I had been performing since late 2003 as the Co-founder of Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac, Philadelphia’s only arts organization to teach indigenous Mexican culture, language, and dance
In 2014, we held the second part of our workshop series titled “Mexicans of Today/ Los mexicanos de hoy”, inviting Master Totokani and Generala Miquiztli to speak again about their experiences of and perspectives around Indigenous Identity and cultural preservation in contemporary Mexico.
Once again, we co-organized the 3rd Indigenous People’s Day Celebration and Powwow, gathering indigenous people’s from throughout the continent who live in the Philadelphia area, so we can meet, network, and have a space for our voices to be heard, and our distinct heritages honored.
In 2013, we continued to expand our collaborative work with Native American groups, co-organizing the 2nd Indigenous People’s Day Powwow. We also hosted the Lakota Grandmothers’ “Truth Tour”, in which several Grandmothers and Elders from the Pine Ridge reservation presented the documentary “Red Cry” and spoke about their struggle to reclaim their traditional matriarchal leadership and end the suffering of their people, especially the elders who still live on Reservation lands. Throughout the year, had several danza, art, and public speaking presentations in the community, as well as a special Danza presentation at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, led by Master Totokani and his brother Mazatl.
In 2012, we continued to expand our alliance-building and work with individual artists, Masters, and organizations. We hosted a community talked titled “Mexicans of Today: Identity Crash/ Los mexicanos de hoy: Identidades encontradas” led by Master Totokani and his mother, Generala Mikiztli, both elders in the Mexica tradition. Deepening our collaboration and exchange with our Native American brothers and sisters in the region, we co-organized the 1stIndigenous People’s Day Celebration and Powwow, and were awarded a grant to visit several sacred Mound-Builder sites in Ohio, learning more about the region’s Native history, and opening the door for us to build alliance with Native groups there.
In 2010 and 2011, we set new goals to move the organization in new directions, focusing on more stable programs (including our Clay Workshops, strengthening our Master in Residency Program, and our Public Talks Series). At that time, we also saw new doors open to enable us to work with other Native American groups in Philadelphia, setting up the framework for further collaborations with Native groups nationwide.
In 2009, OYC's work focused on cultural exchange. The artist in residence program brought three master dancers to Philadelphia from across the country. One of the masters, Roberto Franco "Totokani”, joined Brujo in leading OYC's dancers in two performances in Washington, D.C. - an evening performace at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a special performance at the National Library of Congress, held June 17 & 18, 2009.
In 2008, highlights where the "Puerto Rican Panorama" the station decided to put the show of TV in the World-wide Network. They decided, to begin with, this presentation! this will live in history: that first Puerto Rican Panorama in crossing the entire world in the Network has been the Aztec show. As well in The African American Museum in Philadelphia with the Exhibition "The African Presences in Mexico", the Penn Museum as part of the "Summer wonder" and the "Google works Reading PA".
OYC's co-founder Brujo, did an exploratory trip to the West Coast in the Winter of 2008-2009 to look for new collaborators for our Master Artist in Residency Program, and to continue networking from Seattle, WA, to Monterrey, CA. As a result of these trips, through networking and with the help of different Kalpullis, we have opened possibilities to take OYC's work to a national and international level.
In 2007, highlights are at Kimmel Center Inc. for the performing Arts Academy of music, for the Summer Solstice Ceremony, and “The Fall of the Bellybutton of the Moon” with Master Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, free for the community.
In 2006, highlights included “The Fall of the Bellybutton of the Moon” festival, a four-day master class in drumming and Clay Flute Making, by The Master Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, culminating in a performance at the Wilma Theater; and our performance at Philadelphia’s International House at the premiere of our documentary, produced with the help of Scribe Video.
In 2005, we performed Aztec Dance Ceremonies with other Native American groups, at the National Museum of the American Indian, in Washington, DC; for Hispanic Heritage Month at the State Capitol in Harrisburg; and in support of the Spirit of the Seventh Fire traveling Native American show.
The high point of 2004 was our Dance Ceremony for the opening of the Cacao exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
National Library of Congress