Cultural Pluralism and Persistence in the Colonial Sierra Sur of Oaxaca, Mexico: Three Case Studies

Author(s): Stacie King

Year: 2018


This paper explores the interactions between multiple groups of people in the Sierra Sur region of Nejapa and Tavela, Oaxaca in trans-conquest and Colonial Mexico. Bringing together ethnohistoric accounts, oral histories, and archaeological data in Nejapa and Tavela, I highlight three case studies to show that migration, conquest, and interregional trade created a complex, dynamic, pluralistic ethnic landscape prior to the arrival of the Spanish. As such, when the Spanish colonial regime took hold in the Sierra Sur, people in Nejapa and Tavela were already accustomed to making strategic choices about how to engage. Some distanced themselves from migrants, merchants, and militaries, while others embraced new opportunities for trade and exchange. Some used the Spanish legal system to protect or solidify their social and political standing, while others persisted in maintaining subversive and secret indigenous religious practices and spaces. Enslaved Africans, government officials, priests, and residents of various castas likewise struggled to find their places. Understanding the dynamics of the pluralistic cultural landscape of Colonial Nejapa requires bringing together various threads of evidence and accepting that identities in Nejapa were, and always had been, multiple, changing, and global, across time and space, before, during, and after Spanish colonialism.

Cite this Record

Cultural Pluralism and Persistence in the Colonial Sierra Sur of Oaxaca, Mexico: Three Case Studies. Stacie King. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443583)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20822