short titles have
generally been used to cite works in the notes. A few works
are identified by the following short forms:
dii Colección de documentos ineditos
dim Colección de documentos para la historia de México
Opúsculos Las Casas, Obras escogidas de Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas:
Opúsculos, cartas y memoriales
1 The character of the territory that we know as Latin America is determined
by its indigenous culture. However, the term ‘‘Latin America’’ only acknowl-
edges the European component of the continent’s name. If in addition we
consider that the French, because of political motivations, adopted the name
‘‘Latin’’ America during the second half of the nineteenth century, then the
term ‘‘Indoamerica’’ comes closer to integrating the native people into the
mestizo reality of America. At the very least, despite Columbus’s erroneous
conviction, the term incorporates, if only partially, the indigenous and Euro-
pean components of the continent. ‘‘Indoamerica’’ is not a new term; it was
frequently used by two different but important Indoamerican political think-
ers of the twentieth century, Victor Raúl Haya de La Torre and José Carlos
2 In the aftermath of his third voyage, Columbus identified the world he had
encountered an appendage of Asia or a manifestation of the Terrestrial Para-
dise. Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, 384, 547.
3 Elliott, The Old World and the New, 7.
4 As noted above, because of Columbus’s ignorance about his landing place, the
term ‘‘Indian’’ has become a descriptor for the natives of Indoamerica and
often carries strong negative racial implications. Its use in the context of this
work carries no pejorative connotation. On the contrary, as a mestizo of
‘‘Indian’’ and Spanish extraction, I would like to see the term stripped of any
pejorative connotations and to revalidate the pride and the integrity of our
indigenous ancestors. I believe that the use of euphemistic neologisms to
describe the natives of the continent encountered by Columbus has done little
to alter their living conditions, and it does little to remove the urgency to
transform the abject reality that the indigenous people have been forced to
endure for the last five hundred years. However, to avoid breaking with the
patterns of customary usage, the terms ‘‘Indian,’’ ‘‘indigenous,’’ and ‘‘native,’’
and the neologisms ‘‘Native American’’ and ‘‘Amerindian’’ will be used inter-
changeably throughout this book.
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