Antonio Gomora

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Xokonoshtletl (also: Xokonoschtletl), real name: Antonio Gómora, is a Mexican citizen from Tabasco[1] living in Germany, born February 17, 1951. Gómora, a certified tourist guide, claims to be Aztec and a shaman resp. healer, and has authored several books for the European market.

Biographical Information

Gómora's claim of being of Aztec ethnicity cannot be verified from information available on the internet. Both English and German Wikipedia carry an article on Gómora, and while the English article does not mention any ethnic affiliation, the German one rather denies Gómora was an Aztec by stating he felt associated with the Aztec.[2] He apparently is a certified tourist guide in Mexico. Gómora has been living in Europe since about 1986, and has been touring Europe regularly with Mexican dance groups organised by him. His self-professed aim, however, is the repatriation of a feather crown which belonged to Montezuma, but was appropriated and given to the Spanish kings in early 16th century and has been kept in the Ethnological Museum in Vienna, Austria since the 19th century.[3]

Diverging Information regarding place of residence

Despite Gómora's website being commercial, as he e.g. promotes travels to Mexico on this site which he sells through his travel agency, and the site also provides an online shop, there is no imprint given except for a bank account used for donations in the Northern German town of Quickborn. The postal address mentioned happens to be the address of the bank's main seat and is not Gómora's private or business address. From an earlier website last updated in 2009, his place of residence then was the town of Borod in the federal state of Northrhine-Westfalia. Information available from business platforms mention a travel agency run by Xokonoshtletl Gómora in the Bavarian town of Bad Birnbach.[4] However, in a 2006 article on Indymedia accessible online, a phone number from the same town was published for Gómora which belongs to a different person.[5]

Various Claims

Gómora employs various claims to promote himself, emphasising his reputation and connections. In a short bio authored by himself, he e.g. claims:
"My name is Xokonoschtletl Gomora. I am a traditional drummer and dancer of the Aztecs, author of books (11), speaker of the UN, delegate to Europe of a Mexican human rights organisation, and a creative member of the Club of Budapest. Since 1986, I periodically come to Europe to achieve the repatriation of the sacred feather crown of Montezuma (which has been in Austria since 1524). This sacred feather crown is the most important relic of Mexico [...]."[6]

First of all, the use of the word "relic" is somewhat surprising, since Moctezuma did not have religious authority, and the term has Christian connotations. The crown also has not been in Austria since 1524 as it was first recorded in the archives of Archduke Ferdinand in 1575[7]; however, Gómora keeps using this date which therefore must be seen as desinformation, and unfortunately this is repeated by other websites.[8]

His claim of being a or the UN speaker cannot be confirmed in any way which suggests it is a mere publicity stunt. The Mexican human rights organisation unnamed in the above quote is the Frente Mexicano Pro Derechos Humanos [Mexican Front for Human Rights], on whose website Gómora is neither listed as a member nor as a delegate to any place.[9]

The only fact is the creative membership with the Club of Budapest. Their list of creative members, however, carries numerous Newagers and plastic shamans like Franz Alt, Rüdiger Dahlke, Barbara Marx Hubbard, or Angaangaq Lyberth.[10]

The article at English-language Wikipedia adds the claim Gómora was a member of Frente Mexicano Pro Derechos Humanos [...] and its representative to the United Nations which also cannot be verified on the FMPDH website. A further claim is: Xokonoschtletl is the official spokesman of the Consejo Mundial de Pueblos Indígenas[11]. Although the article then correctly links to this organisation's Wikipedia entry under its original name of "World Council of Indigenous People", it somehow fails to mention the fact that this organisation, founded in 1974, was dissolved in 1996.[12] A verification of this claim therefore is not possible and the claim must be dismissed as unlikely in the first place, as the organisation had numerous well-known members from academia, politics, and traditional indigenous structures. Since the article on Xokonoshtletl was placed as recently as 2012, i.e. 16 years after the WCIP was dissolved, and still refers to the alleged status as an "official speaker" in the Present Tense, this qualifies as desinformation.

The dubious claims are even more blown out of proportion on the website of a German plastic shaman claiming a "shaman brotherhood" with Gómora:
"Xokonoschtletl Gomora [...] is the representative of the Mexican Indian movement. He is the official speaker of the United Nations, the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and, since 1993, a delegate of the human rights organisation Frente Mexicano Pro Derechos Humanos to Europe.[13] The claim Gómora was the "official speaker" of the UN is rather ridiculous.

A Swiss association supporting Gómora and his projects further describe him as an "... employee of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico"[14], the claim being repeated by a magazine pulished by the protestant church in the Swiss canton of Argau which is supplied to its employees.[15]

The aforementioned Swiss site also claims Gómora was a member of a "South American Indian Counsil [sic]", the claim likewise being repeated on more websites, including the faulty spelling.[16] However, the original name of this organisation is Consejo Indio de Sud America, and it organises indigenous tribes and organisations from South America, not from Central America[17], therefore it seems highly unlikely that they should have accepted a Mexican individual as a member.

Activities in Europe

According to his own account, Gómora's alleged most important aim in Europe is the repatriation of the feather crown which he characterises as "sacred". Apart from this, he also tours Europe with dance groups organised by him on a regular annual basis, sells seminars, and is the author of various books aimed at a European resp. US market.

Dance Groups

The dance group has been organised since the 1990ies, first under the name of "Tloke Nauake", and since about 2000 under the name of "Ometeotl". The group performs publically on various occasions and e.g. has been a guest at the annual "Karl May Festival" for numerous years, although they do not seem to participate since about 2008/2009. However, organisers of this festival are not too particular about whom they engage and have accepted a plastic shaman to perform during the festival at least in 2008.[18] The performances for the Karl May Festival e.g. were not effected by criticism of Gómora's treatment of the dancers which was voiced already in 2000[19] and 2003.[20] The reports describe that Gómora paid the dancers a monthly wage of DM 500 resp. € 250 and pointed out this also was a pittance in Mexico, in particular since the dancers were not covered by any health insurance during their sojourn in Europe. Further points of criticsm were that Gómora kept the dancer's passports and return tickets and denied them access to medical treatment when needed. Although dancers were coming in on tourist visa, they were not only made to perform professionally, but also had to sell Mexican crafts for Gómora, and, without having obtained health certificates issued by German authorities, were also expected to sell soft drinks and food. The reports further point out that dancers were from other indigenous background than Nahua. Although the 2003 report was published at the forum kept at the site of Karl-May-Stiftung, this apparently had no effects on Gómora's participation in the festivals.[21]

Shamanic Activities

Gómora is very careful on his website about publically advertising services as a so-called shaman. He e.g. offers "personal consultations & self-help" appointments "for persons who, due to anxieties, shyness, because of health or psychological problems, do not want to speak up in groups.[...] I will respond to these persons in intensive conversations with advice or suggestions to improve their respective situations."[22] In a different part of his website, Gómora advertises seminars in Yucatán which comprise "cleansings with copal (incense), sweatlodge ceremony, magic, shamanism, nutrition and health, lessons in drumming and dancing, walks in nature, trips to places of power, natural remedies and much more..."; the price of € 950 includes accomodation and food, non-alcoholic beverage, trips, transfer to/from airport.[23]

The German Wikipedia entry, apparently effected and monitored by supporters, lists Gómora in the category "shaman". He is also claimed as a teacher by at least one German plastic shaman who says he was initiated by Gómora and allegedly has a "shaman brotherhood" with him.[24]

Gómora also wrote a book with two co-authors, titled "Mother Earth's Medicine". The book is said to "give attention to the ancient healing wisdom of the Indians. In an extensive part on self-medication, readers may learn interesting things about Indian healing methods for the treatment of more than 40 every-day discomforts in an easy-to-grasp way. [...] One part of the book deals intensely with the "Green Sisters" (healing plants) of Indian medicine. A further part describes various disease patterns, their causes, and ways of treatment. Xokonoshtletl, a Mexican Indian from the Aztec people, has studied the ancient American medicine, its healing plants and healing methods since decades..."[25]

Apparently, Gómora is also in contact with further Newage writers, like e.g. Grazina Fosar and Franz Bludorf who contend:
"The large feather headdresses worn by North and Meso American Indians during their rituals and which we all know from Wild West films, are by no means just decoration. As the traditional Aztec dancer and shaman Xokonoschtletl Gomora once told, they are antennas which catch "cosmic energy" (Schumann waves) during a dance. As we have seen, the Indians were thus able to achieve at changed states of consciousness, for which they also employed further means."[26]
However, Gómora does not only pass such tales on within the Newage scene but also repeats it in lectures given at schools.[27]

Seminars

On his website, Gómora promotes seminars either in Europe or in Mexico, albeit with a very general description. European seminars are offered either for weekends, or for seven days, with an "individual concept possible". The seminars in Mexico are said to last four to ten days and also offer the possibility of an individual concept.[28]

Other seminars advertised were e.g. on "Divine Dualism" in May 2012.[29] A meanwhile neglected earlier website kept by or for Gómora also advertises seminars in Europe on "the history and ancient wisdom of the Maya", as well as "drumming seminars, ancient wisdom of medicine and herbal lore, sweatlodge with aura cleansing."[30] It must be pointed out that, apart from employing several Newage catchwords, the advertised "aura cleansing" does not belong to indigenous spiritual practices. Although sweat houses were known in Meso-America, their use does not seem to have been a spiritual ceremony, as is the case with various North-American indigenous ethnic groups. It is likewise noteworthy that Gómora offers seminars on history and "ancient wisdom" of the Maya in 2012.

Seminars advertised in 2012 e.g. were titled "Traditional Medicine and Rituals of Cleansings of the Aztecs", contents covered: "the meaning of the Aztec calendar - the symbol of death - the symbol of the sacred circle, of numbers and colours - views of a savage - learning to be a part of nature - philosophy and legends of the Aztecs (oral tradition)." The advertisement was categorised under "Ethno-Medicine, Human Rights, Anthropology, International Understanding"[31] and was placed by a student of German plastic shaman J.-Michael Kalagin who also promotes Gómora on her own website, albeit wrongly characterising him as a "shaman of the Mandan".[32]

Newage Fairs

The Swiss supporting site also announced Gómora's participation in the "Lebenskraft 2005", the "16th fair for Newage, Consciousness, and Health/Newage Days" in the town of Zurich in March 2005.[33]

Tour Operator and Language Courses

As Gómora claims to be a certified tourist guide, he also arranges travels to Mexico for his customers: "I know the country very well and annually organise one or two round trips through Mexico. I will also arrange these trips for companies, schools, organisations, private persons. We will visit the jungle, grottos, mountains, markets... I will take you to a Mexico which will remain unknown to the other tourists!"[34]

He further offers language courses at his premises in Yucatan:
"Learning Maya language directly within the Maya world!! Around the town of Muna/Yucatan, there are numerous persons speaking Maya. This is proven by the nearby, sacred archeological places and grottos: Uxmal, Sayil, Labna, X-Lapak, Chichen-Itza, Kalketok, Lol-Tun and many more."[35] Since Gómora claims to be Aztec, it is noteworthy he does not offer courses in Nahuatl. He also does not seem to be aware that Maya is not a single language, but a family of several languages, some of which are not mutually comprehensible.

Alleged projects

On Gómora's own websites as well as on websites promoting him, there are two projects mentioned: one cultural association, and a property in Mexico which seems to be an orchard Gómora bought, but gets promoted e.g. as a touristic enterprise which aims at improving the employment situation of the local indigenous population.

Cultural Association Yankuik Anahuak

The association apparently has no separate website, and information provided on Gómora's sites is rather incomplete: readers mainly learn this association allegedly exists, that Gómora is its chairman, and that there is a bank account for donations which are urgently asked for with the claim of substantial expense having been made to this effect which are in no way specified.

An English entry at Wikipedia also provides no further details regarding the association's founding except for mentioning: "He later founded the Asociación Civil Yankuik Anahuak (International Civil Association Yankuik Anahuak), through which he has struggled for thirty years [...]".[36] However, the author of this entry covered no other indigenous issues in Wikipedia.[37] The article placed in German Wikipedia also is none more precise and its author was likewise not involved with indigenous issues: apart from the article on Gómora, the author also attended to one on an Austrian pop singer turned Newager[38], and also published further promotional articles on Gómora.[39]

Gòmora's current website claims:
"An association for culture, philosophy, and spirituality of the Aztec people
Yankuik Anahuak has the following aims:
- Promotion and support of the Project Ahal in Yucatan, Mexico
- Promotion of indigenous cultures of Mexico as well as crafts and traditional dances
- Respect towards nature and the peoples of nature, ecological cultivation and sales at reasonable prices
- Supports the repatriation of cultural-historical rituals, sacral and sacred objects to their country of origin
- Repatriation of the feather crown of the 9th sovereign of the Aztecs Motekuhzoma [sic] to their home-country Mexiko
(which is kept at the Ethnological Museum in Vienna, Austria since 1524)."[40]

The association seems to be more for the benefit of its chairperson who trades in Mexican crafts and tours with indigenous dancers, and who also owns the project Ahal (see next paragraph for more details). Apart from this, Gómora hands out desinformation to his readers, as the feather crown has in no way been kept in the Vienna museum since 1524 which was founded in 1928.[41]

The site of a German plastic shaman provides the information the association was founded in 1993 and explains that "yankuik" meant "new" in the Aztec Nahuatl language, while "Anahuak" was the Nahuatl term for Mexico "which orginally extended over an area of 6 million kms [sic]: California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, today's Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua [...]".[42] However, this does not describe the historic Aztec empire, but rather the regions held by the Spanish implemented Vice-Kingdom New Spain, albeit neglecting the Philippines and a few Caribbean and South American territories also belonging to New Spain.[43] The real extent of the Aztec empire was restricted to territories in Mexico.[44]

This site also claims that Yankuik Anahuak had "its seat in Mexico City. Sister organisations are situated in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland".[45] Apart from the German branch, all other sister organisations claimed cannot be verified on the internet and are only mentioned on this website.

Project Ahal

This project also does not get mentioned much in the internet. A circle of Swiss supporters described the project in the following way:
"In February 1999, Xokonoschtletl founded the Project Ahal (= Awakening) with the purchase of a property in Muna (Yucatan) which has a size of about 45 hectares. He has since been investing all his energy and all his money into it."[46] The community of Muna is also described as being in the vicinity of the ancient Maya town of Uxmal and it is pointed out that this region has 340 days of sunshine per year.[47]

Ahal is described as a "sacred place - health centre - botanical garden - protected landscape - place of power - traditional Maya school - centre of perma culture - biological agriculture - National Mexican Society for traditional dance".[48] The description seems to be aimed at a largely alternatively minded European audience, from Newage spirituality (e.g. sacred place, place of power) to ecologically minded persons (e.g. perma culture, biological). In line with these catchwords, the first main field of Ahal is said to be "ecological tourism", with the two other fields mentioned as "agricultural zone" and "medical, cultural, and spiritual zone", the latter announced as the "heart of Ahal": "The health centre with numerous therapy places, pool, grottos, sweatlodges, schools for adults and children as well as schools in the Maya tradition and of traditional dance, original pre-Spanish buildings and huts for guests, teachers, workers, and sponsors".[49]

The promotional text also mentions that the premises already have as many as 2,900 fruit trees twenty years old which suggests that Gómora bought an already existing orchard. It further announces: "The area has got a camping lot, museums, a restaurant, a pool, and a historical well".[50] The wording, however, is ambiguous and does not specify whether these facilities are on or off Gómora's premises.

It must also be pointed out that this property is not in the federal state Gómora comes from (Tabasco), but in Yucatan. The indigenous population there are not Nahua but Maya. Since Gómora claims he intends to help "his people", it is quite noteworthy this project is not situated in a Nahua community, but in a completely different environment among a Mayan population.

The site promoting Ahal is also actively asking for donations. However, since the site went online in 2005, it has apparently not been updated ever since, although the person maintaining it published her own website in 2009 on which she also promoted Gómora.

A report critical of Gómora's activities also mentioned that the "alleged social project in Yucatan served as a training camp for new dancers hired to join Gómora's dance group.[51]

Criticism

Apart from the above mentioned critical reports, the Italian branch of Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) published a warning in November 2000.[52] Their article points out that although his performances had some appeal to the audience, he was not legitimated by indigenous peoples to ask for the repatriation of the feather crown. Instead, GfbV write, he apparently holds a declaration of support by the Mexican "Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e historia" (which apparently over the years mutated into the claim of being an employee of the institute, cf. above), but explain the institute is under criticism by indigenous organisations in Mexico for taking rather anti-indigenous stands. The article further points out that fourteen Mexican indigenous organisations have distanced themselves from Gómora and emphasise that neither Gómora nor his alleged delegations ever raised their voice for the preservation of indigenous cultures.

References

  1. http://www.thegatenewspaper.com/tag/xokonoschtletl-gomora/ accessed 02/04/2014
  2. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xokonoschtletl_Gomora accessed 02/04/2014
  3. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  4. http://www.freieauskunft.de/D_84364_Bad+Birnbach/0/2731_Reiseb%C3%BCros+und+Reiseveranstalter.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  5. http://indymedia.us/or/2006/11/21196.shtml accessed 02/04/2014
  6. http://www.epubli.de/shop/autor/Xokonoschtletl-Gomora/4244 accessed 02/04/2014
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montezuma%27s_headdress accessed 02/04/2014
  8. see e.g. www.umane.de/Inhalte/Infos/Temazkalli/Xoko/xoko.html accessed 02/04/2014
  9. http://www.fmpdh.com.mx/ accessed 02/04/2014
  10. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_of_Budapest accessed 02/04/2014
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xokonoschtletl_G%C3%B3mora accessed 02/04/2014
  12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Council_of_Indigenous_People accessed 02/04/2014
  13. www.umane.de/Inhalte/Infos/Temazkalli/Xoko/xoko.html accessed 02/04/2014
  14. www.ahal.ch/xokono.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  15. www.ref-ag.ch/informationen-medien/a-o/PDF/a_o_05/ao-04-05.pdf accessed 02/04/2014
  16. http://www.ahal.ch/xokono.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  17. http://www.yachana.org/research/oxford_movs.html accessed 02/04/2014
  18. http://www.radebeul24.info/galeriepause.php?action=show&picid=1203 accessed 02/04/2014
  19. http://www.hobby-barfuss.de/archiv/messages/6399.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  20. http://www.karl-may-stiftung.de/forum/messages/41.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  21. www.karl-may-stiftung.de/forum/messages/41.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  22. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  23. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  24. e.g. www.umane.de/GreyOwl/Freunde/wfalliance.html accessed 02/04/2014
  25. heilfastenkur.de/buch-70-Medizin-der-Mutter-Erde.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  26. www.fosar-bludorf.com/archiv/rz.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  27. http://www.obernburg.de/komxpress/DynDox/0F0B13EC-7898-4EC3-84E0-A84F40CBEF1A/2006-09.pdf accessed 02/04/2014
  28. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  29. www.nahael.de/Special_Blog?id=7 accessed 02/04/2014
  30. xokonoschtletl.xo.funpic.de/aufgaben.html accessed 02/04/2014
  31. www.selbsthilfegruppen.de/veranstaltungen/seminar-mit-xokonoschtletl-gomora-2/ accessed 02/04/2014
  32. www.visionsunlimited.de/ accessed 02/04/2014
  33. www.ahal.ch/news.htm accessed ß2/04/2014
  34. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/03/2014
  35. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xokonoschtletl_G%C3%B3mora accessed 02/04/2014
  37. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Rosymonterrey accessed 02/04/2014
  38. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spezial:Beitr%C3%A4ge/Yanahuak accessed 02/04/2014
  39. http://www.offenes-presseportal.de/kunst_kultur/montezumas_heilige_federkrone_-_befristete_rueckkehr_aus_wien_nach_mexiko_geplant_215162.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  40. www.xoko.org/ accessed 02/04/2014
  41. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weltmuseum_Wien accessed 02/04/2014
  42. www.umane.de/Inhalte/Infos/Temazkalli/Xoko/xoko.html accessed 02/04/2014
  43. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Spain accessed 02/04/2014
  44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aztec_Empire_1519_map-fr.svg accessed 02/04/2014
  45. www.umane.de/Inhalte/Infos/Temazkalli/Xoko/xoko.html accessed 02/04/2014
  46. www.ahal.ch/xokono.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  47. www.ahal.ch/dasprojekt.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  48. www.ahal.ch/dasprojekt.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  49. www.ahal.ch/dasprojekt.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  50. www.ahal.ch/dasprojekt.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  51. http://www.karl-may-stiftung.de/forum/messages/41.htm accessed 02/04/2014
  52. http://www.gfbv.it/2c-stampa/2-00/29a-11-dt.html accessed 02/4/2014