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date: 07 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Eighteenth-century New Mexican buffer villages located on the most exposed margins of the Spanish colony were built by pluralistic communities that included people of Spanish descent, nomadic Native American groups, and Pueblo allies. These grants of land on the late colonial frontier were settled by communities for whom an ability to mobilize multiple and situational identities was a critical survival skill during a time of increased captive raiding by nomadic groups. Positioned to protect administrative centers, their physical and social distance created opportunities for new kinds of identity performance and anxiety-generating upward mobility, despite their rank within the socioracial hierarchy known as the sistema de castas. Later nineteenth-century villages would live through a collapse of those labels. Recent archaeological investigations of pobladore communities in New Mexico speak to the plurality of cultures manifested on the frontier and epitomized by Genízaro villages.

Keywords: Genízaro, pobladore, archaeology, New Mexico, castas, buffer village, frontier

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