The state of California has agreed to remove an “Aztec chant” from its ethnic studies curriculum following a legal settlement with several plaintiffs
The new curriculum would have had students praying to the Aztec dieties Tezkatlipoka, Quetzalcoatl, Huizilopochtli and Xipe Totec.
Part of the chant read “Xipe Totek, Xipe Totek, transformation, liberation, education, emancipation. imagination revitalization, liberation, transformation, decolonization, liberation, education, emancipation, changin’ our situation in this human transformation.”
The co-chair of the California Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, Tolteka Cuauhtin (left), had said the chants were to “regenerate indigenous spiritual traditions” as Christians had committed “theocide” to “oppress marginalized groups.”
The Thomas More Society filed a lawsuit in September challenging the chants on behalf of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation and three parents. Special Counsel Paul Jonna said “The Aztecs regularly performed gruesome and horrific acts for the sole purpose of pacifying and appeasing the very beings that the prayers from the curriculum invoke.”
Jonna added “Any form of prayer and glorification of these bloodthirsty beings in whose name horrible atrocities were performed is repulsive to any reasonably informed observer.” He also noted the California and U.S. constitutions “prohibit prayer in public schools – particularly prayers drafted by public officials.”
Early Saturday morning, Jonna (below, right) posted on his Twitter account that California had agreed to settle the suit, and to pay $100,000 towards legal expenses.
Fortunately, the parties were able to work out an informal resolution – and the State Board of Education and California Department of Education voluntarily agreed to remove the prayers from the ESMC. The State agreed to do this while continuing to dispute any and all liability.
Nonetheless, we’re pleased that the prayers have been officially removed from the ESMC.
All local school districts in California – especially those still working with Mr. Tolteka Cuauhtin – should follow the lead of the State and are hereby on notice that they should immediately remove these Aztec prayers from their Ethnic Studies curricula.
Our team of lawyers will aggressively pursue civil litigation against any local school district that violates the Constitution and incorporates these Aztec prayers in class – particularly now that the State has excised them from the ESMC.
CFER’s Frank Xu said “We are encouraged by this important, hard-fought victory. Our state has simply gone too far in attempts to promote fringe ideologies and racial grievance policies, even those that disregard established constitutional principles. Endorsing religious chants in the state curriculum is one glaring example.”
IMAGES: Patrick Gray/Flickr.com; Brendan Sargent, Paul Jonna/Twitter screencaps