Wisdom Keepers

Citlalxochitl Elena Rios

Citlalxochitl Elena Rios

The work of Citlalxochitl Elena Rios (Azteca Mexica / Mestiza) emphasizes culturally significant themes that take shape through painting, music, dance, and song.  She is the author and illustrator of "Mihtotiancalli" or "La Casa del Danzante, The Dancer's House".  A native Californian, she remembers traveling with her mother and aunt across the southwest visiting sacred places as a young girl.  The sights and sounds reflecting the native communities of these areas, and the smell of the wet earth and chaparral after a thunderstorm, left a lasting impression on her.  

She spent most of her early adulthood as a U.S Forest Service wild land firefighter.  Some of the inspiration for artistic symbolism and expression of indigenous culture in her own art, also came from the influence of the many native wildland firefighting crews from throughout the U.S., with whom she would often find herself working.  When there was "down town" on a fire, small notebooks, scraps of paper, cardboard, or any suitable material handy, would be covered with visual expressions of tribal pride and identity from throughout the southwest and California.  

She earned her BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute.  Further education within the Azteca Mexica ceremonial tradition has involved travel in the United States and Central Mexico.  She has played an integral role in the making and designing of vestuario (trajes) or "regalia" which is the clothing that is worn during the offering of dance.  Also helping to organize and direct community circles of learning that are rooted within the structure, discipline, and ways that have been set forth by elders and teachers of the past.  

At the time of this writing, she and her son  Miguel make their home in Ojai, California, within the tribal lands of the Chumash.  The word "Ojai" is derived from the Chumash word "Ahwa'y" meaning "moon".  

Her book can be ordered at blurb.com/b/4386608-mihtotiancalli

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