Esmael Lopez

I’m Esmael Xiutecpatl Lopez, Capitan of the Aztec dance group CeAtl Tonalli and I’m beginning Evergreen State College’s MES program to learn different techniques and perspectives to find a way to bring sustainability to people everywhere.

I have decided to return to school at Evergreen State College to continue researching projects around culture, ecology, sustainability and community empowerment. It has been through my Aztec spiritual practices that I have come to understand the need for a change in our relationship with Tonantzin, mother earth.  I have come to the realization that there is a large movement of people working on eco-technology and sustainable living.

Portrait of Esmael Lopez

What has saddened me was that I realized that many of my Native People do not have access to these technologies and resources. We were the first ecologist and have much traditional knowledge to contribute to the conversation around global warming and land stewardship.  Why are we not involved, what was the reason for this exclusion or did we choose to be left out? These are some of the questions I want to investigate and I know from my undergraduate experience that evergreen is the type of institution that cultivates learning outside of the classroom and outside of the box. I want to educate and empower Native communities to participate in remembering our relationship with the land by using ecological, sustainable practices through an indigenous lens.  We were separated from our accustomed fishing and hunting and collecting grounds and much was lost but we have the opportunity to reconnect to that ancestral spirit in that lives in the water, in the mountains and the valleys.

I want to work with Native tribes to reduce their footprint and create jobs for young people. I am hoping that in turn the Natives from the United States would travel, donate, reconnect and build bridges through helping to realize this work for Native communities in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and so on. This is my dream and I am hoping to gain techniques, knowledge and resources at Evergreen to bring these intentions to reality.