Singing for the Dead
The Politics of Indigenous Revival in Mexico
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Duke University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book is at least in part about the repayment of debts—above all, those the living owe the dead. Although I am fortunate that most of those who helped me the most have not yet “shed their bodies” (a literal translation of a Mazatec expression for dying), I nevertheless incurred enormous debts in writing this book. Beginning with the most recent, I thank Brown University, ...
Note on Orthographic and Linguistic Conventions
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An argument I make in this book is that one of the revival movements dis-cussed, the Day of the Dead Song Contest, has broad popular appeal in part because it embraces orthographic heterodoxy. In contradistinction to many other movements promoting vernacular literacy, this project promotes the idea that people should be allowed to write their languages using whatever ...
Introduction: Leaving the Pueblo
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Years ago, when I left the pueblo, . . . the senior elder, charged with offer-“When you come back, my son, perhaps we will no longer be alive. . . . Probably by then you will not be the same, you will have distanced your-self from us, you will not continue with our way of life. I hope that you are never embarrassed of our pueblo or of your people. . . . Leave us to ...
1. From Revolution to Renaissance: A Political Geography and History of “Deep Mexico”
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...“When the god of places distributed the lands of the universe . . . only the Mazatecs, who wanted to live free from everyone, accepted these far and inhospitable parts that no one else wanted, . . . [choosing] to dwell, with Chikon Tokoxo as guide, in the lands of the huge carnivo-The eagles hunted the new inhabitants, . . . and fed them to their ...
2. Revival in the “Land of the Magic Mushroom” : A Recent History of Ethnic Relations in the Sierra Mazateca
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...—Heriberto Prado Pereda, from the poem “About the Little Mushrooms,” In this chapter I focus on the social implications of two recent historical events in the Sierra Mazateca. These events involved encounters between cho4ta4xi1n and cho4ta4yo4ma4—locals from the Sierra and people from out-side it—and suggest how locals’ understandings of indigenous identity are ...
3. Singing for the Spirits: The Annual Day of the Dead Song Contest
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Is Not Eternal,” in Tatsjejín nga kjabuya/No es eterna la muerteIn this chapter, I consider how the histories of literacy, writing, and poli-tics of ethnicity laid out in previous chapters condition indigenous revival in the present. While ethnic revival has taken various forms in Mexico, this book concerns a particular type centering on revitalizing and strengthening ...
4. Scenes from a Nativist Reformation: The Mazatec Indigenous Church
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...—Heriberto Prado Pereda, from the annual Day of the Dead Mass “Autochthonous Mazatec Mass,” in Kui4Nndja1le4 nai3na1 nga3 en1 na1: Cantemos a dios en nuestra lenguaPurism, Indigenous Revival, and the Birth of the Mazatec Indigenous ChurchIn chapter 3 I discussed the annual Day of the Dead Song Contest, a revival project that has found enormous popular success.1 I argue that the movement ...
5. Meeting at the Family Crypt: Social Fault Lines and the Fragility of Community
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This chapter considers what the Sierra’s two revival projects—the Mazatec Indigenous Church and the Day of the Dead Song Contest (and its associated activities)—can tell us about the politics of ethnic revival when viewed on an intimate scale. I first discuss the contentious position the Mazatec Indige-nous Church occupies in the Sierra. Objections other people have launched ...
6. Seeing Double: Indigenous Authors, Readers, and the Paradox of Revival
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...—Victor de la Cruz, Zapotec poet and indigenous intellectual, from the poem “Tu laanu, tu lanu,” (“Who are we? What is our name?”) The poem excerpted in the epigraph, “Tu laanu, tu lanu” (“Who Are We? What Is Our Name?”), is from a widely anthologized work by Victor de la Cruz, one of Mexico’s most prominent indigenous writers.1 While his history is unique ...
Conclusion: Singing for the Dead and the Living: Revival, Indigenous Publics, and the National Afterlife
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...—Crescencio García, Mazatec songwriter, from “Tojesa manguine jin” Just before I left for Mexico to begin research for this book, I attended a con-ference required by one of the granting agencies that generously funded my research. The program was interdisciplinary, and I was one of the few anthro-pologists participating. Most of the other attendees were social scientists ...
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Page Count: 331
Illustrations: 23 photographs, 4 tables, 3 maps
Publication Year: 2013