Moving Masca: Persistent Indigenous Communities in Spanish Colonial Honduras

Author(s): Russell N Sheptak

Year: 2016


In 1714, Candelaria, a pueblo de indios (indigenous town) in Spanish colonial Honduras, concluded a decades-long legal fight to protect community land from encroachment. Documents in the case describe the movement of the town, originally called Masca, from a site on the Caribbean coast, where it was located in 1536, to a series of inland locations. Many other pueblos de indios in the area moved to new locations in the late 1600s or early 1700s. The mobility of these towns, their incorporation into Spanish administrative organization, the use of Spanish language, the practice of Roman Catholicism, and intermarriage with African descendant peoples, have all served to delegitimate them as "authentic" indigenous communities. Drawing on excavated materials, and using a landscape-scale analytical framework, this paper demonstrates how to rethink continuity with change as persistence, or what Gerald Vizenor calls survivance, the reproduction of historical consciousness through sustained and changing daily practice.

Cite this Record

Moving Masca: Persistent Indigenous Communities in Spanish Colonial Honduras. Russell N Sheptak. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434560)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 409