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Immigration and Indigenization in the Mexican Diaspora in the Southwestern United States



Many observers of globalization have commented on the impact that global processes appear to be having on group identities. The changing loci of capital accumulation and power, the greater global flows of goods, labor, culture, and information, and the new global political and rhetorical conventions accompanying these changes, are having significant repercussions for forms of social organization, including identity. This should come as no surprise, given our current understanding of ethnic, national, and other identities as products of social relationships and not s imply of cultural inheritance. The anthropologist Jonathan Friedman, one observer of these matters, has explained how globalization should be expected to affect identity (Friedman 1999a, 1999b, 2000). Friedman has focused on two primary tendencies relating to identity: a hybridization and cosmopoli-tanization of identity among class and cultural elites, and an indigenization of identity among lower and middle classes. I have engaged briefly with Friedman’s ideas on the indigenization of identity (Haley and Wilcoxon 2005) to support his contention that people not considered indigenous by standard definitions are now asserting indigenous identities, and to suggest that their reason for doing so may not be to seek territory and autonomy from a weakened state, as Friedman proposes. Here I wish to expand my engagement with Friedman’s ideas on the indigenization of identity by once again taking a look at the Mexican diaspora in the southwestern United States, but widening the discussion this time to address three distinct waves of migration rather than just one.
Imagining Globalization
Language, Identities, and Boundaries
Edited by Ho Hon Leung, Matthew Hendley,
Robert W Compton, and Brian D. Haley
Immigration and Indigenization
in the Mexican Diaspora in the
'Southwestern United States
Brian D. Haley
anyobserversof globalizationhave commented on the impact that
global processes appear to be having on group identities, The
changing loci of capital accumulation and power, the greater global
flows of goods, labor, culture, and information, and the new global political
and rhetorical conventions accompanying these changes, are having signifi-
cant repercussions for forms of social organization, including identity, This
should come as no surprise, given our current understanding of ethnic,
national, and other identities as products of social relationships and not
simply of cultural inheritance. The anthropol~ist Jonathan Friedman, one
observerof these matters, has explained how globalizationshould be expected
to affect identity (Friedman 1999a, 1999b, 2000). Friedman has focused on
two primary tendencies relating to identity: a hybridization and cosmopoli-
tanization of identity among class and cultural elites, and an indigenization
of identity among lower and middle classes. I have engaged briefly with
Friedman's ideas on the indigenization of identity (Haley and Wilcoxon
2005) to support his contention that people not considered indigenous by
standard definitions are now asserting indigenous identities, and to suggest
that their reason for doing so may not be to seek territory and autonomy
from a weakened state, as Friedman proposes. Here I wish to expand my
engagement with Friedman's ideas on the indigenization of identity by once
again taking a look at the Mexican diaspora in the southwestern United
States, bur widening the discussion this time to address three distinct waves
of migration rather than just one. The three waves of migration I will address
166 •
include one begun under preindustrial Spanish colonialism (1769-1820), the
refugeeand labor migration of the maruring diversifiedcapitalism in the early
twentieth century (1910-1930), and the ongoing late capitalist labor migra-
tion (1960s to the present). Most of my data are drawn from California, but
are not always unique to that region.
Friedman's model
Friedman proposes that globalization is a dual process. He posits a decline
in the cenrraliry or hegemony in the world system, with a weakening of
nation-states in the former centers and weakest regions of the periphery.
This first process reflects a mobility of capital: the rise of new centers of
hegemony where capital is accumulating, and the decline of older centers
where capital accumulation is being
He also speculates that the
cycles of rise and decline may have so shortened in length of time that
a continuous state of globalization may be emerging. Friedman's second
process of globalization is ethnification. This occurs in response to the
decentralization of capital that weakens states, prompting disorder, dislo-
cation, and migration, and the accumulation of capital that gives rise to
new or renewed centers. In the new or renewed centers, Friedman sees
identity-homogenizing nationalisms and regionalisms growing, and in the
declining states, he sees a differentiation of identities and the emergence
of cultural politics.
Friedman has focused almost entirely on the declining centers when
elaborating the rypes of identities that appear and the causes for their
appearance. In particular, as noted above, he has theorized a growing iden-
rity of cosmopolitanism among class and cultural elites, proposing that
elites are "very much intertwined with the discourse of globalization"
(1999b, 395). They are invested-intellectually, culturally, and financially-
in the notion that something evolutionarily new has happened in the world,
even as research actually challenges this very assumption. Indeed, Friedman
asserts that these elites are "the source of much of the new ideologies of
globalization" (2000, 652). Elite cosmopolitans are drawn away from an
identity of national homogeneiry toward identities of globalized hybridiry,
multiculturalism, and creolization. They display "an increasing self-
consciousness of world position" (2000, 653).
In declining centers of hegemony, Friedman predicts fragmentation
of identities, including the rise of indigenous, immigrant, sexual, and other
identities, each as a form of "cultural liberation from the perceived homog-
enizing force of the state" (1999b, 397). As the hegemonic state's influence
declines, its ability and desire to promote the nation as synonymous with
Immigration and Indigenization
the state also diminishes. Globalizing elites who now value multicultural-
ism push the process along. The once homogeneous nation-state adopts
policies of pluralism or multiculturalism.f The conflicts that emerge within
states under these conditions are about group rights and who qualifies for
them. Thus, a politics of difference emerges among the middle and lower
classes,with localized rootedness emerging as a crucial part of a claim to
group rights. Aboriginality or indigeneiry provides the most basic way of
claiming local roots, but "lemon nationalisms" (2000, 652)-xenophobic
nationalisms in reaction to high immigration rates-express an alternative
claim of territorial primacy. Indigenization then, according to Friedman,
is not the reemergence of old indigenous groups, but instead is about the
assertion of indigenous identities by "new and strange" groups that are not
indigenous by standard definitions (1999b, 392-393, 408; 2000, 650).
The cultural logic of indigenization, Friedman argues, is that it espouses a
cultural identity related to a territory on which the state is a usurper,
oppressor, and major enemy. He predicts indigenous identities will emerge
when the state is viewed as not representing its people. The purpose of
claiming indigenous identity, Friedman feels, is to gain governmental
autonomy and control over territory.
Friedman acknowledges the complexities, contradictions, and ambiva-
lences of the phenomena about which he is theorizing. He observes, for
example, that although the working-class immigrants have direct firsthand
experience with more than one national culture, they are not drawn to
celebrate this as a cosmopolitan identity as are elites because border crossing
is a dangerous matter for them (1999b, 397). Friedman also questions
whether the end of the nation-state is really at hand, as others have theorized.
He thinks it is more likely that the state is merely separating from the
nation-homogeneity displaced by multiculturalism-as the state's functions
shift from a national to an international focus. As the state becomes associa-
tional rather than national, the nature of its relationship with regional,
immigrant, and indigenous minorities must change, but Friedman does not
tell us how.
Another Logical Opposite for Indigeneity
On this last score, I may be able to offer some ideas. First, following
anthropology's insight that identities thrive only when they are salient to
lived conditions (Barth 1969), we must ask what conditions make
indigenous identities salient. Perry (1996) points out that we associate
indigeneiry with the territories of settler nation-states, where the vast major-
iry of the state's population is acknowledged to have come from other
168 Brian D. Haley
territories. The prime examples of settler nation-states are the United States,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, although there are oth-
ers as wel1.
Only quite recently has a sustained indigenous political
discourse that truly transcends the national arena arisen (Niezen 2003).
From a structuralist perspective, one could focus on the logical opposition
berween indigene and state, as Friedman has, or one could also consider
that there is another equally logical contrast present berween indigene and
settler. Friedman's attention to the state is well-placed, as long as the state
and nation are viewed as one. However, historically within some of these
settler nation-states, the federal state has not just been an oppressor and
enemy, but at times a protector against more dangerous populist, local, or
regional forces. With regard to indigenous policy in the United States, more
active attention to the protection of indigenous communities began in the
1930s with the Indian Reorganization Act. Even earlier, in 1924, all Native
Americans born in the United States were made citizens by an act of
Congress. Numerous other policies recognizing specific rights have been
enacted since. Indigeneiry, then, can activate rights that the state protects.
Clearly, in a settler nation-state where most persons are the descendants of
settlers or settlers themselves, indigeneity sometimes is wielded against all
these people. However, as the shift progresses from homogeneous nation-
state to multicultural state,
as immigrant labor increases and becomes
controversial, indigeneity can have a narrower salience: to differentiate
oneself and one's community as members of the state with the strongest
claim to citizenship from immigrants and noncitizens. Indigenous identity,
then, can be multivalent and, potentially, ambiguous. But with anti-
immigrant political agitation running rampant in the United States,
indigenous identity's potential salience as a nonimmigrant social category
cannot be overlooked.
The following sections explore the usefulness of Friedman's model and
my additions to it in reference to three waves of what may be loosely
termed the Mexican "diaspora" in the southwestern United States and
California more specifically. My use of the phrase "Mexican diaspora"
describes people that have or are migrating from what is today the state
of Mexico, even though the first wave I shall address arrived before such
a state, nationality, or identity existed. I do not mean to imply that the
members of these various waves are, or ought to consider themselves,
"a people," as that is more appropriately a matter for a scholar to observe
than enforce. The first wave consists of those persons who colonized
California for the Spanish empire berween 1769 and 1820 and their
descendant communities. The second wave was much larger, consisting of
labor migrants and war refugees arriving berween 1910 and 1930 and
Immigration and Indigenizati n 16
their descendants, but also conceivably including the smaller number
arriving berween the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-1848 and the
and the few
(guest workers) from the
to 1964 who man-
aged to stay in the United States. Portions of these first rwo waves have
produced indigenous identity claims in recent decades. The third wave
consists of the postbracero labor migrants from the mid-1960s to the
present.? These migrants are the lightning rod for ongoing and highly
visible anti-immigrant political rhetoric and agitation. They are what
Friedman (1999b, 397) calls "border-crossers," and are little inclined to
assert either indigenous identities or cosmopolitan ones. As this chronol-
ogy implies, I share the view of many anthropologists and historians (e.g.,
Wolf 1982; Rosenthal, this volume) that globalization began centuries
before the recent popular awareness and scholarly concern with global
interdependency emerged. Were we to use the relatively recent self-
consciousness of globalization to gauge the existence of global-scale inter-
actions, we would risk overlooking the global political and mercantile
concerns that incited the colonization of California on behalf of a Euro-
pean monarchy (Weber 1992). Those concerns were already centuries-old
in 1769 (Wolf 1982).
The First Wave
In a recent article, Larry Wilcoxon and I supported Friedman's contention
that indigenization concerns identity change rather than a resurgence of
standard indigenous groups (Haley and Wilcoxon 2005; Haley 2002).6 We
described how some descendants in Santa Barbara, California (seeFigure 9.1),
of the soldiers who colonized California for the king of Spain in the late
eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries have asserted a local indigenous
identity in recent decades, denied their colonial heritage, and gained consider-
able outside acceptance of these claims locally and regionallywith just about
everyone except the long-standing local indigenes known as Chumash. We
showed that the indigenization of these neo-Chumash is just the latest in a
sequence of well-documented identity changes, beginning with the fusion of
European-, African-, and American-origin populations into a new population
of segmented identities in colonial Mexico, from which the families that colo-
nized California were drawn. We argued that the changes illustrate the process
of ethnogenesis-the emergence of new groups and identities through
community fission or coalescence-and that they should be considered com-
monplace, rather than aberrant. We also argued, contra Friedman, that the
neo-Chumash did not appear to have the goal of seizing territorial control
and governmental autonomy from the state.
170 Brian D. Haley
! ~ p ••• I
Antigua Reskiencie-:
.>: ;, :
Azteca-i ;'-- -- --- -- -- -
r :--:------ ------
(approx.) '- :
••-, r ,
- Hopi '
towns '
Casa Grande:
Santa Barbara
.Los Angeles ARIZONA
~;,palo Verde Valley
v ;
Casas Grandes
Figure 9.1 Location of places mentioned in the text.
Not only does the neo-Churnash case exemplify Friedman's "new and
strange" indigenes, it also occurs in the context he predicts. The neo-
Chumash emerged from a marginalized working class that perceived a loss
of security and opportunity threatening their social position. Their pre-
indigenous position was defined by a Spanish or Californio identity that
conformed to the homogeneous state's national myths of European origin,
whiteness, and a heroic pioneer past. These identities were never entirely
effectiveand were newly threatened by the 1960s Chicano movement (see
next section). Instead of negating this threat by seeking to establish a new
nation-state, as Friedman hypothesizes, neo-Chumash indigenous identity
claims initially had as goals earning cash land settlement awards, personal
transformation and redemption, and gaining access to new economic
and political opportunities. The state was their potential ally in this-the
enforcer of the policies regarding Indians, archaeology, and the environment
that had created new opportunities.
Neo-Chumash indigenization also reinvigorated an old practice of dif-
ferentiation from the social categories associated with Mexico. The practice
began by asserting Californio identity in pointed contrast to Mexican iden-
tity during the two-and-a-half decades following Mexican independence
(1821-1846), and has continued with an emphasis on distinction from
Immigration and Indigenization 171
later immigrants for the past century. By asserting local indigenous identity,
the neo-Chumash adapt to the Chicano movement's effectiveness in
weakening Californio and Spanish identities, yet reject its efforts to erase
any remaining social boundary between the first and all subsequent waves
of the Mexican diaspora. Identification as local indigenes has the added
salience, then, of reemphasizing differentiation from later immigrants just
when that category is increasingly attracting negative attention. The advan-
tages of indigenous identity in this context depend upon the continued
vitality of the state to enforce existing policies. A homogeneous nation-state
would not be conducive to this strategy, but a decline in the authority of
a multicultural state would undermine indigenization's value.
The Second Wave
The other case of indigenization of identity that I wish to explore issituated
primarily, but a little less precisely,among descendants of the second wave
of the Mexican diaspora. This is the interesting assertion that the Southwest
is or contains Aztlan, the island in a lake or lagoon to the north or north-
west of the Valley of Mexico claimed by Aztec nobles to be the place of
Aztec origins and the starting point of their great ancient southward migra-
tion. This particular form of indigenization is more widespread across the
Southwest than the previous one, yet still is a minority movement among
Mexican Americans. Like the neo-Chumash case, it is easily diagnosed as
culture-making. But unlike that case, it rejects differentiation from current
immigrants in favor of their ideological inclusion. Despite the inclusive
ideology,this version of history is subscribed to principally by U.S. citizens
descended from persons who arrived in the region between 1848 and 1964,
and especiallybetween 1910 and 1930. The large numbers of immigrants
at that time provided a critical mass that established a more Mexican-
oriented cultural pattern in the Southwest than had been possible previously
(McWilliams and Meier 1990,309-310). Their cultural influences included
of Mexican revolutionary nationalism.
Indigenismo promotes the idea that Mexican national heritage stems
from precolonial indigenous empires that were wrongly stifled in their
development by Spanish colonization and later foreign exploitation. Mexican
indigenismo originated under the circumstances of declining hegemony and
push for autonomy that Friedman outlines. Its origins lie in colonial era
"neo-Aztecism" (Keen 1971; Phelan 1960) that began appearing among
eighteenth-century Creoles (persons of European ancestry born in the
Americas)? Although earlier writers, including Torquemada in 1615, began
to romanticize and classicizethe preconquest Aztecs just as Europeans did
172 Brian D. Haley
with ancient Greece and Rome, Francisco Javier Clavigero's
Historia antigua
first published in 1780-81, established anti-European neo-
Aztecism. Clavigero (1731-1787) was a Creole Jesuit priest who had
immersed himself in Mexican archives and learned Nahuatl (Ronan 1973).
Historia antigua,
Clavigero argued against the prejudices of European
authors toward Mexico and Mexicans. He asserted that Europe had no
reason, and documented Aztec accomplishments
port his point. To counter the charge that Indians of his time were degener-
ate and incapable of great accomplishments, he blamed their current
demoralization on the effects of Spanish-enforced servitude. He also
asserted that a greater fusion of Spanish and native peoples and cultures
would have produced a "single and integrated nation," free of the "grave
ills"that plagued the caste-basedsociety of the colonies (Clavigeroin Phelan
1960, 766). Thus, Clavigero provided three key elements of neo-Aztecisrn:
(1) he framed preconquest Aztec culture as Mexico's classicalculture; (2) he
asserted that Mexico's Indians would have continued
accomplish great
things, had it not been for the Spanish conquest; and (3) he advanced racial
amalgamation as a path
nation-building. Subsequent writers supported
Mexican independence and nationalism by declaring Aztec heritage as the
true heritage of the nation and Spanish heritage as something to be
expunged, citing Clavigero as authority. Revolutionaries in 1910 made neo-
Aztecism a centerpiece of revolutionary nationalism and an institutional
fixture of postrevolutionary Mexico. Thus, when Mexican immigrants
entered the U.S. Southwest after independence and especially after the
Revolution of 1910, they brought with them the notion that Mexico's
heritage-and thus their own-was Aztec rather than Spanish.They brought
no collective awareness that Clavigero and other writers had given birth to
this idea.
The immigrants of this period came to build railroads,
work in fields
or mines, and
flee the Revolution of 1910. Many settled permanently in
the United States and formed a growing ethnic minority concentrated in
the Southwest. The settlers experienced substantial racial and class oppres-
sion before the civil rights era, yet they also formed institutions
themselvesfrom prejudice. Gradually after World War II, Mexican Americans
made great strides in combating segregation, achieving political representa-
tion, and entering the middle class(McWilliams and Meier 1990). The pace
of these changes increased during the Chicano movement of the late 1960s
and early 1970s. As both a confrontational political strategy and a social
movement, the Chicano movement stimulated a new cultural synthesis in
ethnic representation, the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and made
Chicano identity a viable "third category" alongside Anglo-American and
Immigration and Indigenization 173
Mexican identities (Kearney and Nagengast 1989, 6-8). Chicanismo sus-
tained yet transformed neo-Aztecism by turning the Aztlan origin s(Oryinto
a legitimization of the Chicanos' presence in the Southwest. In the poet
Alurista's famous vision of the Chicano homeland of Aztlan, Mexican
immigrants are merely making their return home by journeying north
the Southwest. The Aztlan s(Ory is well-suited
Chicanos' struggle for
equality At the same time, it probably has contributed
of potential political secession by a Chicano-dominated Southwest (e.g.,
Sowell 1981). Such fears seem misplaced now, because by the late 1970s,
the militancy of the Chicano movement had declined, due largely
movement's success in penetrating the middle class. The popularity of a
Chicano identity has waned in favor of a more integrated Mexican American
identity, but the two remain closelyintertwined, with Aztlan generally playing
a milder symbolic role.
Most anthropologists and historians probably do not accept the idea that
the multiethnic Aztec empire had a single point of origin, or even that any
of its constituent groups' ethnic identities had a simple linear continuity
from the ancient past (e.g., Beekman and Christensen 2003). Recently, lin-
guists have even contested the idea that there was a southward migration
of U(O-Aztecan speakers at all (Hill 2001). But for Chicanos or Mexican
Americans, the Aztlan question is more personal, even though it provokes
a range of views.Although a great many Chicanos and Mexican Americans
consider the Aztlan story a metaphorical way of connecting to their current
loca~ion,for others, questioning its literal truthfulness is considered a sign
of disloyalty or racism. While I strongly oppose the prejudice that members
of the Mexican diaspora face in the United States, when the need for taking
some sort of position on the subject is thrust upon us, a responsible scholar
also cannot overlook the research that conflicts with claims of a literal
Aztlan in the Southwest. What I seek here is an understanding of an iden-
tity process that is sympathetic
the underlying issues that the Aztlan s(Ory
The literalist interpretation is not just a popular perspective on history.
Its promoters include college professors, journalists, and community activ-
ists. One interesting grassroots quality is that communities in different sec-
tors of the Southwest produce different claims of where Aztlan is located.
Usually, it is where that community currently resides-a fine example of
establishing local roots through a vision of deep
One example
the Palo VerdeValleyon the lower Colorado River (see Figure 9.1).
Under the inspired direction of Alfredo Figueroa, the Palo Verde Chicanos
have interpreted the Aztlan s(Ory and other evidence as proof that the Palo
VerdeValleyis La Cuiia de Azrlan (the cradle of Aztlan). Figueroa, the son
174 Brian D. Haley
of an immigrant with an impressive personal history of civil rights and labor
activism, made investigating the Palo Verde Valley's history as La Curia de
Aztlan his personal project. He has produced a book (Figueroa
video to convey his beliefs, and helped establish a school where a Southwest
Aztlan is included in the curriculum.
Figueroa and others support their arguments with historical maps of the
region, ethnolinguistics, ethnographic texts, Mesoamerican codices, local lore,
and testimony from what are presumed to be indigenous authorities." Features
mentioned by these sources are then associated with points on the landscape
and archaeological sites to construct an argument. Azrlan proponents fre-
quently address the conflict between their interpretations and the scholarly
mainstream. For example, Figueroa and others note that historians and archae-
ologists have said that names like Aztec and Montezuma for prominent
Southwest archaeological sites originated in nineteenth-century romanticism
2002, 10-12).
They point to the presence of the Antigua Residencia
de los Aztecas (the ancient residence of the Aztecs) on maps produced between
by von Humboldt, Disturnell, and others. The location of the
Antigua Residencia de los Aztecas is shown along the Colorado River, north-
west of the Hopi villages in Arizona (see Figure
This is presented as proof
that the historians and archaeologists are incorrect; American archaeologists
could not be responsible for the names if the United States hadn't even taken
the Southwest from Mexico yet.
It is a seductive argument, but ignores scholarship on the introduction
of the name of Montezuma-a corruption of Motecuzoma, the name of
two Aztec emperors-to the Southwest by the colonizers in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. In a fine example of syncretism, Montezuma
became conflated with Jesus and the Puebloan culture hero Poseyemu. At
times in this culture-making process, Pueblo Indians were known to call all
archaeological sites in the region Montezumas. It appears that Mexican
leaders, in the years leading up to
promoted Montezuma stories and
the idea of an Aztec connection among Pueblos to secure their continued
loyalty to Mexico as the threat of U.S. imperialism loomed larger (Bandelier
In the Southwest, Montezuma stories converged with Clavigero's influ-
ence on Alexander von Humboldt, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Gallatin, and
other founding figures of the anthropology of the United States and
Mexico. Clavigero's
was first published in English in
German in
and in the United States in
Clavigero had declared that the "casas grandes" of the Gila Valley
and Chihuahua were products of the Aztec's migration from Aztlan (Fowler
2000, 33).
Von Humboldt interpreted this cartographically on his
Immigration and Indigenization 175
map of New Spain, placing the first "abode" of the Aztecs northwest of the
Hopis (including mention of its "uncertain tradition"), the second at Casa
Grande ruins in southern Arizona, and the third at Casas Grandes ruins in
northwest Chihuahua (see Figure
Subsequent mapmakers replicated
his markings. For some of the earliest U.S. scholars, Clavigero's association
of the large Southwest sites with Aztecs answered the question of whether
the Indians living in the region were descendants of the builders of the great
ancient sites. The same question was being asked about the origin of
earthen mounds in eastern North America (Silverberg
In the latter
controversy, Clavigero was used to link an allegedly superior ancient race
of Mound Builders to the Toltecs and Aztecs of central Mexico by way of
the Southwest (Fowler
2000, 218).
If the eastern woodlands and southwest-
ern Indians were a lesser race than the descendants of superior Mound
Builders or Aztecs, then they did not deserve the treatment one ought to
give to a "civilized" race. Their land, water, and other resources could be
justifiably confiscated for more "rational" use by a "higher race" of Euro-
Americans, whose "manifest destiny" was invented to help seize this oppor-
tunity. It is no accident that the Mound Builder myth grew in popularity
when the forced removal of Indians from east of the Mississippi River was
being considered. Despite these troubling origins, American anthropology
soon revealed the flaws in these racist arguments (Silverberg
Nonetheless, belief in the Mound Builders and stories of Montezuma
in the Southwest lingered on in Mormonism. All of these influences con-
tributed to the idea of Aztecs in the Southwest. It is clear that Chicanos are
not responsible for the invention of all aspects of today's Aztlan story. But
it does appear that Friedman's notion of indigenization rather than the
reemergence of former indigenes finds more support in this case.
While the history of the idea of the Aztecs in the Southwest recorded
by scholars challenges the position of the Aztlan literalists, it also illustrates
that to more fully understand a cultural construct, one must understand
its salienfe in context. Thus, to better appreciate the Azrlan story, it is
necessary to look at the contexts in which it is salient to the literalists' lived
experience. Alfredo Figueroa's book provides many examples, but one will
suffice. In its early pages, Figueroa sets the stage for the story of La Cufia
de Aztlan by recounting events in his life in the Palo Verde Valley in which
he overcame prejudice and discrimination. Figueroa writes, "My political
activities in Blythe began in
when that area was known as a 'little
Mississippi' because of its racial disorders and the prejudice of its Anglo-
dominated powerbrokers toward Chicanos and other minorities." Farther
down the page, he notes, "In
I was brutally beaten by a couple of
local Anglo police officers at a restaurant in the Mexican section of Blythe.
176 Brian D. Haley
My case became a cause celebre since I was the first Chicano to sue City
Hall and win. Subsequently, I won favorable judgments against a justice
of the peace and U.S. Customs for violating my civil rights and those of
my brother" (Figueroa 2002, 9). Perhaps the most telling statement of the
value and popularity of the Azrlan story comes from the journalistic team
of Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez. On their weblog in 1998
under the revealing title, "1847 Map Ends Immigration Debate," Gonzales
and Rodriguez addressed the presence of the Antigua Residencia de los
Aztecas on the Disturnell treaty map. After reviewing enthusiastic responses
from readers, they sum up the map's significance: "To us, it's as if the map
has lifted an oppressive aura of 'suspicion' from the psyche of Mexicans/
Central Americans-populations that have been deemed to be illegitimate
by some in the U.S. society" (Gonzales and Rodriguez 1998). Both
Figueroa's and Gonzales and Rodriguez's respective Aztlan-related state-
ments are claims to the civil rights of full citizens within the multicultural
Thus, the indigenization of identity among descendants of the second-
wave immigrants revives and transforms earlier ideas that have new meaning
and value as anti-immigrant political rhetoric and action swells and threat-
ens the past gains of Mexican Americans. Although anti-immigration speak-
ers complain that the "Aztlanistas" are either a mad fringe or a real national
threat, the literalist position is simply all too normal a human reaction to
a past experience and threatened resumption of prejudice." Those who dis-
seminate harsh anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant rhetoric fail to see their
actions as a factor sustaining Aztlan literalism. The worst of the anti-
immigrant rhetoric in the United States today is a thinly disguised resump-
tion of racial prejudice against anyone and everyone who can be linked to
the modern territory of Mexico, if not directly, then at least by descent. It
is clear that the Aztlan story provides many Chicanos/Mexican Americans
with the strength to stand up to this deplorable assault. That said, by adopt-
ing this strategy of historical revisionism, the literalists' contribution to the
immigration debate has simply been to reverse which party is considered
the immigrant who does not belong. Sadly, this means they do not chal-
lenge the moral formula that denies rights to immigrants or promote an
understanding of the material basis for the occurrence of immigration. But
perhaps this supports my point, as it suggests an even closer tie to the exist-
ing state than one might understand from just the rhetoric of Azrlan literal-
ism alone. Indeed, one-third of U.S. Immigration Service border guards on
the U.S.-Mexican border are Mexican Americans who distinguish them-
selves and their interests from the current body of immigrants primarily by
making a citizen-noncitizen distinction (Heyman 2002).
Immigration and Indigenization 177
The Third Wave
Lest I be misconstrued as having argued that indigenization is now ram-
pant among persons whose social histories can be traced to Mexico, I now
turn to the type of identity change I have observed and suspect is most
common among the post-1960s immigrants. This is the third wave made
up of current or recent border crossers who are the main focus of current
immigrant loathing. The point here is that not only are Friedman's border
crossers not drawn to cosmopolitan identities due to their pragmatic con-
cern with the dangers of border crossing, but that they also don't appear
to be drawn to indigenous identities to the same degree as the descendants
of earlier immigrants. They are interested in reducing their quite real
vulnerability, and achieve this by building roots socially through participat-
ing in local affairs and engaging in practices that have preexisting local
meaning and value. From 1989 through 1995, I conducted ethnographic
research in the small farming town of Shandon, California, located midway
between Los Angeles and San Francisco (see Figure 9.1; Haley 2009). Since
the 1960s, Shandon's population had changed from nearly all Anglo to
one-third Mexican immigrant. The cause of this shift was the California
wine boom. Shandon emerged as a wonderful location to grow high qual-
ity wine and table grapes, one of many high-value, labor-intensive crops
whose expansion in the 1960s triggered the resumption of Mexican immi-
gration to California, Arizona, and Texas (Palerm1989, 1991; Chavez
1998). Since federal labor programs had been permitted to wither in the
1960s, farm workers who came to California at this time frequently did
so without proper immigration papers.
Leo Chavez (1998) draws a contrast between the lives of settler and
sojourner immigrants. Settlers gradually become permanent residents of
the United States and integrate to a greater degree into local communities,
whereas sojourners retain a stronger commitment to family and community
in Mexico, where they eventually return. Settlement often emerges as a de
facto condition rather than from intentional strategy. Parents' concern for
the welfar~ and happiness of children raised in the United States frequently
becomes a major factor in settlement. Perhaps because the difference often
emerges gradually, it often goes unnamed or is rendered in quite different
terms by local social actors. When a distinction along settler-sojourner lines
is made by residents of a host country, it signals that the mobility of people
in globalization is received in two different ways depending upon the
perceived characteristics of the immigrant group, and that a very real
accommodation of one segment of the immigrants is being achieved.
A sojourner-settler difference became important for identity formation in
178 Brian D. Haley
Shandon, because it reproduced a sociallyimportant preexisting distinction.
For decades previously, Shandon residents had distinguished between farm
workers who were considered stable and responsible members of the com-
munity and others who were considered unsettled, unreliable, and lower
quality people. The former were called "foreman-type" farm workers and
the latter were known as "Okie-rype" farm workers (Hatch 1979), a cate-
gory in widespread use in rural California since the 1930s (Gregory 1989).
In Shandon, as in other communities, there was no precise relationship
between place of origin and the category a farm worker was placed in. The
contrasting occupational characteristics and their effect on settlement and
community participation provided the basis for distinguishing farm worker
types and ethnicizing the lower-status group.
When Mexican workers began coming to Shandon to work in the vine-
yards, they first fit almost entirely into the low-status category previously
considered "Okie." The meaning of Mexican displaced Okie as denoting
the lowest status social category. However, the vineyard labor market pro-
duced some jobs that were permanent enough to foster family settlement.
Workers who could acquire these jobs-tractor driver, irrigator, crew fore-
man, etc.-made an effort to obtain housing better suited to a family. The
larger mass of seasonal workers, because they remained oriented toward
home bases in Mexico, sought inexpensive and often temporary housing.
There was not a lot available, so group households were the norm and
became a public nuisance as they deteriorated under heavy use and inade-
quate care. Throughout most of the 1980s, tensions grew between Anglos
and immigrants as the number of houses occupied by groups of farmwork-
ers increased. Before the end of the decade, however, Anglos had learned
that they could get these houses condemned for public health code viola-
tions if they complained to the county authorities and a genuine violation
was found. Use of this strategy reduced the number of group households,
and ethnic tensions eased a bit from the perspectives of both Anglos and
Mexican settlers remaining in the town.
Meanwhile, the permanent workers who had obtained single-family
houses generally took greater care of their residences and made visible
improvements to them. This did not go unnoticed in the community,
especially as nonimmigrant workers who commuted to nearby urban areas
began to settle in the town and did not always make similar improve-
ments to their homes. These Mexican settlers also placed their children
in local schools, which were very small, so children tended to make
friends across ethnic lines out of necessity. Because their children were
integrated, Anglo and Mexican adults began to know and respect one
another as good parents. Mexican parents' participation helped sustain
Immigration and Indigenization 179
some school and community activities that might not otherwise have
gone forward. Lastly, these Mexican parents all took advantage of the
amnesty provisions of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act
and were in the process of becoming U.S. citizens. They had all decided,
then, to be settlers, not sojourners, and they began ro voice their common
concern for the quality of life in the community in public arenas, through
Mexican American intermediaries, if necessary. Anglos perceived this as
un-Mexican behavior, since they had come to think of Mexicans as the
new Okies. Some Anglos even speculated that the settlers must be from
different parts of Mexico unlike the Mexicans they disliked, but that was
not the case. Nevertheless, these changes stimulated Anglos to begin
differentiating between Mexican sojourners and settlers, usually by
distinguishing the former as "migrants" or "Mexicans" and the latter as
"Americanized" or "members of the community." The settlers, despite still
thinking of themselves as sharing a common Mexican heritage with the
sojourners, reinforced their differentiation themselves by asserting a com-
mitment to the local community that the sojourners lacked. In effect, the
settlers were making the first step in an identity transition from Mexican
to Mexican American, and did so largely socially rather than culturally.
The underlying factors behind this improving situation were the combi-
nation of stable employment, family housing with modest maintenance
and improvements, and children in local schools. These fit the expecta-
tions for a preexisting category-stable and respectable members of the
community-that had long been valued. Within a few short years, adult
settlers obtained U.S. citizenship and asserted an identity as U.S. citizens
and local community members in addition to a Mexican one on cultural
and ancestral grounds.
The iddigenization of identity occurring among some descendants of the
first twOwavesof the Mexican diaspora exemplifieswhat Jonathan Friedman
has described as "new and strange combinations" rather than the reemer-
gence of old indigenes. It also illustrates his predicted lower to middle class
contexts for indigenization. The absence of a comparable attraction to in-
digenization among the current generation of border-crossing labor migrants
mirrors their disinterest in a cosmopolitan identity that Friedman has
already noted. Presumably, the border crossers have more immediate con-
cerns that can be better addressed through other social strategies. However,
the indigenization in the first two cases does not conform to Friedman's
claim that the goal of such ethnification is to control territory and gain
180 Brian D. Haley
autonomy from a declining state. Thus, I have appended Friedman's model
to accommodate these southwestern cases.
My modification builds upon Friedman's suggestion that the state, in
declining centers of hegemony, has changed from a promoter of homoge-
neity-that is, of the nation-ro a protector of multiculturalism. With
this shift, indigenous identity is no longer merely opposed to the state, as
Friedman proposes, but instead the state is also now a potential ally that
can protect civil rights and perhaps provide new opportunities. Asserting
indigenous identity becomes a way of differentiating the community from
social categories in the same region that do not
for state protec-
tion, namely, immigrants and noncitizens who are vastly more numerous
and socially significant due to the structure of late capitalism. Claiming
indigenous identity asserts earlier occupation than the state's in a given
territory, with all the moral value that adheres to that argument. But,
unlike the settler nation-state, the multicultural state makes such histori-
cally deep territorial rootedness an inviolable criterion for citizenship and
other potential rights. The cases presented here support the theory that
indigenization under the multicultural state is a defense against the xeno-
phobic "lemon nationalisms" (Friedman 2000, 652) of lower and middle
classes arising in reaction against increasing international labor migration
under late capitalism. The two instances of indigenization given here
illustrate two variations within this strategy. Neo-Chumash indigenization
announces that the indigenizers are not immigrants, Mexicans, Mexican
Americans, or Chicanos. Their claim of primacy is positioned as superior
to all others. The Aztlan literalist Chicanos deny they are different from
Mexicans and current Mexican immigrants, preferring instead to reverse
who occupies the native and immigrant categories. Anglos are refashioned
into the real immigrants, taking from them any moral foundation for
denying rights to the Mexican diaspora. The logic of indigenous identity
claims, therefore, does not merely contrast indigene with state; it also
contrasts indigene with immigrant. Given the extreme structural impor-
tance of the mobility of labor in late capitalism, this must be considered
to be one more reason why the indigenization of identity is occurring
during the process of globalization.
1. Jonathan Friedman's approach has affinities with Eric Wolf's (1982) demonstration
of the antiquity and formative effect of mercantilism and capitalism on culture and
identity worldwide, David Harvey's (1989) explanation of late capitalism's effect on
labor forms and "time-space compression," and Saskia Sassen's (1990) attention to
Immigration and lndigenization 181
capital flows and cultural geography. Neverrheless, Friedman mixes these ideas in
his own way and makes his own additions to produce a unique model.
2. Friedman suggests that the West, especially Europe, is a declining center, along
with the former Soviet Union, and East Asia is the most likely emergent center.
Weakened states of the periphery are most apparent in Africa, he argues (Friedman
2000, 648-649).
3. The sort of multicultural state Friedman describes, with repercussions for all ethnic
minorities, indigenes, and immigrants, probably begins to come about in the United
States during the civil rights era. By now it is at least in its late adolescence, and we
are witnessing various reactions to its maturation, not to its original creation.
4. Latin American nation-states may also be placed here, even though many have
a much more complex population history, and some, such as Mexico, hold to a
national ideology of indigenous origins.
5. The chronology I am using here reflects my data; I am not proposing it as a
general chronology for the Mexican diaspora. For example, since I am emphasiz-
ing California data, I am not including the earlier wave of colonists who estab-
lished colonial New Mexico. Although mine may have some broader uses,
alternative chronologies are possible, such as Matt Meier's three waves within the
twentieth century (McWilliams and Meier 1990, 309-310).
were farm
workers supplied by Mexico to the United States under a binational guest worker
agreement that existed from 1942 to 1964. The end of this program, combined
with the passage of the Hart-Cellars Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965,
which eliminated race-based national quotas that had hindered Mexican immi-
gration, signals the beginnings of my third wave.
6. A few anthropologists stubbornly resist acknowledging that this is occurring
(e.g., Erlandson et al. 1998).
7. Anthony Pagden (1990) treats at length the creole's creative reimagining of the
American past, Clavigero's seminal role in that process, and the association of
the larger enterprise with the political move toward eventual separation from
8. Those cited most often are Thomas Banancya and David Monongye, both con-
troversial figures accused by traditional Hopi leaders, Hopi council members,
and anthropot0gists of fabricating Hopi traditions for their own political pur-
poses (Geertz 1994). Coincidently, or perhaps not, they also figured in the
transformation of Paul Olivas into Semu Huaute, founder of Chumash
Traditionalism and the neo-Chumash movement (Haley and Wilcoxon 1997;
Erlandson et al. 1998).
9. Typical extremist rhetoric colors the "Azrlanisras'' as "socialist" or "communist"
"insurrectionists" who are agitating for a "rcconquista" of the U.S. Southwest
(e.g., "The Aztlanista Cabal and the Coming Civil War," http://www.rumormill- Media monitors report that
on CNN's
Lou Dobbs Tonight
on May 23, 2006, a reporter described the
Mexican president Vicente Fox's trip to Utah as a "Mexican military incursion"
and "the Vicente Fox Azrlan tour," while an on-screen graphic displayed a map
of Aztlan whose source was given as the Council of Conservative Citizens, an
182 Brian D. Haley
organization observers claim is tied to white supremacists (e.g., http://mediamat- 11,
cnn-stands-by-Iou-dobbs-_b_21617.html). For an informed critique of the
misrepresentation of the Aztlan concept by anti-immigrant extremists and
the mainstream media alike, see "Reconquista!" (http://dneiwert.blogspot.
com/2006/04/ reconquista. htrnl).
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... In a US context, Brian Haley andLarry Wilcoxon (1997, 2005) have also studied how some Mexican-American communities in Southern California have adopted indigenous Chumash identities, and critiqued the impact of this movement on the political dynamics of indigeneity in the region. Haley and Wilcoxon have worked to move beyond the "authenticity" debate about whether neo-Indians can be considered legitimately indigenous, to understand how neo-indigenous movements and communities interact with the political claims of indigenous communities with longer histories and more obvious claims to indigenous rights. ...
... Haley and Wilcoxon have worked to move beyond the "authenticity" debate about whether neo-Indians can be considered legitimately indigenous, to understand how neo-indigenous movements and communities interact with the political claims of indigenous communities with longer histories and more obvious claims to indigenous rights. Haley (2009) engages arguments from Jonathan Friedman's work on globalization and identity, in which he argued that the globalization of elite identities would create a backlash of indigenization of identities among the less mobile lower classes. Friedman contrasted the indigenization of the identities of marginalized minorities with the 'lemon nationalisms' of lower class members of the dominant group (Friedman 2000:652), which he predicted would result in nativist majority politics of the kind that we have witnessed move into political ascendancy over the past couple of years. ...
... In the latter half of the 20 th century and until recently, Indigenous migration increased and produced the formation of Mexican indigenous communities in the US often operating as satellite communities of their towns in Mexico (see also Perez et al 2016). As described by Haley (2009), the different waves of migrants have not necessarily shared a common identity, but each wave of migrants have taken the role as "locals" relative to the subsequent wave, identifying in contrast both to the newcomers and the Anglo majority (as well as other minority groups). ...
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El bastón de mando es un elemento importante en varias culturas indígenas de México como la de los chichimecas-otomíes representados por los danzantes Concheros del estado de Querétaro. En este trabajo analizo el performance hecho políticamente (Linchentfel y Rouse) en la entrega de este elemento simbólico a dos figuras políticas (presidente municipal y gobernador) dentro del marco de dos ceremonias conmemorativas, una de carácter político y otra cultural y espiritual. Asimismo, indago cómo por una parte la identidad indígena se opone al estado (Friedman) pero es también un aliado que puede proteger derechos civiles y tal vez proporcionar nuevas oportunidades (Haley).
This book corrects what the author sees as basic American and European tendencies to misrepresent non-Western cultures. Carefully documenting the historical role of prophecy in Hopi Indian religion, the author shows how the Hopi Traditionalist Movement, in response to non-Indian audiences and interest groups, has changed old prophecies and created new ones about the end of the world. He further shows how these audiences and interest groups have used Traditional prophecies for their own purposes. Many of the seeming peculiarities of Hopi religion and culture have been invented, he says, by tourists, novelists, journalists, and scholars. At the same time, the millenarian Traditionalist Movement has subtly co-authoried Europeans' and Americans' stereotypes of Indians.
From the Publisher: In 1513, when Ponce de Leon stepped ashore on a beach of what is now Florida, Spain gained its first foothold in North America. For the next three hundred years, Spaniards ranged through the continent building forts to defend strategic places, missions to proselytize Indians, and farms, ranches, and towns to reconstruct a familiar Iberian world. This engagingly written and well-illustrated book presents an up-to-date overview of the Spanish colonial period in North America. It provides a sweeping account not only of the Spaniards' impact on the lives, institutions, and environments of the native peoples but also of the effect of native North Americans on the societies and cultures of the Spanish settlers. With apt quotations and colorful detail, David J. Weber evokes the dramatic era of the first Spanish-Indian contact in North America, describes the establishment, expansion, and retraction of the Spanish frontier, and recounts the forging of a Hispanic empire that ranged from Florida to California. Weber refutes the common assumption that while the English and French came to the New World to settle or engage in honest trade, the Spaniards came simply to plunder. The Spanish missionaries, soldiers, and traders who lived in America were influenced by diverse motives, and Weber shows that their behavior must be viewed in the context of their own time and within their own frame of reference. Throughout his book Weber deals with many other interesting issues, including the difference between English, French, and Spanish treatment of Indians, the social and economic integration of Indian women into Hispanic society, and the reasons why Spanish communities in North America failed to develop at the rate that the English settlements did. Hismagisterial work broadens our understanding of the American past by illuminating a neglected but integral part of the nation's heritage.