Source: (2012) Latin American Perspectives

Indigenismo can be found in almost every country in the Americas. Most indigenistas attempted to write the Indian into their national pasts and adopted similar modernizing projects. Still, what appears to be a common history can be deceiving. Examination of one indigenista project in three distinct American contexts—the indigenous boarding schools in Mexico, Canada, and the United States—indicates considerable differences in practice. For one thing, while the boarding schools north of the border aimed to separate students from the deleterious influence of their communities and bring them into the cultural mainstream, in Mexico indigenous communities were essential to development strategies, and the internados, as an important element of these strategies, sought to cultivate rather than break down ethnic affiliations. These and other differences in the politics that emerged from these projects suggest that the study of indigenismo may require attention to the ways in which particular power arrangements give meaning to indigenous identities.