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Old 08-19-2015
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Default Finding "Tiahui"

Excerpt from Looking for Tiahui that was presented at the Nahuatl Conference at UCSD on April 4th, 2015.

While being in my teens, I heard many people used “Mexica Tiahui”. I wondered who taught it because no one said any of the danza groups that influenced the Chicano movement. I couldn’t find them in the dictionary. My curiosity and interest of where it came from almost became an obsession on knowing the answer.

I would ask and people would say they got it from someone from Southern California that they learned the phrase from.

Eventually, I would move to Southern California. Other than education, it was also a step closer to finding an answer to my question. I met Lupe Lopez and she finally gave me a better response than the typical answer of getting it from someone else. I met David Vazquez. After asking questions, I would later discover that there is a part of history that people seem to leave out though it’s recent history.

I spent a long time trying to find out the origin of where everyone got Mexica Tiahui and Tlazokamatli and going person to person until I met David Vazquez who is a native Nahuatl speaker who taught those popular phrases to Chicanos. Oddly, the two phrases have been corrupted especially since Mexica Tiahui should be either "Tiahue Mexica" (Mexica let's go) or "Tayecana Mexica" (Mexica Forward). Tlazokamatli is saying thanks to someone who isn’t there. Tazocamatic is giving a direct thanks.

On where “Tiahui” was introduced to Chicanos and spreaded everywhere, based on the story David Vasquez gave me, he was teaching a group of Chicanos, some being in danza circles which were learning and asking him question. One person (he doesn’t quite remember who) was trying to have an empowering phrase in Nahuatl. It was suppose to be Tayecana Mexica & Tiahue Mexica, but it seems whoever was at the meeting, someone mixed the interpretation along with grammatically how to say it and thus caused confusion among the masses from that point on.

This is from a fluent Nahuatl native man. And I/we have spoken to a few other fluent Nahuatl speakers who do use the term or heard of it, or used Teyecana. Therefore we are native students learning from native speakers to has a stronger and closer connection to where we get our information from.
A good example on how to use tiahue would be “Tiahue cuitihue in tlacual” (translates to “Let’s get some food”).

To hear the correct way of saying Tiahue, I recommend checking out the link below being pronounced by a native speaker:

Also on that link, they mention the song Tiahue intekitzintli (translation means “(We) Let’s get to work”) from a Nahuatl speaking community of San Isidro Buensuceso.
"Don't Demonstrate, Infiltrate! From within you can help those without." -Jorge Le Rand

"Tehan tohtocazqueh to tamatcayotl can cachi chicahuac." - David Vazquez
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