The Gualaguetza Contract of Colonial Oaxaca: A Network of Cultural and Economic Exchange in the Central Valley

Friday, January 6, 2012: 2:30 PM
Huron Room (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Xˇchitl M. Flores-Marcial, University of California, Los Angeles
 Current philological research using colonial Zapotec language sources continues to provide new windows into the lives of Oaxacan Central Valley Zapotec communities.  This paper will focus on the organization of Guelaguetza, in the form of labor and currency, which the Zapotec men and women exchanged with people inside as well as outside of their communities.   Because the Zapotec language documentation was originally produced for a local audience, the sources demonstrate (an honest attempt) the efficacy of the indigenous participants and local leaders in safeguarding precious resources such as cash currency and highly valuable communal labor.  This paper will showcase the social and political consequences of the pre-Columbian indigenous tradition of Guelaguetza, which continued to be practiced by Zapotecs within the parameters of the colonial society.  Most significantly, the paper will showcase the roles of lower ranking community members as well as female participants in the exchange of guelaguetza – a tradition that continues to be practiced by modern-day Zapotec communities in Oaxaca.
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