What is an Indian in the American context if not a historical misnomer, as Marisa Belausteguigoitia rightly points out in her keyword entry? Though the generic categories of “Indian” and “indio” misidentified the subjects these words meant to designate, these two terms (by no means identical in historical trajectory or contemporary discursive meaning) have nevertheless hailed indigenous peoples into ontological and epistemological being for over five hundred years. Belausteguigoitia reminds us that throughout the centuries, indigenous voices have called out to nonindigenous peoples to listen and have often met with misapprehension, as modes of colonial domination and cultural barriers prohibited translation in many ways. The terms “Indian” and “indio” were “infelicitous” or “misfired” performative speech acts, in J. L. Austin’s sense of performative utterances, in that they wildly missed the geographic target they were meant to hit. Yet, these performative utterances were wildly successful, in that they have hailed millions of indigenous subjects of the Americas into consciousness, into political awareness, into direct action, and into local, national, and global identification in a multitude of ways over the course of five centuries. As with all other forms of transculturation since the onset of colonialism in the Americas, indigenous peoples have reconstituted the colonial meaning of “Indian” and “indio” to suit their political purposes by answering these colonial performative utterances with their own llamado.
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- Indigenismo as Nationalism: From the Liberal to the Revolutionary Era
María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo
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