Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This is an explanation of the terms indigenous / Indian / ethnic and traditional groups.

Inside Mexico, there exists racism directed at the indigenous peoples, while I consider it to be a perverse auto racism the word "indio" translated into English "Indian" has a marked negative connotation inside Mexico.. Since the Zapatista movement, there is a growing understanding that this enormous segment of the population can no longer be marginalized and victimized by the modern Mexican society ( Mestizo). The word "traditional" is a code word for indigenous and the word "indigena" or indigenous in English has been adopted as a respectable way to identify these ethnic groups. The word "ethnico" or ethnic is seldom used in Mexico to identify these groups, however in the American context the word could easily apply, due to a distinct language, dress and customs and food. The word "tribo" or tribe is never used except by Americans who bring their own dictionary to the discussion. I do not use this word at all.

In the context of this web site I often use the word Indian, this is directed to the English speakers and not intended to be a racist slur as used in Mexico.

I do use the word Indian however the word indigenous better.

Native American or North American Indian are probably also correct ,however people from the USA and Canada would assume we are talking about groups from the US or Canada because they don't think of Mexico of being part of North America.

Aboriginal is never used.

Meso American cultures are understood to be those cultures which are from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.

Pre Cortezian are also understood to mean those cultures attacked by Cotez and the Spanish invaders.

Pre Columbian are all cultures that existed in the “new world” at the time Columbus encountered them.

Recently I have seem the word in Spanish "originarios" original peoples? Yet another way to describe these ethnic groups or a way to marginalize them again?

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