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Remembering Coyolxauhqui as a Birthing Text


This article examines several interpretations of the stone image of Coyolxauhqui: 1) the Early Academic interpretation established by anthropologists; 2) the Xicana Feminist interpretation; and 3) a Partera/Midwife perspective which re-envisions Coyolxauhqui as a birthing diagram or guide for women in labor. Historically, Coyolxauhqui has been referred to as the “dis-membered woman” and used as evidence of the victimization of women in Mesoameri- can society. This article challenges the conventional notions of Coyolxauhqui and argues that even the reformist understandings rendered by Xicana feminist thinkers were still founded from and built upon colonial interpretations of this image. By re-envisioning and re-membering Coyolxauhqui through a Partera/ midwifery lens, a new interpretation emerges. Rather than being regarded as the “dis-membered woman” Coyolxauhqui is revered through an Indigenous women’s perspective that honors her as a text about the life-giving force of women.

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