La Indianidad: The Indigenious World Before Latin Americans

Among the few historical documents by or about early Native American history are pre-Columbia Mayan manuscripts and stone glyphs, and documents written in Spanish by Indians and Mestizos from the Andes and Mesoamerica in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Spanish texts, beginning with Father Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474–1566), reflect a Eurocentric view that was carried on by the colonialists and criollos, the white elites after independence. The indigenista movement, which urged a revival of Indian culture, did not begin until the twentieth century.

Because so many sources were destroyed over the centuries, and memories suppressed, an ethno-history of the Amerindians needs to gather information from many sources and disciplines.

Hernán Horna (University of Uppsala) is author of A People’s History of Latin America as well as numerous articles on his native Columbian compatriots.