1 For a very good summary and discussion of the debates surround-
ing the ethnic versus class differences between indians and mestizos
(and the degree to which the one constitutes the other), see Gose
(1994: 16–28).
2 Interview with author, April 15, 2005.
3 This is very different from indigenismo of the first half of the twenti-
eth century, which grew out of the Mexican Revolution and sought
to valorize indigenous culture but principally that of the past. Indi-
genismo was a discourse principally espoused by mestizos and, in
many cases, was actively opposed to the cultures and lifeways of
contemporary indians. See Brading (1988). Indigenismo can be un-
derstood as part of the process whereby the rising Latin American
elites felt comfortable with their own mixed heritage and as an ide-
ology of engagement with the creole landowning oligarchy. What
is absolutely clear is that indigenismo is about a mixed heritage, not
an indigenous one: The mestizo is the iconic citizen. Contempo-
rary indigenism, conversely, presents the indigenous person as the
iconic citizen. See Brading (1988).
4 Interview with author translated from Aymara.
5 Tupak Katari was the indian leader who, along with his partner Bar-
tolina Sisa, almost successfully led a revolt against the Spanish in
the late eighteenth century. They are both important contemporary
icons of indigenous resistance. He was captured and quartered by
the Spanish in 1781, and his body parts, it is believed, were buried far
Previous Page Next Page