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14: Forced Incorporation

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Courtney Thomas

on 25 April 2018

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Transcript of 14: Forced Incorporation

Nations & Nationalities
Lecture 15

Slavery and Forced Incorporation
In slavery, the body becomes a disembodied and dehumanized object without past or future
Not only by means of physical brutality but also by means of a dehistoricization that detaches the person from his or her history

Contact with Native Tribes
The contact situation with indigenous Americans involved:
The forced removal from traditional lands
The destruction of primordial knowledge and forms ecological sustainability
The erosion of the linkages between cultural knowledge and intergenerational economic survivability
The demise of kinship understandings of self-worth and meaning
Of hundreds of different tribes and clans configured around different languages, cultures, values, social structures, beliefs, territories, histories, and economies

Forced Incorporation of Mexicans
The contact situation with Mexico dates to the Mexican-American War (1848) and the forced incorporation of large numbers of Mexicans into the Anglo culture of the United States
As a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase the United States acquired territories formerly belonging to Mexico and the Mexican population of this region became a conquered people and a colonized minority group
As these lands were transformed into homesteads and ranches, the Mexican population was forced from their traditional lands and subjected to displacement and dislocation
The ultimate consequence was the creation of minority status for Mexican-Americans known as “Chicanos” or “Hispanics”

The Contact Situation
The transformation of primordial belonging to modernist categories of ethnicity and race occurred by means of what is called the “contact situation”
European colonialism that witnessed European conquest of primordial lands represents an initial contact situation
Between cultures we refer to as “modernist”
And cultures representative of primordialism as represented by the kinship cultures of Africa, Asia, and the Americas

In the American experience the contact situation involved the forcible and involuntary incorporation of particular primordial groups that became transformed into racialized ethnic categories within the context of American social history
African kinship cultures=> “Slaves” (Black)
Native American tribes=> “Indians” (Red)
Mexican Tejanos settlers=> “Chicanos” (Brown)
The contact situation severed primordial peoples from ancestors and from ancestral lands
Thus destroying the capacities of primordial communities to function in both the real as well as metaphysical worlds
Once memory of the past becomes threatened in the present it is difficult for a people to envision a collective cultural future
This is what we mean by displacement and dislocation
Displacement and Dislocation
Manifest Destiny
“Manifest Destiny” legitimated
Not only the enslavement of Africans
But also the conquest, displacement, and cultural subordination of indigenous Americans
As well as the occupation and eventual annexation of territories hitherto owned by Mexico

The body of the slave becomes severed from the continuity of ancestral linkage by way of being “torn from” ancestral lands and kinship communities and forcibly relocated to the United States
In a way that severed the chain of belonging that links generation to generation in segmented lineage
And transforms the body into chattel without ancestral past, present family, or future “blood” connection

Slavery represents the brutality of the transformation of kinship to ethnicity and segmented lineage into race in the American experience
Slavery separated the physical activity of slaves from mental, spiritual or ethical growth by denying slaves the validity of their cultural background
Slaves were transformed into nonhistorical persons without ancestors, names, or identities beyond their legal status as “chattel”

After Slavery
Even after slavery, people of African descent were legally and socially treated as second class citizens, especially in the south
A century after the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement began to secure Americans of African racial and ethnic ancestry their full rights as American citizens
The Reservations
United States policies toward Native Americans involved the strategies of forced displacement of indigenous American communities who were ultimately “contained” in spatialized territorial boxes officially demarcated as reservations that were and remain nonviable patches of territory in terms of sustainability and survivability
Time and space are intimately associated in indigenous or primordial cultures
Taking away land from indigenous peoples robs them of their sense of time past and time future that lie at the heart of their sense of primordial belonging leading to an everlasting memory of loss and a sense of communal humiliation
Relocation after the Dawes Act (the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk) ended Native American autonomy and threatened the survival of these peoples

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