A new year begins with a
magnificent declaration from the
Confederation of Councils of Principal Mayan Aj Q'ijab and attested
to by the
government of Guatemala.
Gaada Erick Gonzales is a beautiful Maya and Haida man with the NIME
Mayan Spiritual Council who acted on Manataka's behalf when travelling
to Guatemala in 2004 - 2005.
Who are the Councils
of Principal Mayan priests (Aj Q'ijab)?
centuries the Maya people used many political and social vehicles to achieve
peaceful cooperation among their various communities, political and spiritual leaders.
Today, the primary body of spiritual elders among the Mayan people located
in several countries is called the
Confederation of Councils of Principal Mayan Aj Q'ijab located
in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Representatives from many local councils
comprise this prestigious body.
Why are Maya
spiritual elders so concerned about a far-away sacred site in the United
Grand Pyramid of
before the Maya people became an economic and spiritual force in
they learned astronomy, biology, architecture, spirituality, mathematics,
warfare, agriculture and a host of other technologies from an advanced society
known as the
BCE to 1150
According to Richard L. Thornton,
a professional architect and city planner, who is also a
renowned American Indian amateur historian and spent a considerable amount
of time in Mexico studying ancient cultures says,
"The Maya civilization evolved from the Olmec. The word,
is the Totonac, Itza Maya word for "town." Tula became
in the Nahua language, spoken by the Aztecs. and still meant a large town or
city. The word Tula was first the name of "Teotihuacan" in the northern
edge of the Valley of Mexico, used by the Totonac People. The Aztecs called
the ruins of the first Tula, Tollan
Teotihuacan. The Aztecs called the ruins of a much newer city in Hidalgo
State, Mexico that was settled around 900 AD,
Xicocotitlan. Also, in the mid-20th century, Gringo archaeologists and
travel agencies began calling the second Tollan, Tula - not knowing that
tollan and tula both meant "a large town."
"The aboriginal people of Hidalgo Wtate are the Otomi. They still live
there. However, from around 200 BC to 900 AD the Otomi were under the
domination of the Totonacs. Between around 900 AD and 1150 AD they were
under the domination of a tall people from Jalisco State that the Aztecs
later called Toltecs, but that is just a generic word in Aztec for
"artisans." Mexican anthropologists are still not sure who the Toltecs
were, what they called themselves or where they went, but they seem to have
been relatives of the Muskogeans of the Southeastern United States."
The Tula were a pre-Toltec society (935 CE
to 1168 CE) and became a major center of influence in Toltec society. Much of the knowledge of the
was passed down to the mighty Aztec empire (1325 A.D. to 1521 A.D.)
Sometime between 1200 BC and 500 BC, the Tula were forced by wars
seek far away lands suitable for expanding and rebuilding
their nation. The Tula sent emissaries across South,
Central and North America seeking out new lands and trading partners.
The Tula established
dozens of outposts in a string stretching all the way from central Mexico up
through what is today south western to south central United States.
While the main Tula areas in Central America
were absorbed by the Toltec, Maya and Aztec societies, a few of their
settlements thousands of miles away continued to thrive for several centuries. The Tula
immigrated to central Arkansas sometime between (1100 BCE and 1100 AD)
became the Keepers of Manataka. Hernando DeSoto knew them as the
"People of the Great Water".
(A Mississippi valley house and
a Temple Pyramid in background from the American Museum of Natural History.)
Tula built a small but thriving community near the confluence of five rivers
near Caddo Gap and maintained trading camps along the Caddo and Ouachita
Rivers. The people were highly organized and observed ancient
religious and social customs of the south. With the advanced knowledge
the Tula immigrants soon recognized the unique
geological and spiritual power of the hot water springs and other major
geological features of the land. They established
peace throughout the area with the cooperation of their neighbors.
They named the sacred site Man-a-taka (The Unbroken Circle).
centuries, they protected the valleys and mountains and repelled warlike
groups like the Osage and Spanish.
Word of the fabulous find by the Tula settlers filtered back south over hundreds of
years to become legendary stories of miracles, hope, beauty and peace among
the ancient people of Mexico. The Maya are proud of
their Tula ancestors who discovered Manataka and kept it holy for hundreds
We honor the people of the South who brought us
ceremonies and great knowledge.
We honor the Tula, Maya, Olmec, Toltec and Aztec ways.
We honor all indigenous Hispanic people.
Manataka (Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas)
belongs to them!
And, that is the reason why spiritual leaders in
Guatemala uphold the strong belief of their ancestors that Manataka
IS a sacred site.