"!Todos Somos Indios!" Revolutionary imagination, alternative modernity, and transnational organizing in the work of Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  • 5 Citations

Abstract

This essay builds on Shari Huhndorf's analysis of the "significant implications" of Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead for Indigenous Studies by setting the novel into the context of María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo's analysis of how Zapatista organizing activities in Chiapas, Mexico, reshaped the "revolutionary imagination in the Americas" and helped to construct an "alternative modernity" that disrupts the empty signifier of "authentic" indigenous identity. The essay juxtaposes Silko's novel with the work of emerging Lipan-Jumano Apache poet, scholar, and activist Margo Tamez, who is currently leading an effort to retribalize the Lipan Apache in the militarized US-Mexico borderlands of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Adamson explores how Tamez and her mother are part of a growing indigenous movement to build capacity among transnational indigenous groups, groups who self-identify as "native" even though they may not be formally recognized by a nation-state, and nonnative groups whose interests in social justice and environmental protection overlap. Adamson explores how this movement is shifting the focus in Native American and American Studies away from debates about "authenticity" and cultural nationalism toward a renewed attention to hemispheric and global struggles for civil, human, and environmental rights. She also argues that, when Silko and Tamez are read together, their work suggests new avenues of interpretation for Borderlands/La Frontera and calls on scholars to reread/rethink Gloria Anzaldúa's concept of mestizaje, not as mere adherence to mythological tropes, but as suggestive of the experiences of persons of indigenous descent living in communities that fall outside the category of "nation." The experiences of Tamez and Anzaldúa with illness and toxins, and their writing about it, also challenge readers to imagine a coalition politics that is not exactly "post-identity" but no longer invested in the boundaries of identity. "Another world is possible," but achieving this goal-Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa suggest-will require alliance-making and capacity-building to strengthen local, regional, and global abilities to meet the challenge.

LanguageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Transnational American Studies
Volume4
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Revolution
Organizing
Alternative Modernities
modernity
imagination
Environmental protection
Borderlands
Mexico
Novel
experience
Group
Leslie Marmon Silko
Chiapas
Indigenous Movements
Tropes
Illness
Indigenous Identity
Alliances
Mestizaje
Environmental Protection

Keywords

  • American Studies
  • Gloria Anzaldúa
  • Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Margo Tamez
  • Native American Studies
  • Transnational Indigenous Organizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

@article{a489fe7b52e14a928ab6bd0987f54d13,
title = "{"}!Todos Somos Indios!{"} Revolutionary imagination, alternative modernity, and transnational organizing in the work of Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa",
abstract = "This essay builds on Shari Huhndorf's analysis of the {"}significant implications{"} of Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead for Indigenous Studies by setting the novel into the context of María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo's analysis of how Zapatista organizing activities in Chiapas, Mexico, reshaped the {"}revolutionary imagination in the Americas{"} and helped to construct an {"}alternative modernity{"} that disrupts the empty signifier of {"}authentic{"} indigenous identity. The essay juxtaposes Silko's novel with the work of emerging Lipan-Jumano Apache poet, scholar, and activist Margo Tamez, who is currently leading an effort to retribalize the Lipan Apache in the militarized US-Mexico borderlands of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Adamson explores how Tamez and her mother are part of a growing indigenous movement to build capacity among transnational indigenous groups, groups who self-identify as {"}native{"} even though they may not be formally recognized by a nation-state, and nonnative groups whose interests in social justice and environmental protection overlap. Adamson explores how this movement is shifting the focus in Native American and American Studies away from debates about {"}authenticity{"} and cultural nationalism toward a renewed attention to hemispheric and global struggles for civil, human, and environmental rights. She also argues that, when Silko and Tamez are read together, their work suggests new avenues of interpretation for Borderlands/La Frontera and calls on scholars to reread/rethink Gloria Anzaldúa's concept of mestizaje, not as mere adherence to mythological tropes, but as suggestive of the experiences of persons of indigenous descent living in communities that fall outside the category of {"}nation.{"} The experiences of Tamez and Anzaldúa with illness and toxins, and their writing about it, also challenge readers to imagine a coalition politics that is not exactly {"}post-identity{"} but no longer invested in the boundaries of identity. {"}Another world is possible,{"} but achieving this goal-Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa suggest-will require alliance-making and capacity-building to strengthen local, regional, and global abilities to meet the challenge.",
keywords = "American Studies, Gloria Anzaldúa, Leslie Marmon Silko, Margo Tamez, Native American Studies, Transnational Indigenous Organizing",
author = "Joni Adamson",
year = "2012",
volume = "4",
journal = "Journal of Transnational American Studies",
issn = "1940-0764",
publisher = "eScholarship Repository",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - "!Todos Somos Indios!" Revolutionary imagination, alternative modernity, and transnational organizing in the work of Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa

AU - Adamson,Joni

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - This essay builds on Shari Huhndorf's analysis of the "significant implications" of Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead for Indigenous Studies by setting the novel into the context of María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo's analysis of how Zapatista organizing activities in Chiapas, Mexico, reshaped the "revolutionary imagination in the Americas" and helped to construct an "alternative modernity" that disrupts the empty signifier of "authentic" indigenous identity. The essay juxtaposes Silko's novel with the work of emerging Lipan-Jumano Apache poet, scholar, and activist Margo Tamez, who is currently leading an effort to retribalize the Lipan Apache in the militarized US-Mexico borderlands of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Adamson explores how Tamez and her mother are part of a growing indigenous movement to build capacity among transnational indigenous groups, groups who self-identify as "native" even though they may not be formally recognized by a nation-state, and nonnative groups whose interests in social justice and environmental protection overlap. Adamson explores how this movement is shifting the focus in Native American and American Studies away from debates about "authenticity" and cultural nationalism toward a renewed attention to hemispheric and global struggles for civil, human, and environmental rights. She also argues that, when Silko and Tamez are read together, their work suggests new avenues of interpretation for Borderlands/La Frontera and calls on scholars to reread/rethink Gloria Anzaldúa's concept of mestizaje, not as mere adherence to mythological tropes, but as suggestive of the experiences of persons of indigenous descent living in communities that fall outside the category of "nation." The experiences of Tamez and Anzaldúa with illness and toxins, and their writing about it, also challenge readers to imagine a coalition politics that is not exactly "post-identity" but no longer invested in the boundaries of identity. "Another world is possible," but achieving this goal-Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa suggest-will require alliance-making and capacity-building to strengthen local, regional, and global abilities to meet the challenge.

AB - This essay builds on Shari Huhndorf's analysis of the "significant implications" of Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead for Indigenous Studies by setting the novel into the context of María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo's analysis of how Zapatista organizing activities in Chiapas, Mexico, reshaped the "revolutionary imagination in the Americas" and helped to construct an "alternative modernity" that disrupts the empty signifier of "authentic" indigenous identity. The essay juxtaposes Silko's novel with the work of emerging Lipan-Jumano Apache poet, scholar, and activist Margo Tamez, who is currently leading an effort to retribalize the Lipan Apache in the militarized US-Mexico borderlands of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Adamson explores how Tamez and her mother are part of a growing indigenous movement to build capacity among transnational indigenous groups, groups who self-identify as "native" even though they may not be formally recognized by a nation-state, and nonnative groups whose interests in social justice and environmental protection overlap. Adamson explores how this movement is shifting the focus in Native American and American Studies away from debates about "authenticity" and cultural nationalism toward a renewed attention to hemispheric and global struggles for civil, human, and environmental rights. She also argues that, when Silko and Tamez are read together, their work suggests new avenues of interpretation for Borderlands/La Frontera and calls on scholars to reread/rethink Gloria Anzaldúa's concept of mestizaje, not as mere adherence to mythological tropes, but as suggestive of the experiences of persons of indigenous descent living in communities that fall outside the category of "nation." The experiences of Tamez and Anzaldúa with illness and toxins, and their writing about it, also challenge readers to imagine a coalition politics that is not exactly "post-identity" but no longer invested in the boundaries of identity. "Another world is possible," but achieving this goal-Silko, Tamez, and Anzaldúa suggest-will require alliance-making and capacity-building to strengthen local, regional, and global abilities to meet the challenge.

KW - American Studies

KW - Gloria Anzaldúa

KW - Leslie Marmon Silko

KW - Margo Tamez

KW - Native American Studies

KW - Transnational Indigenous Organizing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84872592604&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84872592604&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 4

JO - Journal of Transnational American Studies

T2 - Journal of Transnational American Studies

JF - Journal of Transnational American Studies

SN - 1940-0764

IS - 1

ER -