Sunday, January 15, 2017

Academia Cuauhtli 2017—First day back

Some of our students pictured here at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center

First day back for the new year at Academia Cuauhtli yesterday.  "Cuauhtli," a Nahuatl term (pronounced "KWOW-tlee") means "Eagle."  We aspire that our children not simply soar like eagles in their hopes and accomplishments in school and life, but rather that they also posses the eagle's acumen.  
To acquire and have the big picture, but not to get lost in the clouds.  We want them to have a fullness in understanding of themselves, their language, culture, community, ancestry, and to be proud of that.  Also, the eagle—like the condor, its cousin—is a symbol of resurrection and renewal, which is what schooling at its best should be about.

Rosa Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli

We opened the day yesterday with singing and expressions of gratitude. Thanks to maestra Rosa Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli and maestro Alejandro Yolquiahuitl Martinez and to Grupo Xochipilli for their work with our children.

The absolute most touching part was when maestra Tupina and maestro Alejandro Yolquiahuitl explained and had the children put on and model the atuendos, the indigenous danzante attire. Danza, by the way, is not "dance," but rather ceremony.  This is something that we in Nuestro Grupo—the community-based organization that organizes and coordinates the activities of the academy—have learned and embraced as a part of this initiative.
To hear maestra Tupina and maestro Yolquiahuitl describe and gently guide the children into its significance and then to observe their transformation with the putting on of the atuendo was so tender and loving. All of it, of course, was deeply spiritual, well-conceived, communitarian, organized and profoundly intellectual. The visit to the Sam Coronado Art Gallery upstairs was also a very special opportunity for our students.
I have often said that there is little as more sacred as the education of our children and youth.  Academia Cuauhtli embodies this.  We have great plans for the new year and so happy to be on this journey, the "red road," the sacred path.
Thanks to maestra Belinda Jimenez for the photos.
If you want to learn more about us, check out this video: Academia Cuauhtli Works to Bridge History with Language   You may also like us on Facebook: or keyword "Academia Cuauhtli" on this blog.
Angela Valenzuela


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