MAIZE IN THE AMERICAS

Maize is indigenous to the Americas, the word comes from Mahíz in the Taíno/Arauco language, translated into Spanish as ‘fuente de vida’ or ‘sustento de la vida’ (in English is ‘fountain of life’ and ‘sustainer of life.’) Thousands of years ago, the people of Meso America developed nixtamalization, a process that increases the nutritional value of corn. In the Aztec language Nahuatl, nixtamalli or nextamalli is a compound of nextli "ashes" and tamalli "unformed corn dough, tamal".

Maize is the basis of cosmovisions in the Americas:

El maíz no es una cosa, ni sólo una mercancía o un cultivo: el maíz es un tejido de relaciones. Se originó hace unos 10 mil años de la crianza mutua, de la conversación entre pueblos originarios de Mesoamérica y algunos pastos que, con el cultivo, se fueron haciendo al modo humano.

Maize is not a thing, nor solely a commodity or crop: maize is a weaving of relations. It originated more than 10 thousand years ago through mutual co-creation, from the conversation between the original peoples of Mesoamerica and some grasses which, with cultivation, began being made in the human way (translation by Praba Pilar)

Maize is a ‘ciencia campesina o ciencia de huarache, como fuente de saberes’ - a science and technology of the land and of the huarache, a fountain of knowledge.

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