"We Speak For Ourselves": The First National Congress of Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Indigenismo in Mexico, 1968-1982
AuthorMunoz, Maria L. O.
AdvisorBeezley, William H.
Committee ChairBeezley, William H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the midst of a violent decade where the Mexican government used force to suppress insurgent and student unrest, the Indian population avoided such a response by operating within official government parameters. The 1975 First National Congress of Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, though convened by the federal government, gave Indians an opportunity to claim a role in the complex political process of formulating a new version of national Indian policy while demanding self-determination. Through the congress, indigenous groups attempted to take the lead in shaping national programs to their needs and interests rather than merely responding to government initiatives. The congress marked a fundamental change in post-revolutionary politics, the most important restructuring and recasting of the relationship between local and regional indigenous associations and the federal government since the 1930s. Its history provides an important context for understanding more recent political disputes about indigenous autonomy and citizenship, especially in the aftermath of the Zapatista (EZLN) revolt in 1994. The 1975 Congress marked a watershed as it allowed for the advent of independent Indian organizations and proved to be momentous in the negotiation of political autonomy between indigenous groups and government officials.