María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and the author of
Affect in the Archive: Apostates, Profligates, Petty Thieves, and the Indians of the Spanish and U.S. Borderlands
2016. "Affect in the Archive: Apostates, Profligates, Petty Thieves, and the Indians of the Spanish and U.S. Borderlands", Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States, María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo
Download citation file:
This chapter argues that eighteenth-century petitions to the Spanish Crown for the right to settle southern Texas and northern Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas, as well as Spanish military officers' letters exchanged during the midcentury Comanche war in northern Texas, produced space by mapping indigenous peoples onto landscape according to the terms of Spanish incorporation. These documents described indigenous customs in anthropological detail, but always figured indios as docile, profligate, errant, apostate, or barbarous, as beckoning Spaniards to come forth in an attitude of Christian unity and brotherly love. Even in war, the principal aim of the Spanish forces was incorporation, thus missions and military outposts were positioned according to these indigenous coordinates. In this chapter I demonstrate how the reiterative force of these previous solicitous, if barbarous, Indians now beckons U.S. law to come forth and discipline the errant natives along the border. This "barbarous Indian" gets reiterated in the post-9/11 Muslim terrorist as well, through the psychic repression of colonial trauma in the multicolonized space of the Southwest.