There was a transfer of African religious traditions to Mexico.
Given the discovery of numerous Olmec artifacts depicting Blacks begs a number of questions: “Were there Black or African people in ancient America? Do the African heads of the Olmec confirm an African presence in Mexico or do they show present-day Mayan people? What is the relation between contemporary Black Costa Chicas (negrocostachicanos) and Blacks depicted in Olmec artifacts?
The God Ekchuah
Note how the Mayan chief painted himself Black to welcome Ekchuah.
Also look at how the leading personage before the Black travler
The idea of mestizaje was developed by Jose
Vascoucelos. Mr. Vascouselos became Minister of Education in 1921. During his
tenure Black heroes of Mexican history were whitened as Vascoucelos pursued a
policy of homogenization of Mexicans (Cuevas, 2004).
In 1946, Black Mexicans
were rediscovered by Aguirre Beltran (1972) when he found the Blacks in Costa
Chica. This was a rediscovery because the idea of mestizaje stressed the idea
that there were only Mexicans, and not Amerindians, Whites or Blacks. The only
problem with this idea was that Black Mexicans became associated with poverty
and ignorance. These Blacks also experience much discrimination throughout
Mexico, and much hostility in Costa Chica (Vaugh, 2005a, 2005b).
Negrocostachicanos claim that they have never been slaves and are indigenous to
Guererro and Oaxaca on the Pacific coast of Mexico. The 1990 Mexican census
recorded 66,000 Negrocostachicanos. These Mexicans live in African style huts
and practice rituals which may be of African origin (Vaugh,2005a).
researchers believe that the Negrocostachicanos are decendants of marrons or
runaway slaves (Aguirre Beltran, 1972; Vaugh,2005a). But none of the Blacks of
Costa Chica have songs about slavery and its hardships (Baja.com.2005).The
Negrocostachicanos say “they are not they insist, the descendants of African
slaves. There was never slavery here, even in ancient times” (Baja.com,2005).
Bobby Vaugh (2005b) noted that he found “no consciousness of slavery among
people in Costa Chica” (p.5). Another researcher, noted that “Housewives in San
Jose Estancia Grande and Santiago Tapextla [in Costa Chica] say their ancestors
did not come from Africa, that their families have always lived right here”
(Baja.com, 2005, p.6).
The fact that the Negrocostachicanos claim that they
were never slaves has troubled some researchers who believe that the only Blacks
in Mexico came to the New World with the Spanish. Although this is the popular
view concerning the origin of Blacks in Mexico, this view may be Eurocentric
because the archaeological and historical evidence indicate that Blacks were
already in Mexico when the Spanish made there way to Mexico.
in the African Discovery of America (1922), provides a detailed account
of the Black gods of Mexico in the third volume in this series of books. Wiener
outlined that the Blacks were traveling merchants in Mexico selling cocao,
feathers and other products.
The major Black gods of the Mexicans was
Quetzalcoalt, and the Mayan gods L and M, Xaman and Ekchuah these gods are
depicted in the Codex Troano(Wiener, 1921, [vol.3] p.258). Sahagun tells us that
Ekchuah was also the god of the Amanteca. The Nahuatl term Amanteca, was
probably the name of the Mandinka or Mandinga people who were the foundation of
the Olmec people (Winters, 2005).
Ekchuah and the Mayan God M, was
the god of merchants and warriors. He is also depicted in the Codex Cortesianus
and 17 times in the Madrid Codex.