When "Being Indian in Hueyapan" came out in 1975, it challenged commonly held ideas about culture and identity in indigenous Mexico, raising questions that remain as provocative today as they were over thirty years ago. Now in this revised and updated edition, Judith Friedlander places her widely acclaimed work in historical context. The book describes the lives of the inhabitants of an indigenous "pueblo "during the late 1960s and early 1970s and analyzes the ways that Indians like them have been discriminated against since early colonial times. After presenting the case as she saw it in 1975, Friedlander examines the relevance of her arguments for explaining the changes that have subsequently taken place over the intervening years, following the story into the twenty-first century, both locally in Hueyapan and nationally. Friedlander pays particular attention in a new final chapter to the role anthropologists have played in defining the so-called Indian problem and in finding solutions to it, most recently as advocates of indigenous rights. In the process, she takes a critical look at current debates about identity politics and the meaning of multiculturalism.
'When I read this book in a graduate seminar in 1982, it provoked passionate debate and critical engagement. How to gauge the cumulative ideological influence of colonialism, state building, and other powerful forces on the meaning of Indianness, and the socio-economic place of indigenous peoples, in Mexico? How to fully register this influence, without neglecting the generative processes of indigenous self-making and resistance? Especially with the new final chapter on neoliberal multiculturalism, Friedlander's answers to these questions are just as provocative, timely and vital to consider now as they were 25 years ago. There is no higher praise that can be bestowed on social science research than to affirm its longevity, its ability to link empirical particularity to the enduring, big picture problems of our times. Being Indian in Hueyapan is richly deserving of this praise.' - Charles R. Hale, University of Texas at Austin; President of the Latin American Studies Association 2006-07
'This is a very instructive book on one of Mexico's old, poor, now mostly trashed villages, the kind that urbane Mexicans keep reinventing as 'Indian, ' or 'indigenous, ' and keep exploiting however they can. In a poignant revision it combines the author's original work of 1969-70 (when she was 25), her mature reflections on her work and the village now, particularly the family she loved there and its new generations, and her critical take on self-serving anthropology, American and Mexican. It carries sharp, strong arguments about the meaning of 'being Indian, ' or 'indigenous, ' and the confusion in Mexico (but not only there) over nationalism, ethnicity, belonging, and alienation, 35 years ago and now. It makes you see power's continual resort to 'culture' to justify exploitation.' -John Womack, Harvard University