Articulating Cintli Sovereignty: Nahua Farmers and Contemporary Maize Relations in The Land of Fresh Water


I was able to conduct vital archival research in Mexico City where I was able to find colonial documents dating back to the 1700s that discussed the founding of The Land of Fresh Water, in Guerrero, Mexico. During my research, I was able to find 19 documents listed in the General Archive of the Nation (AGN) index, the country’s national archive located in Mexico City. I was able to take images of seven important colonial documents and still have 12 colonial documents to document that are likely to be useful to build my historiography of The Land of Fresh Water. This only includes colonial documents in Spanish; I have plans to find documents in Nahuatl as well in the future. Therefore, more research is needed and I will return next summer to further complete this phase of my research.

My time at the AGN was fruitful and relatively with minimal issues due to the support of former Tinker grant recipients and AGN archivists. I spent most of my research time at the AGN since, unfortunately, the seasonal rain did not arrive until mid-August, and it did not rain during July (one of the historically wettest months). Thus, farmers did not plant any seeds until the end of August after the rains remained consistent (but I unfortunately had returned to California by then).

Despite the lack of rain, I went back to The Land of Fresh Water and reconnected with maize farmers. Instead of gathering fieldwork data in maize fields, I was able to strengthen existing relationships with maize farmers I have worked with in the past over shared discussions in Nahuatl, meals, and community-based projects. I also was introduced to the local historian of the pueblo, who is interested in visiting the AGN with my help to conduct his own research on the town and share the town’s history with residents in the form of self-published pamphlets.

Jesús Nazario
Publication date: 
November 1, 2023
Publication type: 
Student Research