. May this machine become obsolete. A’ho.

~Chichitonyolotli 2018. “I am indigenous. I am culturally american. I worked as a youth worker and community health educator for fifteen years. I am a veteran of the us armed forces as well. I am queer and gender non conforming and I am coming into what is called a don, of my own, after suffering a soul loss of my own a decade ago. I have my roots in many worlds. I have studies and practiced the art of heart to hearts (Platicas) for many years and i would like to work with you in moving towards your true self and finding your path. Noxtin nomecoyotzin~ solidarity

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