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By Rajeshwari Dutt

Andrés Canché turned the cacique, or indigenous chief, of Cenotillo, Yucatán, in January 1834. through his retirement in 1864, he had develop into knowledgeable flesh presser, balancing strong neighborhood alliances along with his community’s pursuits as early nationwide Yucatán underwent significant political and social shifts. In Maya Caciques in Early nationwide Yucatán, Rajeshwari Dutt makes use of Canché’s tale as a compelling microhistory to open a brand new standpoint at the function of the cacique in post-independence Yucatán.

In lots of the literature on Yucatán, caciques are obvious as remnants of Spanish colonial rule, intermediaries whose significance declined over the early nationwide interval. Dutt in its place indicates that on the person point, caciques grew to become extra politicized and, from time to time, received energy. instead of concentrating on the uprising and violence that tell so much scholarship on post-independence Yucatán, Dutt lines the extra quotidian ways that figures like Canché held onto strength. within the strategy, she provides an alternate viewpoint on a tumultuous interval in Yucatán’s background, a view that emphasizes negotiation and alliance-making on the neighborhood level.

whilst, Dutt’s exploration of the caciques’ lifestyles tales unearths a bigger narrative concerning the emergence, evolution, and normalization of specific kinds of nationwide political behavior within the many years following independence. through the years, caciques formed a brand new political repertoire, forming strategic neighborhood alliances with villagers, monks, Spanish and Creole officers, and different caciques. As kingdom regulations made political participation more and more tricky, Maya caciques grew to become clientelism, or using patronage relationships, into the hot modus operandi of neighborhood politics.

Dutt’s attractive exploration of the existence and occupation of Andrés Canché, and of his fellow Maya caciques, illuminates the realities of politics in Yucatán, revealing that probably usual political relationships have been rigorously negotiated through indigenous leaders. Theirs is a narrative no longer of failure and decline, yet of survival and empowerment.

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The protector and other legal agents of the government drew their income from fixed salaries provided by the government. 18 The legal system thus instituted became a cornerstone of indigenous disputes in Yucatán, and indigenous caciques became skilled at using the legal system in their own interests during the colonial period. 20 Indeed, historian D. A. ”21 24 MAYA CACIQUES IN EARLY NATIONAL YUCATÁN Among the most important innovations of the Bourbon reforms was the Ordinance of Intendants (1786), which reorganized the adminis­ tration of Spanish America.

44 For the cacique and authorities of Cuncunul this compromise probably represented the only option they had for retaining some part of the Tontzimin tract 32 MAYA CACIQUES IN EARLY NATIONAL YUCATÁN in the face of the commissioner’s and the attorney general of the natives’ (procurador general de los naturales) clear stance in favor of Ebtún. 46 In 1804–5 (the exact date is unknown), Don Miguel Sandoval confirmed the decree of February 1802 that the sum of twenty-five pesos be drawn from the community funds of Ebtún to pay Cuncunul for the Tontzimin tract.

What the caciques of Tiholop knew intuitively and from experience was that being present was half the battle. At the same time, some caciques did take advantage of the new mechanisms of government and, for a few, intervention into their communal disputes by government officials proved beneficial. Within the regional context of the towns of Ebtún and Cuncunul, indigenous people saw government to be constituted in the person of the governor, who resided in Mérida, and down the bureaucratic ladder in the person of the subdelegado who lived closer in the city of Valla­ dolid.

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