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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Hayward man fights for Native Americans

    Article Last Updated: 1/28/2006 02:47 AM

    Hayward man fights for Native Americans
    Organization seeks historical status, change in immigration policy

    By Michelle Beaver, STAFF WRITER
    Inside Bay Area

    "Most Mexican Americans are ashamed of their Indian roots. They hate them."
    Whether it's true, it's the opinion of Hayward man Henry Guzman Villalobos. The thought troubles him greatly. One of the only thoughts that troubles him more is that the general populace doesn't know much about those roots, and doesn't want to.

    That's why Villalobos, 61, started an organization 3 years ago called Aztecs of North America Inc. that intends to educate the public.

    The main goal of the group is to help all Native American descendants, including Aztecs, receive historical recognition as American Indians from the U.S. government.

    Such recognition would enable Native Americans to travel freely over the Mexico-U.S. border, and would be a radical change to current immigration policies and other human-rights issues.

    Villalobos is circulating a petition in favor of a historical recognition bill that currently has more than 1,000 signatures.

    He gives speeches every year and labors to learn more about American Indian-related issues, but membership in his organization is low (about a dozen people) and progress is tough.

    He has decent support in other states and has tried to bring local community leaders into his organization. Hayward Mayor Roberta Cooper is one of them.

    "I know he's doing a lot of educating about their (Native Americans') situation and I'm very glad about that," Cooper said. "We often ignore the plight of our Native American citizens."

    Historical recognition has nothing to do with land or money, Villalobos said. It's about respect and history.

    "What we want is to teach that the Aztecs are still here," he said. "We still have our language. We want to strengthen our nation."

    Villalobos and some scholars believe that the Aztec people lived not only in Mexico but also on what is now U.S. land. Villalobos is working more with the United States than with Mexico, mostly because he was born here. He said that Aztec descendants south of the border should lobby Mexico.

    Historical recognition will change what people read in textbooks and will influence the self-image of Mexican Americans, according to Villalobos.

    "I want to help teach people who they really are," he said. "That will take away the name of 'illegal immigrants.' The Mexican and Mexican-American people are not awake to the fact that they are half-breeds. We're talking about a race of people who are only about 500 years old."

    Villalobos said that embracing all of one's lineage makes people more complete.

    "It makes a stronger person, not a confused person," he said.

    He is especially interested in gaining recognition for Aztec descendants, since many Latino Americans can claim some Aztec heritage. The Aztec empire thrived primarily in Mexico during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.

    The U.S. Census shows that there are 7,453 Native Americans in Alameda County. If a majority of Latinos were considered Native Americans because of their probable Aztec lineage, Alameda County's Native American population would skyrocket to almost 300,000.

    Villalobos is three-quarters Aztec and one-quarter European. He was raised by his European grandmother, who was kind to him but sometimes scolded him for his Aztec roots. She used to tell him, "Sit up straight. You're acting like a savage."

    When he was 7 years old, his full-blooded Aztec great-grandmother visited him and changed his world forever.

    "When I first saw her, something clicked between us," he said. "It's hard to explain. We were sitting at the dinner table and I was looking at her like there was a magnet between us. At 7 years old, she planted a seed. She said, 'Let me tell you, you are an Indian."'

    For the past 27 years, Villalobos has tried to uncover his roots. He has lived with many tribes, including the Shoshone and Pima, and has feverishly studied federal and California law as it applies to American Indian affairs.

    Villalobos, who is on disability and once worked odd jobs, got an unlikely start in his academic studies.

    Long ago, he robbed a bank in Texas and spent 12 years in federal prison.

    It was there that he bonded with Native Americans from various tribes and served as vice president of an American Indian organization at the jail. He also took his first in-depth sociology and history classes.

    Villalobos grew up in Oakland and has lived in Hayward since 1951.

    "If you know your past, you're stronger," he said. "In your mind you don't feel like half a person, you're a whole person. I know where I come from. And where I'm going."

    Villalobos said he will work until his final day to see that Mexican Americans receive historical recognition as Native Americans. It's a tall order, but possible, he thinks.

    "The Hispanic-Latino Americans need some backbone and education to acknowledge their roots," he said. "If we do that, we can do anything. We can make history."

    Michelle Beaver can be reached at (510) 293-2463 or
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    It ain't gonna work villalobos.....

    The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. " - Lloyd Jones

  3. #3
    TimBinh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    I think we need to send all the "Aztecs" back to the Aztec Empire, the capitol of which is present day Mexico City.

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