Spain recently celebrated its national day on the 12th of October, commemorating the discovery of the Americas during a voyage sponsored by the country’s king and queen.
The Fiesta Nacional de España, also known as Día de la Hispanidad (day of ‘Hispanicity,’ celebrating Spanish-speaking cultures worldwide), was marked by a parade with floats representing various of Madrid’s large Latin American immigrant communities.
As something of a counter-event, however, several associations staged a series of speeches and supposed shamanic rituals in Madrid’s Plaza de la Hispanidad, under the title of Descolonícemonos (let us decolonize ourselves). Participants used the Plaza—referred to by the demonstrators as as a ‘garden of genocide’—to deliver speeches and enact rites aimed at a sort of mental or spiritual ‘purging’ of the legacy of colonialism.
Whatever its opinion concerning the Spanish empire, however, this Descolonícemonos initiative quickly betrayed its alignment with a very specific contemporary ideological project, one of abject submission to prevailing ‘woke capitalism.’
During their speeches, participants declared that the evils brought by Europeans to the Americas after 1492 included “normative heterosexuality,” the idea that a man should marry a woman, and the suppression of “two-spirit” identity, a reference to persons belonging to an imagined third-gender, whereupon “the ancestors” were invoked in gender-neutral language (Spanish being a gendered language, except when mutilated).
Among other invocations, the Aztec deity Tezcatlipoca was called upon (because, for some reason, the worst perpetrators of human sacrifice represent one of the most popular pre-Columbian cultures in these circles) before a modern day self-proclaimed ‘witch’ drew proceedings to a close.
For our part, we should specify that the Native American indigenismo or indianismo (an umbrella term of ideologies that seek to restore pre-European American polities) movement includes intellectuals who utterly reject the kind of spectacle represented by the above event.
It is also worth suggesting that those who long for the restoration of—or appreciation for—indigenous cultural forms consider the degree to which native spirituality was not ended, but rather, was taken up by Christianity: from the Nahua elements in the apparition of the Lady Guadalupe to the Mexica saint, Juan Diego, to the visions of the medicine man, Black Elk.
As for the use and abuse of non-European cultures by a modern, global, ideological project: this is precisely an example of what might be justifiably described as ‘spiritual colonization.’