Publication date:

08 September 2003

Length of book:

328 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742511477

The dramatic January 1, 1994, emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, Mexico, brought the state's indigenous peoples to the attention of the international community. Yet indigenous peoples in Chiapas had been politically active and organized for years prior to the uprising. This compelling volume examines in detail these local and regional histories of power and resistance, powerfully bolstered by gripping and heartrending details of oppression and opposition. Situated broadly within the field of political anthropology, the authors trace the connections between indigenous culture and indigenous resistance. Their case studies include the Tzotzils and Tzeltals of the highland region, the Tojolabals of eastern Chiapas, northern Ch'ol communities, the Mams of eastern and southeastern Chiapas, and the settler communities of the Lacandon rain forest. In the wake of the Chiapas rebellion, all of these groups have increasingly come together around common goals, the most important of which is autonomy. Three essays focus specifically on the issue of Indian autonomy—in both Zapatista and non-Zapatista communities.

Offering a consistent and cohesive vision of the complex evolution of a region and its many cultures and histories, this work is a fundamental source for understanding key issues in nation building. In a unique collaboration, the book brings together recognized authorities who have worked in Chiapas for decades, many linking scholarship with social and political activism. Their combined perspectives, many previously unavailable in English, make this volume the most authoritative, richly detailed, and authentic work available on the people behind the Zapatista movement.
A compelling and essential volume for understanding the complexities of Chiapas, its people—the indigenous citizens but also the state—and the context of the polarized moment in that part of the world.