In Joanna Crow’s cultural exposition of Chile’s largest indigenous population, The Mapuche in Modern Chile: A Cultural History, she makes a concerted effort to highlight the cultural components of the group’s identity and presence both in negotiation with and in resistance to the larger Chilean state throughout history. As a primary target of her research, the post-colonial approach illuminates the agency-driven Mapuche as being continuously reimagined in the nation’s history—not necessarily restructured but more to the point of being reconsidered. In order to elicit this type of reconsideration, Crow exposes the prominence of the “historic Mapuche” image as the dominant cultural marker of their existence. One particular manner in which she stresses this reality is in her highlighting of the performative nature of the touristy postcards of present-day Chile and their harkening back to late nineteenth century “indigenous identity” in the way that the contemporary audience desires to conceive of them permanently. The effect that these tourist-driven, souvenir items have in cementing a desired narrative is similar to the problematic historiographic procedures in many global scenarios of colonial and post-colonial relationships. It highlights the mythos-laden identity of an indigenous people as one that is permanently construed as a “people of the past” and therefore negates their place in the present and reinforces the conception of their status as precarious. By further analyzing the historic relationship between the Mapuche and the Chilean state, Crow’s book aims to garner a deeper understanding of not just the Mapuche resistance to oppression and being “myth-made” but also the efforts to integrate themselves into modern-day political and social arenas.
Guerra, Ramón J.
"The Mapuche in Modern Chile: A Cultural History,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 5, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol5/iss1/9