Rad Readings: Queer Xicana Indígena cultural production: Remembering through oral and visual storytelling
by Abaki Beck
This weeks rad reading focuses on missing memory, colonialism, and the role of visual culture in reclaiming history for Queer Xicana Indigena. The author argues that storytelling through visual culture is particularly significant to Latinx communities that have been, as she says “de-tribalized,” or have lost much of their indigenous history and community connection. She argues that intentionally remembering, through these stories and the production of art, can be a form of decolonization and healing from systemic and sexual violences. One of the artists she focuses on is Gina Aparicio, a queer Latina sculpter whose work reclaims cultural memory and disrupts Western norms of womanhood, sexuality, borders, language, ceremony, and more. For example, Aparicio uses clay sculptures to “remember” and pass along ceremonies which are not easily understood through the written word alone.
This is a really interesting article that examines Mexican history through a decolonial lens, and critiques how we “remember.” For example, remembrance of the Treaty of Guadalupe and the Mexican-American War focus on violence, military history, and a loss of land, ignoring indigeneity over nationalism. A reclamation of indigenous Mexican identity necessitates, in many ways, a connection to indigenous cultures and practices in the United States. It recognizes that political borders literally divide communities and silence histories.