Aztecs descendents in 2021

In 2021, over one and a half million people continue to speak Nahuatl: the language spoken by the Aztecs. At the exhibition you will run into some of these descendants. They will tell you about their links with the past and their current position, and philosophise about what lies ahead in the future.


As it happens, most descendants are Catholics, albeit in a different way from what we in the Western world might think. After the Spanish conquest, the indigenous inhabitants were forced to convert to Christianity. In doing so, age-old indigenous rituals became mixed in with Christian customs, thereby giving rise to a new religion.

Cultural Resistance

Nahuatl speakers are also found outside of Mexico, such as the United States for example. These are people from Nahua communities and members of the Chicano community. Chicanos are Americans with a Mexican background who object to what they consider to be ‘the dominant white American culture’. One way of expressing this ‘cultural resistance’ is to learn Nahuatl. This is how Chicanos show their pride in their indigenous background, with Nahuatl acting as a symbol of their identity. Chicanos also use Aztec images to manifest their identity. The Aztec Sun Stone for example is a favourite theme used in tattoos. Just look up ‘Aztec Sun Stone tattoo’ on the Internet to see how creative people are getting with this famous Aztec masterpiece. 

A Nahua ritual in the village of Santa Catarina Acaxochitlan