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Contribution to Book
Latin America, Indigenous Peoples
Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society (2008)
  • Arthur Scarritt, Boise State University
The terms indigenous, native, and Indian emerge from the colonial experience but at the same time are very much a part of modernity and postmodernity. On their arrival in Latin America, conquering European forces of the 16th through 20th centuries imposed this single identity on vastly diverse groups of peoples with their own histories, practices, problems, and conflicts. Even today, the term Maya, referring to descendants of preconquest populations throughout much of contemporary southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize, incorporates no less than twelve distinct groups, many with mutually indistinguishable languages. Since conquest, the meanings inherent in the indigenous moniker have been heavily weighted through multiple forms of actions, policies, and dialogues, although always under conditions of domination by groups of European descent.
Publication Date
Richard T. Schaefer
Sage Publications
Citation Information
Arthur Scarritt. "Latin America, Indigenous Peoples" Thousand OaksEncyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society Vol. 2 (2008) p. 833 - 835
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