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  • Foreword / Joanne Rappaport ix

    Preface xii

    Acknowledgments xv

    Introduction 1

    Part 1. Narrations, Life Stories, and Autobiographies

    For Those Who Come After 10

    The Anthropological Narrative as Dialogue 12

    Life Stories, Biographies, and Autobiographies 14

    Recovering the Subaltern Vision 17

    Reality, Experience, and Expression: The Authorship of Oral Histories 19

    Debates on Techniques in Life Stories 22

    Part 2. Juan Gregorio Palechor: Between the Community and the Nation

    Identity and Ethnic Re-Creation 28

    Ethnicity as Social Relation 35

    The Limits of Diversity and Ethnic Recognition 37

    Juan Gregorio Palechor: Between the Community and the Nation 44

    Cauca, the Guachicono Resguardo, and Indigenous Movements 54

    Identity and the Struggle for the Resguardo 60

    A Politics of Our Own and the Reinvention of Identity 65

    Part 3. Juan Gregorio Palechor: The Story of My Life

    Where I Come From: Five Generations of the Macizo Colombiano and Guachicono 76

    Recognizing the Way of the World and Observing the Weather 78

    Life on the Resguardo 80

    Our Nervousness about School and What We Were Taught 88

    The Harshness of Family Life and the Art of Agriculture 92

    When I Was Conscripted 96

    Learning New Things 102

    Public Life and Political Violence 104

    During the Violence, I Was Forced by Necessity to Work as a Tinterillo 110

    The Formation of Community Action Committees: The Liberal Revolutionary Movement and the National Front 119

    Religion, Money, and Politics 124

    Working with the MRL and the Political Parties 131

    The Management Class of the Catholic Religion 135

    Looking for an Organization: The Campesino Association and the Indigenous Organization 138

    My Work in the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) 143

    The Struggles of CRIC and Indigenous Traditions 148

    Politiqueros and Their Empty Words 156

    Why an Organization of Indigenous People? 158

    Appendix: CRIC Documents 163

    Glossary 191

    Notes 195

    References 215

    Index 225
  • Joanne Rappaport

  • "[A] thought-provoking book that attempts to address the concerns of the researcher and subject when creating a biographical narrative. A welcome addition to the field of anthropology and the study of indigenous movement in Colombia." 

    "Anthropologist Myriam Jimeno’s presentation of the life history of Colombian Indigenous activist Juan Gregorio Palechor is an excellent contribution to our understanding of how narratives are constructed and publicly expressed.... Palechor’s life story, together with Jimeno’s anthropological analysis, provides a valuable contribution to our understandings of Indigenous organizing efforts. The activist perspective will provide probing insights to scholars, and the fluid text will work well for classroom adoption." 

    "Palechor’s life is compelling. Jimeno addresses its historical contexts, the difficulty of maintaining an ethnic identity, the complexities of writing a life history, and the literature on diversity and ethnic pluralism." 

    “This well-written work not only provides an approachable view of indigenous intellectuals in the Andes and in the Americas but also shows the trajectory and nature of indigenous organizations. … [T]his book represents an excellent resource for those interested in Andean and American indigenous experiences. For this reason, it will be an excellent addition to graduate and undergraduate courses in Latin American and Native American studies.”

    "Palechor’s autobiography skillfully illustrates how social categories of race and class are lived in the Andes.... Jimeno’s accessible writing style combined with Palechor’s conversational narratives make this work well suited for undergraduate anthropology courses."

    Reviews

  • "[A] thought-provoking book that attempts to address the concerns of the researcher and subject when creating a biographical narrative. A welcome addition to the field of anthropology and the study of indigenous movement in Colombia." 

    "Anthropologist Myriam Jimeno’s presentation of the life history of Colombian Indigenous activist Juan Gregorio Palechor is an excellent contribution to our understanding of how narratives are constructed and publicly expressed.... Palechor’s life story, together with Jimeno’s anthropological analysis, provides a valuable contribution to our understandings of Indigenous organizing efforts. The activist perspective will provide probing insights to scholars, and the fluid text will work well for classroom adoption." 

    "Palechor’s life is compelling. Jimeno addresses its historical contexts, the difficulty of maintaining an ethnic identity, the complexities of writing a life history, and the literature on diversity and ethnic pluralism." 

    “This well-written work not only provides an approachable view of indigenous intellectuals in the Andes and in the Americas but also shows the trajectory and nature of indigenous organizations. … [T]his book represents an excellent resource for those interested in Andean and American indigenous experiences. For this reason, it will be an excellent addition to graduate and undergraduate courses in Latin American and Native American studies.”

    "Palechor’s autobiography skillfully illustrates how social categories of race and class are lived in the Andes.... Jimeno’s accessible writing style combined with Palechor’s conversational narratives make this work well suited for undergraduate anthropology courses."

  • "At the same time that [Juan Gregorio Palechor] problematizes the nature of indigenous organizing in the Americas by historicizing the dreams that have accumulated over the past four decades, it pointedly reminds us that indigenous politics is at once a fundamental concern of Native peoples and a process that is deeply rooted in the aspirations of their cocitizens who are not indigenous." — Joanne Rappaport, from the Foreword

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  • Description

    The Colombian activist Juan Gregorio Palechor (1923–1992) dedicated his life to championing indigenous rights in Cauca, a department in the southwest of Colombia, where he helped found the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca. Recounting his life story in collaboration with the Colombian anthropologist Myriam Jimeno, Palechor traces his political awakening, his experiences in national politics, the disillusionment that resulted, and his turn to a more radical activism aimed at confronting ethnic discrimination and fighting for indigenous territorial and political sovereignty.

    Palechor's lively memoir is complemented by Jimeno's reflections on autobiography as an anthropological tool and on the oppressive social and political conditions faced by Colombia's indigenous peoples. A faithful and fluent transcription of Palechor's life story, this work is a uniquely valuable resource for understanding the contemporary indigenous rights movements in Colombia.

    About The Author(s)

    Myriam Jimeno is Professor of Anthropology at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. She is the author of several books in Spanish and an award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Fall 2017
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