Chiapas and Native North American Political Activism

John H. Stevens, Jr. (jhs14@CORNELL.EDU)
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 07:41:26 -0500

Please pardon redundancy; this has been posted to a few other lists, and
also somehow got bounced around Usenet!!

Hello everyone. I am doing a research project on the impact of the Chiapas
Rebellion on Native North American political activism that will be the
basis for both scholarly and journalistic article (the final report will
also be posted on NativeNet). I want to describe and analyze the
dissemination and significance of this (still unfolding) event for national
and transnational indigenous NGOS and the discourse that circulates between
them and through the media (particularly, Native journalism and electronic
communication). There are several questions I want to address: has Chiapas
changed the way indigenous activists practice? Has it inspired new methods
of activism, new practices, new ideas? What is the Rebellion's
significance not just as an historical event and symbol, but as a part of a
history of resistance, an assertion of identity, and a stepping-stone to
challenging and reforming the prevalent political milieu not only in Mexico
but in this hemisphere?? How have activists used Chiapas as inspiration,
symbol, and paradigm of response and action? What are the implications for
the future of international "order" and the dynamic political milieu that
Chiapas exemplifies and is creating that is changing that order?? What I
hope to do with this project is to begin to understand the way that
information, organization, and power circulate among and between indigenous
activist political structures, communities and constituencies as they draw
on, adapt to, contest, and work to transform the national and transnational
power structures and practices that continually attempt to neutralize,
assimilate, or envelope them.

I am already going through whatever periodicals and books I can get
my hands on: I'm searching LEXIS/NEXIS, Ethnic Newswatch, the Native North
Americans database, Alternative Press Index, and regular periodical
databases. But I know that a lot of the richest material probably isn't
there, so I'm also searching the Web for resources (such as Harry Cleaver's
draft article on the Zapitistas and the Electronic Fabric of Struggle).
But I would also be grateful if folks could point me to periodicals and
newsletters and other materials on this topic that might not show up in the
usual places. Additionally, I would like to hear from Native and other
political activists, members of relevant NGOs, and researchers about their
thoughts on Chiapas, how it is affecting the way they work and the way they
see their work. How have particular actions, events, or meetings been
impacted by Chiapas, and how is Chiapas going to continue to affect
activism in the future?? How have your political tactics and strategies
been contoured by the ripples Chiapas has created in the Americas'
political pond, and how is indigenous activism creating more ripples??
Where will indigneous activism go from here??

Also, if folks have suggestions for readings in political networks,
transnationalism, Native activism, the internet as a communication tool, or
any other topics related to this project, I would be happy to hear them!

If anyone is interested in talking or writing to me about this,
please contact me by April 19th so that I can either arrange an interview
or discuss obtaining written statements and other materials. My goal for
this semester is to compile sources, outline my concerns, and write a
proposal. Over the summer and fall I will be putting everything together
and writing. Any references, comments, thoughts, and suggestions would be
greatly appreciated. Thank you all very much!!!

Best regards,

John H. Stevens, Jr.
Department of Anthropology
Cornell University

Student Area Coordinator, Amnesty International (Central NY)
Co-Chair, Urgent Action Coordinator, Trainer, and Death Penalty Abolition
Coordinator, Cornell Student Chapter

Member, Human Rights Educators' Network and Society for American Ethnohistory
Listowner, NEAMNESTY-L

snail: c/o Dept. Of Anthropology, 265 McGraw Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853
home phone and fax: 607.256.1829 (call first!)
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