Indios Conquistadores: Local Legacies of the Conquest of Mexico--A presentation by visiting ethno-historian, Yanna Yannakakis
Professor Yannakakis recounts the story of the Indian Conquistadors of the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca.
These were Central Mexican allies of the Spanish conquerors of the region who settled with the Spaniards and helped them to effect colonial rule by serving as tribute collectors, interpreters, messengers, informants, and most importantly, as local militia. The talk focuses on three specific legacies of the indios conquistadores in the sierra: the form of colonial rule that they helped to implement, the spread of their mother tongue (Nahuatl) as a lingua franca, and a pictographic narrative (one of only three extant Mesoamerican “conquest pictorials”) that they commissioned to document and commemorate their role in the conquest. Not only have Indian Conquistadors forced us to rethink the dynamics of the “Spanish conquest” of Mexico, but their role as colonists, colonial administrators, and purveyors of linguistic change has also forced us to question the “Spanish-ness” of colonialism in peripheral regions of New Spain.
Yanna Yannakakis is Assistant Professor of History at Emory University. She is the winner of the Cline Memorial Prize for her book, The Art of Being Inbetween: Native Intermediaries, Indian Identity, and Local Rule in Colonial Oaxaca (Duke University Press, 2008).