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A Significant Contribution
on May 11, 2004
Contrary to the review by Mr. Araujo, which makes little sense, Professor Menchaca has produced a stunning contribution to current understandings of the Mexican and Mexican American or Chicano experience. Having previously reviewed this book in other contexts, I know all too well the details that make this book significant. In addition to the substantive body of information presented on the cultural contexts and legislative practices that undergird the Mexican American cultural experience, Menchaca's acknowledgement of the African American contribution in said experience, and the legislative and juridical practices that served to disenfranchise people of color in the US Southwest, are all key to what she has to say. Her discussion of the Hispanic colonial Missions and their role in the creation of the Hispanicized Indian communities of the US Southwest is in turn illuminating. Contrary to prevailing anti-Hispanic and or anti-Catholic views of the Mission era, Menchaca makes clear that the hispanicization of the California Indian, for instance, permitted most California Indians of the early American era to assimilate into Mexican and Mexican American communities. This process, she argues, allowed California Indian descendants to survive and prosper under what was otherwise a brutal and genocidal system of early American behavior toward American Indian communities. These critically significant points of departure, and Menchaca's very readable prose, make this a must-have addition to any library on the Mexican American cultural experience.