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Allies at Odds

The Andean Church and its Indigenous Agents, 1583-1671

John Charles

Publication Year: 2010

Focusing on the highland parishes of the Lima archdiocese, John Charles explores the vital, often conflictive role indigenous agents played in the creation of Andean Christian society. Torn between their obligation to enforce colonial laws and their customary obligation to protect native communities from the colonizers’ abuses, indios ladinos used the Spanish language to complicate the Church’s efforts to evangelize on its own terms. Utilizing a vast body of literary activity, Allies at Odds provides perspective on the Spanish cultural values that shaped the literary activity of native Andeans and that native Andeans had a part in shaping.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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p. iv


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p. v


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pp. vi-vii


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p. viii

Map: The Archbishopric of Lima in colonial times

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p. ix


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pp. x-xii

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Introduction: Voices from the Archive

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pp. 1-12

On 2 May 1644, the native villagers of the remote highland town of Huaraz, in the central Peruvian Andes, assembled in the public square to witness a momentous event: the investiture of Don Gonzalo Guaman Cochachin as fiscal mayor de la doctrina, or chief indigenous official of the parish. Atop the steps of the church stood the community’s leaders, including the parish...

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1: The Making of a Literate Andean Society

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pp. 13-41

In 1588, Bartolomé Álvarez, the padre doctrinero of the pueblo of Aullagas in the southern diocese of los Charcas, penned a lengthy memorial to Philip II in which he decried the havoc that literate Indians were creating in the native parishes of his district. Álvarez stated that “indios ladinos” did not apply their Spanish-language skills and positions of authority to...

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2: Catechesis in Quechua

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pp. 42-70

In 1634, the young nobleman Rodrigo de Guzm

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3: Mediating with Cords

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pp. 71-101

Traditional scholarship has understandably viewed written words as instruments of colonialism that supplanted native American ways of record keeping and communication. Accounts of the Europeans’ destruction of native holy objects and media reveal the indisputable role of books in the Spanish colonization of indigenous memory and symbolizing practices.1

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4: Writing about Clerical Violence

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pp. 102-131

“Reading must be taught together with writing to all children,” insisted Covarrubias in his Tesoro de la lengua castellana (1611), “so as men of reason they are able not only to work the fields but also to keep accounts in order to know what they pay and what they receive, rather than do it mentally, or making signs on a wall, because that way they can make mistakes...

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5: Idolatry Through Andean Eyes

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pp. 132-162

Studies of the Lima see’s campaigns to extirpate idolatries often begin with Francisco de Ávila’s well-known achievement of 1609: the capture, punishment, and forced atonement of Hernando Pauccar, the curaca and chief huaca minister in the parish of San Pedro de Mama. Ávila, the cura de indios of nearby San Damián, departed from the central highlands to Lima...

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6: The Polemics of Practical Literacy

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pp. 163-196

When in 1658 Archbishop Villagómez reported to Philip IV on the state of evangelization in the central highlands, the campaign to extirpate native idolatries was embroiled in controversy.1 Four years earlier, Juan de Padilla, the top criminal attorney of the Lima audiencia, had written the first of several missives to the Crown in which he denounced the Andeans’ ignorance...


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pp. 197-252


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pp. 253-273


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pp. 275-283

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826348326
E-ISBN-10: 0826348327
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826348319
Print-ISBN-10: 0826348319

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 18 halftones, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 759158380
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Allies at Odds

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Languages -- Social aspects.
  • Catholic Church -- Andes Region -- History.
  • Spanish language -- Social aspects -- Andes Region -- History.
  • Syncretism (Religion) -- Andes Religion -- History.
  • Indians of South America -- Andes Region -- Religion.
  • Andes Region -- Religious life and customs.
  • Spain -- Colonies -- America -- Administration
  • Conversion -- Christianity.
  • Literacy -- Social aspects -- Andes Region -- History.
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