singing for The dead and The living
Revival, Indigenous Publics, and the National Afterlife
Tojo k’ausakji, tojok’uasachon,
tojesa manguine jin. . . .
li to basa mana, kitjobison na jin
i naxinanda jña
i tijnakole ñano tsa naina si k’uatso.
Our world continues on
and now we say goodbye. . . .
It makes us sad, but at least we walked here
for our pueblo
Don’t be sad,
next year, God willing, we will see each other again.
—Crescencio García, Mazatec songwriter, from “Tojesa manguine jin”
(“Now We Say Goodbye”)
Just before I left for Mexico to begin research for this book, I attended a con-
ference required by one of the granting agencies that generously funded my
research. The program was interdisciplinary, and I was one of the few anthro-
pologists participating. Most of the other attendees were social scientists
from other disciplines. The keynote address, for example, was given by a soci-
ologist; it was an exegesis on the pitfalls of “selecting on the dependent vari-
able.” During the conference, we attended sessions during which other par-
ticipants critiqued our research proposals; my workshop happened to be run
by the same scholar who had given the keynote address. All I can remember
now of the event was a question he asked: are these language- revival move-