Aztlán and Arcadia

Religion, Ethnicity, and the Creation of Place

Roberto Ramón Lint Sagarena

NYU Press (publisher)

In the
wake of the Mexican-American War, competing narratives of religious conquest
and re-conquest were employed by Anglo American and ethnic Mexican Californians
to make sense of their place in North America. These “invented traditions” had
a profound impact on North American religious and ethnic relations, serving to
bring elements of Catholic history within the Protestant fold of the United
States’ national history as well as playing an integral role in the emergence
of the early Chicano/a movement.
 Many Protestant Anglo
Americans understood their settlement in the far Southwest as following in the
footsteps of the colonial project begun by Catholic Spanish missionaries. In
contrast, Californios—Mexican-Americans and Chicana/os—stressed
deep connections to a pre-Columbian past over to their own Spanish heritage.
Thus, as Anglo Americans fashioned themselves as the spiritual heirs to the
Spanish frontier, many ethnic Mexicans came to see themselves as the spiritual
heirs to a southwestern Aztec homeland.

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