Indigenous Borderlands of the Americas

Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez's picture
April 6, 2018 to April 7, 2018
Texas, United States
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Native American History / Studies, U.S. - Mexico Borderlands

Indigenous Borderlands of the Americas

An international symposium sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Southwest

Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas,

April 6-7, 2018

Organized by Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez, Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies

The expression “indigenous borderlands” has both geopolitical and sociocultural connotations. It refers to those regions, within and beyond colonial frontiers and state boundaries, where independent and semiautonomous indigenous groups interacted significantly with people of European descent prior to the displacement, extermination, or incorporation of the former into modern states. In indigenous borderlands, native peoples exerted significant power, often retaining control of the land and being paramount agents of cultural transformation. Conversely, European conquests were typically slow and incomplete, as the newcomers, operating sometimes in a climate of violence that hindered peaceful coexistence, struggled to assert jurisdictions and implement policies designed to subjugate aboriginal societies and change native beliefs and practices. Indeed, numerous indigenous groups throughout the world remain politically autonomous, culturally distinct, and largely unincorporated to this day. Covering a wide chronological and geographical span, from Colonial Yucatán to twentieth-century Bolivia, this symposium explores the manifold ways in which natives across the Americas resisted and adapted to the intrusion of people of European descent to preserve their political autonomy and their cultural identity, thus shaping the indigenous borderlands of the Western Hemisphere.



All symposium presentations will take place at Lampasas 501. Please, note that the Friday presentations will be in English, and the Saturday presentations will be in Spanish.

April 6

9:00 | Coffee Welcome

9:15 | Introductions

9:30 | Geoffrey Wallace | McGill University | Beeswax Extraction in the Borderland Forests of Colonial Yucatán

10:15 | Shawn M. Austin | University of Arkansas | “Indios Fronterizos” and the Spanish-Guaraní Militias in Seventeenth-Century Paraguay

11:00 | Coffee Break

11:15 | Jesse Zarley | Macalester College | “Huinca coyang:” Rethinking Mapuche-Spanish Parlamentos in Late Bourbon Chile

12:00 | Paul Conrad | UTA | The Specter of Apache Runaways and the Afro-Indigenous Borderlands of Colonial Cuba

12:45 | Lunch Break

14:15 | Gary Van Valen | University of West Georgia | Indigenous People and the New Mexican Land Rush of 1815-25

15:00 | Erick Langer | Georgetown University | Do Frontier Indians Have Land Rights? The Case of “Tierras Baldías” and Indigenous Integration in the Bolivian Lowlands, in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

15:45 | Coffee Break

16:00 | Cynthia Radding | University of North Carolina | Reading Cultural Landscapes through Interdisciplinary Perspectives

April 7

9:00 | Coffee Welcome

9:15 | Introductions

9:30 | Chantal Cramaussel | El Colegio de Michoacán | ¿Cómo y por qué denominar a indios fuera del control colonial? El ejemplo del Bolsón de Mapimí.

10:15 | Carlos Valdés | Universidad de Coahuila | Fronteras y demarcaciones impuestas por los españoles a los nómadas de la Nueva Extremadura de Coahuila: provincias, villas, misiones y pueblos de indios.

11:00 | Coffee Break

11:15  | Dr. Gerardo Lara Cisneros | Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México | Los hombres-dios de Sierra Gorda. Frontera y religiosidad nativa en Nueva España, siglo XVIII

12:00 | Carlos D. Paz | FCH-UNCPBA | El Chaco y sus fronteras inconclusas. ¿Inconstancia salvaje o pactismo hispano fuera de control?

12:45 | Closing Remarks


Contact Info: 
Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez
Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies
Department of History
Texas State University
Contact Email: