APRIL 19, 1940


Beginning with its 1911 Revolution, Mexico was a leader in Indigenismo, a movement of Latin American elites advocating a dominant social and political role for Indians in countries where they were a majority of the population.  The government of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940) introduced policies to bring Indigenous populations into the mainstream of Mexican life.  In 1940, he sponsored the First Inter-American Indigenist Congress at Pátzcuaro.  The Congress, as was common in the indigenista movement, was really a meeting well-educated elites and socio-anthropologists.  Still, the Congress marked a change in how elites and political leaders dealt with “The Indian Question.”  The Congress rejected evolutionist and colonialist thought though still calling for assimilation.  From the Congress came the Inter-American Indigenist Institute, based in Mexico City.  Other Latin American republics formed their own branches of the Institute.  Subsequent congresses were held from 1949 to 1992.  

Sources:  Barbara Brookes, Alison Holland, eds., Rethinking the Racial Moment: Essays on the Colonial Encounter (London:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011).  Retrieved, 2/16/2020, https://books.google.com/books id=3AMrBwAAQBAJ&dq=1940%091st+PAN+AMERICAN+INDIGENOUS+CONGRESS+HELD+IN+PATZCUARO,+MEXICO&source=gbs_navlinks_s
 “Indegismo,” Encyclopedia Britannica.  Retrieved 2/16/2020, https://www.britannica.com/event/Indigenismo
Drawing:  Aurelio Escobar Castellanos, 1934.  Permissive Use. 

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