Spanish "Gods"

Heather Hess heatherhess at
Wed Jan 26 20:40:37 UTC 2000

Woops - This should have been directed to the Movie Chat ' not the Spanish
God thread!


>From: "Heather Hess" <heatherhess at>
>Reply-To: nahuat-l at
>To: Multiple recipients of list <nahuat-l at>
>Subject: Re: Spanish "Gods"
>Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 13:24:47 -0700
>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
>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.
> > > 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
> >called
> > > "gods" and that they relished the idea, despite the fact that the
> > > never revered them as gods. To pretend that identifying "whites" as
> > > is a generic "native" reaction to "superior strangers" is arguably
> >racist.>>
> >
> >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
> >called
> >Spaniards we find teotl and we also find that they spoke of their own
> >rulers
> >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.
> >Too
> >much tonalli (radiance). They would be blinded. It is lots more
> >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
> >so often here: Walt Kelley (creator of Pogo): "We have met the enemy and
> >is us."
> >
> >Richard Haly
> >
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