Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Saints and CitizensIndigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lisbeth Haas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276468

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276468.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Becoming Indian in Colonial California

Becoming Indian in Colonial California

(p.50) 2 Becoming Indian in Colonial California
Saints and Citizens

Lisbeth Haas

University of California Press

Indian did not convey a single status in Mexico but varied, depending on place and circumstance. This chapter investigates what it meant to become Indian in colonial California and argues that, despite their status as indio, indigenous people found ways to access power and find “redress” at the missions. The identity of Indians emerged within a colonial society already shaped by indigenous histories and peoples. But the meaning of those indigenous pasts had been erased in casta identities, including indio. In California, attempts to erase involved new forms of dress and standards governing time, language, work, and behavior. Textile production placed artisans and workers in a similar status as bound labor in Mexico. In their attempt to erase and reinscribe indigenous thought and practice, the missionaries regularly denied the legitimacy of indigenous authority figures and knowledge. Indigenous sources focus without equivocation on native authority, knowledge, and power. While dressing reinforced status, “redressing” formed one way that indigenous people could transform conditions. The aesthetics of dress and the body involved systems of representation and knowledge. Dance restored dignity, well-being, and authority. Dancers could produce knowledge and rectify and transform conditions through dance. In dressing, translation, and dance, indigenous cultures often incorporated colonial and Spanish things, which then acquired meanings that helped the indigenous communities at the missions survive.

Keywords:   indigenous knowledge, indigenous colonial Mexico, indigenous colonial Spanish Americas, indigenous dance, missions and empire, subaltern studies, historical trauma, textiles in Mexico

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.