The essays in this volume have their origins in a multi-disciplinary conference entitled "Indian Societies in Southern Mesoamerica: Colonial Origins and Post-Colonial Growth," which took place on October 12-17, 1980, at Endicott House, Dedham, Massachusetts. Support for the project in all its phases was most generously provided by the Tinker Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and to a lesser degree by the Institute of Latin American and Iberian Studies at Columbia University. Our thanks are also due to Martin Diskin and Peter Smith at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for making Endicott House available to us and for sponsoring the conference itself. Similar gratitude must be expressed to Arturo Warman, Eric Wolf, and especially Woodrow Borah for their able performance as commentators at the meeting and afterward. Additional suggestions for revision were offered by Leon G. Campbell and Benjamin Keen, and have for the most part been incorporated into the revised text. At the same time, we would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of several participants who are not represented in the final volume: Luis Aboites, Marcelo Carmagnani, Martin Diskin, and Ronald Spores. And finally, we benefited greatly from the capable assistance of Marilyn Bradian, Julie Mayer-Orozco, and Georganne Chapin, who prepared the manuscript in its finished form.