Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cal Pulli Sound System: Xicana/o Indigenous Veganism

November 13, 2008...Cal Pulli Sound System, is an alternative space created by Zapatista inspired student activists. This online radio show promotes dialogue on issues faced by our communities in struggle against neoliberalism and understands that hip hop and reggae are music genres born out of resistance and are an essential part of revolutionary counter culture. In the spirit of our ancestors, Cal Pulli Sound System reconnected revolutionary music with sacred food ways.

Listen now to the following segment from Cal Pulli Sound System online radio show as we discuss Sacred Food Ways over conscious hip hop and reggae beats. Tlazo.

(First ten minutes of segment combines hip hop, native and reggae beats selected by DJ Askari which is followed by a dialogue on Xican@ Indigenous Veganism)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wombyn and Colonization: Re-indigenizing and Remembering our Sacred Food Ways

by Claudia Serrato

Today, it is evident that fatal health diseases, decaying ecosystems, and cruel animal farming are results of the European colonizers' appetite. Food practices of indigenous societies living in the Americas prior to colonization contributed to the continual balance of nature. They understood, as it is today, that all life forms, big and small, were interconnected--a familia, relatives, an extended community.

Previous to colonization wombyn from the corn nation, referred today as the South-Western United States, Mexico, Central and South America ate a maize, centeotl or corn and plant based diet. These wombyn were strong, healthy and were the healers and nurturers of families and the community. It was their responsibility to feed the MesoAmerican@ body. La mujer indigena understood that land, flora and fauna and the human body were interconnected. There was no separation and if one was unhealthy the other was too. Ecological balance was necessary to maintain a healthy and a strong spiritual and cultural existence.

To compliment the 80% corn and plant based diet, las mujeres gathered and grew other vegetables and fruits. They ate squash, nopales, beans, avocados, cactus fruit, algae and many other hundreds of varieties. Too, they ate guzanos, larvae, lizards, fish and small gain as a light snack and untainted guajalotes in ceremonia

As a result of the occupation by the Spanish colonizers, indigenous bodies became suspect to the colonial diet--highly animal based in nature. The Spanish, with their superiority complexes, falsely believed that animal based diets signified prestige and that all other diets that were not carnivorous were examples of inferiority. Their meat choices were cows, chickens and pigs which were not indigenous to the invaded lands. Pozole de maize became pozole de puerco, tacos de nopal became tacos de carne asada and tamales de papa y chile became tamales de pollo.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Thankstaking Special: Turkey, food-coma, and the un-seen costs of "Thanksgiving" left-overs

by Chris Xef Rodriguez

The Thanksgiving dinner is a symbolic feast that represents 516 years of culinary imperialism and internal colonization. The mass produced turkey stuffed with its own exploited inner body parts and smothered with its very essence mounted with butter-gravy. The turkey-huexolotl-el guajolote- was a culinary delight before the arrival of the colonizers. However it was a ceremonial food that was taken with pachamama's permission and prepared and served with a blessing by the native healers-los y las xefs-the cooks.

Today the masses eat the mass produced, feminized bird with out any knowledge of where it came from, who package it or even who prepared it at the restaurant. La Raza call this feast or so-called "holiday" thankstaking because of the violent genocide, rape and appropriation of native land, culture and ways of living. I call it thankstaking for those reasons too but also because they took our natural ways of eating.

In Que vivan los tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity, Jeffrey M. Pilcher explores the connections between food, power and culture. He writes on Mexico during the colonial period and how the culinary imperialists-los conquistadores-replaced the indigenous people's corn-based diets with a European wheat-based diet. Arguing that corn made brown people lazy and weak, the culinary imperialists exploited indigenous peoples' health and labor to grow wheat instead of the sacred maize so that the elite back in Spain could have greater access to this imbalanced food. Because capitalism has to constantly revolutionize itself and seek new ways to maximize profit, the industrial revolution gave birth to agro-businesses which replaced local food systems with mass produced food, healthy diets with the bourgeoisie diet. These examples were methods of conquest used to globalize capitalism hence Pilcher's phrase "the conquest of wheat."

My fellow compaƱera and colleague, Claudia meXicatl Serrato, puts it like this, "heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity were sicknesses only common amongst the elite pre-industrialization. Our gente, everyday people, never suffered these illnesses until the mass production of processed foods (GMO's) and feminized meats."

Today,516 years later, some of our gente may be celebrating Thankstaking or saying "No Thanks!" while the colonizer- the IMF and the World Bank-along with their counterparts, the culinary imperialists-Monsanto-thank consumers for continuing to stuff over-grown, antibiotic infested birds with genetically modified vegetables that lack nutritional value.

P.S. Turkey, Food-coma and the un-seen costs of "Thanksgiving" left-overs

Perhaps its the sleep-inducing chemical, tryptophan, in turkey that clouds the minds of Thanksgiving left-over lovers from realizing the ecological footprint a colonial diet leaves on Mother Earth-Pachamama-and Indigenous peoples. For that I blame culinary imperialists like L.A. Times food writer S. Irene Virbila for promoting colonial diets as a way to experience "nirvana" in her article "Turkey pot pie, an easy second act" . What she considers "nirvana" I consider an apocalyptic diet linked to the mass starvation of children all over the global south. Just look at the home of the first mass slave uprising-Haiti. The Haitian people have since been stripped from their traditional and self-sustainable ways of living and eating like growing food for consumption. It is today's neoliberal policies and neocolonial powers, that so-called "under-developed" nations are faced with financial debt and starvation-world hunger.

Today I heard Pierre LaBossiere, founding member of Haiti Action Committee, discuss "The Real Reason Why Haitian Children Are Starving to Death" on Uprising. Haiti's financial debt actually goes back to the first French colonizer bank accounts that have essentially been replaced with and globalized by the IMF and World Bank. The starvation we currently see in Haiti is not because of a natural disaster but because of global economic policies-neoliberalism-that are best implemented during these disasters. Naomi Klein refers to this process as the Shock Doctrine and it was masterminded by the famous economist-neoliberalism's daddy-Milton Friedman.

Theses food policies, supposedly aimed towards "development and ending world hunger" are in fact, as Vandana Shiva explains, "robbing the poor of their wealth".

Reclaiming "Veganism" and Healing Aztlan

Written by Claudia Serrato y Chris Rodriguez


Colonization has occurred in various levels as we are very well aware of. It has conquered our lands, minds, and bodies. But is there anything that we can do to liberate all these at once? Gloria Anzaldua said that we need a new Chicana/o nationalism that will "liberate the brown and female body as it decolonizes the brown and female earth" and I agree.Reclaiming our bodies from occupation and infiltration from colonial diseases (cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, and obesity) will do just that. Returning to our roots, returning to our diets will liberate our lands and our minds.Stay away from an animalized ("meats") and feminized protein (items produced such as milk, cheese and eggs from the violent acts of raping female bodies) diet. This is the colonizer's food ways not the indigenous way. Cows, chickens, pigs all arrived off the conquistadores boats and through the acts of culinary imperialism infiltrated the healthy, spiritual, sacred maize and plant based diets.Eat papas, frijoles, calavasas, maize, greens, roots, nopales, aguacates, y arroz. Eat the Mexicatl way not the Spanish way! Decolonize the diet and honor the sacredness of food...all creatures and all plants are our relatives. In solidarity with life...As Cherrie Moraga stated in Queer Aztlan... "Aztlan is no longer a mythological homeland but is indeed flesh, skins, and bones under occupation by imperialist patriarchal United States..." It is time to reclaim our sacred Aztlan!! Decolonize the diet!! Let's help liberate our animal relatives from the continual oppression and exploitation and bring balance to our decaying ecosystems!!


Capitalism-the colonizer-has, once again, taken away and patented the ancestral knowledge that is our indigenous ways of living-eating. He stole it and keeps it only for his white families on the west side. He calls it "vegan" and "going green" while our gente, east of the river, continue to search for the roots and natural ways-Panche Be-amidst this chaos we call Diabetes (of ALL types), Heart Disease, Obesity, imbalance and the destruction of pachamama . But it's like John Trudell says, "[we are] struggling to learn when all [we] have to do is remember...honor your relations" the way of our ancestors.Don't forget about the land, the air, the animals, the water, our brothers and sisters all of over the world resisting the colonizer and his agents that infiltrate the brown body-la madre tierra-Aztlan.Cherrie Morraga says, "Aztlan is that physical land mass we call our bodies" so reclaim it and reject the colonizer who infiltrates your body disguised as the, queso fresco, tacos al pastor, quesadillas, tamales de puerko, pozole con patas, elotes con mantequilla y Parmesan cheese.