Q: What do other archeologist say about the El Camino de Aztlán?

A: Nobody that I have found has been able to counter the evidence that Rivas Salmón offers. That’s why I published that book Las Lettre de Alfonso Reves Salmón because it takes item by item all the polemics, and the sunstone, and then physically moves his family to the areas where he needed to look at. The seven cities. Aztlán. Etc. So there’s no question, in my research, however, there’s a lot of anthropologists who do not read Spanish that may not have read Rivas Salmón.

Q: You do presentations around the country regarding this subject, but you also speak to young students. Why do you think this is important?

A: I’m very interested in Chicanos knowing what I know now. I was an old man before I started thinking about my origins. What I found was that the Spanish that came to America came without women, and whether I like it or not, my ancestors, my great great grandmothers were Native Americans. Those people came in ships without women, so they got off the ships and married the ladies in America. They had a priest on almost every ship, so they insured that the marriages [occurred] and we were produced. The Mestizos come out of that group. And as a Mestizo, I [would] like for my children and all children to know that those were great people, our ancestors. Not just the Spanish, not to take anything away from them. They were great people, but so were the natives that were in America. It’s very important to me because I like to think that my ancestors were great. And finding this to me was the culminating point of my life.

Q: You talked about the four rivers area as a possible original site of El Camino de Aztlán. If we explore that area, what might we expect to find there?

A: I think that civilization developed in the land of the four waters, the four rivers, in the colorful lands. It’s very evident. What we haven’t been able to find is where did those people come from? We now think they came from the great plains of America, plains they probably called "the happy hunting grounds." Because there were so many animals, until a glaciation forced them to move into this desert area. Later on a great drought in the desert forced them to move out of there and they went to Mexico and they established themselves on seven entrances to the Sierra Madre. They called them the seven great cities, or rich cities. The Spanish later called these the seven cities of gold. But then they went to Aztlán, to the land of the egrets, and finally to Mexico City, to Tenochtitlán, where the Spanish found them. It’s the Spanish people that asked them "where did you come from?" and they said "Aztlán." So [the Spanish] said, well, they must be Aztecs, and it’s the Spanish that called them Aztecs in Mexico City. But the Aztecs had been Aztecs in Aztlán four hundred years before. They left Aztlán in the year 1116.

Q: Several years ago, people found old Spanish maps that identify the homeland of the Aztecs. Is this the area you call the Nahuatl?

A: Yes.

Q: What do you think is the importance of those maps?

A: The maps verify what we’re saying, [that it] is the place where they came from. Probably the maps were made based on Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the ancestors of the people from Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde had been there two thousand years before Christ.

Q: Could you name those four rivers, tell me where they are at, and explain why you think that was the original place where this long pilgrimage to Mexico began? And how long do you think it took from the original time the people left there to the time that they founded Tenochtitlán?

A: Well, basically, the four great waters--and remember they didn't call them rivers, they called them waters--I think we have a tendency to name rivers by different names even though they flow in the same canyons--but I think that the reference here is to the Green River coming out of Wyoming and flowing south, and then the Colorado joining it in Colorado, and finally in Utah, and then the San Juan comes out of New Mexico and joins them, and then all of them cut the Grand Canyon. Those are four great waters. The people that were there left, we think now, in the year 500 B.C. I say 500, but they probably didn't all leave in the one year. But the reference here is to a great drought. When the water got scarce, they went in every direction, and some of them went south and finally founded the seven cities in the Culiacan in the west coast of Mexico, then moved to Aztlán, and finally to Mexico City and arrived in Mexico City in 1323, I believe, where they found an eagle and a serpent and founded Tenochtitlán. So they had been traveling for different reasons since, probably, two thousand years before Christ.

Q: On the 1847 map that is part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, up in what appears to be Utah, there’s a marking that says "Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas." Why is this map important?

A: It’s important to us, who are Hispanic, because it is more proof, if you will, that our ancestors that were in Mexico when the Spanish had arrived, had come from that area, and that this is part of the land of our ancestors. I think that this map, probably has reference to Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. But it’s still the same land that was, previous to that, occupied by the Nahuatl people, the people of the four waters. And so it's very important to us, who are in the United States, because it just proves that we’ve been here and there, both.

Q: The fact that it’s a part of the Treaty Guadalupe Hidalgo, does that add any importance to this map?

A: It adds importance to me, although a lot of people may not consider it, but it’s important to me because it’s the first time that someone other than a Hispanic [admits] the fact that this is the original home of the Aztecs.

Q: We’ve found other references to lakes, to possible homes in other, older, maps. One dates back to 1569, and says that the Mexica people went forth to found their empire. How do you think this information got onto these early maps?

A: Well, they talked to the natives. However, unless, the writing was done prior to the coming of the Spanish people, it was probably influenced by the fact that the natives were educated in the Catholic university in Mexico City, and when they wrote, they had some interest in being recognized as owners of the land. So I think that you have to consider who was doing the writing that you use to arrive at conclusions. Rivas Salmón has been very careful about that. And in Las Lettres Del Alfonso Reves Salmón I make very sure that I publish every article that deals with [those issues].