Renewing Old Worlds: The Remaking of New World Beings

The Remaking of New World Beings, 2015
Digital drawing, variable dimensions.

The Nahuatl that first domesticated the turkey called it "big monster" or Huexolotl, a name that survives in Mexico as Guajolote. The concept of monstrosity did not carry the conation that is attributed to it nowadays. In fact it makes reference to what it not ordinary, and in that way functions as an evidence of the divine. The Mexica related him to the God Tezcatlipoca and the deities of the sun and life. For the Otomíes, the turkey is a sacred animal that is related to the creation of agricultural activity. Jóconi is how the female turkey is called, and dáma-'gni, is the male turkey. In North America, the Apache and Hopi associated him with healing and agricultural practices, as a "giver of life" and participant in the creation of the Earth. The bird was known by the Powhatan (Virginia) as monanow. The Delaware called it tshikenum. The Algonkian (Long Island) called it nahiam. The Narragansett: nahenan; the Natick and Wampanoag: neyhom; the Abnaki (Maine): nahame; the Iroquois (upper New York): netachrochwa gatschinale.

The turkey is a symbolic animal that has being made synonym with Thanksgiving, a celebration of the installation of settler colonialism in the United States. Turkeys were one of the first birds to be taken to Europe and keep in their name changes, a tracking of the routes through which the turkey was commerced in the old world. The bird is known as Dinde "Of India" in French, Indjushka " bird of India" in Russian, Indyk “India" in Polish, Hindi in Turkish and Hindi diiq "Indian Rooster" in Arabic. They are thought to have been taken to Turkey where it was selectively crossed to increase its size.