El Conquistador

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Yes it has taken me a bit to come back to my writing space. Actually I’ve been submerged in writing but not the fun kind.

What I’ve been trying to shake off for over a week now is the short time I spent at El Conquistador. Yeah I know, what’s up with that? And the most ironic part of it is that it was for a major conference that’s supposed to be all in your face with the importance of multicultural education and diversity. The conference committee must have been asleep on that one or just totally clueless. Maybe they didn’t speak el Español? Quien sabe but they messed up and bad.

And what the heck was up with my brain not realizing the inconsistency before I even submitted to present? It didn’t hit me until I was actually there sitting in a stuffy academic talk when my brain shouted out – “que chingao?!” Yup just like a ton of bricks hitting me in the Chicana chompa all at once. I couldn’t help but to keep exiting El Conquistador so I could catch my breath. I would sit outside trying to make sense of it all while taking in the amazing Saguaros and Catalina foothills.

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Here we were these supposed enlightened and critical folks talking our academic crap in this space that seemed to contradict the very essence of everything we were claiming. And as I sat there fighting the inner battle with my conciencia, I could almost hear that Hilton cabron laughing at us in the distance. Or was it just a coincidence they had chosen that name of all names for this resort in a space that had once belonged to the Native people of Arizona? El Conquistador. I am certain that the name was specifically chosen as a reminder of history not too far gone and definitely not forgotten, especially not by Native people.

So as I sat in this space filled with academics and maestr@s, I was conflicted. There was something, more like a feeling, that I could not brush off and during one of the many moments that I wandered outside of El Conquistador the space spoke to me and it whispered in my ear a reminder of my paternal Yaqui lineage.

20141107_120359Por eso estuvo mi alma tan inquieta. Porque tal vez por estos rumbos caminaron mis antepasados.

My being ached and the only thing I could do was to acknowledge this connection (and pain) when I started my session.

I know that I wasn’t the only one who understood this contradiction. There were a couple of other speakers who said something as well but I don’t think that they felt the same dull pain and tingling in the skin as I did.

And as I walked up and down the corridor I couldn’t help but feel strange and disconnected as I witnessed the academic high rollers off in their clique-ridden corner laughing as they opened their mouths to drink El Conquistador’s poison.

I don’t know about you but these things linger and create conflict within and I just needed to say out loud to El Conquistador – you didn’t conquer us all hijo de la chingada! Aquí estamos y algún día venceremos.

#lablogadora #notconquered #xicana

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