This essay places the 1871 Camp Grant Indian Massacre in the context of the rise of a capitalist class of citizens and the state-sponsored violence they enacted as part of a war-based cross-border economy. Tracing transnational circuits of power in the borderland communities across Southern Arizona, it argues that several displacements happen in the traditional historical narratives of the Camp Grant massacre: the erasure of participation by Tucsonense indigenous Mexican women in the violence against Aravaipa and Pinal Apache women and the discursive violence enacted when the politics of gendered and sexualized forms of violence and brutality are left unexamined in relation to the massacred Apache women. Tucsonense Mexicanas were among the perpetrators; Aravaipa and Pinal Apache women made up most of the dead. The complexities of racialized female subjects as both perpetrators and the annihilated at Camp Grant compromise the notion, still common in Chicano studies, that Tucsonenses were Mexicans and are therefore "essentially" indigenous. My reading of a Mexican indigenous woman's support of the Camp Grant massacre, when juxtaposed with the brutal physical violence enacted upon the bodies of Apache women as the result of that support, seeks to interrupt the recent returns to indigenismo in Chicano studies as that unspeakable underside of history that few are willing to discuss, demonstrating that these contemporary notions of identity must have grounding in the history of places such as nineteenth-century southern Arizona, and demonstrating that Mexican violence was about being anything but Indian.
Social Text – Duke University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2010