The greatest contribution of the indigenous communities to the Churches and to society is their concept of the centrality of God, which has governed our life since before the first evangelization, and which is the foundation of everything.
According to the Mesoamerican religious and theological scheme, God is the beginning and the end of everything, and everything has to do with Him, who is both Father and Mother. During the hunting and harvest time, God is perceived as the provident Mother who offers men everything they need as long as they collaborate in the maintenance of the harmony of the world. That is why, work is not linked to profit among the indigenous peoples, but it is instead considered as an interaction with Mother Earth.
Therefore also the current Indio theology does not speak of God as Someone abstract or distant. God, instead, is close to man, He embraces us and we embrace Him, He is the One we live for, the Heart of Heaven and Heart of the Earth, our Mother and our Father, Tonantzin-Totatzin. The many ecumenical meetings regarding Indio theology, which have been carried out throughout the continent, are the expression of the indigenous communities’ burst of spirituality. That is why native peoples are willing to witness to the meaning of their theological search, to the paths they have undertaken, the difficulties they have found and the goals they have achieved to the other non-indigenous brothers, with whom they share the Christian faith.
Indigenous peoples are also committed to the preservation of nature; they propose life styles based on solidarity economy and community life. With regard to work and social coexistence, the project of life of indigenous peoples and their millennial wisdom can contribute to the project of an alternative and more dignified life-style for all. This does not mean that we, the native peoples, idealize our world, we are aware that our societies are not perfect and are not spared by evils which must be eradicated. We, aboriginal peoples like all human groups, are a project of humanity that makes its way between light and shadow. Indigenous peoples put their best efforts into turning their ideals into historical reality and the fruits we can still see today are the testimony of these efforts.
The Spirit of God above us
Native peoples know that God’s Spirit which was hovering over the surface of the waters in the beginning of creation and which raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same that has accompanied their civilisation throughout their millennial history. Indigenous peoples’ wisdom has been transmitted from generation to generation through myths, dreams and utopias that have forged their personal and collective soul!
For a long time, since native peoples were not known as intellectuals or rationalists like the western peoples, their wisdom was not properly considered. Indigenous peoples knew that God is close to us and with us, He is the invisible wind that accompanies us. Native peoples’ ancestors narrated that: “In the beginning there was chaos. Then Ometeόtzin created all the gods, divided the water from the sky and the water from the earth. The name Ometeótzin means both Ometecúhtli and Omecíhuatl, he is the Creator God who is both Father and Mother. Ometeótzin is the Father of the gods, of people and being, our Father-Mother, Whom we could also call Tonacatecúhtli. Since Ometeόtzin is in both, in the sky and the earth, we also could call Him Citlalícue, (female progenitor goddess who created the stars).
Mesoamerican ancestors’ creation story
In the beginning there was chaos. Then Ometeótzin, the supreme being, the creator god created himself. He resided in the thirteenth and highest level of heaven, known as Omeyocán. Ometeótzin was also the god of duality, since he had dual aspects: Ometecúhtli (‘Lord of Duality’), and Omecihúatl (‘Lady of Duality’), also known as Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl.
Ometecúhtli and Omecihúatl gave birth to Tezcatlipóca and Quetzalcóatl. The pair of gods created the earth and the sky when they transformed themselves into giant serpents and ripped in two the female reptilian monster known as Tlaltcuhtli (or Cipactli), one part becoming the earth and the other the sky. trees, plants and flowers sprang from the dead creature’s hair and skin, whilst springs and caves were made from her eyes and nose, and the valleys and mountains came from her mouth. Tezcatlipóca and Quetzalcóatl were also known as the lords of water, wind, fire and earth. (E.L.H.)