SACNAS is the official acronym for Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science.
The SACNAS symbol itself is a blending of Central American and Southwest indigenous symbols, intended as an emblematic unification of the Native American and Chicano/Hispanic communities, with three distinct parts:
- The Oval (& Beard)
The basic oval shape of the SACNAS symbol is based on the ancient Mayan (indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica) symbol for new sun (Yaxkin), which was originally an oval with a lotus leaf in the middle and a flowing beard. (This glyph is also the main element of the glyph of the sun god, the streamer-like arrangement being the beard of this god.*)
- The Helium Atom
In the center of the oval mentioned above, there is a schematic of a helium atom, which powers the sun and is the “noblest” of gases. (Recall, the center of the original Yaxkin glyph was a lotus leaf.)
- The Nine Rays
The nine rays emanating from the oval were added to represent the New Mexico Zia Pueblos emblem, as depicted in the sun logo that appears as the state symbol for New Mexico.
*From The Ancient Mayaby Sylvanus Griswold Morley
The union of these three elements thereby links Native American and Chicano/Hispanic cultures with science, in one powerful symbol simultaneously representing the vision, mission, and people of SACNAS.
Any usage of the SACNAS logo must be approved by the SACNAS Communications & Marketing Department.