Zapotecs on the Move

Zapotecs on the Move: Cultural, Social, and Political Processes in Transnational Perspective

Adriana Cruz-Manjarrez
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 268
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hjc97
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  • Book Info
    Zapotecs on the Move
    Book Description:

    Through interviews with three generations of Yalálag Zapotecs ("Yaláltecos") in Los Angeles and Yalálag, Oaxaca, this book examines the impact of international migration on this community. It traces five decades of migration to Los Angeles in order to delineate migration patterns, community formation in Los Angeles, and the emergence of transnational identities of the first and second generations of Yalálag Zapotecs in the United States, exploring why these immigrants and their descendents now think of themselves as Mexican, Mexican Indian immigrants, Oaxaqueños, and Latinos-identities they did not claim in Mexico.Based on multi-site fieldwork conducted over a five-year period, Adriana Cruz-Manjarrez analyzes how and why Yalálag Zapotec identity and culture have been reconfigured in the United States, using such cultural practices as music, dance, and religious rituals as a lens to bring this dynamic process into focus. By illustrating the sociocultural, economic, and political practices that link immigrants in Los Angeles to those left behind, the book documents how transnational migration has reflected, shaped, and transformed these practices in both their place of origin and immigration.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6072-4
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-19)

    On a day in late November 2000, a Yalálag Zapotec friend of mine, José, invited me to attend a community event in Los Angeles; there Yalaltec immigrants joined together to raise funds for the annual patron saint fiesta of Santiago Apóstol and the reconstruction of the saint’s barrio cultural center in the Yalaltecos’ home village of Yalálag in Oaxaca, Mexico.¹ When I arrived at a small East Los Angeles ballroom where it was being held, one of three young Yalaltec immigrant men sold me tickets for José, my husband, and myself for twelve dollars each, and handed me flyers about...

  5. CHAPTER 1 THE YALÁLAG ZAPOTECS: A TOWN OF IMMIGRANTS
    (pp. 20-44)

    Zapotec migration into the United States is not a new phenomenon. It started in the first half of the twentieth century and continues until now. In Los Angeles, the Zapotec community is composed of various Zapotec immigrant village communities from the Central Valleys and the Sierra Norte and the Sierra Sur of the state of Oaxaca. This migration includes the earliest immigrants and their U.S.-born children, in addition to recent immigrants with native-born or foreign-born descendants. Yalálag Zapotec migration in California is part of this migratory population movement and reflects its own history and patterns of migration and settlement in...

  6. Chapter 2 BUILDING COMMUNITY AND CONNECTIONS IN LOS ANGELES
    (pp. 45-68)

    On a late afternoon in June 2005, while I was conducting an interview with my Yalaltec friend Fabian at the university housing at UCLA, he told me the following Yalaltec joke about the arrival of the Yalálag patron saints in Los Angeles.

    Santiago (San Santiago Apóstol) goes to Los Angeles to make money to fix his old house in Yalálag. Once he repairs it, he suggests to Rosa (Santa Rosa de Lima) that she accompanyhimto Los Angeles so she can renovate hers. Then, Rosa goes to Los Angeles works hard, begins to repair her house, and tells Santiago...

  7. CHAPTER 3 COMMUNITY LIFE ACROSS BORDERS
    (pp. 69-96)

    During the celebration of the major mass of San Antonio de Padua on June 13, 2004, in the village of Yalálag, Father Adrian spoke, saying: “We must thank all the people who have made possible the fiesta for San Antonio de Padua. This fiesta could not have been done without the collaborative work between local people and immigrants who live in Oaxaca City, Mexico City, Veracruz, Puebla, and the United States.” After the mass, the priest invited all in attendance to participate in the blessing of the bullring.¹ On my way there, I bumped into all kinds of people taking...

  8. Chapter 4 YALÁLAG ZAPOTEC IDENTITIES IN A CHANGING WORLD
    (pp. 97-124)

    Zapotec, orben’zaa, means “people from the clouds.” Being Zapotec, according to the Zapotecs, signifies the collective identity of people who are born within this group and behave, affiliate, and act according to Zapotec mores.¹ The Yalálag Zapotecs use three terms to distinguish themselves according to region. Those who live in El Valle are usually referred to asben raghe, which means “people from the city” or “shirt people.” Zapotecs who reside in the isthmus are identified asben’ yeze, which means “people from the salt hill” or “people from the isthmus.” And Zapotecs who reside in La Sierra are...

  9. Chapter 5 IDENTITIES OF THE SECOND-GENERATION YALÁLAG ZAPOTECS
    (pp. 125-152)

    Everyday throughout Los Angeles, second-generation Yalálag Zapotecs negotiate and reframe their sense of identification as American, Mexican, Oaxaqueños, and Yalaltecos.¹ They grow up hearing from their parents that they are Americans citizens of Mexican descent because they are born in the United States and have U.S. passports. Instead of learning the language of their parents—Zapotec—they are raised speaking Spanish and English. And, because they look like theIndios Oaxaqueños(Oaxacan Indians) and maintain certain identifying cultural practices of the Yalálag Zapotec people, mestizo Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans discriminate against them. In this chapter, I explore how second-generation...

  10. Chapter 6 DANZAS CHUSCAS: Performing Status, Violence, and Gender in Oaxacalifornia
    (pp. 153-173)

    Danzas chuscasare parodic dances performed in indigenous and mestizo villages throughout Mexico, and date back to as early as the 1930s (de la Fuente 1949). In Yalálag, Yalaltec non-immigrants dance Yalálagdanzas chuscasduring patron saint celebrations, a time when many Yalaltecos who have immigrated to Los Angeles return to visit their families. Since the late 1980s, these immigrants have often become the subject of thechuscadances. Yalaltec non-immigrants humorously represent those who have adopted “American” behaviors or those who have remitted negative values and behaviors from inner-city neighborhoods of Los Angeles to Yalálag.Danzas chuscassuch as...

  11. CHAPTER 7 COMMUNITY AND CULTURE IN TRANSNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
    (pp. 174-189)

    At present, religious fiestas and cultural practices such as dance and music continue to be as essential to the social life of the immigrant community in Los Angeles as they are to Yalaltecos in Yalálag. In both places, scores of Yalaltecos come together to honor the Yalálag patron saints. The fiestas create special occasions for family reunions, community reorganization, and the collective expression of religiosity. The performances of village dances and music at these community events express the Yalaltecos’ religious devotion. They symbolically connect immigrants and non-immigrants, and embody the extraordinary joy of life and the depth of human experience....

  12. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 190-197)

    Migration movements around the world are part of human history. However, what distinguishes contemporary migration movements from previous large-scale migrations are political and ethnic conflicts, natural disasters, and, most notably, the increased social and economic inequalities between people living in the same country and differences between people and countries around the world. Increased interconnectedness of regions and continents in terms of capital flow, communication, free trade agreements, and travel have also been powerful forces behind international migration movements. This has resulted in a backlash, the expression of anti-immigrant sentiments from developed countries; and the enforcement and creation of migration policies...

  13. Appendix THE STUDY SITES
    (pp. 198-207)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 209-224)
  15. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 225-228)
  16. REFERENCES
    (pp. 229-242)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 243-249)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 250-250)