Text of

“The Eagle’s Children” is about the spread of a Mexican Indian spiritual tradition to Mexican-American seekers in California, Texas, New Mexico, and elsewhere. “La Danza de la Conquista”, also known as “Los Concheros”, “Danza Azteca”, & “Danza Chichimeca”, traces its origins to pre-Columbian Nahuatl (“Aztec”) roots. It has thousands of adherents in Central Mexico, organized into dance groups, led by a “capitan de danza”, under “generales” who head distinct lineages, somewhat like the Sufis. The “danzantes”, as members are called, must participate in a complex series of rituals, called “obligaciones”, and especially in the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Chalma, Mexico State.

Since the 1960’s, Mexican dance teachers, notably Florencio Yescas and Andres Segura, have brought the “Danza” to the US. Along with the “Danza”, Mexican-American “Danzantes” are recap-turing their indigenous heritage, and finding new relationships with the Native Americans of both Mexico and the US. In words attributed to Cuauhtemoc, last ruler of the Aztecs,

One day we shall rise reunited,
Gaining strength from the New Sun,
To fulfill our destiny.

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The Eagle’s Children

Voice Track & Titles

Original language is crossed (+++), voice-over is numbered (###)

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Felipe Aranda
General de Danza
Mexico City

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General Felipe Aranda:

+++ La reunion que hacemos en este santuario de Chalma, la hacemos porque es una herencia que nos dejaron nuestros antepasados. Ellos en este lugar vinieron a desarrollar la obligacion que Uds estan aprendiendo. Ellos nos ensenaron este paso de este santuario para venerar este gran Senor de Chalma. Nosotros como hijos, otros como familiares de ellos, venimos recordando en este paso, en esta marcha, sus costumbres de ellos, los cuales compadritos, no sabemos el principio, de como comenzaron. Solamente les podemos platicar de aquella infancia del senor general don Francisco Gutierrez, y a mi, nos da mucho gusto que el senor capitan real, don Andres Segura, este dandoles la fuerza, a todos Uds, en aquellos pueblos que nosotros no conocemos. Eso es todo, y me despido de Uds, deseando que nuestras animas conquistadoras de los cuatro vientos les den fuerza a Uds, para que algun dia posean la palabra en este pueblo de Chalma. Que tengan suerte, que tengan animo, y tengan salud, para que este grupo de Uds, y de muchos grupos de aquel lado de nuestro Mexico, sigan creciendo, y que algun dia, alguien de todos nosotros puedamos, con nuestros proprios ojos, antes de cerrarlos, ver el trabajo de Uds en aquellos sagrados pueblos donde tambien estan nuestros hermanos. El es dios, compadritos.

Felipe Aranda: (English Voice-Over)

### Our gathering here at this shrine of Chalma is an inheritance left by our ancestors. They came here to fulfill the obligation which you are now learning. They taught us the pilgrimage to this shrine to venerate the great Lord of Chalma. As their children, or as their relations, we make this pilgrimage to remember their customs. We do not know how and when these customs began. We can only speak with certainty of things since the birth of General Don Florencio Gutierrez and myself. We are pleased that Captain Don Andres Segura is teaching you our traditions in the United States – distant places which we do not know. That is all I came to say. I take my leave of you, praying that our conquering souls of the four winds will illuminate you so that some day you will be given the Truth here at the shrine of Chalma. I wish you luck, and good spirits, and health, so that your group, and other groups in those lands which once were Mexico, will continue to grow, so that one day we may see with our own eyes, before  we close them, the fruits of your labor in those sacred lands where our brothers also live. He is god, my brothers.

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Jose Flores Peregrino
Jefe de Danza
Austin, Texas

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Jose Flores Peregrino:

+++ Muchas gracias por sus palabras, nada mas aqui brevemente para los que no conocen a las personas que participan hasta ahorita representando grupos de Texas, Nuevo Mexico, y California. Los mexicanos que se quedaron en estados unidos, que andamos buscando en una manera las raices de nosotros, ya que de aquel lado poco a poco nos estan quitando todo. Nos quitan nuestro idioma, nos quitan la cultura, y nos tratan de hacer a los modos de alla. Y nosotros nos ha nacido, todas estas personas que estan aqui, venir a buscar.

Jose Flores: (English Voice-Over)

### Thank you for your words, and just a brief introduction, with your permission, for any of you who haven’t met us. We come here from Texas, New Mexico, and California. We Mexicans who stayed behind in the United States are fighting for our heritage, since up there they are slowly taking everything from us. They are taking our language, and our culture, and they want us to live they way they do. So we have been drawn here, all of us, to search for our roots.

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THE EAGLE’S
CHILDREN

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Manuel Luna
General de Generales
Mexico City

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General Manuel Luna:

+++ Compadritos y Comadritas! Todos sabemos y todos nos damos cuenta, de la palabra general de Altos y Bajios, como fue Miguel Morales, Cecilio Morales, Natividad Reyna, Ramon Cabrera, y los Generales de Queretaro. Todos roguemos a dios, y a las animas benditas del santo purgatorio. Como decia el General Miguel Herrera: “Tata Manuel, cuando dejamos nuestros projimos (?) nos estan esperando alla nuestros generales, para formar nuestras danzas.” Yo llevo estas cosas en ambicion. Soy el ultimo de los indios de Mexico, y tengo esperanza que alla tambien tengamos las danzas. Y tambien borrachitos, comadrita. Asi que en el nombre de dios y de las animas benditas del santo purgatorio, vamos a ofrecerles un padre nuestro y un ave maria en intencion de todos nuestros generales antiguos, y por intencion de nuestras animas que se estan adelanto de nosotros. El es dios.

Manuel Luna: (English Voice-Over)

### Brothers and Sisters: We all acknowledge the authority and the lineages of the great Elders of Mexico, like Miguel Morales, Cecilio Morales, Nativi-dad Reyna, Ramon Cabrera, and the elders of Queretaro. We all pray to God and the blessed souls of purga-tory. As General Miguel Herrera, said to me, “grandfather Manuel,  when we die our elders will be waiting in heaven for us to join their dances.” I am looking forward to that time. I am the least of the Indians of Mexico, but I have faith that in Heaven, too, we will have our dances. And there’ll be drunks, too, sister. So in the name of God and our blessed souls in purgatory, let us offer a prayer for the memory of all our elders and for the souls of the dancers who have gone before us.

Prayer:

+++ Viva nuestro padrecito el Senor de Chalma!
Viva nuestra madre santisima de Guadalupe!
Viva el senor San Miguelito!

Con licencia de dios padre;
Con licencia de dios hijo;
Con licencia de dios espiritu santo.

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Annual Pilgrimage to the
Shrine of Our Lord of Chalma
Chalma, Mexico

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General Florencio Gutierrez:

+++ Donde esta cimentada una iglesia catolica, esta encima, el cimiento de lo que tapan los secretos de nuestros antepasados. (not translated)

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Andres Segura’s Camp
Chalma, Mexico

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Dora Meshoulam
Malinche de Danza
Mexico City

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Dora Meshoulam:

+++ Por lo general nosotros no tenemos ensayos en la danza, y nosotros nos hacemos la pregunta, porque nuestro general no nos da ensayos. A lo cual el contesta que nosotros debemos de abrir los ojos, y nuestros oidos. En el momento en que cada uno estamos fijandonos muy bien en los pasos, tiene uno que ir desarrollando esto dentro, ir captando, ir captando, y asi es lo nuestro tanto que en el momento de estar danzando, ya es nuestro el movimiento.

Dora Meshoulam: (English Voice-Over)

### We don’t generally have practice sessions in the dance. So we ask ourselves why our elder doesn’t make us practice. To which he answers that we should open our eyes, and our ears. And in that moment, when we’re really concentrating on the steps, we have to feel it inside, and gradually take it in, capture it, make it so much our own that in the moment of dancing the movement is ours.

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Laura Hidalgo
Malinche de Danza
Mexico City

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Laura Hidalgo:

+++ La danza es harmonia, y en cuanto que se integra uno dentro de un circulo, uno tiene que poner toda su sensibilidad, como decias comadrita, todo su corazon, son caminos de corazon, entonces cuando uno esta metido de corazon en un grupo, verdad, como es esto, que es el rescate de nuestras raices, entonces uno no tiene porque ensayar nada. Porque uno se esta integrando por completo, por entero…

Laura Hidalgo: (English Voice-Over)

### The dance is harmony, and when you become part of a circle you have to put all your senses – as you said, sister, all your heart – because this is a path with heart – then when you’ve given your heart to a group like this one, which is for the preserva-tion of our roots, then you have no reason to practice anything. When you’re completely integrated, totally involved…

Dora Meshoulam:

+++ Uno toma la harmonia del movimiento, y capta uno, y se va – ya no lo razona uno, no sabemos de donde sale, y uno se integra al movimiento. Que eso es lo que nos dice, es el movimiento de la vida, es la danza de la vida. Por eso no solamente la danza es en el circulo, tambien es en nuestra casa, con nuestros hijos, nuestro esposo, nuestros amigos, en nuestro trabajo – todo es danza, todo es movimiento. Y algunas veces se esta uno haciendo la comida, el alimento, para el grupo, porque esto es trabajo del grupo…

Dora Meshoulam (English Voice-Over):

### You just take the harmony of the movement, and you get it, and you go, you don’t think about it, we don’t know where it comes from, and you just become one with the movement. Like they say, it’s the movement of life, it’s the Dance of Life. That’s why the dance isn’t just in the circle, it’s in our homes, with our children, with our husband, our friends, our work everything is the dance, because everything is movement. So sometimes you fix the meals – it’s nourishment for the group, because this is the effort of the group.

Laura Hidalgo:

+++ Dice el general Aranda me dijo que si acaso asi fuese que la familia se tenia que quedar, hay que abandonar familia. Y el puso un ejemplo que a mi me conmovio mucho. Dijo, me acuerdo de mi esposa cuando pariendo su tercer hijo, dice, y le toco estar en el hospital hoy, y yo tenia obligacion. Y se la tuve que dejar. Hasta despues me vinieron a decir que habia sido varon mi hijo, dijo. Esto de la danza…

Laura Hidalgo (English Voice-Over):

### General Aranda told me that if for some reason your family couldn’t come, you have to abandon your family. And he gave me an example that really moved me. He said, “I remember when my wife was having our third child, and she had to be in the hospital on the day I had an Obligation. So I had to leave her. It was only afterwards that they came to tell me the child was a boy.”

Dora Meshoulam:
+++ Pues es una entrega en realidad.

Dora Meshoulam (English Voice-Over):

### It’s really a total commitment.

Laura Hidalgo:

+++ Es una entrega total. Nadie obliga a nadie hacer lo que uno le parece. Porque el alimento es para el espiritu.

Laura Hidalgo (English Voice-Over):

### It’s a total sacrifice. No one makes anyone do this, because the nourishment is purely spiritual.

Campesina:

+++ Muchas veces cuando vamos de obligacion dejamos la casa, y dejamos todito alli, televisiones y todo, lo que dios diga, y se ha perdido mucho alli, y nosotros nos venimos, y nunca perdemos nada, y no tiene puertas.
Campesina: (English Voice-Over)

### We have to go and leave our house alone many times when we go to dance. And we just leave everything, televisions and everything, and nobody ever steals anything. And our house doesn’t even have doors!

Laura Hidalgo:

+++ La danza es la propria vida. Lo unico que hacemos es recordar los pasos de los abuelos. Es muy interesante
tratar a descubrir – redescubrir – todas esta cosas, para darlo a conocer, por nuestros hijos, comadrita. Por nuestros hijos, porque ellos tendran que ensenar toda esta forma de vida que tenemos, los mexica, los tenochcas, los zapotecas tambien. Yo soy zapoteca y me da mucha tristeza que de mi cultura solamente prevalece la lengua y costumbres, si, pero la danza se perdio, la autoctona se perdio. Se ha vuelto folclor, la zandunga, la enagua, con mucho colorido, las velas – igual, la vida en comunidad, pero la danza, la danza en si prehispanica ya no existe. Se ha convertido en folclor.
Laura Hidalgo (English Voice-Over):

### The dance is just life. All we are doing is following the steps of our ancestors. It’s important to try to discover – to rediscover – all these traditions, so we can teach them to our chil-dren, sister. Someday they will have to carry on the ways of life of the Mexica, the Tenochca, the Zapotecs, too. I’m a Zapotec Indian, and it saddens me that only the language and customs of my culture remain, but the dance, the real original dance, is lost. It’s turned into folklore: the Zandunga, the Enagua, all with flowers, very colorful, with candles – it’s community life, sure, but the Danza, the prehispanic ritual, doesn’t exist. It’s changed into folklore.

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Florencio Gutierrez
General de Danza
Guadalajara, Jalisco

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General Florencio Gutierrez:

+++ Creo yo, que el poder infinito que nos une es precisamente por los secretos de nuestros antepasados. Sigamos buscando. Yo les suplico, de la manera mas atenta, por el amor de dios si Uds quieren, sigan buscando. Que hemos de aprender, no solamente Uds van a aprender de nosotros, sino el que siga buscando, eso sera el que nos ensene, las mejoras cosas que existen dentro de lo que es la danza. Se sentira feliz de decir “Senores, esto es.” Y esto sera porque hay quien lo manda y lo ordena, no porque yo lo deseo.

Florencio Gutierrez: (English Voice-Over)

### I believe that the infinite power which brings us together is  transmitted to us through the secrets left by our ancestors. I beg you, must humbly, for the love of god, let us continue to search. We must all learn; not only you from the United States can learn from us, the elders of Mexico. But whoever continues to search will be the one who teaches us all the best things in the dance. He will be happy to say, this is the dance, and he will be shown those secrets not because I, or any man, tells him, but because there is one who ordains it.

English Narration:

+++ It was our ancestors who gave us the dance. It was through the dance that they lived in harmony with nature, for it was the trees, the birds, and the animals who taught them the dance. It was through the dance that they built a world in balance with nature, because that is what the dance taught them. As the Feathered Serpent foretold, the white men came out of the morning sun, from the Eastern sea. At first we fought them, but Saint James the Apostle appeared in the heavens, and we recognized that the Christian god had conquered the old gods. That is why we say, “He is god.” Let us remem-ber the prayer of our last ruler, Cuauh-emoc, that we, the elders, have kept for five hundred years:

(Titles & English narration):

+++      Our Sun has left us:
He has left us in the shadows.
We know he will return
To illuminate us once again.

While he dwells in the House of the Dead
Let us be passionately united:
Let us stretch out our hands
While concealing in our hearts
All that we treasure.

We must destroy our temples,
Our houses of meditation.
The streets we shall leave deserted.
We shall lock ourselves in our houses
Until the New Sun shines upon us.

There in our houses,
Parents must teach their children,
So they may teach our children’s children,
That one day we shall rise reunited,
Gaining strength from the New Sun
To fulfill our destiny.

prophecy attributed to
Cuauhtemoc (“Falling Eagle”),
last ruler of the Aztecs

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Andres Segura:

+++ Dicen que el proximo sol, en si el proximo tiempo, desde el norte hasta el sur los indigenas vamos a ser de nuevo unidos.

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Andres Segura
Capitan de Danza
Mexico City

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Translator:

+++ He said that one of the prophecies says that in the next sun to come, or in the next era, all the indigenous people, from the north to the south, will all be one, united.

Andres Segura:

+++ Y es un compromiso, de todos nosotros, los del norte y los del sur, estar claros de estas profecias, para poder cumplir.

Translator:

+++ And he said it’s an obligation, of the indigenous people, from the south to the north, to be aware of that.

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Donalyn Torres
Mescalero Apache
New Mexico

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Donalyn Torres:

+++ We’re all Indians, and in many ways I have found out that many of your Mexica ways are very similar to ours. And, for instance, one example would be in the dances, the dance steps and the movements are very much like ours.

Andres Segura:

+++ Nosotros siempre cuando oimos el tambor, lo entendemos.

Translator:

+++ He says that always when we hear the sound of the drum, we understand it.

Andres Segura:

+++ Conocemos su palabra, su lengua.

Translator:

+++ We understand its words and its language.

Andres Segura:

+++ Por eso lo que pasaba es que como hablaba en nahuatl el tambor, no lo acaba de entender.

Translator:

+++ The reason why at first you didn’t understand it was because it was speaking in Nahuatl.

Andres Segura:

+++ Pero cuando ya empezo a parar el oido indigena, ya no necesito la lengua.

Translator:

+++ But then when you began to hear it in the indigenous tongue, that’s when you began to understand it.

Andres Segura:

+++ Y por eso se movio.

Translator:

+++ And that’s why you moved.

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Marianne de la Rosa Richelman
San Diego, California

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Marianne de la Rosa:

+++ I grew up in Guadalajara, which is a strong cultural center in Mexico, and Danza was part of my life. I was not a dancer, my family was not a family of dancers, but it was part of every civic and religious ceremony I participate… it was part of my childhood, part of being Mexican. And I was telling Guillermo that I always remember the Danza as something very magic. And as a child, watching the dancers coming, do the circle, and dance, and then they left. And it was such a magic left behind it. I never knew who were they or how they lived, to me they were just dancers, not people, but dancers. And when I came to live to the United States I got to see them more as people than as dancers. But still I feel a lot of the magic of my childhood when I am among dancers.

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Mario Aguilar
Capitan de la Danza “Mexicayotl”
San Diego, California

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Mario Aguilar:

+++ My sister used to be in the Ballet Folklorico, and I used to take her to the classes, and when she got married I started dancing. And I went to Mexico in ’74 for the Chicano Teatro Festival, and I saw Andres Segura’s group dance there. And when I came back it was like something beautiful, I had just seen a paradise type of thing, it was so far away it was really sad. Then I saw Florencio’s group dancing in Tijuana and the extremes was even worse, because 5 miles away from where I live were these Azteca dancers, and I thought to myself, I’ll never have the opportunity to learn those things. And then within a couple weeks they were here.

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Florencio Yescas
& Aztec Dancers at NM State Fair
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Mario Aguilar:

+++ This is where I work at, it’s called Casa Familiar. I’m a youth counselor with a program called Amanecer. Part of the reason I got into counseling was because of Danza. Danza as I’ve learned it kind of teaches you that each one of us as warriors has to find a place to fight.

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The Torture Of
Cuauhtemoc

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Mario Aguilar:

+++ Also for the young kids with this low rider image and the classy … si, pasale senora … you know, the tortilleria calendar with the Azteca holding the virgin and all that – it’s helped them realize that yeah, we are chicanos and we listen to soul music and we have low riders, but yet through our families and through our blood, we’re Indian, we’re Indian, and that’s something that’s really a quantum step, I guess, for people, to go from Mexican to chicano to Indian.

Mario Aguilar:

+++ The Danza Azteca has survived because the poor people, the peasants, the barrio people were the ones who kept it alive, who kept it as part of the tradition. That was one of the few things they could have that nobody else could take away from them. The rich people, the landowners, the businessmen, as soon as they could blend into the Spanish or mestizo society they did and they lost it. The same thing here with chicanos. You get a chicano – a Mexican like my father who comes from a little pueblo and who works as a farmworker, and who works as a dishwasher and as a store clerk – he’s going to retain his values more and carry them on to me and to the second generation and the third generation than a doctor or a businessman from Mexico would. And what happens here with the Danza, it’s our generation, the second and third generations who are perhaps more economically advantaged but culturally distant from Mexico that are saying hey, wait, we have the cars, we have the houses, we have the education, but we don’t have what my parents had.

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Indian Baptism of
Jose Manuel Flores
Bastrop, Texas

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San Francisco Espada Mission
San Antonio, Texas

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Our Lord Of Chalma

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Our Lady Of Guadalupe

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Our Lady Of The Remedies

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Our Lord Of The Holy Mountain

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Santiago (Saint James)
Lord Of The Four Winds

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Relics of The
Lineages

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The Conquering Spirits
Of The Four Winds

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Marianne de la Rosa

+++ One of the beautiful things about the Danza, that it’s religion, it’s culture, it’s physical fitness, it’s mental fitness, it’s sewing, it’s art. The family participates, children – you don’t have to be a dancer, you can make beautiful outfits, you can participate any way you can and that’s why it’s to me so beautiful the Danza. It’s like a unifying force of many aspects of the culture.

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Annual Fiesta at
Chicano Park
San Diego, Califas

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Mario Aguilar:

+++ Hopefully 60 – 70 years from now when I’m gone, barely, the things that we left behind, the things that Florencio, and Andres, and Lazaro, and Pedro, all these other people that have taught us, will still be here. And my children and grandchildren, hopefully, and the grandchildren of all the other kids, it will be like playing baseball. It will be like so natural that they won’t need to have a specific person or a specific program or a specific anything to teach them those things. They will have learned them since they were little.

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The Tree Of Life
Chalma, Mexico

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special thanks to
Gabriel Moedano,
Albert Wahrhaftig,
and to all who follow
the path with heart.

*****

And to:

Marcial Camilo Ayala
Daphne Hanna
Robin Inlander
Enrique Lamadrid
Judy Van Hook
Mariachi Vargas for “La Culebra”
The Museum Of International Folk Art

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Produced & Directed by:
Bruce “Pacho” Lane

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Camera:

Lech Kowalski
Pacho Lane

Sound:
Carlos Aguilar
Rob Applebaum
Robin Inlander

*****

Editing:

Stuart Hanna
Robin Inlander
Siri Gian Khalsa
Pacho Lane

On-Line Editing
Steve White

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English Voice-Overs

Tim DeWitt
Beverly Anmdalotta
Tim DeWitt
James Graves
Jean Ryon
Gustavo Valcarcel
Deborah Welker

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Funding for this film came from:

The National Endowment for the Arts
The Texas Committee for the Humanities
The New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities
The Rocky Mountain Film Center
The Folklore Media Center

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“Follow The Straight Path:
Be Like The Sun At Midday.”

*****
Copyright, 1993:
Ethnoscope
PO Box 92353
Rochester, NY 14692

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