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Laurette Séjourné.

Laurette Séjourné (1911 - May 25, 2003) was a French archeologist and ethnologist best known for her involvement in the Aztec civilization.

A native French, she was born in Perugia, Italy, and later became a naturalized Mexican citizen.

During the 1950s, Séjourné worked for Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), excavating at Teotihuacan. She published several books on the cosmology and religion of the Nahua, including Burning Water: Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico.

Séjourné's main work was on the figure of Quetzalcoatl. In addition, she maintained that Teotihuacan was the legendary Tollan. Séjourné's work highlighting the destructive nature of European colonialism can best be captured by the following passage from her 1971 book America Latina: Antiguas culturas precolombinas (pages 7–8):

[In] spite of extreme demographic density and the lack of machinery and work animals, the members of Precolumbian societies enjoyed physical health, individual independence, security, some leisure, which implies a distribution of resources and an integration to the collectivity that in our days would seem a utopia. From all of this follows that if we refuse to analyze the invasion that destroyed a civilized world and laid the seed of a system in which hunger, humiliation, and bloody repression constitute the only form of survivorship, contemporary underdevelopment should be a result of congenital incapacity, of the irremediable racial inferiority that justified extermination and vassalage.

Her work still is valued by specialists, but some were appalled when parts of her work were adopted by esoteric groups, searching for occult teachings of the pre-Hispanic religions. This is something that Séjourné never endorsed.

Her last years were dedicated to bring education to the Indian peoples of the south of Mexico.

She died at the age of 92.



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