Crime & Justice

An ancient dance to conjure verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial

By Alex Segura Lozano

Minneapolis, US, Apr 20 (EFE).- Dressed in feathers, ribbons, and colorful attire, the traditional Mexica-Nahua cultural group, Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, performed outside the court where a trial is underway against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing African-American George Floyd.

The demonstration Monday was held to call for an end to brutality against minorities in the United States.

The group members, with their drums and dances, mesmerized more than 300 demonstrators who had gathered to demand a tough verdict against Chauvin.

The jury began deliberations after closing arguments in the trial Monday.

The star of the ceremony, however, was copal, an aromatic tree resin that was used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

Copal was burned by ancient civilizations as an offering to deities and to heal different physical and spiritual diseases.

“We’re in the same fight. This should not happen with our Latino, African-American or Asian children,” the group’s leader, Diindiisii, told EFE after the performance.

Elvira Marysol Capetillo, the name that appears in her documents, explained that one of the principles of her tribe is that one “must respect everything and everyone around him”, something that Chauvin “did not do.”

“Only then will you live in harmony with life,” she said, paraphrasing the main advice of the ancestors of the Anishinaabe Ojibwe indigenous people.

Diindiisi said that her group aimed to offer songs, dances, love, and strength to Floyd and all his loved ones.

She and her fellow members prayed to help “peace and love bring an end to the systems of oppression” in the US, from which their ancestors “suffered so much,” she added.

Capetillo recalled that present-day Minnesota itself was created on land where two important indigenous tribes, the Dakota, also known as Sioux, and the Ojibwa, and some Winnebago groups once lived.

The indigenous people’s performance in downtown Minneapolis received a standing ovation from the protesters, who braced themselves for intense days ahead while waiting for the jury’s verdict in the trial against Chauvin who faces three charges. EFE


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