Mexican X Part X: What the Hex a ‘Latinx’?

David Bowles
10 min readDec 24, 2018

“Why do people keep writing ‘Latinx’? And yikes, how do you pronounce it?”

Alright, deep breath. Here comes the 10th and final edition of my Mexican X series for 2018. It’s a long one.

Let’s start with the land we all live on in the Western Hemisphere. There aren’t any perfect indigenous words to use. “Turtle Island” has been proposed as a term some members of First Nations in “North America” feel comfortable with for their continent, as it ties into their beliefs. But not all of them agree. As it’s a term from the Iroquois people, many feel it would be appropriation to use it in a “pan-Indian” sort of way.

Turtle Island? Cemanahuac?

The Anahuacah (also Nahuatlacah or “Aztecs”) thought of the world as being surrounded by a great cosmic sea. They called that contiguous land mass “Cemanahuac” (seh mah NAH wahk), literally “all [the land] beside the waters.” Some folk suggest it as an alternate term for the “Americas.”

The Guna people of Panama and Colombia call this hemisphere “Abya Yala”: “land in its full maturity” or “land of vital blood.”

I’m guessing none of these names is going to replace “the Americas,” however.

You probably have heard the origin of the word “America.” Amerigo Vespucci, a naturalized Castilian, was the first European to realize (through a couple of…



David Bowles

A Mexican American author & translator from South Texas. Teaches literature & Nahuatl at UTRGV. President of the Texas Institute of Letters.