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Chacón, Eusebio  

Francisco A. Lomelí

Eusebio Chacón was a Mexican American (sometimes referred to as Chicano) figure who straddled the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is someone who was forgotten and overlooked for about eighty years within the annals of Southwestern literature. He resurfaced in the mid-1970s as a key missing link in what is now called Chicano literature, at a time when its literary lineage was blurry and unknown. He was, therefore, instrumental in allowing critics to look back into the dusty shelves of libraries to identify writers who embodied the Mexican American experience within specific moments in history. Both his person and his writings provide an important window into subjects that interfaced with identity, literary formation and aesthetics, and social conditions, as well as how such early writers negotiated a new sense of Americanism while retaining some of their cultural background. Eusebio Chacón stands out as an outstanding example of turn-of-the-century intelligence, sensibility, versatility, and historical conscience in his attempts to educate people of Mexican descent about their rightful place in the United States as writers, social activists, and cultural beings. He fills a significant void that had remained up to the mid-1970s, which reveals how writings by such Mexican American writers were considered marginal.

Article

Literary Ethnography/Anthropology in North America and Australia  

Julia Emberley

In the early 20th century, ethnographic “as-told-to” narratives published in colonial white settler nations, such as Canada, Australia, and the United States, were written by ethnologists from “data” collected from their “native informants” and presented as the self-authored life histories of Indigenous people. The texts were intended to represent Indigenous peoples in a Eurocentric progressive transition from “barbarism” to “civilization.” Throughout the 20th century, Indigenous and non-Indigenous literary scholars addressed the uncertainties of this autobiographical subject and how the rhetorical “I” left the texts open to the commercial and stereotypical demands for “Indianness.” By controlling and interfering with editorial processes, white settler and ethnographic publications of as-told-to texts instituted colonial forms of “authority” and “authorship,” solidifying a critical nexus between white settler print culture and the development of anthropology as a social scientific epistemology. Anthropological authority was based on these texts in the early part of the 20th century and challenged by Indigenous publications throughout the century. With the rise of new social movements in the 1960s, including Native American LGBT organizations, such as the Gay American Indians and the American Indian Movement, the politics of experience brought these earlier voices to the fore, creating awareness about the counternarratives of Indigenous national and literary sovereignties. In the 1990s and throughout the early 21st century, Indigenous scholars and writers in North America and Australia reclaimed their voices, introducing specific methods and theories that would advance national and literary sovereignties. Issues faced by Indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers—such as the appropriation of Indigenous cultural property, knowledge systems, and storytelling; and the attempt to erase or silence original Indigenous sources of anthropological “data”—were addressed by this important work. In addition, the literary sovereignty movement brought about significant changes in anthropological methods regarding the editorial reconstructions of Indigenous life histories.

Article

New Mexico Newspapers  

Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez

The literary and cultural legacy of Spanish-language and bilingual newspapers in New Mexico provides insight into the changing political climate of the territory and state from the early 19th century to the years following statehood in 1912. As such, New Mexico newspapers provided an outlet for Hispanic New Mexicans to publish political commentary and literary production that promoted cultural preservation and served as a mode of resistance to incoming Anglo-American outsiders who arrived to this region in the years prior to and following the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). While newspapers came and went, the literature published and later recovered through more contemporary efforts of preservation and dissemination can be viewed as an important contribution to the current body of literature that informs regional New Mexican studies as well as larger Chicano/a literary and Latino/a literary studies.

Article

Seguín, Juan Nepomuceno  

Jesús F. de la Teja

Juan Nepomuceno Seguín (1806–1890) was the leading Mexican-Texan military figure of the Texas Revolution (1835–1836) to participate on the Texas side of the struggle. He was the only Mexican Texan to serve in the Senate of the Republic of Texas and was the last Mexican Texan to serve as mayor of San Antonio until the 1980s. Having fled to Mexico to avoid violence at the hands of enemies he made during his tenure as mayor, he commanded an auxiliary cavalry company of fellow Mexican-Texan exiles in the Mexican army until the end of the US-Mexico War. During his effort to reestablish himself in Texas in the 1850s he wrote his memoirs of the Texas Revolution. He was one of only three Mexican Texans to do so, and the only one to have them published during his lifetime. Seguín returned to Mexico on the eve of the US Civil War to participate in Mexico’s civil conflicts. In about 1870 he permanently settled in Nuevo Laredo, where he died in 1890.