LonewolfMX Luna's Reviews > Mexico Profundo: Reclaiming a Civilization

Mexico Profundo by Guillermo Bonfil Batalla
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Oct 12, 08

Recommended to LonewolfMX by: Professor Roberto Rivera
Recommended for: Raza and Native American majors and who are concerned about Indigenous rights
Read in December, 2006

I read this last year and the year before then when I was taking Professor Roberto Rivera's Aztec Philosophy class at San Francisco State University.

It deals with the History of Indigenous Mexico which is divided between Mexico Imaginario (Imaginary Mexico) which is created to resemble European/Western culture that idolizes the modernity and materialism and Mexico Profundo (Real Mexico) which reveals the lives of Indigenous people which covers the history from the time of Aztecs to the arrival of the Spaniards and how they engaged in a campaign to enslave and exterminate the Native peoples of Mexico and try to emulate Spain's culture with both the sword and the cross and for centuries the Native peoples waged a struggle to prevent cultural and linguistic genocide. Through secretnisation and appropriating elements of the oppressors to help them survive.

Even with defeat of the Spaniards and Mexican independence the new ruling classes dismissed the Indigenous cultures as backward and inferior even with the Indigenismo of the 1920 and 30 did little to improve the Native peoples situation as the government was mostly concerned with the Mestizaje and how to incorporate the Native into the now Mestizo Mexican society by "redeeming the Indian with his disappearance" who many theorists at that time believed that it was the "Indian" that kept Mexico in poverty!! which wasn't true rather it was the Criollos and later their Mestizo successors who imposed their failed policies of Modernity which came at the expense of the proud Native peoples who refuse to give in.

Their struggles continue today in which the author Bonfil Batalla before his death in 1989/90? predicted and warned mainstream Mexico if they do not treat the Natives with respect and dignity that there would be a major uprising and it did happen in 1994 with the Zapatista uprising by the Maya populations in Chiapas state led by the enigmatic Subcomandante Marcos.

I feel that Mexican society and Chicanos here in the US can learn a lot about Native peoples as a marginalized group, which cannot be ignored.
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Matthew Holmes Thanks for the review. I read this for several grad classes and it shattered many preconceived notions I had about Mexico. I personally rate it as one of the greatest books ever written. I think "white" folks would greatly benefit from reading it too. I had actually considered doing a PhD dissertation on the assimilation of native Northern European peoples into Roman Christian civilization, as there are many parallels. This one book by Batalla inspired me more than all my other grad school readings combined.


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