Peter B. Villella F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
University of North Carolina, Greensboro
In Search of a White Legend: Native Lords and the Politics of History in Colonial Mexico
This study tells of Indian leaders in Spanish-ruled Mexico who strategically re-imagined the history of their ancestors' violent colonization by Europeans as one of peaceful alliance. While some of colonial Mexico's native lords chose to resist the implementation of foreign imperialism, others negotiated with the new arrivals for a measure of suzerainty under the Spanish crown. Part of this agenda involved intentionally erasing memories of bloodshed and conflict between Indians and Spaniards, replacing them with triumphant tales of cooperation and unity. In petitions, legal testimony, and official correspondence, native elites throughout Mexico articulated these "white legends" in order to reorient the institutions and authorities of European colonialism in their favor.