Mariano Engages “the Land Struggle”: An Unthinkable Indian Leader
In the 1950s, Mariano’s ayllu joined a regional peasant movement. the goal of which was to transfer hacienda lands to peasants. This story narrates the details of Mariano’s political activities: his reasons to fight the hacendado and his confrontations with him; Mariano’s interactions with the state and lawyers; his hideouts, escapes, torture, and imprisonment. All the actors and actions described in the story belong to the order of the plausible, and thus to the order of history—oral history, at the very least. Nevertheless, even as Mariano’s political activism successfully unfolded, social scientists and journalists denied the existence of indigenous politicians like him. Mariano’s activities were a nonevent in the 1960s. I use Michel Rolph Touillot’s notion of “the unthinkable” to conceptualize this episode.