Gary Van Valen’s book traces the history of one of the most populous indigenous groups of the Bolivian lowlands, the Mojos (or Moxos), throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Like elsewhere in Latin America, the nineteenth century brought rapid and often traumatic changes to Bolivia’s indigenous populations. Liberalism swept across the continent and curtailed the colonial collective property rights and political organization of indigenous communities; the new political form was invariably accompanied by a massive growth of export economies, which led to an increase of coercive labor practices. In highland Bolivia, the growth of the mining economy led to massive confiscations of indigenous collective lands and to almost a century of violent conflict between the state and indigenous communities. Yet little work has been done on the effect of the liberal reforms on the mission Indians of the eastern half of the country. As David Block advanced in his...

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