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Saints and CitizensIndigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California$
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Lisbeth Haas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276468

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276468.001.0001

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Indigenous Landowners and Native Ingenuity on the Borderlands of Northern Mexico

Indigenous Landowners and Native Ingenuity on the Borderlands of Northern Mexico

Chapter:
(p.164) 6 Indigenous Landowners and Native Ingenuity on the Borderlands of Northern Mexico
Source:
Saints and Citizens
Author(s):

Lisbeth Haas

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520276468.003.0007

This chapter argues that a greater differentiation of indigenous lives and circumstances took place along the coast in the Mexican era, especially after 1834, and people could claim citizenship or the status of vecino (town dweller). Those emancipated or who sought that title continued to petition for land. Yet the government rescinded emancipation in 1835, and those again reduced to neofia had to petition to be emancipated. Indigenous populations worked at the missions and farmed their own lands nearby; communities of farmers became common near most missions. Indigenous people tended to receive lots similar in size to widows and poor Californios. Though historians have sometimes identified this landownership, they have not shown that it formed part of an indigenous politics that articulated a larger set of visions concerning native rights. Though claims to historic village lands formed part of those visions, many became erased from the maps when the government granted ranchos to Californios. California became far more closely connected to other areas of Mexico’s north during this period, a place identified as an Apachería and Comanchería, where independent Indian nations held spatial domain. In much of California, violence between and among indigenous people and settlers became common. The ability to move between worlds in transitions enabled indigenous people and communities to survive–and even thrive.

Keywords:   indigenous peasantry Mexico, Apachería, California ranchos, The Old Spanish Trail

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