Settler colonialism across Latinidades

Authors: Megan Ybarra*, University of Washington
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Immigration/Transnationalism, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Latinx geographies; settler colonialism; critical race theory; Indigenous studies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper thinks at the articulation of Latinidades, or multiple ways of being and knowing Latinx identities, and settler colonialism. Scholars including Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, Laura Pulido and Josefina Saldaña-Portillo have been rethinking the Aztlán imaginary of a mythical Chicana/o homeland through the empirical histories of Mexicanos’ role in undermining Indigenous sovereignty, taking Indigenous land and calling for the violent death of “uncivilized” Indigenous peoples in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Even as they become a colonized people, Mexicanos in the US reproduced their identity as settlers. From this historical moment, Latinidades in the US encompass both colonization (“we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!”) and migration stories. Indigenous survivance claims its relationship to land at its core. As such, this paper develops a settler of color analytic that traces histories from Mexican cession through US settler state moves to allotment and termination. In particular, Indigenous peoples who are denied nationhood and access to their own lands and then become transnational Latinx migrants have become themselves settlers of color without ceasing to be Indigenous people struggling to reclaim their land against the settler state. An analysis of this positioning is of significance given the rise of Indigenous migrants as part of their efforts to survive and reclaim their own land, even as they live and work as settlers in the US.

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