IN SEARCH OF AZTLÁN
Dr. Cecilio Orozco Interview
August 9, 1999
Q: Dr. Orozco, youve done research in Utah related
to pre-Columbian archeological sites. What triggered your interest to
A: What triggered my interest to go to Utah looking for archeological
sites. Well, first of all, the knowledge that the Spanish people that
came to America, my ancestors, the ones that gave me my name, Orozco,
were not only great warriors, but also they brought no women with them.
So my ancestors are the Native Americans. And I wanted to find as much
as I could about the greatness of that group. I went to Utah seeking mathematical
formulas that would attest to their greatness.
Q: In 1980, you saw something in a publication that led you to the state
of Utah. What publication was that and where did you go, as a result?
A: The publication that gave me the first positive lead was a National
Geographic, January, 1980. They published a pictograph, which they claimed
could have been as old as six thousand years. [The pictograph] had a mathematical
formula [in it]. It was unbelievable. So the mathematical formula is what
led me to Utah, mainly. There are some other things. We also know that
the people of that area long ago had called themselves Nahuatl, and that
means "four waters." Nahui is four, and -atl is waters.
Nauhuatl--land of the four waters--was in the colorful lands by name "hui
huit lapala"--hui hui means very old, and lapala means colorful--so
the four great waters and hui hui lapala had to be in the area of Utah,
western Colorado, northern New Mexico, northern Arizona--its the
most colorful land there is.
Q: You use a technique called archeo-astronomy. Can you explain
what archeo-astronomy is and how that helped you?
A: Basically, if you have knowledge of astronomy--and Im not an
archeo-astronomer--but if you have knowledge of astronomy, and you find
a mathematical formula--and it couldnt come from anything else--its
referred to as archeo-astronomy. In other words, seeking ancient
knowledge of the stars. And the people in Utah knew the rhythm of Venus,
and probably all of the stars, but Venus was the one that I was able to
Q: You eventually found a canyon. Can you tell us about that?
A: After we found mathematical formulas, we also set about to find why
they did observations. Where they did them. People worry a lot whether
the ancient Americans had a calendar like ours. They were hunters and
gatherers. What they needed to know was what season it was, so they would
go looking for crab apples during crab apple time and not some other time.
So we were looking for what evidence there was as to where they observed
from. What we found was that solstice--that is, the longest day of the
year, June 21st--the pictographs we were looking at were exactly perpendicular
to the sunrise on that date. Which made it ideal for telling the natives
when the longest day of the year was.
Q: Are the glyphs that you found in Utah in any way related to what people
call the Aztec calendar?
A: Very definitely. The knowledge of the heavens, that the Mexica and
the Aztecs later used in Mexico in their calendars and in the sun stone,
came from Utah. The oldest evidence of the Venusian cycle is in Utah,
with pictographs that [are dated at] 2000 B.C. Armed with that knowledge,
they went towards Mexico. Many of them got there sooner than the Aztecs,
but this is where it originated.
Q: What is a sunstone, and how is it different from the Aztec calendar?
A: A sunstone and the Aztec calendar are entirely different things. [The
sunstone] is not a calendar, to tell what day it is, nor is it Aztec.
Because the Aztecs didnt make it. It is known as the sunstone only
because the central figure is the sun--tonatiuh. My professor, Alfonso
Rivas Salmón, in Mexico, and I opted for calling it the book
of the sun. Its a book of knowledge, of the Mexica people.
Q: What does your work say about Aztlán?
A: Aztlán is a very real place between the states of Sinoloa and
Nayarit in Mexico. However, for us, living in this country, we refer to
Aztlán mainly as the road that ancient people took from the great
plains of America to the desert areas of Utah, to the Sierra Madre range
on the west coast of Mexico, to Aztlán, and finally to Mexico.
El Camino De Aztlán, we call it. "The road to Aztlán."
Because it goes right through Aztlán. Aztlán, itself, is
a word that means "the land of egrets." And this place on that
road of Aztlán in between Sinoloa and Nayarit is on the road that
we are mentioning.
Q: Weve heard other explanations of Aztlán as possibly meaning
"place of birds" or "of wings" and the codices mention
"the lake." Do you think that Aztlán necessarily implies
A: Alfonso Rivas Salmón very definitely found that the nesting
place of the egrets is between Sinoloa and Nayarit, and that those egrets
are called Aztatu in the Nahuatl language, and
"-zlan" is how you say "the place of." Like "Mazatl"
is a deer, "Mazatlan" the land of the deer. Avocados are called
"aguacates," "Aguacatlan" the land of avocados, etc.
we came to the conclusion that there couldnt have been any place
in the lake, because the egrets cant swim. They would sink in the
lake. So theyre from marshes. And this land, near the dividing line
between Sinoloa and Nayarit is definitely a swamp land where they nest.
Q: Based on your work on El Camino de Aztlán, can you definitively
state that the ancestors of Mexicanos once lived in what is today the
United States Southwest?
A: Theres no question that ancestors of the Mestizo culture that
were in Mexico when the Spanish arrived had come from the Utah area. Unless
the authorities in Utah have misdated the pictographs that those mathematical
formulas that are in. Because they are so much older than the Mexica culture.
The other thing is we know that in the world, the great calendars have
been made in desert areas, where you can observe the heavens. Utah is
an ideal place for that. The knowledge originates in Utah, and then traveled
down to Aztlán, into Mexico City.