Indexicality and the Indigenization of Politics: Dancer–Pilgrims Protesting Mining Concessions in the Andes

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Abstract

The Quyllurit'i shrine, located at the bottom of a glacier seventy kilometers from the city of Cuzco, is the focus of the biggest pilgrimage of the Peruvian Andes. This article analyzes a protest organized by the Consejo de Naciones Peregrinas del Señor de Qoyllurit'i (Council of Pilgrim Nations of Lord Quyllurit'i) in the city of Cuzco, which called for the cancellation of the mining concessions near the shrine. While these dancer-pilgrims do not claim to be indigenous, their protest's performances were strongly loaded with indexes of indigeneity when framed through the regional racial-ethnic ideologies. The protest obtained the regional authorities’ support by performing obvious but implicit indigeneity that also entailed challenges to the hegemonic politics that excludes nonhumans. The article highlights how multiple forms of indigeneity, primarily emerging through indexicality, can notoriously intervene in politics; yet also how, paradoxically, the Consejo de Naciones’ political influence depends upon its abstention from active involvement in formal politics. [cosmopolitics, indexical order, indigeneity, performance, protest against mining].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-27
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

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