Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America's Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present

By Susan Kellogg | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3

Colliding Worlds
Indigenous Women, Conquest,
and Colonialism

That women played a variety of roles during the conquest and colonial periods almost goes without saying. However, one woman in particular has gone down in history as especially noteworthy during this period. She is Malinche, or doña Marina, or Malintzin, the variously named translator and sometime consort of the conqueror of the Nahuas of central Mexico, Hernán Cortés. Though no documents exist in which she narrates or interprets her life in her own voice, Spanish sources often refer to her somewhat ironically as la lengua (tongue). Her image and life illustrate in microcosm the ways that sexuality and gender were part of the process of conquest (see figs. 3. I and 3.2). The illustrations, while different, recall some of the strength implicit in the Coyolxauhqui image discussed in the last chapter, but her life course tellingly foreshadows the conquerors' treatment of the indigenous women on whom they depended and with whom they had intimate relations. While Malintzin herself played an important public role in the events of conquest, other women experienced diminished public roles. And she gave birth to children who were among the first mestizo children of mainland Spanish America, helping to set off the development of mixed ethno-racial identities whose existence would complicate both gender and racial hierarchies.

This chapter explores this decline at the same time that it highlights a historical counterpoint, one in which native women demonstrated an admirable capacity to survive, adjust to, or resist myriad changes, barriers, and problems. While multifaceted transformational influences, especially new forms of labor extraction and a new religious belief system that stressed women's passivity, enclosure, purity, and honor, ended in a widespread dimi

-53-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America's Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 338

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?