CFP: Call for Panelists for the 2021 American Society For Ethnohistory Conference, Durham, North Carolina

Alexandria Herrera's picture


Reexamining Central American migration along the U.S./Mexico border: Confronting indigenous eraser and examining barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers during migration and in the United States 

Call for Presenters

The 2021 Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory

Durham, North Carolina
November 10-14th, 2021

Despite being a human rights issue and humanitarian crisis, migration along the United States and Mexico border has been a politically contentious debate in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Despite the consistent media attention, popular media has misinformed the United States public about who is crossing the border and why. Due to this misformation, the majority of the U.S. public believes that Mexicans are crossing the border. However, since the 1980s, caused by violence and political unrest of the U.S.-backed Civil Wars, Central American migrants and refugees have increasingly left their home countries for the United States. However, the high level of migrants who are monolingual indigenous language speakers are often left out of the narrative.

This panel seeks to reexamine and reevaluate our understanding of migration along the U.S./Mexico border regarding the barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language-speaking Central American migrants and refugees. By recentering indigeneity, we can understand how the already complicated and desperate migration conditions can be exacerbated by colonial legacies of racism, sexism, and classism against Central American indigenous people. 

The panel seeks to explore the barriers that indigenous Central American migrants face in their home countries that serve as push factors for migration, the difficulties that migrants face during their migration process, and the barriers they may face in the U.S. or Mexican legal systems, and present practical solutions for aiding monolingual indigenous language speakers. The panel also encourages presenters who have developed practical applications for confronting these barriers. We welcome all researchers, students, activists, NGO representatives, and others with expertise in this topic to be panelists from the United States, Mexico, and Central America. We aim for a cross-disciplinary discussion of this issue, including perspectives from medicine and public health, attorneys and legal experts, and educators. 

Papers and presentations may consider, but are not limited to the following topics: 

•The reasons for indigenous migration to the United States, including but are not limited to political, social, ecological, or health. 

•Indigenous perspectives on migration to the United States. 

•Oral History, interviews, and documentary films on monolingual indigenous migration 

•Indigenous perspectives on how migration affects indigenous communities 

•The indigenous migration experiences including violence and abuse during the journey from Central America to the United States. 

•Monolingual indigenous language speakers experience with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and other federal agencies. 

•Barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers in U.S. migrant detention. 

•Barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers with access to medical care or medical abuse.

•Barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers during the asylum process or other legal proceedings. 

•Barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers with access to resources and aid when in the United States. 

•Barriers faced by monolingual indigenous language speakers in the U.S. education system. 

•How documentation status affects monolingual indigenous language speakers 

•How language barriers shape interactions with employers and exploitative practices in the labor market. 

•How monolingual indigenous language speakers recreate networks of support while in the United States between themselves and other recent Central American immigrants. 

If interested in participating, please send the panel co-organizers, Alexandria Herrera ( AND Destina Bermejo ( ), your name and title, paper/presentation title, a 150-word abstract, and a one-page copy of your CV or resume. Please also indicate if you will be able to travel to Durham to present in person or if you may be interested in a hybrid presentation. 

All presenters must register for the 2021 Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory:

The deadline for submitting materials for this panel is August 25, 2021, to allow ample time for final panel submission on September 1.