A talk by Tracy Devine-Guzman, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the Uni. of Miami.
Native and non-Native peoples from across the Americas have interacted transnationally to engage and represent indigenous thought and experience since the before the inception of (dominant) nationhood itself. As much as official processes and structures, however, informal and interpersonal linkages across frontiers of community, language, social normativity, and cultural practice have shaped transnational understandings and uses of indigeneity according to diverse needs and interests. Those needs and interests, in turn, have helped shape the unfolding of a regional (and worldwide) indigenous movement that now articulates its demands through, but also beyond the purview of state governments and legislation.
Drawing on the Pan-American Union (1910) and Inter-American Indigenist Institute (1940) as early institutional frameworks for understanding the juridical (and colonialist) relationships that the American states sought to develop with and among Native peoples—as well as with one another—this paper considers how indigenous and indigenist actors across the region employed or evaded these networks of power to connect and collaborate on matters ranging from land tenure to the arts. Although academic discourses were often dominated by a North-South power dynamic, my work aims to show how, over the 20th century, South-South and South-North influences were also critical to regional articulations and deployments of indigeneity as expressed through international political initiatives and a wide variety of cultural production.