Indigenous Society: an Ideal Model to Achieve Peace?

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Some facts recently brought up but hardly commented lead us to reflect on the “idyllic life” of natives.

Newsroom (November 1, 2021, 09:09, Gaudium Press) There is a fantasized current of opinion that exalts the lifestyle of the indians. They claim that the indians lived well, without laws, regulations, or taxes, thus free from oppression. Since they divided everything between everyone, there was no concern that someone would earn or be more than the other. Everyone lived day to day, walking at their own pace through the jungle, looking for something to eat. The cacique was just an advisor; their rituals were harmless. They had their gods and “worshiped” nature, mother earth.

The people who think this way denounce an evil: the appearance of the white colonizers who imposed their religion and destroyed the pleasant life of the indians.

The Spanish conquistadors that accompanied Hernan Cortes reported the horrors of the macabre, bloody, and appalling rituals performed by the Aztecs. Such accounts, however, were considered exaggerated. After all, the indigenous culture was not so bloodthirsty.

However, some facts recently brought to light, but little commented on, lead us to reflect on the idyllic life of the Indians. Let’s consider them.

Tzompantli

According to Science magazine, archaeologists have found about 650 skulls that make up the cylindrical building of Tenochtitlan, near the Templo Mayor, one of the main buildings of the ancient Aztec capital, today the Mexican capital.

Historians also report that the skulls belonged to warriors captured and placed as ornaments in Tzompantli – a tower of human skulls built during the Aztec empire – and that this was a usual ritual in many Mesoamerican cultures before the arrival of the Spanish.s

Another disturbing discovery was the skulls of women and children found in the excavations, thus ruling out the idea that these were the result of wars. Archaeologists assume that thousands of people were sacrificed to the Aztec gods to provide the skulls used to build the structure.

Could this be an optical illusion that these are made-up stories to justify the conquests and greed of the whites?

But let’s look at some more information. According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History, 75% of the victims were men between 20 and 35 years old, probably warriors. Another 20% were women and 5% children.

Aztec Ritual

In the ritual, an Aztec priest used a sharp blade to open the victim’s chest and remove the heart that was still beating. They took the body to another place where the priest cut two vertebrae to remove the head.

Next, the priest would remove all the flesh from the head until only the skull bones remained. He would then cut a hole in the sides of the skull and insert it into a thick wooden pillar. That sheds light on why human sacrifices were so numerous in Aztec religion and culture; and how they had a crucial role in empire-building.

These findings debunk the romantic idea of harmless indigenous rituals. For them, human sacrifice was the key to the health of the world. It was a way to keep the gods alive and continue existence. The more powerful a state was, the more victims it sacrificed.

The path to peace

As it turned out, the indian way of life was not as rose colored as it seems to some. So the missionaries, to do them good, wanted to show to them the true God, as a merciful and not bloodthirsty Father.

After the original sin, every man has countless bad inclinations that lead him to practice evil. As a result, he wants his self-esteem, pride, and wicked desires to prevail; and is capable of any atrocity.

However, God in His Commandments and His own Son, whom He sent to the world, has shown man how to live in peace, harmony, mutual respect, and dignity.

Blessed are those who allow themselves to be shaped, who open their souls and hearts to the true and immutable teachings of the Catholic doctrine, for they will find peace on this earth and eternal happiness.

Each one of us should be eternally grateful to all people, especially the religious and missionaries who gave and are giving their lives to establish the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ on this Earth.

By Sr. Maria Cristina Miranda, EP.

Compiled by Ena Alfaro

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