Tuesday, December 27, 2022

'The Pasts and Futures of Latina o Indige'


Summary and Keywords

The question of indigeneity in the study of Latina/o literature and culture points toward
conflictive histories of colonization and invigorates a set of global directions for the future
of Latina/o studies. The pairing of the two terms—Latina/o and Indigeneity—appears
initially counterintuitive. Conventionally understood as an ancestral relation of Latina/o
communities that has been vanished or lost over the duration of the European colonization
of the Americas, Indigeneity opens a set of insuperable problematics that continue to
pattern and shape multiple and incommensurate iterations of Latina/o politics and culture.
While “Latina/o” in some instances denotes ancestral relation with Native tribes in
the Americas, for many the term has also come to signify decidedly non-indigenous mestiza/
o, settler, or migrant identities, imaginaries, and belongings. The literary, cultural, and
intellectual production of Latina/o Indigeneity offers a unique window into the ways in
which Native politics continue to compete with, accommodate, and challenge multiple
regimes of colonial occupation and periods of modern state formation. Indigeneity illuminates
places of Latina/o literary and cultural production through which to engage the historic
ascendance of a number of fundaments of modern life across the globe, including
capitalism, nation-state sovereignty, and the transnational social structures of race, sex,
citizenship, and gender.

Keywords: Native and Indigenous knowledge, race, mestizaje, detribalization, Indigeneity, resurgence, decolonization
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Problematics of Latina/o Indigeneity

Questions of Latina/o indigeneity and Latina/o relations with Native American and Indigenous
communities across the hemisphere strike at the primal historical scenes of the European
colonization of the Americas. “By 1493, there were 30,000 Tainos living in Borinquen,”
states a January 1971 article in a “History of Boriken” series from Palante, a newspaper
founded by the Puerto Rican revolutionary nationalist Young Lords Party. That year
“the peaceful life of the Indians was disturbed by an intrusion from a fool named christopher
(sic) Columbus while on his second voyage to the Americas . . . This was to be
Spain’s headquarters for its imperialist operations in the so-called ‘new land.’”1 Indeed,
by pulling on threads enmeshed in the primary encounters that invented the Americas,


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