Hispanic, Latino, or Indigenous

By David J. Muhammad -Guest Columnist- | Last updated: Oct 23, 2009 - 1:52:05 PM

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Who are the Original People of the Americas?


The Honorable Elijah Muhammad used a psychology of language given to him by the Great Mahdi, Master Fard Muhammad, to undo the damage done by our enemies. He used the terms Black, Aboriginal, Original, even the term “Asiatic” interchangeably, drawing linkages between groups that had been divided and saw themselves as completely different.
( - With the return to power of Indigenous, Black, and Mestizo leaders and movements from Latin America, many “Latinos” in the United States have chosen to reassert these original identities. In an interesting meeting that took place this past June and is widely available on the internet (see video below), Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) was approached by a New York City school teacher of Mayan descent named Mariana Diaz. Diaz challenged Mrs. Murguia for the lack inclusiveness of Indigenous populations in the immigration debate due to the use of the terms “Latino” or “Hispanic,” noting that renowned Guatemalan indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Mench˙ (who is of Maya Quichè heritage) does not consider herself a “Latina.” Mrs. Murguia, appeared somewhat caught off guard by the question and attempted to explain why the use of the term “Latino” is considered appropriate, though not altogether accurate. This debate among many is considered to be semantics and distracting to real issues effecting Latino communities, but yet it cuts deep into issues of politics, identity, race and religion.

Strangely, the perception exists that the term Latino is somehow more culturally inclusive and representative of the racially mixed population of the Americas. The term “Latino” only exists in common usage here in the United States of America while no one in Latin America uses the term to refer to themselves. “Hispanic,” a term popularized during the Nixon administration, takes its historical origin from the Roman territory of Hispania, now modern day Spain and is considered to be a term imposed upon Latin American communities. Hispanic was created under the office of finance and budget under the Nixon administration to address the social concerns of ethnic groups and immigrants from Latin America. At no point did the terms Hispanic or Latino ever address the racial backgrounds of Latin America; in fact, it hid real diversity and made classification easier for the United States Government.

Latino is also rooted in the Roman “Latin” empire and their historical interests in the “New World,” even referring to the conquest of Mexico as the New Roman “Latin” Empire. This new Roman Empire was no longer under the power of an emperor, but under the spiritual and political governance of the Pope of Rome. As so-called Latinos, we must never forget that the Americas were conquered by both the crown and the cross.

Many “Latino” followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan preface the term “Latino” with the phrase, “so-called” in the same manner that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad referred to the Black man of America as the “so-called American Negro.” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad rejected the term Negro because of its root meaning in Latin, associating blackness with death and inactivity. Opponents defended the term claiming that “Negro” simply meant “black” in Spanish, not recognizing the pejorative connotation of the word even in the Latin America.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad used a psychology of language given to him by the Great Mahdi, Master Fard Muhammad, to undo the damage done by our enemies. He used the terms Black, Aboriginal, Original, even the term “Asiatic” interchangeably, drawing linkages between groups that had been divided and saw themselves as completely different. In the lessons given to him by his wise teacher, he was asked the total population of the “Original Nation” in the wilderness of North America and all over the planet Earth. In his answer, which all believers in the Nation of Islam are required to commit to memory, he included every non-White person on the planet, even if they were distant relatives of Black or Indigenous peoples, regardless of their skin, hair, or eye color. This is the opposite of what the conquerors did to us in Latin America, where if one had any Spanish blood then we fell into racial castes that allowed us to be “saved” by the Catholic Church.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote in an article for Muhammad Speaks titled, “The Black Man's Confusion” about the divisions between the original people of this hemisphere: “There is a world upstir by the Nations of Black, Brown, and Yellow people today. Even the Red Indian wants to know the truth of where they stand. This upstir is caused by the Presence of Almighty God, in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad.” He warned the nations of Latin America of their connection to their former conquerors: “The Latin American people (or governments as they are referred to) from Mexico all the way to Argentina are mostly Christianized. They must today desire not the cross, but the Crescent, if they are to survive. I must warn you Black people of Latin America that the Divine Judgment of America will most certainly affect you and your governments if you remain Christianized by Rome, America, England, and France.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan while serving in New York's Muhammad Mosque No. 7 used the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to address these cultural rifts among Blacks and so-called “Latinos.” His own Caribbean background and experience as a musician gave him insight into these divisions. This culminated in a historic event that took place May 27th, 1974, titled “Black Family Day” in which over 70,000 people attended and where he had performers such as Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Jimmy Cliff and the Delfonics.

In that speech he articulated the oneness of the Original people. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad wants you and me to know and understand that every Black brother and sister is flesh of each other's flesh, and blood of each other's blood, and bone of each other's bone. I don't care where you come from, Brother. If you come from Georgia, if you come from Mississippi, if you come from Louisiana or Tennessee. ...” He continued, “If you come from Trinidad, if you come from Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Panama, Guatemala, all of us wherever you find us, we are brothers. If we are from Africa, from the Isles of the Pacific, we are brothers. For the last 6,000 years we have been divided up into tribes, and each tribe has been played off, one against the other.”

These false labels should no longer define, nor divide us!

Related news:

Broaden your horizons (FCN, 08-01-2006)

The Basis Of Black-Latino Unity Is Not Political  (BEC, 07-24-2001)