Hostile Terrain 94: A Project by the Undocumented Migration Project at Chapman University


Raul Baltazar

Coyote, “father Patriarchy, why won’t you let me cross this line?”  Father Patriarchy, “cause then, Coyote we would be equals.”  

Coyote has migrated throughout this continent spreading its mischief, since time in memorial. Before national, state and territorial borders before there was a Meso America, coyote roamed the continent challenging the gods in order to exist.  While the bigger, stronger, wolf, almost went extinct, coyote has thrived. He can sneak up on your poodle, drink from a water fountain and cross freeways. He witnessed the Mexica wandering south looking for an eagle with a serpent perched on a cactus. When they found this land and ate snakes for generations as they physically and politically carved out a new empire, establishing the on of the first cosmopolitan cities in this continent and the world. When the Spanish empire came it was already one of the most populated cities in the world, with over a hundred thousand inhabitants from all over Turtle Island aka Meso America and some stories claim there were already Japanese and African inhabitants. Unfortunately for them, the steal shattered the obsidian and Spanish germs and colonial ideologies contaminated indigenous bodies and minds. Spreading sickness and war throughout the land creating new hierarchical structures using aesthetics as a tool. It’s not as if the Mexica or other indigenous communities were perfect. They loved war, human sacrifice, demanded excessive tribute from their neighbors and you could not even look at Moctezuma.  If you were caught committing adultery you would be stoned to death or burned at the stake. The Spanish were just as bad, they loved displaying dismembered heads as a threat to anyone who would fall out of line. They devoured so many Xolotl Squincles aka Mexican Hairless dogs that they almost went extinct. The classification of Coyote in the Spanish caste system is a derogatory one, which is a combination of Mestizo male with an indigenous woman. It was a culture clash, one that would eventually involve the United States, an up and coming empire. So here we are heir to three empires and still roaming the continent like coyotes. Still telling Coyote tales.

Catalina, my grandmother told tales about how Coyote stared into her eyes as his undulating jaw mesmerized her, paralyzing her as she tended sheep. He took the fattest sheep as she stood there frozen, adding insult to injury coyote peed on her. Ofelia my other grandmother told me stories about how in the 1950’s she would crush burnt branches to make eyeliner, since she wanted to dress like the Hollywood movie stars.  She would walk across the Mexicali border to shop.  It was no big deal. But now, post 9-11, 25 years into Neo Liberalism and in the midst of Trumpism, Americans are potential victims of macho monsters, bad hombres who want to rape your sister, take your job and convert catsup into salsa. Father Trump is building a wall to protect US Americans, locking up babies in literal dog cages, with marathon blankets to sleep, refugees are now incarcerated and all to protect business. Narcos, for example, love this idea of the wall, since the perceived added expense to provide the US with it’s insatiable appetite for drugs will cause profits to sore. They already have drones, tunnels and paid off insiders so it’s business as usual. The US/Mexican border is the most frequently crossed border in the world, with an estimated 990 million crossings per year. And that’s not including unsanctioned border crossings. The Coyote for $1,500 to $2,500 will break the law to help you cross into the United States border, but now, you will be held ransom until your family can pay. Police say on a "good day"large coyote organizations can cross 500 people into the United States. This suggests that on a "good day", larger enterprises can earn an average of $1 million, while "mom and pop" rings can earn $780,000 annually. There is such beauty in their inventiveness shoes with carpet soles to hide tracks, spray painted plastic gallons of waters to avoid the suns reflection.  Majestic tunnels running miles with satellite accuracy. Narco aesthetics are becoming the new norm. The cartels are now moving focus from human smuggling to drug smuggling. The cartels are now creating labs to compete with Chinese production of the synthetic opioid Fentanyl, which kills more Americans than any other drug.

Unfortunately, the border wall doesn’t work. It is more of a sign. A signifier saying, stay out you dirty Mexicans, Keep America White!  As John Trudell, native poet philosopher said your walls keep you in, more than they keep us out. Too many “Americans” are doomed to a sheltered life fueled by fear and ignorance. They think the world revolves around them and that everyone wants to take what is theirs. Most only know one language, English, one culture, American.  We are a declining empire, “The American dream” is now a nightmare. Zombie culture, boy murderers playing out their internet fantasies, crooked politicians protecting billionaire cronies, killer drugs, debt, global warming and rising homelessness. The walls are closing in. White males are now their biggest monster. Suicide statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Statistics state: The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular.  On average, there are 129 suicides per day. White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017.  In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

White culture is dying from within. The truth as I see it is that no one will give up their power without a fight. A more positive way of looking at it is that White culture is evolving into a more diverse, nuanced culture which is a new “American” way of life, an America which expands national borders and blonde blue eyed, identity. America as I know it,  has always had a pact with synchrotism, a living growing morphing, hybridizing machine. Creating Huicholes with cell phones, Kobi tacos, Black mariachi singers and Queer wrestlers is what makes America great, now. Make America great again is a horror film, a White supremacist imaginary which deletes, bad hombres and pregnant leeches or rather the victims of progress caught in the web of their fantasy project, the birth of a nation in Turtle Island. Coyota culture is now. It will exist after the last flag is burned either by protest of climate change. Nature, life like the coyote is ever changing, mimetic, critical and cunning. The wild will test authority because true power is not authority. Coyota Culture is free,  adapts and cajoles. Coyota Culture is untamed, the last of the wild. We will never be conquered; our masks are your mirrors.


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