Inner Reflections
September 18, 2023

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Before I begin sharing a bit about Hispanic Heritage month, I thought that it would be appropriate and truly honorable to share with you all how to say ‘hello,’ in the native languages, pre-Spanish colonization, of a few countries that fall under the category of Hispanic: 

Mexico and Nicaragua (Nahuatl): Tlazocamati! 

Puerto Rico (Taíno): Bohío! 

Costa Rica (Boruca): Sukia! 

El Salvador (Pipil): Kaik! 

Guatemala (K’iche’): Qanul! 

Honduras (Lenca): Nahuizal! 

Chile (Mapudungul): Mari mari! 

Belize (Maya): K’uxi! 

…and hello! Next, I want to shine an educational light around the term ‘Hispanic,’ the origins of this month-long celebration (which first began as a week-long celebration in 1968, until 1989), as well as the ‘why’, regarding the dates in which we celebrate Hispanics. 


“The term Hispanic or Latino (or the more recent term Latinx) refers to a person’s culture or origin—regardless of race. On the 2020 Census form, people were counted as Hispanic or Latino or Spanish if they could identify as having Mexican, Mexican American (Chicano), Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” 


Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. The purpose was to highlight the contributions of the Hispanic community during the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak. 

“Brown, who represented East Los Angeles and a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley—both heavily populated by members of the Hispanic and Latinx communities— wanted to recognize the role played by those communities throughout American history.” 

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush finalized what U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California had originally proposed in 1987, making Bush the first President to officially declare the 31-day celebration.


The timing of Hispanic Heritage Month aligns with the festivities of Independence Day in various Latin American countries. The commencement on September 15 was selected because it corresponds with the Independence Day commemorations of five “Central American counterparts” — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. These five nations proclaimed their autonomy from Spain on September 15, 1821. 

Also of note is Mexico, which asserted its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810. Additionally, Chile observes its independence within that same week (September 18, 1810, from Spain). Furthermore, Belize, which announced its independence from Great Britain on September 21, 1981, was subsequently included in the list of nations specifically honored during what is now recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month. 

I hope you have all found this information as helpful as I have. It’s nice to have more of an understanding when it comes to our national celebrations and holidays, as well as their roots. Especially if you identify as a Hispanic, or any other race, gender, or culture that is celebrated throughout the year. We should all be celebrated! Every single day, humanity, honoring our perfectly imperfect perfections, uniqueness, and gifts. 

I will be quite honest, the term Hispanic is one that I personally don’t identify with, and I will tell you why. It carries with it the brutal truth of colonization. The Spanish empire caused an enormous amount of harm, pain, suffering, death, and disease to many different peoples and cultures across the Americas. The more time that I have spent in some of the above countries the more clearly, I have felt and seen the residue of this all, though, completely unaware for most of my life. And yet, I have both Spanish/Iberian and Mexican/Native American blood within me. I am a product of colonization, just like the majority of other “Hispanics.” 

According to the above definition of ‘Hispanic,’ do I fall under the category of one? Yes. I am someone whose ancestors resided and stewarded land that was colonized by the Spanish Empire which, as a result, led to Spanish becoming the main spoken language of the region and peoples. So, when I think of the term and what it means to be Hispanic, to me it means that I am someone whose ancestors were colonized, and specifically with myself, I am also someone whose ancestors did the colonizing. Talk about an interesting dynamic! Lots to talk about at the dinner table over some tamales and a warm cup of champurrado. Neither of which I can avoid or bypass. It is what it is. Neither good, nor bad, it just is. Imperfectly perfect. There is nothing that I could change, nor do I have the desire to. The only thing that I can do about the colonization that happened years ago is to continue connecting with my ancestors, both sides, acknowledge them, listen to them, and work on releasing any and all ‘ancestral traumas.’ Which has very much been a big part of my healing journey over the last several years. 

So, if someone wants to put me in the category of, label me, and/or call me a Hispanic, that is totally fine by me. It doesn’t bother me one bit, and again, according to the definition of

‘Hispanic,’ technically, I do fall under the category of one. Though it’s not something I wave a flag around about. I am becoming more and more aware of labels and letting go of them all, dissolving them, and I believe that the more each of us do so, the more we continue stepping towards the remembrance that we are all truly the same at our core. One race, the Human race, which has many different unique flavors and spices. A step towards unity, a step towards Yoga. Talking about flavors and spices, I have now become hungry. I think I will begin by cooking up some rice and beans to celebrate 😉 

Lastly, if you are wondering what I personally identify with, to keep it 3-D, I share with people what I shared above, I am both Spanish/Iberian and Mexican/Native American, my parents were born in Southern California, my grandparents and great grandparents were born in Southern California as well as various regions of Mexico, including Guadalajara, Chihuahua, and Michoacán. In celebration of all the people from Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, Belize, and any others who considered themselves to fall under the category of Hispanic, I will continue educating myself and having conversations around the colonization, what to learn from it, and how to continue growing and evolving. The first step on the path of healing and evolution is awareness. Thank you for taking the time to read, I will see you on the mat! Tlazocamati!

Below are some recommended practices with Mychal:

Inner Dimension TV Series Primal Elements Mychal Prieto

By Mychal