Our final presentation was a few days ago and having seen other groups I noticed a few strengths and weaknesses which made me reflect on the whole process.
My group initaly had trouble with solidifying all the information we found into one presentation. We decided to deal with this by elaborating a presentation that allowed us to go from present Chicano theatre to past, mainly focusing on Aztec rituals and Colonialism. On paper this idea was not very well expressed and it took as a while to articulate it in a way that still addressed the given prompt. Once we got together as a group to actually rehearse our presentation we were gladly surprised to see that what we had envisioned became a reality. I find that relating issues of Colonialism to present problems of Chicano identity was an element that made our presentation very strong and engaging. At the same time we had to face a problem, which the rest of the groups also had. We ran out of time therefore we were not able to wrap up with a solid conclusion. I think that for future presentations I would work with my group a few more hours outside of class to make sure that the presentation itself is timed so that there are a couple of spare minutes in case someone decides to add some information at the last minute or for some of our classmates to ask questions.
I took into consideration the feedback we got from previous assignments and decided to research the term Chicano as it relates to our project:
Chicano refers to a person of Mexican descent. The term started to become popular in the early 1900s and around the 60s it got rid of its negative connotation once the Mexican-American activists reclaimed the term.
According to www.mexica-movement.org the Chicano rejects a Mexican-American identity, rather it embraces their core indigenous identity. "Most of us who were proud of being part of the "Aztecs" embraced the part of Chicano that allowed us to celebrate that Nican Tlaca part of us."
We are able to see that being Chicano focuses on taking pride of one's Mexican origins and does not allow for an American or European identity mixed in with the Mexican. It is purely being proud of one's history and ancestries without celebrating the results of colonization or migration (mestizaje).
It is important for our group to use this term in relation to Mexico's conquest because it relates to the resistance to change. Even though the Spaniards arrived and eventually got mixed with the Indigenous people, their descendents still honor their Mexican origin and take pride on it.
Since my group was told to focus more on the Aztecs than on Valdez's work I read a book called "The Aztecs under the Spanish rule". This books examines what was the power relationship between the Spaniards and the Aztecs after their arrival to Mexico. It deals with issues of land (hacienda), labor, taxes, and religion. The one that was the most interesting to me was the appropiation of land in order to create "haciendas" which then also controlled tribute and labor. The books itself does not touch on the process of colonization but it rather focuses on how was the relationship between these groups after the arrival of the Spanish.
I have kept researching books on colonization and have found a couple of them on the library. I will try to get a hold of them tomorrow so that we are able to focus our information on the right time period
Yesterday my group checked out a few books from the library and each member took a couple of them to read and report back on.
The first book I have been reading is Valdez's "A Chicano Approach to the Theatre of Reality." This is a long poem that deals with issues of Colonization and Chicano identity. It focuses on the importance of religion for Chicanos and encourages the Chicano to liberate itself by loving its culture and playing its designated part in the "theatre of the world". At the same time it sends a message of love for one's own being and for every other human regardless of race, language, or general identity.
The poem is written frequently mixing words in Spanish and English, for example on page 2 it says the following"
"We were conquistados
and we (de la raza de bronce)
began to think we were EUROPEOS
and that their vision of reality
As I am able to read Spanish I found this technique to be very effective. Since the piece focuses a lot on the European influence over the Chicanos it is very intersting to see how Valdez plays using both languages to mold his argument and influence the reader's thoughts.
In terms of our presentation I think we might be able to incorporate the playfulness of Spanish and English and build a stronger argument when we touch on Colonization.