Continued from page 1

Then there’s the Mexica Movement, which wants to “reconstruct” the United States as an “indigenous” nation called Anahuac. Professor Charles Truxillo of the University of New Mexico envisions a sovereign Hispanic nation called the Republica del Norte that would encompass Northern Mexico, Baja California, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

MEChA, an acronym for the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, has come under fire for revolutionary language in its “El Plan de Aztlan,” a founding document that declares “the independence of our mestizo nation,” decries the “brutal gringo invasion,” and says that land “rightfully ours will be fought for and defended.”

What’s notable about MEChA is its otherwise mainstream image. Most Hispanic leaders, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, belonged to MEChA in high school or college. Former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante came under fire from conservatives for refusing to renounce his membership during the 2003 gubernatorial race.

Federico Rangel, a University of Colorado graduate student and MEChA officer, said most students view Aztlan as part of their history, not as a rallying cry for revolution.

“Aztlan isn’t what people say it is, like the reconquista,” said Mr. Rangel, who carried a MEChA sign at Monday’s rally. “It’s a spiritual homeland to Chicanos.”