Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Look at the Ancestors Here

     “Father Gerónimo Boscana…defines Acjachema as a pyramidal form of moving matter (Boscana). Boscana observes further that “Others apply the term to things inanimate, such as a pile of stones, etc., but the most correct signification of the word is understood as having relation to a heap of animated things (Boscana 84)… In traditional Acjachemen thought, however, rocks animate and alive. They pulse with the vibration of all their minerals, with all their ayelkwi, or knowledge-power. Rocks hold as much cultural significance as the sky holds stars. Rocks walk themselves to ceremonies. They sing across valleys. They burst into fire and they hum to themselves. Through rocks, the ancestors speak and the spirits appear…
Ancient boundary monument No. XVI was a simple pile of stones, early 1850s. From Jacobo Blanco’s Memoria de la Sección Mexicana de la Comisión Internacional de Límites entre México y los Estados Unidos que Restableció los Monumentos de El Paso al Pacífico. 1901.
    ...Louie continues to explain his views towards rocks, offering an example of a rock pile. “Your average person could walk by a pile of rocks and say ‘Oh that’s a pile of rocks,’” he explains. “A native person could walk by, and say ‘Look at the ancestors here.’” His words remind me about the story of Acjachema, the place where the ancestors slept all together. Rocks, similarly stacked and piled, are ancestors too. I wonder about the ancient rock cairns that people have occasionally seen in the southern California hills, the cairns that the Lobos describe in their report. Are these groups of ancestors perhaps tapping into something deeper, into the story of Acjachema?” ~ From: “A Celebration of Ceremony Among the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation,” Julia Edith Rigby (2012)
Chinigchinich by Friar Geronimo Boscana (tr. by Alfred Robinson) [1846]

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