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date: 24 February 2024



  • Estelle TaricaEstelle TaricaDepartment of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Berkeley


Indigenismo is a term that refers to a broad grouping of discourses—in politics, the social sciences, literature, and the arts—concerned with the status of “the Indian” in Latin American societies. The term derives from the word “indígena,” often the preferred term over “indio” because of the pejorative connotations that have accrued to the latter in some contexts, and is not to be confused with the English word “indigenism.” The origins of modern indigenismo date to the 16th century and to the humanist work of Bartolomé de las Casas, dubbed “Defender of the Indians” for his efforts to expose the violence committed against native populations by Spanish colonizers. Indeed indigenismo generally connotes a stance of defense of Indians against abuse by non-Indians, such as criollos and mestizos, and although this defense can take a variety of often-contradictory forms, it stems from a recognition that indigenous peoples in colonial and modern Latin America have suffered injustice. Another important precursor to modern indigenismo is 19th-century “Indianismo.” In the wake of Independence, creole elites made the figure of “the Indian” a recurring feature of Latin American republican and nationalist thought as the region sought to secure an identity distinct from the colonial powers.

The period 1910–1970 marks the heyday of modern indigenismo. Marked by Las Casas’s stance of defense toward indigenous people and by creole nationalists’ “Indianization” of national identity, the modernizing indigenismo of the 20th century contains three important additional dimensions: it places the so-called “problem of the Indian” at the center of national modernization efforts and of national revolution and renewal; it is, or seeks to become, a matter of state policy; and it draws on contemporary social theories—positivist, eugenicist, relativist, Marxist—to make its claims about how best to solve the “Indian problem.” Though its presence can be found in many Latin American countries, indigenismo reached its most substantive and influential forms in Mexico and Peru; Bolivia and Brazil also saw significant indigenista activity. Anthropologists played a central role in the development of modern indigenismo, and indigenismo flourished in literature and the performing and visual arts. In the late 20th century, indigenous social movements as well as scholars from across the disciplines criticized indigenismo for its paternalist attitude toward Indians and for promoting Indians’ cultural assimilation; the state-centric integrationist ideology of indigenismo has largely given way to pluri-culturalism.


  • History of Northern and Andean Spanish America
  • Indigenous History
  • Social History

“Indigenismo” is a discourse about indigenous peoples. It is specific to Latin America and can be found in practically all modern countries in the region. The adjective “indigenista” applies to movements and ideas ranging across many countries and many fields, from the arts and literature to politics and the social sciences, especially anthropology. Although there are important precursor moments in the colonial period and the 19th century, the latter often grouped under the label “indianismo,” indigenismo’s most significant manifestations occurred in the early to mid-twentieth century and especially in Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, where it was a feature of revolutionary nationalism. Indigenismo was an important part of the artistic avant-gardes and of progessive political movements in the 20th century, and whether or not indigenismo became a matter of “official” state policy, indigenista thinkers were instrumental in placing the so-called “problem of the Indian” at the center of debates about modernization and in making “the Indian” a core element of national identity.

The term “indigenismo” itself requires brief discussion. The word derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word “indígena,” often the preferred term over “indio” because of the pejorative connotations that have accrued to the latter in many contexts, though in recent decades the word has been proudly readopted by Indians in some countries. The relatively little-used English word “indigenism” is a poor translation for “indigenismo”; in Ronald Niezen’s definition it refers to the global movement to defend indigenous peoples led by indigenous peoples themselves,1 whereas as will be seen below “indigenismo” in Latin America generally refers to nation-based movements led by non-Indians.2 The English “nativism” captures some elements of indigenista thought, but in the United States the term carries a reactionary political connotation, whereas most indigenismo in Latin America is politically progressive. The French word “indigénisme” (sometimes translated as “indigenism”), meanwhile, refers to a 20th-century Haitian literary movement celebrating the island’s African roots. The Spanish and Portuguese term “indianismo” is more difficult to disentangle from indigenismo. “Indianismo” is generally defined as a 19th-century Romantic mode of literature exalting Indians, especially in Brazil. However, “indianismo” also can refer to indigenous social movements of the late 20th century that explicitly reject indigenismo.3

What are the basic tenets of indigenismo? Arriving at a precise definition of indigenismo’s idea content is not an easy task due to its geographic range, its applications in diverse fields, and its ideological and hence polemical nature. Despite this variation, indigenismo retains several stable features across time and place. The first of these concerns its object: indigenismo is about native peoples and their situation in Latin America—what it is and what it should be. The second is that indigenismo is a discourse about national identity, one that gives “the Indian” and Indianness a central role. Third, indigenismo is generally voiced by non-indigenous criollos or mestizos, rather than by indigenous people themselves. Finally, fourth, indigenismo is primarily a form of activism or polemic; it is a counter-discourse or discourse of defense. Mid-20th-century scholars of indigenismo had described it “as a current of thought favorable to Indians,”4 one that promotes “a sympathetic awareness of the Indian.”5 In fact the more robust notion of “defense” does greater justice to the appeal and impact of indigenismo in its time. Simply put, indigenismo emerges to defend indigenous peoples against the dispossession and discrimination they have suffered since the conquest and that have remained enduring features of Latin American societies. Not every defense of indigenous peoples has been considered part of indigenismo. For example, it is rare to find that indigenous self-defense is included under the term. But all indigenismo understands itself to be, correctly or not, a defense of indigenous peoples against exploitation and injustice, a critique of the socioeconomic and political status quo, and a refutation of prevailing negative views about native peoples.

Indigenismo’s Colonial Origin: Bartolomé de las Casas

Almost simultaneous to Spain’s conquest and colonization of the Americas there arose questions from within the colonial venture itself about its moral and legal legitimacy. These questions were spurred by the atrocities suffered by indigenous peoples at the hands of Spanish colonizers, and in particular the regime of forced labor to which they were subjected under the encomienda system. The Spanish crown used the legal principle of “just war” to explain why the Spaniards’ use of force to Christianize indigenous peoples, dispossess them of their lands, and commit them to servitude could be defended on legal and moral grounds. Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566), a Dominican priest, remains the most well-known of those Europeans who questioned Spanish colonialism from within. Dubbed “Defender of the Indians,” he was a vocal, learned, and prolific advocate whose works achieved wide circulation in his time and beyond and included historical, ethnographic, theological, and legal perspectives. In his famous work, Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account), he directly refuted, point for point, the legal justifications for the violence of the conquest offered by the Spanish Crown, demonstrating that such violence was illegal, because it was a contravention of international law; immoral, amounting to a diabolical perversion of Christian teachings; and materially damaging to the Crown, because of the vast destruction inflicted on subject peoples by Spaniards themselves.6

The Brevísima was published in 1552, two years after Las Casas’s famous 1550–1551 debates in Valladolid with Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, who held that forced conversion of Indians to Christianity was both expedient and just.7 Las Casas answered that it was neither of these because it infringed on the Indians’ sovereign rights and he refuted Sepúlveda’s claims that the Indians were barbarian, inferior to Spaniards, closer to animals than humans, and guilty of crimes against nature and men.8 Grosso modo, modern indigenismo of all stripes repeats Las Casas’ refutations of Indians’ barbarian and inferior status, even if the thinking behind these arguments and the reasons to rehearse them—no longer concerned with justifying war against Indians to Christianize them but with postcolonial sovereign control over the national territory or integration into the modern world system—are utterly different from this original context. Brevísima relación was a best seller in its time and continued to resonate for centuries, influencing Spanish-American independence thinkers and 20th-century indigenistas.9

Independence and the 19th Century: Romantic “Indianismo”

In the late colonial period and during the wars of independence, nationalists called on the pre-Columbian past as an alternative ancestry to Spain, thereby canceling out the symbolism of Spain as the parent country to its American colonies and making it possible to see national political autonomy as a form of historical restitution.10 In post-colonial Spanish America, indigenous figures and myths became a recurring feature of republican thought and Creole nationalism, as the region sought to secure an identity that was distinct from Spain; a similar process occurred in 19th-century Brazil. The pre-Columbian past became embedded in national self-concepts and could be found in the monuments and writings tasked with forming national memory: pre-Columbian figures appeared in Argentina’s national anthem, on Guatemalan postage stamps, as monuments along Mexico City’s boulevards, at Ecuador’s pavilion to the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition, and so forth.11 In the realm of the visual arts, 19th-century academy painters contributed to Latin American “historical nationalism” with scenes of the conquest.12

An important realm for the development of national ideas in this period was the literary and pictorial “sketch” tradition known as “costumbrismo,” which depicted regional “customs” and focused on present-day social “types” and classes. It was influenced by the scientific and ethnographic writing of European travelers, with costumbrista artists and authors following suit to engage in “a new kind of social observation” attentive to the world they inhabited.13 Much Romantic narrative contained costumbrista elements, and costumbrista visual art, including early photography, enjoyed a vast international audience thanks to the cartes de visite craze.14 Indigenous peoples were not the sole or even the primary focus of costumbrista art and literature, yet even so costumbrismo was linked to early indigenista thought because of its desire to create a recognizably national iconography that showcased social and cultural diversity. In Peru, Ricardo Palma’s popular costumbrista-inspired Tradiciones peruanas, a series of literary sketches published between 1872 and 1910, influenced the indigenismo of this period and beyond.15

In literature the 19th-century exaltation of “the Indian” known as “indianismo” had a lasting impact, especially in Brazil, and was also an important precursor to 20th-century indigenismo. Brazilian poet Antonio Gonçalves Días’s mid-19th-century poems, inspired by Chateaubriand and James Fenimore Cooper, glorified Brazilian nature and “the valor of the Indian” in order to express an exclusively American sensibility.16 José de Alencar’s novels O Guarani (1857) and Iracema (1865) sought to produce a “true national poetry” by depicting valiant Indian warriors and beautiful Indian women; both saw in “the Indian” a quality of “authentic” Brazil.17 Juan León Mera’s novel Cumandá (Ecuador, 1877) and Manuel de Jesús Galván’s Enriquillo (Dominican Republic, 1888), along with a host of other works from other countries, exalted the noble character of indigenous peoples victimized by white colonizers.18 Literary indianismo contributed to the cultural work of national consolidation and unification in the postcolonial period.

Clearly republican and national discourses about indigenous people flourished in this period and across the region. But is this indigenismo? Largely not, because with few exceptions these 19th-century discourses painted an almost uniformly negative portrait of present-day indigenous peoples, who were “declared incapable of participating in the life of the nation”19 and indeed imagined as a threat to national well-being. Far from defending indigenous peoples, liberal nation builders launched genocidal war campaigns against them in Argentina and in Mexico, and under the influence of scientific racism, advocated European immigration so as to “whiten” Latin American populations. Domingo Sarmiento’s 1845 masterpiece Facundo: Civilización y barbarie (Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism) established the dominant ideological paradigm used by 19th-century elites, who saw nation-building in terms of a struggle between barbarian and civilized forces.20 Republican ideas of civic virtue focused on the city as the seat of enlightened government and economic progress, casting the lands beyond the city as savage or backward. Liberalism became ascendant in most countries, with its secularism, its reformist and European-oriented spirit, and its belief in education as an instrument to create model citizens. Liberals instituted policies that destroyed established ways of life in indigenous communities and exposed indigenous peoples to new forms of economic and social vulnerability.

Nevertheless, we should be attentive to the conjunction “and” that links Sarmiento’s “civilization” to “barbarism” and provides a clue to the ambivalence at the heart of elite thinking about racial difference in Latin America. The Eurocentric spirit of many criollo thinkers was tempered by an infusion of Romantic ideas about nature and the land, which were seen as exercising a determinative force on local inhabitants, as can be appreciated in Sarmiento’s rhapsodies about the Argentine pampa.21 Sarmiento’s view was inspired by European scientific racism, but it is important to remember that in the hands of Latin American thinkers theories of racial difference took on a special cast, more ambivalent and less mechanistic than in Europe. For one thing, racial difference became imbued with both positive and negative attributes, because the “barbarism” that Sarmiento condemned also established that the region was “similar yet distinct” vis-a-vis Europe.22 Furthermore, Latin American thinkers tended to believe that the determinative force of the environment and hereditary factors could be tempered by liberal education and other measures to “improve” the population.23 This can be especially appreciated in late 19th-century Mexico. There, the positivist liberal intellectuals of the the Porfirian era (1876–1911), known as “científicos,” ascribed to Spencerian social Darwinist ideas about degeneration, yet they believed in the power of education to mitigate inherited “inferiority” and for the most part advocated the extension of national education programs to include indigenous people on the grounds that this would make them better citizens.24 Indigenista thinkers of the 20th century would go on to tap the deep discursive vein linking nationality and Indian-ness characteristic of 19th-century thought. The relatively more “open” thinking on racial difference espoused by Latin American elites compared to their counterparts in Europe and the United States continued into the era of national modernization.25

20th Century: Indigenismo in the Era of Modernization

The period 1910–1970 marks the heyday of indigenista activity. During this time indigenismo was a feature in most if not all Latin American countries. Yet only in a few has it played a significant role in shaping the country’s modern political and cultural history. Mexico and Peru are the two most prominent such cases; each merits special attention because of the depth and breadth of indigenista activity there and because of indigenismo’s far-reaching impact. Two other countries, Bolivia and Brazil, also demand particular attention, the former because of indigenismo’s role in paving the way for the 1952 Revolution, the latter because its “protectionist” orientation lends it unique features. Indigenismo in other countries, such as Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, and Guatemala, had a more limited impact politically; it remained a marginal or momentary phenomenom, yet not without significant achievements in literature, the arts, and archeology. Indigenismo in all of these countries, regardless of its ultimate impact, aimed to “nationalize” present-day indigenous peoples by viewing them as a source of vitality and cultural particularity.


Though modern Mexican indigenismo emerged in the Porfirian period, it was thanks to the Mexican Revolution that it became a core feature of national thought and politics.26 Three characteristics distinguish modern Mexican indigenismo from its counterparts in the Andes and elsewhere. First, indigenismo became a central pillar of state policy and was considered an instrument to achieve massive transformations in Mexican society: the socioeconomic modernization of Mexico and the construction of a unified national identity. Mexican indigenismo was therefore a state-sponsored, integrationist, assimilationist, and developmentalist endeavor. Second, anthropology took the leading role in these undertakings. Indigenista anthropology left a lasting mark on government policy and in the visual arts. Until the mid-20th century there was practically no anthropology in Mexico that was not of the applied and indigenista variety. Mexican indigenistas’ celebration of the virtues of contemporary indigenous peoples, not just of their pre-Columbian forebears, was buttressed by the cultural relativism that marked ethnographic research at the turn of the 20th century. Indigenista anthropologists proclaimed Indians to be a source of national pride and vitality and thereby pioneered a new perspective on national identity and a new national aesthetic, wielding enormous and lasting influence in the arts as a result. Yet, precisely because their mission was indistinguishable from that of the modernizing state, indigenista anthropologists also labeled Indians as “backward” and “weak” because insufficiently modern.

Third, for the first half of the 20th century Mexican indigenismo was guided by, indeed subservient to, the ideology of mestizaje, which oriented all indigenista action. Mestizaje most commonly refers to the process of biological “mixing” between indigenous peoples and Europeans characteristic of Spanish American societies since the Conquest; a mestizo is someone with both indigenous and European ancestry. However, when mestizaje was taken up by Mexican thinkers in the immediate pre-Revolutionary period and then during and after the Revolution, it accrued a more abstract and collective overlay and the emphasis fell on mestizaje as a cultural and political process rather than a biological one.27 Searching for a unifying principle that could “homogenize” Mexico’s diverse cultures into a single national culture that was both modern and distinct—especially vis-a-vis its domineering neighbor to the North—revolutionary nationalists turned to the mestizo and elevated this figure into an icon representing the ideal national subject, one who harmoniously combines modern and indigenous cultural traditions and makes a unique Mexican modernity possible. As Claudio Lomnitz succintly puts it, Mexican anthropology “was charged with the task of forging Mexican citizenship both by ‘indigenizing’ modernity and by modernizing the Indians, thus uniting all Mexicans in one mestizo community.”28

Unquestionably the most influential indigenista thinker of the revolutionary and postrevolutionary period is Manuel Gamio, the “father” of modern Mexican anthropology. He provided the clearest image of the mestizo nation to be constructed by the revolutionary state in his now-classic 1916 book Forjando patria, where he figured the Mexican nation as a statue whose pedestal is Indian and whose body is forged of all the races.29 The goal of the Revolution is to attain a strong national identity by recognizing the essential Indian-ness at its core; for Gamio, the Indian is at the root of national liberation.30 Gamio’s anti-supremacist racial thought was influenced by his mentor at Columbia University, Franz Boas, and the symbolic elevation of the mestizo that he and other national thinkers proposed was possible only after they had refuted the negative view of racial mixture found in much European race thinking. Gamio espoused a new filiative principle for nationality grounded in what Nancy Stepan calls “constructive miscegenation,” based on an inversion of those racial values common to influential strands of 19th-century European thought that held that racial mixture was degenerative and led to weakness.31 Yet Gamio also believed in eugenic social science to improve the lot of Mexico’s Indians.32 It was Gamio who pioneered the development of an “integral, regional approach to anthropology” which “was well suited for applied anthropology seeking to promote development in the service of the state,” best exemplified in his multivolume study of the Teotihuacan Valley, published in 1922.33 And it was Gamio who “demanded a revaluation of native art-forms” and a revitalization of Mexican handicrafts, thereby championing an indigenista national aesthetic to long-lasting effect.34

Gamio’s career in government service included founding and leading the major indigenista institutions of the Revolutionary period. In 1917 Gamio created the Department of Anthropology under the aegis of the Secretaría de Agricultura y Fomento, during the presidency of Venustiano Carranza, and in 1934, during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas, founded the Departamento de Asuntos Indígenas (DAI), the immediate precursor to the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI).35 These institutions oversaw a tremendous amount of indigenista action oriented toward the “development” of indigenous peoples, with initiatives in public health, transportation, agriculture and land reform, and, with the support of the Secretaría de Educación Pública, indigenous education.36 Gamio’s action-oriented indigenismo also left its mark across the Americas. He became the director of the Inter-American Indigenista Institute, which convened a landmark 1940 conference held in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, and published the journal América Indígena.37 Mexico thus became an influential “exporter” of indigenismo.38

Meanwhile, the indigenista impact on the arts during the Revolutionary and immediate post-Revolutionary period can been seen in the promotion of vernacular arts such as handicrafts, dance, and music that contributed to a “new aesthetic vocabulary of mexicanidad” that prized its indigenous components.39 Centennial celebrations in 1921 placed the “popular arts” of “rural Indians” at center stage, even while Dr. Atl, José Vasconcelos, and other intellectuals and artists debated whether indigenous crafts constituted “art” or not.40 Frida Kahlo’s paintings, the paintings and public murals by Diego Rivera and other prominent avant-garde artists, the development of “baile folklórico” in the 1920s and 30s, and the music of composer Carlos Chávez, all bear the signs of the indigenista imprint.41 These various arts consciously strove to include iconographic and formal elements that are recognizably “Indian,” to elevate indigenous culture through complex and positive depictions, and to create a representation of “Mexicanness” thoroughly infused with “Indianness.” Literature, too, contributed to indigenista cultural production, though with markedly less impact.42

The 1930s and 40s saw the creation of further indigenista agencies. The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), was founded in 1938 by Alfonso Caso to train ethnologists and archaeologists, and was complemented by the National School of Anthropology and History, founded in 1942 to train social anthropologists. The INI appeared in 1948, under Caso. By the 1950s, Mexican indigenismo experienced a shift in its orientation and guiding principles, reflecting an awareness among Mexican anthropologists that the instrumental linkage between social science and the state was accelerating processes of acculturation already under way. “[I]f incorporation was its aim,” writes historian David A. Brading, “then essentially [indigenismo] sought to destroy rather than fortify the peasant culture of native communities.”43 Under Gamio’s influence and that of other significant indigenista thinkers of the period, such as Moisés Sáenz, indigenismo had been explicitly acculturationist; this included promoting Spanish over indigenous languages.44 In subsequent decades, the focus shifted to allow for the possibility of “mexicanization” without the extirpation of indigenous cultures as such.45 Caso’s INI espoused a notion of “respect” for the Indian community as well as an interest in preserving indigenous languages,46 yet the result was a contradiction in public policy between indigenismo’s assmiliationist and preservationist aims. Under the influence of anthropologist Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, indigenista action began to focus on “regions of refuge” constituted by nuclei of oppressive race-class systems that maintained Indians’ “underdevelopment.”47 The INI established “regional centers” whose task was to break these systems and promote fuller economic and regional integration.

It was at the INI regional center in Chiapas that writer Rosario Castellanos, arguably Mexico’s best indigenista writer, spent a formative period in the 1950s, drawing on this experience in her short stories and novels to examine how the regional culture perpetuates an oppressive system of racial hierarchy that discriminates directly against indigenous communities. Her work also explored the deleterious impacts of this system on women, targets of sexual control meant to ensure racial purity.48 Chiapas was also the setting for the first experiment in indigenista “auto-ethnography,” with anthropologist Ricardo Pozas’s Juan Pérez Jolote (1948), an ethnographic study of a Chamula Indian apparently narrated by Juan Pérez Jolote himself; the book was hailed for breaking with the paternalist, reform-minded components of previous indigenista texts.49 With Luis Villoro’s Los grandes momentos del indigenismo en México (1950), indigenismo also became a feature of a more philosopically minded reflection on national identity.50 Indigenismo as a nationalist discourse experienced a temporary revitalization in the early 1960s with the opening of the monumental National Museum of Anthropology, the culmination of indigenismo’s nationalist ideology of integration and mestizaje.51 By the end of the decade, however, indigenista anthropology became subject to a serious self-critique from within the discipline of anthropology and ceased to be a source of intellectual and political vitality.52


In Peru, new discussions about the “problem of the Indian” took shape against the backdrop of Peru’s 1883 defeat in the War of the Pacific against Chile. Indigenous peoples had served in substantial numbers in the war’s military operations, yet Peruvian elites found in them a convenient scapegoat for the country’s humiliating loss, blaming it on Indians’ alleged inability to understand themselves as national subjects.53 This anti-Indian stance bloomed into full-fledged “Hispanismo,” which exalted Peru’s “Spanish” origins and constructed a wholly negative iconography of “backward” Indians. Indigenismo emerged to counter this “Hispanist” strain of racism. Manuel González Prada’s set the tone in 1888 when he proclaimed that “the Indian multitudes” of highland Peru constitute “the real nation.”54 Clorinda Matto de Turner’s sentimental novel Aves sin nido (Torn from the Nest) (1889), meanwhile, portrayed contemporary indigenous peoples in Peru as the tearful victims of entrenched Andean social structures.55 The novel criticized the church, local political authorities, and the legal system for constituting a dastardly “trinity” of power that cruelly oppressed Indians and impeded national progress because of its short-sighted venality. The novel didactically suggested that national salvation lay at the hands of benevolent criollos, or rather, criollas; like the abolitionists of the United States, Matto de Turner placed great store in the politically transformative power of women’s maternal and sisterly feelings.56

González Prada influenced a younger generations of indigenista activists, including Doris Mayer and Pedro Zulen, who founded the Asociación Pro-Indígena in Lima in 1909.57 This was a precursor to the flourishing indigenista movement that emerged in the 1920s. Coterminous with Augusto Leguía’s “nueva patria” presidency (1919–1930) and guided by principles of renovation and revolution, this avant-garde indigenismo represents the high point of indigenismo in Peru for its intensity and variety, and for its lasting impact on Peruvian art and politics. Indigenista mobilizations emerged across Peru, most notably in Lima, Cuzco, and Puno, and left their imprint in the arts, politics, education, and the social sciences.

The main thrust of avant-garde indigenismo of the 1920s was integrationist, modernizing, and anti-oligarchical. Like its Mexican counterpart, it had a revolutionary edge: indigenistas anticipated that “national renewal” would follow from the revindication of Indians and thus placed “the Indian” at the center of Peru’s modern aims.58 Theirs was a “mobilizing, modernizing and combative” indigenismo.59 Unlike in Mexico, however, Peruvian indigenismo in this period was not fully taken up by the state. It was guided by a diverse cast of intellectuals and activists, rather than primarily by social scientists. It was decentralized, emanating not just from the capital but also from regional centers such as Cuzco and Puno, though always focused exclusively on the highland Andes as a site of indigenous culture in Peru. Another significant difference from Mexico is that the national aspirations of indigenistas did not coalesce around the figure of the mestizo, whom most Peruvian indigenista thinkers of this period rejected as inauthentic, impure, and debased.60

Peruvian indigenismo, furthermore, was marked by a diversity of ideological positions and by overlapping yet distinct discourses on race and culture, often antagonistic to one other.61 This was especially true in Cuzco, due in part to the fact that indigenismo was adopted by distinct regional actors advancing disparate political agendas.62 The range of indigenista positions was also due to the fact that, unlike Mexican indigenismo, Peruvian indigenistas engaged directly with indigenous peasant movements of the early 1920s, taking sides in struggles between peasants and landowners. Because both sides in these struggles called themselves “indigenista,” it is necessary to add modifiers to the term to understand its various ideological strands. For example, anthropologist Marisol de la Cadena, in her discussion of Cuzco indigenismo, distinguishes between “radical” indigenistas, who used literacy as an instrument to empower indigenous struggles against abusive landowners, and “liberal” indigenistas, exemplified by Luis Valcárcel, who viewed Indians as “illiterate agriculturalists who lived communally,” thereby dismissing the literate political leaders of highland rebellions as “inauthentic” Indians or outside agitators.63 In Valcárcel’s influential book Tempestad en los Andes (Tempest in the Andes) (1927), he celebrated the awakening of a virile “new Indian” and proclaimed Cuzco the spiritual capital of the nation under the aegis of a revolutionary “Andinismo.”64

By far the most influential indigenista of the period was José Carlos Mariátegui, based in Lima. An internationally renowned leftist intellectual, he infused Peru’s principal opposition parties—Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre’s APRA and his own Socialist Party, both founded in the 1920s—with a strong indigenista element. He was a cosmopolitan thinker and a prolific writer. His journal Amauta took its title from the Quechua word for “wise man,” and brought together dissident and avant-garde voices from across Peru, reaching out to the rest of Latin America as well as to Europe and the U.S.65 The journal showcased the diverse set of ideas that nourished Mariátegui’s revolutionary indigenismo, which sprung from his conviction that revolutionary change could only come about in Peru by achieving a radical break with the existing social system and dismantling the nation’s colonial legacy. An admirer of Valcárcel, he argued that a racist symbolic order had fatally bisected Peru by separating the Hispanic coast from the indigenous Andes, the nation’s true source of vitality.66 In his immensely influential book Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana (Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality) (1928), he insisted that the “problem of the Indian” had nothing to do with indigenous culture as such nor with a moral or “humanitarian” concern for Indians’ well-being, but rather with Peru’s semi-feudal system of land control, known as “gamonalismo,” and the discriminatory social structures that had arisen to perpetuate it.67 Mariátegui believed that the Incas had pioneered an early form of agrarian communism and that this provided a socialist alternative native to Peru that carried down into the present in the traditional “ayllu” or indigenous community.68

The Leguía government played a shifting and ambiguous role with respect to indigenismo, empowering some indigenista activities, such as those fostered by regional elites capitalizing on the government’s decentralizing agenda, while quashing others, such as those supporting indigenous peasant mobilizations against large landowners, activities which Leguía sought to defuse through cooptation.69 Leguía’s 1920 Ley de Conscripción Vial embodied these contradictions: a massive road-building project, it promoted economic progress in order to “liberat[e] the indio from his colonial past,” yet relied heavily on coerced Indian labor.70 Meanwhile, he supported indigenista archaeology, establishing the Museo de Arqueología Peruana in 1924 under the directorship of Julio Tello.71 Post-Leguía, in the 1930s, indigenismo lost its militant edge and semi-official status and retreated to museums and universities; it was at the center of the growing discipline of anthropology but no longer at the center of national debates.72 In the 1940s, Valcárcel, appointed Minister of Education, created indigenista training institutes in applied anthropology.73 In the 1950s Peruvian indigenista anthropology became more development oriented and relied heavily on U.S. and European philanthropic and academic institutions, such as Cornell University’s “Vicos” project and the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos.74

Earlier decades had left an indigenista imprint on avant-garde poetry, for example in the work of Alejandro Peralta, who published the Puno-based indigenista journal Boletín Titikaka; as well as on the visual arts, exemplified by painter José Sabogal.75 From the 1940s onward Peruvian indigenismo thrived especially in the field of the novel, which became an important venue for depicting the dignity of indigenous communities who faced a modernization process with devastating consequences on Peru’s rural cultures. Ciro Alegría’s monumental El mundo es ancho y ajeno (Broad and Alien is the World) (1941) depicted an Indian community’s struggle to defend its lands against encroachment by criollo landowners; it became a classic of the Latin American regional novel and reached an international audience.76 Manuel Scorza’s beautiful 1970s novel cycle “la guerra silenciosa” (the silent war), generally characterized as “neoindigenista” because of its temporal distance from the historical indigenismo of the 1920s, focused on indigenous activists fighting against mining interests in highland Peru.77 The most celebrated indigenista author in Peru, José María Arguedas, also a trained anthropologist, produced a series of mid-century works that sprang from the legacy of Mariátegui’s avant-garde indigenismo but with an artistry that communicated a new intercultural ethos. Though not himself an Indian, Arguedas was fluent in Quechua and raised in close contact with indigenous communities of the Southern Peruvian Andes before moving to Lima as a young man. In novels such as Yawar fiesta (1941), Los ríos profundos (The Deep Rivers) (1958), and El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo (The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below) (1971), he experimented with language to produce a literary Spanish that bore traces of Quechua orality and to create narrative worlds depicting the complex aspirations of Andean personae from all classes and cultural affiliations who confronted the shifting worlds of modernizing Peru.78 Arguedas’s most significant literary creations voiced a mestizo sensibility that he himself embodied and that seemed to dramatize the hope and tragedy of modernizing Peru;79 his vision has proved tremendously compelling to successive waves of young generations and demonstrates the lasting impact of indigenismo on Peru’s cultural politics.


The so-called “problem of the Indian” occupied a central position in debates among mestizo and criollo elites about Bolivia’s future in the first half of the 20th century, from the end of the civil war (1899) to the Bolivian Revolution (1952). However, and despite the publication of influential indigenista texts in the first decade of the century, it was not until the Chaco War against Paraguay (1932–1935) that a robust indigenista current came to the fore. In the years prior, under the rule of the Liberal and Republican parties, Bolivian indigenismo had been markedly ambivalent, both critical of elite racism toward Indians while also being highly racist itself. Bolivia’s was a “tentative” indigenismo, as one scholar puts it.80 This ambivalent attitude permeated Alcides Arguedas’s book-length essay Pueblo enfermo (1909), an influential indigenista text that used prevailing concepts of racial degeneration and biological determinism to launch a virulent attack against all sectors of Bolivian society for their corruption, ignorance, and indigence.81 Arguedas was critical of Indians but his harshest language was reserved for the country’s mestizo and criollo ruling classes. He accused them of hypocrisy for denying their own “Indian blood” and of criminally mismanaging the country’s resources, among which he counted indigenous labor.82 Pueblo enfermo thus constituted a twisted defense of indigenous peoples against mistreatment at the hands of venal mestizos and criollos, and suggested that a more rational assessment of the country’s ethnic diversity was the key to improving the country’s fortunes. Franz Tamayo’s Creación de la pedagogía nacional (Creation of a National Pedagogy) (1910) set out to refute Arguedas’s book, although the two texts have much in common: both circulated within an elite political circle that was closed to Bolivia’s indigenous majority, were critical of the ruling classes’ pretense of racial purity, and relied on deterministic theories of race.83 Yet in substance they were vastly different. Tamayo’s celebrated Bolivia’s indigenous heritage and argued that Bolivia’s ruling class should recognize and esteem its essential Indianness, proposing a mestizo ideal for Bolivia in a vein similar to Mexican indigenismo. Tamayo rescued mestizaje from Alcides Arguedas’s Spencerian racial pessimism and attempted a positive and “optimistic” nationalization of Indianness.84

One reason for the ambivalent nature of indigenismo among Bolivian elites is that indigenous peoples in the country’s Andean regions were highly mobilized and well organized.85 Indigenista initiatives were frequently marshalled in the name of containing the threats posed by indigenous mobilizations against a deeply unjust hacienda system, with criollo landowners routinely encroaching on indigenous communal lands and demanding that indigenous peasants engage in forced domestic labor, a system known as pongueaje. Indigenismo in the first three decades of the century largely sought to eliminate indigenous activism, rather than coopt it, as in the case of Peru or Mexico, and legislative reforms tended to reinforce a segregated racial imaginary designed to circumscribe indigenous power.86

A committed anti-oligarchical indigenismo did not emerge until after the Chaco War. This formative event catalyzed a new generation of nationalist thinkers who held Bolivia’s oligarchy responsible for the war’s disastrous losses, including a staggeringly high percentage of Indian casualties, and the nation’s overall lack of progress.87 This post-Chaco period saw an increase in rural and urban indigenous activism, with Indian leaders forming unstable and provisional alliances with the middle-class national-populists of the Movimiento Nacional Revolucionario (MNR) and labor unions.88 The 1945 Congreso Nacional Indígena was a landmark indigenista event in this regard; it focused especially on ending “Indian slavery.”89 The eventual frustration of indigenous expectations when reforms were not implemented led to a series of hacienda rebellions in the late 1940s, captured in Jesús Lara’s indigenista novel Yanakuna (1952).90

Equally important, the 1940s saw the rise of a populist nationalism that embraced mestizaje as a national ideal and set forth a modernizing agenda that, under president Gualberto Villaroel, incorporated indigenista ideas about Indian education and freedom from servitude.91 The increasing nationalization of Indian identity and the politicization of Indian servitude made indigenismo a shared political language among thinkers from diverse social sectors and of diverse ideologies. Tamayo’s earlier Creación de la pedagogía nacional enjoyed a flourishing legacy, as did Tristan Marof’s La justicia del Inca (The Inca’s Justice) (1926), an example of socialist indigenismo whose arguments for nationalizing Bolivia’s mines found wide acceptance in the 1940s.92 The decade saw the publication of a series of indigenista essays and novels by prominent nationalist thinkers affiliated with the MNR, who laid the ideological groundwork for the 1952 revolution which brought the party to power.93 An indigenista substrata continued in subsequent decades to inform state policy and Bolivia’s cultural politics.94 The MNR and later regimes promoted the “mestizo ideal” that Tamayo had articulated in 1910.95 But indigenismo “did not become the basis of a specific political movement or party, as it did in Mexico and Peru.”96 Nevertheless, it can be argued that the historic election in 2006 of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales Ayma, owes something to the indigenismo of the early 20th century. His is not an indigenista government and indeed in promoting Bolivia as a “pluri-national” country, Morales and his political party, the Movimiento al Socialismo, reject key elements of indigenista thought. Yet Morales has mobilized inclusionary ideas about Bolivia’s indigenous history and identity to gain support for his party against racist opposition and in order to advance specific state policies, such as the nationalization of energy resources, as well as in order to distance himself from Bolivia’s more radical indianista movement.97 The partial “indianization of the nation” accomplished by indigenistas in the earlier period is certainly a precursor to what Bolivian vice-president Alvaro García Linera terms the “indianization of the State” that has occurred under Morales.98


In Brazil, “Indians stand as a powerful symbol of nationality,” despite the existence of a strong degree of ambivalence about Brazil’s multiethnic composition and despite the fact that indigenous peoples constitute a very small percentage of the country’s population.99 And despite the fact, one might add, that indigenista government agencies in Brazil have historically been weak, beleagured, and corrupt. The symbolic elevation of the Indian, starting in the 19th century and continuing across the 20th, thus owes less in Brazil to official indigenismo than it does in other countries.100 Brazil’s indigenismo is significant, rather, for its protectionist rather than integrationist orientation.

Indigenismo as state policy originated in the early decades of the 20th century in Brazil, with the formation in 1910 of a state agency for the “fraternal protection” of indigenous peoples that would eventually be known as the Serviço de Proteçao aos Indios (SPI), by military engineer Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon. Indigenista policy since its foundations has been associated with land policy, specifically the need to use Indian lands for colonization by non-Indians or for state development projects.101 Despite differences among various indigenista thinkers over how to integrate indigenous peoples, indigenista policy for most of the 20th century was guided by consensus on the question of protection (protecting Indians from new settlers), pacification (constraining Indians’ resistance to theft of their lands), and civilization (eliminating “savagery” and “improving” indigenous life ways in accordance with modern standards; this included attempts to eliminate nomadism).102

The SPI gained new impetus in the 1940s under the influence of Mexican indigenismo and in the wake of the Pátzcuaro conference; it was then that the term “indigenismo” began to circulate in Brazil.103 Brazilian constitutions of the 1930s and 40s for the first time explicitly consecrated some protectionist indigenista policies, including respect for Indian lands and the exclusive role of the federal government in determining “Indian policy.”104 During this time, indigenous populations reached a numerical low point and many groups became extinct.105 In the years immediately following the military coup of 1964 the SPI turned against those it had been designed to protect, through corruption and complicity with massacres of indigenous peoples; for this reason the military government disbanded the SPI and founded the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to replace it; it too has been charged with corruption.106

An important figure defending the protectionist policies of the SPI during the 1950s was anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro.107 He founded the Museum of the Indian in 1953 under the auspices of the SPI, and with his colleague anthropologist Eduardo Galvão, supported the creation of Xingu National Park, which recognized a large swath of land as Indian.108 His landmark study Os Índios e a Civilização (The Indians and Civilization) tried to account for indigenous resistance to acculturation through the idea of “ethnic transfiguration,” by which the “tribal Indian” transforms into a “generic Indian” but never into a Brazilian.109 Thus Ribeiro predicted that indigenous peoples could not assimilate to dominant national culture without being destroyed in the process. The question of assimilation and resistance was at the forefront of indigenista anthropology in the 1950s and 60s.110 This paradox was reflected in government indigenismo. For the SPI and the later FUNAI, “Brazilianification”—that is, nationalizing Indians to transform them eventually into productive citizens no longer needing protection—has always been the eventual goal.111 However, as anthropologist Alcida Ramos points out, Indians’ legal status in Brazil rests on the belief in their “infantile condition,” that is, their child-like incapacity to live in modern society, and on the belief that eventually Indians will disappear as such.112 The attempt by the government in 1978 to “emancipate” Indians from their special status as wards of the state was recognized as a thinly veiled scheme to encroach on Indian lands.113

Paternalist protectionism is thus a particularly entrenched element of Brazilian indigenismo, while also providing the benchmark by which indigenismo can be seen to have failed scandalously; entire indigenous ethnic groups have disappeared since the founding of the SPI.114 This failure is due in part to the contradictions at the heart of Brazilian attitudes toward indigenous peoples, reflected in the perennial weakness of the country’s indigenista government agencies. In particular, indigenista agencies have not been able fully to carry out the demarcation of indigenous lands, a process seen as crucial to effective protectionist policies and for which these agencies were expressly mandated.115


Indigenismo as state policy has lost most of its relevance in the age of neoliberal globalization. Mexico’s Instituto Nacional Indigenista formally closed its doors in 2003, to be replaced with an agency dedicated to respect for cultural difference rather than cultural integration. The Instituto Interamericano Indigenista closed in 2009. State-sponsored indigenismo is no longer considered a valid form of indigenous defense, with the exception perhaps of Brazil. With the demise of integrationist modernization as the dominant political ideology, so too ends the era of official indigenismo.116 However, although indigenista policies are no longer significant in most countries and indigenista anthropology has been intellectually discredited (see below), the indigenista legacy remains strong in at least one important area: the realm of ideas about national identity. Many contemporary discourses about authenticity, patrimony, and inclusiveness remain indebted to indigenismo. Examples of this abound, from Peru’s Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, issued in the wake of the country’s “internal conflict” between the army and Shining Path guerrillas, to Bolivian President Evo Morales’s first Inaugural Speech, to the practices of Brazilian non-governmental agencies and indigenous activists whose environmentalist defense of indigenous lands promotes idealized visions of “pure” Indians.117 These instances and others like them avoid the paternalism and integrationist aims of indigenista state agencies, yet draw on indigenista ideas that grant Indians and Indianness a profound and essential place in the nation.

Discussion of the Literature

Broad, comparative approaches to Latin American indigenismo are relatively rare. Henri Favre’s El indigenismo is one of the few and remains an indispensable introductory text. Most studies on indigenismo have been country- and region-specific. More significant than this trend in the research on the topic, however, is the vast bibliography devoted to criticizing indigenismo. Indigenismo in the 20th century openly tackles the colonial legacy in modern Latin America and directly addresses the ethno-racial diversity and stratification of Latin American societies. But it is also itself prey to the colonial legacies that it seeks to overcome. These are deeply embedded in indigenismo’s political aims and in its conceptual apparatus and rhetorical modes, and for this it has been subject to sustained critique by scholars and indigenous activists, starting especially in the last decades of the 20th century. Where indigenistas saw themselves as agents of decolonization, critics of indigenismo have charged it with perpetuating colonial race-class hierarchies through paternalistic forms of address and weakening or destroying indigenous cultures through the pursuit of national modernization and policies of integration and cultural assimilation.

These critical approaches to indigenismo have been guided in part by the self-determination movements of indigenous peoples that emerged across the hemisphere in the 1970s and have made substantial gains in the decades since. The Katarista movement in Bolivia; the EZLN in Mexico; Ecuador’s CONAIE; Miskito activism in Nicaragua—these are only some of the many important examples of indigenous social movements that have offered a counter-hegemonic response to state policies. These movements have reframed the “Indian question” by demanding new political rights, respect for cultural difference and the principle of cultural pluralism and, in some cases, forms of territorial autonomony and self-government. These ideals are diametrically opposed to mainstream indigenista policies that promoted integration through assimilation and greater state oversight of indigenous communities.118

These indigenous critiques have been supported and seconded by scholars.119 In some cases these have intersected with processes of self-criticism internal to the disciplines, especially true in Mexico, where anthropologists in the late 1960s had begun to subject indigenista applied anthropology to sustained questions, targetting especially its emphasis on indigenous acculturation, its role in perpetuating “internal colonialism,” and its complicity with an authoritarian state.120 Latin American literary criticism has also contributed to these critical strains. Peruvian literary critic Antonio Cornejo Polar’s assessment of indigenismo, which he first developed in the 1970s, rescued indigenista literature from its detractors by emphasizing its commitment to representing the “heterogeneous” cultural reality of the region and the persistence of the colonial legacy; yet Cornejo Polar’s analysis also affirmed that indigenista literature cannot but reproduce that legacy of inequality because it is so embedded in colonial discursive structures.121 By this view, indigenismo paradoxically has thrived on the sharp hierarchical distinction between indigenous and non-indigenous subject positions that it has apparently sought to ameliorate or undo. In its very structure of address indigenismo reproduces entrenched power relations that grant authority to non-indigenous mestizo and criollo voices while silencing or constraining indigenous voices. Its integrationist policies, meanwhile, have done little to counteract—in fact have been said to perpetuate—underlying forms of exclusion and marginalization.

For many scholars, the contemporary re-framing of the “Indian question” in terms of cultural pluralism and indigenous self-determination constitutes a final chapter in the history of indigenismo, a history that ends with the passage “from indigenismo to indigenous social movements.”122 However, recent scholarly work has taken a new tack and has been “revisiting indigenismo,” in the words of anthropologist Zoila S. Mendoza, to productive effect.123 Without disputing the main thrust of criticisms launched against indigenismo, these new approaches seek to demonstrate that indigenismo was a more eclectic, ambivalent and experimental ideological project that has previously been recognized. Scholars have shown how indigenismo, though a national discourse, was complexly tied to particular regional economies of race and class;124 that it was more influenced by, and influential in, the shaping of a properly indigenous political discourse than has been previously acknowledged;125and that the indigenista concept of national identity as profoundly Indian was more far-reaching than has generally been recognized.126 Recent work has also brought more fully into view the importance of music, dance, arts, and crafts and the field of folklore in nationalist endeavors of the early to mid-20th century; each devoloped under the aegis of indigenismo or with a marked indigenista imprint.127

Historian Alan Knight famously characterized Mexican indigenismo as racist in his seminal 1990 article.128 Recent work by anthropologist Marisol de la Cadana nuances this analysis by showing indigenismo to be a racist discourse that is subordinate to other forms of racism, to which indigenismo responds; in other words, though indigenismo is or may be racist, it responds to and seeks to replace a more dominant racism against indigenous peoples.129 Increasingly, scholars see indigenismo as a “language of contention,” to use William Roseberry’s phrase, a language shared by political thinkers from diverse social sectors and political ideologies that creates a field of relations in which indigenous peoples also take part, rather than as an entirely elite, top-down or institutional policy or attitude.130 Brazilian anthropologist Alcida Ramos offers a broad definition of indigenismo as a site of interaction and confrontation constituting modern interethnic relations, one in which Indians also play a part.131 In a similar vein, for historian Laura Gotkowitz “indigenismo constitutes a field of dispute over national identity, regional power, and rights that places ‘Indians’ at the center of politics, jurisprudence, social policy, or study.”132 These various approaches to indigenismo foreground its polemical nature and situate it within the changing landscapes of ideas and political struggles centered on race, culture, citizenship, nationhood, and the shape of modernity in Latin America.

Primary Sources

The best and most easily accessible primary sources for understanding indigenismo are the many essays, manifestos, academic studies, and works of literature penned by indigenista thinkers themselves. A good starting list of such published primary sources might include works by Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Alfonso Caso, Rosario Castellanos, Manuel Gamio, and Moisés Sáenz, as well as the “Memorias” and publications of the Departamento de Asuntos Indígenas and the Instituto Nacional Indigenista (Mexico); works by José Carlos Mariátegui, Luis Valcárcel, Ciro Alegría, and José María Arguedas (Peru); Alcides Arguedas, Franz Tamayo, Tristan Marof, and Jesús Lara (Bolivia); Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon and Darcy Ribeiro (Brazil). Periodical materials are also rich sources, such as the Peruvian avant-garde journals Amauta and Boletín Titikaka, as well as the anthropological journal América Indígena, which was published by the Inter-American Indigenista Institute.

For those interested in archival sources, government agencies provide the best source when considering those countries that had some level of state-sponsored indigenista activity, however limited. Note that even in those countries that had specially designated indigenista agencies, relevant archival materials will be dispersed across the many and various government agencies that had an indigenista component, such as those dedicated to education, rural development, health, and statistics, among others, as well as ethnographic and archaeological sites and museums.

Further Reading

  • Brading, David A. “Manuel Gamio and Official Indigenismo in Mexico.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 7.1 (1988): 75–89.
  • Coronado, Jorge. The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009.
  • Dawson, Alexander S. Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004.
  • De la Cadena, Marisol. Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru 1919–1991. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.
  • Favre, Henri. El indigenismo. Translated by Glenn Amado Gallardo Jordán. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1998.
  • Giraudo, Laura, and Juan-Martín Sánchez, eds. La ambivalente historia del indigenismo: campo interamericano y trayectorias nacionales, 1940–1970. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2011.
  • Gotkowitz, Laura. A Revolution for Our Rights: Indigenous Struggles for Land and Justice in Bolivia, 1880–1952. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.
  • Gotkowitz, Laura, ed. Histories of Race and Racism: The Andes and Mesoamerica from Colonial Times to the Present. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
  • Knight, Alan. “Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–1940.” In The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940. Edited by Richard Graham, 78–80. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
  • Lomnitz, Claudio. Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthroplogy of Nationalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001,
  • López, Rick A. Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans and the State after the Revolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.
  • Larson, Brooke. Trials of Nation Making: Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810–1910. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Marzal, Manuel M. Historia de la antropología indigenista: México y Perú. Barcelona: Anthropos Editorial del Hombre, 1993.
  • Ramos, Alcida Rita. Indigenism: Ethnic Politics in Brazil. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998.
  • Salmón, Josefa. El espejo indígena: El discurso indigenista en Bolivia 1900–1956. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural, 1997.
  • Tarica, Estelle. The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
  • Urban, Greg, and Justin Sherzer, eds. Nation States and Indians in Latin America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.

For those interested in indigenismo in countries not specifically discussed in this essay, the following selected bibliography on four additional countries can serve as a starting point:

  • Briones, Claudia, ed. Cartografías argentinas: políticas indigenistas y formaciones provinciales de alteridad. Buenos Aires: GEAPRONA, 2005.
  • Carrasco, Morita. “Hegemonía y políticas indigenistas argentinas en el gran Chaco centro occidental.” América Indígena 51.1 (1991): 63–122.
  • Carrasco, Morita. Los derechos de los pueblos indígenas en Argentina. San Luis, Argentina: Editorial Vinciguerra, 2000.
  • Gordillo, Gastón. “Places and Academic Disputes: The Argentine Gran Chaco.” A Companion to Latin American Anthropology. Edited by Deborah Poole, 447–465. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
  • Lazzari, Axel. “El indio argentino y el discurso de cultura. Del Instituto Nacional de la Tradición al Instituto Nacional de Antropología.” Historias y estilos de trabajo de campo en Argentina. Edited by Sergio Visacovsky and Rosana Guber, 153–202. Buenos Aires: Editorial Antropofagia, 2002.
  • Appelbaum, Nancy. Muddied Waters: Race, Region and Local History in Colombia, 1846–1948. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.
  • Friede, Juan. El indio en lucha por la tierra, historia de los resguardos del macizo central colombiano. Bogotá, Colombia: Ediciones Espiral, 1944.
  • Pineda Camacho, Roberto. “La reinvindicación del Indio en el pensamiento social Colombiano.” In Un siglo de investigación social en Colombia. Edited by Jaime Arocha and Nina S. Friedemann. Bogotá, Colombia: Etno, 1984.
  • Troyan, Brett. “Re-imagining the “Indian” and the State: Indigenismo in Colombia, 1926–1947.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 33.65 (2008): 81–106.
  • Safford, Frank. “Race, Integration, and Progress: Elite Attitudes and the Indian in Colombia, 1750–1870.” Hispanic American Historical Review 71.1 (1991): 1–33.
  • Clark, A. Kim, and Marc Becker, eds. Highland Indians and the State in Ecuador. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007.
  • Ibarra Illañez, Alicia. Los indígenas y el estado en el Ecuador. Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 1987.
  • Icaza, Jorge. Huasipungo. Edited by Teodosio Fernández. Madrid: Cátedra, 1997 [1934].
  • Jaramillo Alvarado, Pío. El indio ecuatoriano: contribución al estudio de la sociología indoamericana. Quito, Ecuador: Talleres Gráficos, 1936.
  • Muratorio, Blanca, ed. Imágenes e imaginarios: representaciones de los indígenas ecuatorianos, siglos XIX y XX. Quito, Ecuador: FLACSO, 1994.
  • Asturias, Miguel Angel. Sociología Guatemalteca: el problema social del indio. Guatemala City, Guatemala: Tip. Sánchez y de Guise, 1923.
  • Asturias, Miguel Angel. Hombres de maíz. Edited by Gerald Martin. Nanterre, France: ALLCA XX, Université Paris X, Centre de recherches latino-américaines, 1992 [1949].
  • Smith, Carol A., ed. Guatemalan Indians and the State: 1540–1988. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
  • Taracena Arriola, Arturo. Etnicidad, estado y nación en Guatemala. Antigua, Guatemala: Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica, 2002.


  • 1. Ronald Niezen, The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

  • 2. Yet note the recent use “indigenism” interchangeably with “indigeneity” to describe indigenous identity or experience, in Marisol de la Cadena and Orin Starn, Indigenous Experience Today (Oxford: Berg, 2007).

  • 3. For “indianismo” as synonymous with “indigenismo,” see Mercedes Anaya de Urquidi, Indianismo (Buenos Aires: Sociedad Editora Latino-Americana, 1947). Note also occasional translations of “indigenismo” as “indianism,” as in Benjamin Keen, A History of Latin America, Vol. 2, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996), 284, 393. For “indianismo” as a counterhegemonic response to indigenismo by indigenous peoples, see Stefano Varese et al., “Indigenous Anthropologists beyond Barbados,” in A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, ed. Deborah Poole (Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 377.

  • 4. Henri Favre, El indigenismo, trans. Glenn Amado Gallardo Jordán (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1998), 7. However, Favre’s definition of indigenismo is overly inclusive; he counts Christoper Columbus as the first indigenista because he used admiring language to describe Indians.

  • 5. Martin S. Stabb, “Indigenism and Racism in Mexican Thought: 1858–1911,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 1.4 (1959): 405.

  • 6. Bartolomé de Las Casas, Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las indias, ed. André Saint-Lu (Madrid: Cátedra, 1992).

  • 7. Lewis Hanke, All Mankind is One (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1974), 62.

  • 8. Hanke, All Mankind, 73–99.

  • 9. Santa Arias, “Las Casas as Genealogical Keystone for Discourses on Political Independence,” in Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas, ed. Santa Arias and Eyda M. Merediz (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2008), 167–176.

  • 10. For “creole patriotism” in the colonial period, see D. A. Brading, The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots, and the Liberal State, 1492–1867 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Favre, El indigenismo, 21–30. For “creole nationalism” in the 19th century, see Rebecca Earle, The Return of the Native: Indians and Myth-Making in Spanish America, 1810–1930 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007).

  • 11. Earle, The Return, 5–6.

  • 12. Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), 30–35.

  • 13. Ades, Art, 85.

  • 14. Deborah Poole, Vision, Race and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 107–141.

  • 15. Ricardo Palma, Tradiciones peruanas, ed. Carlos Villanes Cairo (Madrid: Cátedra, 1994). For an analysis of Palma’s relationship to costumbrismo, see Jorge Cornejo Polar, El costumbrismo en el Perú (Lima, Peru: Ediciones COPÉ, 2001). For Palma’s role in the development of a national cultural tradition as well as for José Carlos Mariátegui’s later valorization of Palma’s work, see Antonio Cornejo Polar, La formación de la tradición literaria en el Perú (Lima, Peru: CEP, 1989), 57–66. Luis Mario Schneider notes Palma’s influence on Clorinda Matto de Turner, in Schneider, “Prólogo,” Aves sin Nido, by Clorinda Matto de Turner (Mexico City: Colofón, 1994), 9–16.

  • 16. Antônio Dias Gonçalves, Poesias completas de Gonçalves Dias (Rio de Janeiro: Z. Valverde, 1944); Darlene J. Sadlier, Brazil Imagined: 1500 to the Present (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008), 138–141.

  • 17. José de Alencar, Iracema: lenda do Ceará, ed. Braga Montenegro (Fortaleza, Brazil: Impr. Universitária do Ceará, 1965); Alencar, O Guarani, ed. João Teixeira de Paula (São Paulo: Ed. Cultrix, 1968); Sadlier, Brazil Imagined, 144. See also David Treece, Exiles, Allies, Rebels: Brazil’s Indianist Movement, Indigenist Policies, and the Imperial Nation-State (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000).

  • 18. Juan León Mera, Cumandá, o, un drama entre salvajes, ed. Angel Esteban (Madrid: Cátedra, 1998); Manuel de Jesús Galván, Enriquillo: leyenda histórica dominica (1503–1533) (Mexico City: Editorial Porrua, 1976).

  • 19. Earle, The Return, 7.

  • 20. Domingo F. Sarmiento, Facundo: Civilización y barbarie, ed. Roberto Yahni (Madrid: Cátedra, 2008).

  • 21. Sarmiento, Facundo, 77–79.

  • 22. Beatriz Stephan, “Narratives of Legitimation: The Invention of History-Monument and the Nation-State,” in Literary Cultures of Latin America: A Comparative History. Volume III. Subject to History, ed. Mario J. Valdés and Djelal Kadir (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 67.

  • 23. Peter Wade, Race and Ethnicity in Latin America (London: Pluto, 1997), 31.

  • 24. Stabb, “Indigenismo and Racism.”

  • 25. Stabb, “Indigenism and Racism;” Nancy Leys Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 138–139.

  • 26. For indigenismo in the Porfirian age, see Stabb, “Indigenism and Racism;” Alan Knight, “Racism, Revolution, and Indigenismo: Mexico, 1910–1940,” in The Idea of Race in Latin America, 1870–1940, ed. Richard Graham (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), 78–80; Joshua Lund, The Mestizo State: Reading Race in Modern Mexico (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 1–69.

  • 27. Essential primary texts from the early 20th century on mestizaje as key to nationalizing identity include Andrés Enriques Molina, Los grandes problemas nacionales (1909); y otros textos (1911–1919) (Mexico: Ediciones Era, 1991); José Vasconcelos, La raza cósmica: misión de la raza iberoamericana (Mexico City: Espasa-Calpa Mexicana, 1966 [1925]); Manuel Gamio, Forjando patria (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1982 [1916]).

  • 28. Claudio Lomnitz, Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthroplogy of Nationalism. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), 231.

  • 29. Gamio, Forjando Patria, 6.

  • 30. Gamio, Forjando Patria, 93.

  • 31. Stepan, The Hour, 147.

  • 32. Casey Walsh, “Statistics and Anthropology: The Mexican Case,” in A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, 364.

  • 33. Walsh, “Statistics,” 367.

  • 34. David A. Brading, “Manuel Gamio and Official Indigenismo in Mexico,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 7.1 (1988): 80.

  • 35. For Mexican indigenismo in the 1930s and a detailed history of the DAI, see Alexander S. Dawson, Indian and Nation in Revolutionary Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004).

  • 36. Guillermo De la Peña, “Orden social y educación indígena en México: la pervivencia de un legado colonial,” in La heterodoxia recuperada: en torno a Angel Palerm, ed. Susana Glantz (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1987), 285–320. Ricardo Pozas, “La educación,” in Memorias del Instituto Nacional Indigenista. Volúmen IV: Métodos y resultados de la política indigenista en México, eds. Alfonso Caso, Silvio Zavala, et al. (Mexico City: Ediciones del Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1954), 245–258.

  • 37. On the Instituto Interamericano Indigenista, see Laura Giraudo and Juan-Martín Sánchez, eds., La ambivalente historia del indigenismo: campo interamericano y trayectorias nacionales, 1940–1970 (Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2011).

  • 38. Laura Gotkowitz, “Introduction: Racisms of the Present and the Past in Latin America,” in Histories of Race and Racism: The Andes and Mesoamerica from Colonial Times to the Present, ed. Laura Gotkowitz (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), 20.

  • 39. Rick A. López, Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans and the State after the Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 69.

  • 40. López, Crafting Mexico, 71, 74–89.

  • 41. Favre, El indigenismo, 86–91.

  • 42. Sylvia Bigas Torres, La narrativa indigenista mexicana del siglo XX (Guadalajara, Mexico: Editorial Universidad de Guadalajara, 1990); César Rodríguez Chicharro, La novela indigenista mexicana (Xalapa, Mexico: Universidad Veracruzana, 1988).

  • 43. Brading, “Manuel Gamio,” 77.

  • 44. Moisés Sáenz, México íntegro (Mexico: D.R. Conafe, 1982 [1939]).

  • 45. Natividad Gutiérrez, Nationalist Myths and Ethnic Identities: Indigenous Intellectuals and the Mexican State (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 90–101.

  • 46. Alfonso Caso, ¿Qué es el INI? (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1965), 55.

  • 47. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Regiones de refugio (Mexico City: Instituto Indigenista Interamericano, 1967), 243.

  • 48. Rosario Castellanos, Obras. Vol. 1, Narrativa (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Eonómica, 1989).

  • 49. Ricardo Pozas, Juan Pérez Jolote: biografía de un Tzotzil (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1952 [1948]); Sara Sefchovich, “Filosofía y literatura: la hora de los catrines,” in Entre la guerra y la estabilidad política: El México de los 40, ed. Rafael Loyola (Mexico City: Grijalbo, 1990), 296–297.

  • 50. Luis Villoro, Los grandes momentos del indigenismo en México (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1996 [1950]).

  • 51. Nestor García Canclini, Culturas híbridas: estrategias para entrar y salir de la modernidad (Mexico City: Grijalbo, 1989), 164–177.

  • 52. Arturo Warman et al., eds., De eso que llaman antropología mexicana (Mexico City: Editorial Nuestro Tiempo, 1970); Andrés Medina and Carlos García Mora, eds., La quiebra política de la antropología social en México: antología de una polémica. (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, 1983); Solomon Nahmad Sittón, “Mexico: Anthropology and the Nation State,” in A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, 128–149.

  • 53. Brooke Larson, Trials of Nation Making: Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810–1910 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 178–187.

  • 54. Manuel González Prada, Antología, ed. Luis Alberto Sánchez (Lima, Peru: Biblioteca Básica del Perú, 1996), 66. For an examination of earlier 19th-century manifestations of indigenista or proto-indigenista sentiment in Peru, see Efraín Kristal, The Andes Viewed from the City: Literary and Political Discourse on the Indian in Peru, 1848–1930 (New York: P. Lang, 1987).

  • 55. Clorinda Matto de Turner, Aves sin nido, intro. Luis Mario Schneider (Mexico City: Colofón S.A. 1994 [1889]).

  • 56. Ana Peluffo, Lágrimas Andinas: sentimentalismo, género y virtud republicana en Clorinda Matto de Turner (Pittsburgh: Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, 2005).

  • 57. Wilfredo Kapsoli Escudero, El pensamiento de la Asociación Pro-Indígena (Cusco, Peru: Centro de Estudios Rurales Andinos “Bartolomé de las Casas,” 1980).

  • 58. Orin Starn et al., eds., The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), 216.

  • 59. Carlos Iván Degregori and Pablo Sandoval, “Peru: From Otherness to a Shared Diversity,” in A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, 155.

  • 60. A notable exception to this trend is José Uriel García, El nuevo indio (Lima, Peru: Editorial Universo, 1973 [1930]).

  • 61. See for example the diverse essays collected in José Carlos Mariátegui and Luis Alberto Sánchez, La polémica del indigenismo, ed. Manuel Aquezolo Castro (Lima, Peru: Mosca Azul Editores, 1976).

  • 62. On indigenismo in Cuzco, see the following studies: Marisol De la Cadena, Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru 1919–1991 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000); José Deusta and José Luis Rénique, Intelectuales, indigenismo y descentralismo en el Perú 1897–1931 (Cuzco, Peru: CERA, 1984); José Luis Rénique, Los sueños de la sierra: Cusco en el siglo XX (Lima, Peru: CEPES, 1991); Zoila S. Mendoza, Creating Our Own: Folklore, Performance and Identity in Cuzco, Peru (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008).

  • 63. De la Cadena, Indigenous Mestizos, 87–88.

  • 64. Luis Valcárcel, Tempestad en los Andes (Lima, Peru: Editorial Universo, 1972 [1927]).

  • 65. On the choice of “amauta” as the journal’s title, see Jorge Coronado, The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), 26–29.

  • 66. For discussion of dualism in Peruvian indigenismo, see Antonio Cornejo Polar, Escribir en el aire: Ensayo sobre la heterogeneidad socio-cultural en las literaturas andinas (Lima: Centro de Estudios Literarios “Antonio Cornejo Polar”—Latinoamericana Editores, 2003), 163–177.

  • 67. Mariátegui, Siete ensayos, 46–47.

  • 68. Mariátegui, Siete ensayos, 58–61, 76–79. Mariátegui drew heavily on Hildebrando Castro Pozo, Nuestra comunidad indígena (Lima, Peru: Editorial El Lucero, 1924), for these points. Castro Pozo served as the head of the Section of Indigenous Affairs created by Leguía in 1921. See Manuel M. Marzal, Historia de la antropología indigenista: México y Perú (Barcelona: Anthropos Editorial del Hombre; Iztapalapa, México: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 1993), 425–432.

  • 69. De la Cadena, 86–87.

  • 70. Coronado, The Andes Imagined, 9.

  • 71. Richard L. Burger, The Life and Writings of Julio C. Tello: America’s First Indigenous Archeologist (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2009) 25.

  • 72. Degregori and Sandoval, “Peru,” 155.

  • 73. Degregori and Sandoval, “Peru,” 156.

  • 74. Degregori and Sandoval, “Peru,” 156.

  • 75. Alejandro Peralta, Ande (Puno, Peru: Editorial Titikaka, 1926); see also David O. Wise, “Vanguardismo a 3800 metros: el caso del Boletín Titikaka (Puno, 1926–30),” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 20 (1984): 89–100. For more on Sabogal, see Ades, Art in Latin America, 203–205.

  • 76. Ciro Alegría, El mundo es ancho y ajeno (Santiago, Chile: Ediciones Ercilla, 1941).

  • 77. Manuel Scorza, Obras completas (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1990). On “neo-indigenismo,” see Tomas G. Escajadillo, La narrativa indigenista peruana (Lima, Peru: Amaru Editores, 1994), 103–241.

  • 78. José María Arguedas, Yawar Fiesta (Lima, Peru: CIP, 1941); Los ríos profundos (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1998 [1958]); El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo, ed. Eve-Marie Fell (Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1992 [1971]).

  • 79. Arguedas, “No soy un aculturado,” in El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo, 256–258.

  • 80. Seemin Qayum, “Indian Ruins, National Origins: Tiwanaku and Indigenismo in La Paz, 1897–1933,” in Histories of Race and Racism, 161.

  • 81. Alcides Arguedas, Pueblo enfermo (La Paz, Bolivia: Editorial Juventud, 1996 [1909]).

  • 82. Alcides Arguedas, Pueblo enfermo, 73–158.

  • 83. Franz Tamayo, Creación de la pedagogía nacional (La Paz, Bolivia: Juventud, 1996 [1910]). For analysis of similarities between Tamayo and Arguedas, see Brooke Larson, “Indios redimidos, cholos barbarizados: Imaginando la modernidad neocolonial boliviana (1900–1910),” in Visiones de fin de siglo: Bolivia y América Latina en el Siglo XX, eds. Dora Cajías et al. (La Paz, Bolivia: Coordinadora de Historia/IFEA, 2001), 27–48.

  • 84. Tamayo, Creación, 139–183.

  • 85. Qayum, “Indian Ruins,” 161. For extended analyses of the cultural politics of mestizaje in Bolivia, see Marcia Stephenson, Gender and Modernity in Andean Bolivia (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999); Javier Sanjinés, Mestizaje Upside-Down: Aesthetic Politics in Modern Bolivia (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004).

  • 86. Laura Gotkowitz, A Revolution for Our Rights: Indigenous Struggles for Land and Justice in Bolivia, 1880–1952 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 43–100.

  • 87. Herbert S. Klein, Bolivia: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982): 188–198.

  • 88. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Oprimidos pero no vencidos: luchas del campesinato aymara y qhechwa 1900–1980 (La Paz, Bolivia: HISBOL/CSUTCB, 1983), 59.

  • 89. Gotkowitz, A Revolution, 168.

  • 90. Jesús Lara, Yanakuna (La Paz, Bolivia: Editorial Juventud, 1952).

  • 91. Gotkowitz, A Revolution, 164–232.

  • 92. Tristan Marof, La justicia del inca (Bruselas, Belgium: “La Edición Latino Americana,” Librería Falk Fils, 1926). For analysis see Josefa Salmón, El espejo indígena: El discurso indigenista en Bolivia 1900–1956 (La Paz, Bolivia: Plural, 1997), 54–55.

  • 93. Salmón, 111–137.

  • 94. Michelle Bigenho, Sounding Indigenous: Authenticity in Bolivian Music Performance (New York: Palgrave, 2002).

  • 95. Salmón, El espejo, 127.

  • 96. Gotkowitz, A Revolution, 44.

  • 97. A useful analysis of Morales’s early policies and his relation to indigenous social movements in Bolivia can be found in Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thompson, Revolutionary Horizons: Past and Present in Bolivian Politics (London and New York: Verso, 2007), 127–143.

  • 98. Álvaro García Linares, Identidad Boliviana: nación, mestizaje y plurinacionalidad (La Paz, Bolivia: Vice Presidencia del Estado, 2014).

  • 99. Alcida Rita Ramos, Indigenism: Ethnic Politics in Brazil (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), 3–4.

  • 100. For a study of the disconnect between the activities of state-sponsored indigenismo and the elevation of Indians as national symbol, see Tracy Devine Guzmán, Native and National in Brazil: Indigeneity after Independence (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013), 105–157.

  • 101. Mercio P. Gomes, The Indians and Brazil, trans. John W. Moon (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), 13. See also the essays collected in Indigenismo e territorialização: Poderes, rotinas e saberes coloniais no Brasil contemporâneo, ed. João Pacheco de Oliveira (Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa Livraria, 1998).

  • 102. Antonio Carlos de Souza Lima, “On Indigenismo and Nationality in Brazil,” in Nation States and Indians in Latin America, eds. Greg Urban and Justin Sherzer (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994), 236–258.

  • 103. Souza Lima, “On Indigenismo,” 238.

  • 104. Gomes, The Indians, 80. But see Ramos, Indigenism, 18–19, for how the 1916 Civil Code and the 1973 Indian Statute are more directly relevant for understanding the legal status of Indians.

  • 105. Gomes, The Indians, 81.

  • 106. Gomes, The Indians, 81–83; 92–93.

  • 107. Darcy Ribeiro, A Política Indigenista Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro: Ministerio da Agricultura, Serviço de Informação Agrícola, 1962).

  • 108. Gomes, The Indians, 79–80.

  • 109. Darcy Ribeiro, Os Índios e a Civilização (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1970). The book is devoted to documenting and analyzing this phenomenon; a useful synthesis appears at the conclusion (446).

  • 110. Devine Guzmán, Native and National, 136.

  • 111. Ramos, Indigenism, 96.

  • 112. Ramos, Indigenism, 18–19.

  • 113. Gomes, The Indians, 85; Ramos, Indigenism, 243–248.

  • 114. Gomes, The Indians, 3.

  • 115. Gomes, The Indians, 86.

  • 116. Favre, El indigenismo, 127.

  • 117. Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación, “Informe Final” (2003); Evo Morales Ayma, “Discurso Inaugural” (January 22, 2006);

    Ramos, Indigenism, 276–279. See also Estelle Tarica, “Arguedas durante y después de la violencia: cuatro hipótesis y algunas preguntas,” in Arguedas: La dinámica de los encuentros culturales. Tomo III, eds. Cecilia Esparza, Miguel Giusti, et al. (Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2013), 233–251; Andrew Canessa, “Todos somos indígenas: Towards a New Language of National Political Identity,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 25.2 (2006), 241–263.

  • 118. For a good overview of indigenous social movements, see the following: Nancy Grey Postero and Leon Zamosc, eds., The Struggle for Indigenous Rights in Latin America (Brighton, U.K.: Sussex Academic Press, 2004); Kay B. Warren and Jean E. Jackson, eds., Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002); Deborah J. Yashar, Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Postliberal Challenge (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

  • 119. Guillermo Bonfil, Mario Ibarra, et al., America Latina: etnodesarrollo y etnocidio, ed. Francisco Rojas Aravena (San Jose, Costa Rica: Ediciones FLACSO, 1982); Varese et al., “Indigenous Anthropologists beyond Barbados;” Marie-Chantal Barre, Ideologías indigenistas y movimientos indígenas (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1983); Fernando Mires, El discurso de la indianidad: la cuestión indígena en América Latina (Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Alba-Yala, 1991).

  • 120. Warman et al., eds., De eso que llaman; Medina and García Mora, eds., La quiebra política; Nahmad Sittón, “Mexico;” Pablo González Casanova, “Internal Colonialism and National,” Studies in Comparative International Development 1.4 (1965): 27–37.

  • 121. Antonio Cornejo Polar, “El indigenismo y las literaturas heterogéneas: su doble estatuto socio-cultural,” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana 7–8 (1978): 7–21. Josefa Salmón offers a book-length critique of Bolivian indigenismo along similar lines, in Salmón, El espejo.

  • 122. Favre, El indigenismo, 146–147; Bernardo Berdichewksky, “Del indigenismo a la indianidad y el surgimiento de una ideología indígena en América Latina,” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 12.24 (1987), 25–43; AA.VV., Del indigenismo a las organizaciones indígenas (Quito, Ecuador: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 1985).

  • 123. Mendoza, “Introduction: Revisiting Indigenismo and Folklore,” in Creating Our Own, 1–15.

  • 124. Claudio Lomnitz, Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in the Mexican National Space (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992); Gotkowitz, A Revolution; De la Cadena, Indigenous Mestizos.

  • 125. Gotkowitz, A Revolution, 192–232; De La Cadena, Indigenous Mestizos, 86–130; Dawson, Indian and Nation, 96–126; Brett Troyan, “Re-Imagining the ‘Indian’ and the State: Indigenismo in Colombia, 1926–1947,” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 33.65 (2008): 81–106.

  • 126. Estelle Tarica, The Inner Life of Mestizo Nationalism (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2008); Canessa, “Todos;” Alberto Flores Galindo, Buscando un inca: identidad y utopía en los Andes (Lima, Peru: Instituto de Apoyo Agrario, 1987); Mendoza, Creating.

  • 127. Bigenho, Sounding Indigenous; Mendoza, Creating Our Own; López, Crafting Mexico.

  • 128. Knight, “Racism.”

  • 129. De La Cadena, Indigenous Mestizos, 5–34.

  • 130. William Roseberry, “Hegemony and the Language of Contention,” in Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Mexico, eds. Gilbert M. Joseph and Daniel Nugent (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994), 366–355; Dawson, Indian and Nation, xxii.

  • 131. Ramos, Indigenism, 5–7.

  • 132. Gotkowitz, “Introduction,” 44.