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​​Mesoamerica

"Hay Nativos"

​A lonesome warrior stands in fear of what the future brings,
He will never hear the beating drums or the songs his brothers sing.
Our many nations once stood tall and ranged from shore to shore
But most are gone and few remain and the buffalo roam no more.

- Tommy Flamewalker Manasco

Looking at America today, it is easy to see the social, cultural, and architectural heritage of the white settlers and their descendants and of the African slaves and their descendants, but it is much harder to find the heritage of the millions of original Americans who populated North and South America. Mostly, this is because huge numbers of those Native Americans were conquered and killed, either by new diseases or European guns. Cultural ignorance and a self-centered worldview allowed the white settlers to dismiss the Native Americans as "savages."

We now know a lot more about the civilizations that lived in America before the land got that name. We know about the many tribes and societies that existed off the rich soil or followed the great herds of buffalo. We know about the three major empires of America - the Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations. These people built large cities to live in and giant temples to worship their gods. They didn't live in paradise - owning slaves was common in Mesoamerica. But they also demonstrated lots of practical knowledge - from astronomy to farming techniques to medicines. These were the original Americans.

 Hey boys and girls, today we’re going to be talking about Mesoamerica. After the Ice Age, people began moving across the Bering Strait into North America. They left northeast Asia and migrated through what is now Alaska, all the way down to South America. By the Middle Ages, these people had gotten organized. Some of these civilizations were far more advanced than the Europeans would ever imagine.

In modern-day Veracruz,
Archaeologists pick up a pair of clues.
They saw pyramids and giant stone heads,
And learned they belonged to the Olmecs.
They discovered the mother culture,
The first cities, artisans, sculptors.
Now that’s around 1200 BC,
The Maya came next with similarities.
Advanced agriculturists in the Yucatan,
With city-states, the illest that you could plan.
Like Tikal, they found in Guatemala,
They used intercropping and reservoirs for water.
They had a calendar and a writing system,
But a ball game where you could die a victim.
Slavery, sacrifice, it was a risky time,
And we don’t know why they disappeared in 869!

Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca,
The original American thinkers.
Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Tikal, Tenochtitlan, Machu Picchu:
Cities of some of the original people.

Who has next? Oh, that would be the Aztecs,
Don’t have horses, so they run the fastest.
They kept control of a portion of the atlas in Mexico,
Around Lake Texcoco.
They’re like, "If we roam we might not be strong,"
So they built a big city, Tenochtitlan.
A city on a lake; they'd bathe twice a day,
Plant corn, grind it up, make it into pancakes.
They had schools every kid attended,
They learned how to write, yep, also how to fight.
Imagine if one day your teacher was like,
"After math, I’ll show you how to attack with an ax."
Aztecs would take slaves and captives
From their enemies; that’s just part of their tactics.
The fact is, they were sharper than a cactus,
They sacrificed humans, it seemed like madness.

Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca,
The original American thinkers.
Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Tikal, Tenochtitlan, Machu Picchu:
Cities of some of the original people.

While the Aztecs were in Mexico,
The Incas were building a kingdom, exceptional.
At its height in the 12th century,
It stretched from Ecuador to Chile.
Essentially based at Peru, in the city of Cuzco,
To connect various tribes they used roads.
They built aqueducts in the Andes,
And they farmed terraces, y’all, to feed families.
We’re talking over a million residents,
They were developing some of the best medicines.
Plus, the king had style,
Machu Picchu – the city of the clouds.
But from the ground, it vanished,
The secret, never found by the Spanish.
The people asked was it used for astronomy?
9,000 feet, and the views are astonishing.

Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca,
The original American thinkers.
Sudamerica, Centroamerica, Mesoamerica:
Hay nativos! (There are natives!)
Tikal, Tenochtitlan, Machu Picchu:
Cities of some of the original people.