September 15 to October 15 has been designated in US as Hispanic Heritage Month.

During this month long celebration people learn about the many contributions of Latinos and the pride of those who identify themselves as Mexican-American, Cuban-American, Puerto Rican-American and so on, is enhanced.

Many Hispanics trace their roots to the Spanish explorers, other also remember to trace their roots to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, including Arawaks (Puerto Rico), Incas (South America), Tainos (Cuba), and Mayas ( Central America). There are roots from Africa too and we acknowledge them.

I am a ‘mestiza’. I incarnate the cross between the indians that populated the Americas and the Europeans that tried to erase the native languages, looted the land, enslaved the original peoples of these territories and took possession of the gold, the minerals, the ecological bounty and continue to do so.

I lost my original language, my tribe and traditions, but other have not. I get excited when I attend Pow-Wows, or when I hear nahualt words in the Mexican everyday language. I love to see the traditional clothes and artifacts when I visit friends’ homes.

We all accepted the Spanish language or Portuguese as our common thread in many countries. We lament the lost indian languages and hope that many that have not been lost will be encouraged in their respective cultures. The imposition of one language over others is a violation of the human collective right of expression.

I come from the Mesoamerican culture of the ‘Maiz’. Our cultures are intertwined with the corn from the fields and the dark hands that make it into tortillas, arepas, tamales, pupusas, atole, chicha de maiz, sopas, palomitas and others.

Latinos came to the territory of the Apaches, Lakotas and Pottawatomie. In coming to the United States, one of the territories of the Americas, they brought more than good food and music. They have helped to build this country, with their hands, with their daily work, with their effort. They settled down to share their knowledge and traditions with the ones coming from other cultures of the world.

United States is the place where many cultures have met and enriched each other with their viewpoints, work and ways of life.

There is no culture above others. Technology may be different and sometimes some are more useful than others but culture is linked to a mode of life and thought that is supposed to be respected. The western hemisphere, and in particular their interest in expanding trade over people have made us believe that there are superior and developed countries and other that are not.

Each nation and cultural group has the right to their land and language; turning us all into commercial clients is not going to benefit the health or life of the common people or the land. In this coming month of celebration we may also salute and bid farewell to those who depart from the US to their native lands. Let’s thank them for their contributions and wish them well as they go back; for in doing so we hope that corn for everyone will keep the peace that we all must have.