Death of an Indigenous Elder

Don Luis Martinez was a local mechanic in the Chicago barrio of Pilsen for many years. A hard-working man with long ties in the community and in Mexico, he was also more than that -- he was en elder in the Mexikayotl native traditions of Mexico. Around ten years ago, he gave me my Mexika/Nahuatl name, Xikome Tochtli, in a beautiful ceremony in my back yard -- with my family and the Blazquez family (all four of whom also received their names that day) and a few friends.

Today, after a painful bout with cancer, Don Luis Martinez (also known as Macuilxochitl) passed on to the ancestors. I received the email with this news from Frank Blazquez (Tekpaltzin) about an hour ago.

I will also cherish his work, his teachings, and the gift he bestowed on me. Xikome Tochtli means Seven Rabbit (Siete Conejo). It comes from a reading of the Mexika Sun Stone Calendario (the so-called Aztec Sun Stone), which is very accurate and still used today in parts of the US and Mexico.

This year also happens to be the year of Xikome Tochtli (also spelled as Chicome Tochtli) in the Mexika calendar.

I'm honored to have integrated myself to my ancestral roots -- I'm Mexika/Raramuri -- and to have had such teachers and fellow sojourners on my own spiritual path.

This has helped me stay sober, continue to be a decent father and husband, and to give back to my community with Tia Chucha's Bookstore, Cafe & Cultural Center, which has workshops in all the arts, including Aztec Dance, a bookstore, cafe, cyber cafe, and performance space. My wife Trini and I also belong to a Sweat Lodge circle in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, and we go to ceremonies every year on the Navajo Rez. And these ways have helped me with my talks, readings, and workshops around the US, Latin America, Europe (and, in November, Asia) that I've done for around 25 years.

Thank you, Don Luis -- may your spirit find its eternal peace and resting place. My prayers go with you on your journey.


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