Shipwrecked Identities: Navigating Race on Nicaragua’s by Professor Baron Pineda

By Professor Baron Pineda

Global identification politics leisure seriously on notions of ethnicity and authenticity, specially in contexts the place indigenous identification turns into a foundation for claims of social and monetary justice. In modern Latin the USA there's a resurgence of indigenous claims for cultural and political autonomy and for the advantages of financial improvement. but those identities have frequently been taken for granted.

In this ancient ethnography, Baron Pineda strains the historical past of the port city of Bilwi, referred to now formally as Puerto Cabezas, at the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua to discover the advance, transformation, and serve as of racial different types during this quarter. From the English colonial interval, during the Sandinista clash of the Eighties, to the aftermath of the Contra warfare, Pineda exhibits how robust outsiders, in addition to Nicaraguans, have made efforts to persuade notions approximately African and Black id one of the Miskito Indians, Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles, and Mestizos within the sector. within the approach, he offers perception into the factors and that means of social events and political turmoil. Shipwrecked Identities additionally contains very important severe research of the function of anthropologists and different North American students within the Contra-Sandinista clash, in addition to the methods those students have outlined ethnic identities in Latin America.

As the indigenous humans of the Mosquito Coast proceed to barter the results of an extended historical past of contested ethnic and racial identification, this ebook takes a major step in wondering the origins, legitimacy, and results of such claims.

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Extra info for Shipwrecked Identities: Navigating Race on Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast

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Not only did Nahua-speaking Pacific groups use value-laden terms in their labeling of their eastern Nicaraguan indigenous neighbors, but they also seem to have looked down at these groups as inferior. This posture was noticed by the Spanish, who in turn adopted both the referential terms used as well as a similar attitude with regard to eastern Nicaraguan native groups. Ironically, these were precisely the Indians whom the Spanish found themselves unable or unwilling to subdue, notwithstanding their alleged inferiority (Newson 1987, 37).

By emphasizing the Indian racial makeup of the Mosquito Shore, the British account supported British claims to the legitimacy of the inclusion of the country of Mosquito as a protectorate. Just as the interpretations that various actors make regarding the details of the shipwreck reveal something about their interests and biases, the various theories regarding the origin of the term Miskito are similarly revealing about their authors and supporters. The common explanation among today’s Miskito is that the term derives from the name of a mythical leader, Miskut, who is said to have brought the Miskito from Honduras to a place around Bismona Lagoon.

Herein lies a key to understanding the transformation and consolidation of Mosquito Coast society. Zambo s, Mo squ i to s, Zambo s M o squi to s: Slave ry and M i xe d R ac e In the eighteenth century, sources began to describe the Mosquito and Zambo as subgroups or “branches” (Naylor 1989, 41) of an expanding and increasingly hierarchically organized Mosquito Indian population. At times the groups that were considered to be “pure Indians” were referred to as Tawira (straight-haired in Miskitu) or simply as Mosquitos, while the groups that were portrayed as mixed with Africans were referred to as Sambos (in English) or Zambos Mosquitos (Offen 2002).

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