(Pre) Hispanic Heritage

September 22, 2021

Heritage - property that is or may be inherited; an inheritance.valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, and historic buildings that have been passed down from previous generations.

So, it’s been 6 , months since I moved down. I’ve put out two issue of my comic, I’ve built two websites, and have gotten some paid illustration work.

But Have I made enough progress, what is enough progress. I don’t think I’m close

I made a trip back home this last week. A number of homes actually, Houston, Indy, Hobart, Chicago. And it’s a special experience to see my brothers and friends making progress in their lives. New house, new promotion, new car, new classes. Kids growing up into their own people.

I’m in my own little world most of the time, so I’m keeping up through social medias and the like, but it’s not until I’m home that you get the full effect. I’m so proud of these people in my life and grateful to have them in it.

And since I’m in my own little world, the things that I’m doing seem so big and important but when I’m around them, it feels much less important.

I have to remind myself that regardless of what I am doing, comparing is never the right answer. Comparing your own journey to anyone else's is a path to nowhere. So, I have to keep those creeping thoughts at bay. Keep on the path. Take in good filter out bad and keep it moving.  

So, I’m handing out copies of my comic to my family members. My nephew loves it, he’s 7 and he’s been waiting for his copy for a minute. That makes me feel really good. Other families are also very enthusiastic about the project, and some not so much. And that’s okay.  

I even got some feedback about how I’m going about the whole thing. I’m generally open to feedback but it’s important to figure out what works for your vision and what doesn’t what’s constructive and what’s not. So, I’m taking this feedback and making some moves based on it because some of it was not the first time I had heard it.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that the path forward is not super clear because the information I’ve put out is scattered among different posts, blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. So I think I’ll do a concise outline of my plan. Which is not fun for me.

And I’m not really an outline guy… I’m more of a web guy. I feel like I have all these webs interconnecting different ideas to this one giant framework and when I describe it to people, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s not linear. So, I’m working on that and will post that for the few people that will read it.

But the general idea is that this is a project is phase one. The learning phase. Think of it as me selling mixtapes out of the back of my car (I know old reference) with the purpose of learning while telling a story. I’m learning to write, draw, print a comic, I built out the comic functionality on my website which took some learning. I’m learning about different parts of Aztec mythology and my own relation to it and digging in further into my own heritage. So, for the few people that are keeping up with it, they can go on this journey with me. And by the end of it there will be a foundation on which to build. An origin story.

 

In my mind, phase two is one of two things: either

1. taking the “comic book company” idea to the next level by hiring some help keep this comic universe growing and put out more refined products/stories more consistently or

2. I would be trying to find a job as an illustrator somewhere.

So, that’s the rough Idea regarding the comic, stay tuned for the outline and bullet points.

Back to the whole heritage thing. Now, Hispanic is rooted in the Spanish language and almost as far back as we can look, my family spoke Spanish. That being said, I do have heritage from this part of the world that is pre-hispanic indigenous in nature. And if you look at most members of my family, we don’t look like the people from Spain.

On this last trip, I learned more about my heritage on my father’s side. I learned about my fathers grandfathers, my great grandfathers. Their names were Hilario Martinez (his mother’s father) and Juan Loera (His father’s father). I had heard about them in bits and pieces over the years, but I was never able to put it all together. I had used a picture of Hilario as a reference for an illustration of a Mayan God. The picture is of him sitting on the front bumper of  a very old truck Well, I found out that this truck was his livelihood. He was a merchant that transported a fruit from a cactus called Tuna or prickly pear. He would drive from Zacatecas Mexico to Arizona and trade with the Native tribes in that area.

I thought this was very interesting to learn because my grandmother (his daughter) and my father both have an entrepreneurial spirit that maybe comes from him. And maybe that has been passed down to me. And I personally know that the indigenous genes are strong on that side of the family, given the features they have and the picture of Hilario shows him having pretty dark skin and what I would call indigenous facial features. So, I ask my father if he had any ties to indigenous tribes and remember we’re talking 1920s-30s that this guy was living. My father responded in the negative so I asked bout Hilario's parents, do they have ties. He said “Nope, his mother Petra was even darker than him though and looked very indigenous”.. and After a pause, and he looks like he remembered something. “But Petra’s mother did! There was a picture of her in indigenous clothing and a feather in her hair that I remember seeing”

This is the first time that I had a specific person I can point to that had ties to indigenous tribes and practices. And my point is that, genetically we still have a high percentage of that passed down to us. So, even though we don’t have the practices and the beliefs, that is our heritage and we can’t hide that the things we’ve inherited. It’s on our face, in our hair, our skin, eyes, etc.

 

I asked my father if he knew the tribe that she came from and/or her name. He didn’t know but I think we can figure that out one day.

 

I was learning some cool things about my family members. My other great grandad, Juan, was a rancher and had land that he raised cattle on. I guess he ran around with Pancho Villa when he was younger. So, it’s pretty empowering to hear these stories.

 

That being said, my father is not delusional and knows that there is a dark side to exploring ancestry. I guess Hilario had been a womenizer and on his travels, he slept with a mans wife which lead to him being run over by a truck as an act of vengeance. That is how he died. His mother and father were married through antiquated machista practices of kidnapping the bride. His family also had land and my grandmother was offered her share years later but she declined. My grandmother has been living in the barrios of Juarez since my father was young.

 

Juan was accused by other family members of stealing money and was run out of town his land removed of his possession.

 

My father grew up in poverty but has worked his way to American middle class. So, even though there are dark chapters in my families history, I think he is his ancestors wildest dreams as they say. I hope I live up to their standards as well.

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