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90 Chapter4 ShapingtheTaraspanglishDiaspora ArgeliaGonzálezHurtado The complexity of migration is one of the recurrent themes on the agendas of indigenous video makers. This is perhaps partly owing to the adhesion of indigenous groups to migratory currents for centuries.1 Proof of this is the journey of the Mexica people, who undertook a long pilgrimage beginning from their homeland, the mythical Aztlán, to the foundation of the great Tenochtitl án, an exodus recorded pictorially in the Boturini Codex (also known as Tira de la peregrinación [Strip depicting the pilgrimage]). Just as the Mexicas captured their migratory experience, video makers, from the 1990s to the present day, are telling contemporary stories and experiences about migration . Unlike the “mythical and foundational” migration made by the Mexicas, the displacement of indigenous communities in Mexico in recent decades is due to harsh socioeconomic circumstances caused by the neoliberal economy, circumstances that marginalize, among others, the indigenous communities, forcing them to find their way to survival elsewhere. These migrations take place both on the national level, from the countryside to the cities; and transnationally , particularly to the United States. In this chapter I will focus on this latter type of migration. The stories, created and re-created according to the transnational migratory practices of the indigenous subjects, reveal different configurations of what it means to them to be indigenous—that is, the stories represent a journey of identity. In these stories, a reconstruction of the traditions of the migrants is evident through the incorporation/adoption of elements of worlds beyond their places of origin, into their cultural repertoires. 91 SHAPING THETARASPANGLISHDIASPORA The stories and “new” identities presented by the indigenous video makers imply an ethnographic translation carried out by the creators, in order to record in the audiovisual medium the experiences of the migrants for more general audiences, with the goal of supporting the activism in which they are immersed. When I say “ethnographic work,” I am referring to the practice of deciphering, describing, and cataloging a people or culture, and in this way representing it in a discursive space—that is to say, indigenous video makers interpret their culture and translate it into the audiovisual medium, in order to facilitate an understanding of their “realities” and their demands, first for their target audiences, which are primarily their own communities; second for other global indigenous audiences; and last, if at all, for nonindigenous communities . In this manner, I propose that the audiovisual work of indigenous video makers may be understood as autoethnographic work that makes reference to the construction of an identity derived from the process of migration. In this context, the purpose of this chapter is to analyze the strategies through which indigenous video makers, using documentaries, represent and construct the identities of migrants.2 Therefore I explore the way in which indigenous video makers have adopted different conventions (aesthetic and narrative) of the documentary to represent indigenous communities in migration . In order to achieve this goal, I analyze primarily the videos composing the Taraspanglish Migrants Video Project, coordinated and directed by Javier Sámano Chong, the first director of the CVI of Michoacán,3 and the P’urhépechas Juana Soto Sosa and Aureliano Soto Rita.4 Given that migration is a central part of this project, it must be pointed out that the movement of indigenous communities to the United States in search of work during the eighties and nineties expanded exponentially, as a result of worsening economic conditions in Mexico. As has previously been argued by scholars such as Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall, and Néstor García Canclini,5 among others, migration is a phenomenon that lends itself to the construction of “new discourses,” since individuals who migrate are constantly constructing and reconstructing their identities. That is to say, the migrant lives in an in-between space, to borrow Bhabha’s concept, one that is neither their place of origin nor the place where they have established themselves, but rather a place where there is a constant negotiation, constructing different identifying narratives that help them give direction to their “new” reality. In this sense, the experiences of indigenous communities immersed in the process of migration may be added to the indigenous independence and self-representation movements, where a reinvention/renewal of Amerindian cultures is also taking place. The so-called indigenous film or video acts within a system of codes and conventions that are part of the language of film, which was developed through 92 ARGELIA GONZÁLEZ...


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