Spanish "Gods"

Heather Hess heatherhess at
Wed Jan 26 20:24:10 UTC 2000

I want to reply to this subject on a very personal note.  I am Canadian and
have spent much of my last few years in Mexico.  I have had varied
experiences learning Nahautl and am associated with Aztec Dancers so have
first hand information.  These people that are my friends are hospitable
before anything ' they open up their doors ' give you food ' hospitality '
anything I ever need is just there.  The Spaniards when they came also
received a warm welcome but abused and took advantage of the Aztecas!  I can
only say that if only the rest of the world could learn to open up their
doors to people the way Mexicans do we wouldn´t have so much trouble in the
world right now!  We must quit worrying about trivialities and get down to
the basics!  We as a tiny particle of this world must learn to once again
respect and be open to people more than we are to material goods ' movies
fit into that category ' movies are for entertainment ' they are not to be
taken seriously ' people that see movies come to their own conclusions '
people that are aware will realize the misgivings of what is popular in the
eyes of the public ' those that are not aware ' well ' for them there is no
hope!  Forgive the format of this message ' I have to pay for computer time
so didn´t stop to format this opinion!


>From: Richard Haly <Richard.Haly at>
>Reply-To: nahuat-l at
>To: Multiple recipients of list <nahuat-l at>
>Subject: Spanish "Gods"
>Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 23:41:01 -0700
> > The entire
> > "Cortes-Quetzalcoatl" scenario appears only in the later accounts. While
> > it is fairly clear that Nahuas applied the term "teotl" to the Spanish
> > early on, it is also clear that the Spanish thought they were being
> > "gods" and that they relished the idea, despite the fact that the Nahuas
> > never revered them as gods. To pretend that identifying "whites" as gods
> > is a generic "native" reaction to "superior strangers" is arguably
>The problem with thinking that Nahuas considered Spaniards to be gods
>resides not in Nahua "naivete" nor in Spanish presumption but in our own
>unexamined assumptions of what gods are. If we go back to what Nahuas
>Spaniards we find teotl and we also find that they spoke of their own
>using the same term. The issue is  not one of deifying Spaniards but of
>humanizing "gods." What is teotl? Recall that commoners could not look
>directly at Moteuczomah just as they could not look directly at the sun.
>much tonalli (radiance). They would be blinded. It is lots more productive
>to think of both Nahua rulers and Spaniards as these sort of man-gods.
>What I don't understand are all these stereotypical interpretations on
>either side. Perhaps it's time to again trot out a quote that appears every
>so often here: Walt Kelley (creator of Pogo): "We have met the enemy and he
>is us."
>Richard Haly

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