Academic journal article Western Folklore

Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption

Academic journal article Western Folklore

Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption

Article excerpt

Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption. By Enrique R. Lamadrid. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003. Pp. xv + 264, preface, prologue, photographs, illustrations, maps, musical notations, compact disc, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. $45.00 cloth, $27.95 paper)

As one of many folklorists who study their own traditions (in my case, Pentecostalism), I was intrigued with Enrique Lamadrid's study, Hermanitos Comanchitos, because of his location within the cultures he describes. He is, as he calls himself, a coyote, of mixed Anglo-Hispanic heritage in New Mexico, who understands "dilemmas of identity, mestizaje, hybridity, cultural liminality, and the rites, attractions, and dangers of crossing cultural boundaries" (4-5). Much like myself, as both an academic and a believing, practicing Pentecostal, Lamadrid approaches his study with care and scholarly seriousness, but because of his identity he also understands that not all instances of "playing Indian"-to use a term given point by Philip Deloria (1998)-are to be criticized.

Using an intriguing melange of field-recorded performance, photography, musical notation, narrative, and analysis, the author combines history, folklore, religious and Hispanic studies to analyze folk drama traditions in modern New Mexico. These transcultural mimetic reenactments serve to help participants relive the collective remembered pasts of "these 'contact zones,' as Mary Louise Pratt has called them" (11). The book tackles a subject that is for many scholars a bêle, noire: cultural appropriation. In seven chapters that follow the introductory chapter (in which Lamadrid discusses how he came to encounter many of the performances under discussion), he offers historical context and thorough analysis of various examples of cultural appropriation that he has observed-the mimicking of enemy dances, a performance that "honors and satirizes the enemy," for example, as well as reenactments of the interaction of Christians and Moors in the middle ages (17). As promised in the title, the author also explores themes of captivity and redemption brought about by the engagement of these cultures in wars and other conflicts. …

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