Mexican American Studies Essay

1096 words - 5 pages

How would you discuss the worldviews and value systems of Indigenous peoples prior to European contact/invasion? How did these worldviews impact all aspects of life (science, agriculture, language, spirituality, etc.) for indigenous peoples?

The worldviews and value system of the indigenous people was highly based on religion and community centrism(Cruz 2012). Religion influenced the Indigenous peoples' entire lives, particularly their daily activities, sacrifices, geographic location and their calendars. Community centrism impacted major aspects of their lives such as their form of rule, and whether or not they became educated.
Unlike the western european custom of going to church and ...view middle of the document...

The indigenous people believed in heaven and hell, and one who sacrificed their life to the gods was assured entry to heaven. In addition to sacrifices, religion even influenced the indigeneous peoples' geographic location. Most of us are familiar with the image that is on the Mexican flag; it is an eagle standing on a cactus, eating a snake. Huitzilopotchli, who was the leader of his people was told to leave Aztlan and travel south until he found a symbol to settle down. As he was traveling, he found an eagle on a cactus eating a snake and decided that that was the sign he was looking for; so he settled down. That now-famous image became the central symbol on the Mexican flag. This was symbolic to them because the eagle represented the sky or heaven, the cactus represented the underworld, and the snake represented the ground. In addition, the bird eating the snake on the cactus also represented duality, the coexistence of natural elements, as it fused together the bird which represented the sky, and the snake which represented the ground. Duality was important because it represented the stability and equality of everything(Covarrubias 2012). The stone of the fifth sun, also known as the “Aztec Calendar”, is a widely known symbol. However, what is not widely known is that the stone of the fifth sun is actually a religious reminder created by the Mechica/Aztecs. The four squares represent earth, fire, wind and water; and also represent the four previous suns. The two faces in the stone of the fifth sun appear facing each other in complete opposition representing life and death, as well as day and night.
In contermporary times, Western European culture is highly based on “me,” meaning that we are selfish people. We put the needs of ourselves before others more often than not and act in ways that will benefit ourselves, even if the community suffers from it. Indigenous people were almost completely opposite from us in this aspect, as they were a culture that was highly based on “we” or “us.” They were people who put the needs of their community before their own. Any act was done for the purpose of benefiting them as a whole, not individually. This affected the lives of indigenous people in all aspects including their “government,” what individuals did for a living,...

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