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Mythohistorical InterventionsThe Chicano Movement and Its Legacies$
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Lee Bebout

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670864

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670864.001.0001

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Hero Making in El Movimiento

Hero Making in El Movimiento

Reies López Tijerina and the Chicano Nationalist Imaginary

(p.71) Chapter 2 Hero Making in El Movimiento
Mythohistorical Interventions

Lee Bebout

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the internal diversity and the desire for unity within the Chicano movement. More specifically, it analyzes the sites of tension and influence between two competing strands of the movement from a mythohistorical perspective: the New Mexico land grant struggle led by Reies López Tijerina and the more broadly defined Chicano nationalism. It considers how Tijerina and his Alianza Federal de Mercedes sought reclamation of communal land rights guaranteed under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and how Chicano nationalism drew upon a wide array of cultural materials to foster community uplift. A cornerstone of Chicano nationalism was the conceptualization of Aztlán as a Chicano homeland in the U.S. Southwest. The chapter also revisits the June 5, 1967, raid that propelled Tijerina and the Aliancistas to national attention at a moment when Chicano nationalism was just emerging but had not solidified the political, spiritual, or philosophical grounds for unification. It argues that the raid transformed Tijerina into a living embodiment of the revolutionary/bandido trope and that the image of Tijerina conflicted with the reformist strategies of Tijerina, the man.

Keywords:   unity, Chicano movement, New Mexico, land grant, Reies López Tijerina, Chicano nationalism, Alianza Federal de Mercedes, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Aztlán, raid

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