9/11/05

THE ORIGIN OF THE "CHICANO" NAME

CHICANO

The name/term "Chicano" has now been appropriated by many Mexican-Americans as unique and therefore reflective of their unique culture, though its first usage is said to have been discriminatory, and it was insulting to be identified by this name. The Mexican-American activists who took part in the Brown Power movement of the 60s & 70s "appropriated" the term as a badge of pride and honor, and has now come into acceptance and widespread usage by millions of Mexican-Americans.

One of the likely source of the word is traced to the “30s and 40s” period, when poor, rural Mexican immigrants, were imported to the U.S. to provide cheap field labor.

~*The term is said to have come into first use in the fields of California in derision of the inability of native Nahuatl speakers from the state of Morelos to refer to themselves as "Mexicanos," and instead spoke of themselves as "Mesheecanos," in accordance with the pronunciation rules of their Nahuatl language.*~

~*In “vulgar” Spanish it is common for Mexicans to use the "CH" conjunction in place of certain consonants in order to create a term of endearment. IE: Chingon (bad ass cool dude), Chulo (good looking), Chido (cool), CHamuco (cool devil), CHeves (beers), CHocala (shake on it), CHoya (head), CHelo (short for Consuelo -feminine name), CHemo (short for Anselmo -masculine name), CHichis (tits), and so many more.*~

The root-meaning of the word CHICANO/MEXICANO comes from the Nahualt words Xi’kriztl and ‘Kano.

Chicano subsequently became a shortening of the original self-named Nahuatl people, the “Xi’Kanos” = Mexicas = "The Children of the Earth".

Xicano then became Mexica, which in turn became Mexicano, and then Chicano.

The X having the pronounciation of CH in the tongue of the Nahuatl/Aztecs.

“Chicano” came to be widely used during the late 40's & early 50's, and it was
used to describe pureness of the race by the Pachucos.

The Pachucos were the re-originators of the original Aztec name, they applied it to themselves as inheritors of the birthland of the Aztec/Mexica people whom migrated south to what is today known as EL Valle de Mexico, from the lands far north (Southwestern States & Northern Mexico), therefore they (Pachucos/Chicanos) were coming back to re-claim the land for their original owners, the Xi'Kanos (Chicanos).

In time Chicano became a general term applied to all Mexican-Americans who grew up in the mixed-culture of the Southwestern States which is known to Chicanos today as “AZTLAN”.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a population shift of Mexican-Americans, that occurred in the 50's (perhaps since the 40's), to the Chicago area. Mexican-Americans that already lived in the Chicago area, would refer to themselves as "Chicago-Mexicanos" and eventually shortened to "Chicano," which makes perfect, plausible sense.

This information I gathered from a study done that was in print sometime in the early 60's. Unfortunately, the work is long lost to time and is out of print, so there is no way to substantiate my comment, unfortunately. I recalled reading this tidbit of historical research when I came across this article.

What I resent is people copying and pasting material from wiki, which in my opinion, is not historically accurate when it comes to information such as this.

This is why terms like "Chicano Poetry" and "Chicano Literature" just sound ridiculous in my opinion since the term, in my opinion, arose out of a migratory and not out of a literary movement.

Finally, not all Mexican-Americans identify with the term Chicano. I am Mexican-American born and raised in the southernmost area of Texas and I never heard the term in anyone’s vocabulary, including my parents. I grew up as a boy during the 60’s and never heard the term in school, neighbors, other people in the area, etc. We did not refer to ourselves as Chicanos and to this day, especially around some of the old timers like me, the term lives us perplexed when people use that term.

Anonymous said...

We have native indian and Spanish Royal Blue blood in our family, i have more of an Indiginous features so it may look rediculous to claim Spanish royal blood line, i go to the pow wow's and love the Indo side because these are the people that accept me, my lighter european relatives are excepted by white people as their own, I will fuck spanish women in and Indian heart beat, i will make them sing the songs of POW WOW POW WOW, lets reconquer those white bitches

Mike Maldonado said...

As a teenager in the 70's, i grew up in san antonio "los casianos" to be exact, always aware of my Chicano roots. We had our own street slang, our language was basically spoken in what people today call "tex-mex". Half English and half Spanish but very understandable to our own culture. I believe based on my adult travels and experience that our Chicano culture is not understood or respected due to our own raza moving forward in the American dream and pretty much not making an effort to continue to remind or educate our young ones on how much sacrifice our forefathers and mothers endured in order to move our culture forward.
It's never too late, I know that we all live a fast pace life now but please take some time to talk about the Chicano movement with our children. Not to challenge others but in order to be grounded and know where we came from and where we are going.
We are all Gods children and he loves us no matter where we came from or what our culture is but it is important for all of us to have an identity.

Mike Maldonado said...

I am sure that I am speaking for all "Chicano's" when I say that this idiot who makes derogatory remarks towards Spanish women or any woman in general, should be forgiven for "he knows not what he is saying". God have mercy on his soul!

yo pitaya said...

Thank you, Mike Maldonado, for your remark in response to "Anonymous" who apparently suffers from such low self-esteem he must insult women, especially "white" women. He needs to spend some time with the Santisima Madre, La Virgen de Guadalupe.

Anonymous said...

We are Chicano (Mexican-American) and we are 100% American! PURO SAN ANTONIO, GHOST TOWN!

Anonymous said...

To yo pitaya,

While the man who is so immature he knows he should remain anonymous is incorrect for wanting to specifically defile white women whom he refers to as "bitches", you are just as nonsensical spouting praises for "Virgen de Guadalupe". Were you unaware that it was that particular image that was used to conquer current-day Mexico?

We would all be much better off without that Spanish, brain-colonizing religion. While there are bits of philosophical wisdom to be taken from the written works, those are not our beliefs; those are not our People. That religion has been, and still is, used to conquer.

I mean no offense by my words, it merely pains me to see my People mentally controlled. We have our own ancient beliefs. It's unfortunate said beliefs have been buried in time.

I would like to point out that, though I am anonymous, it's because I have no account with which I can login. Choosing anonymous was much easier.

Peace.