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Welsh–Indigenous Relationships in Nineteenth Century Patagonia: ‘Friendship’ and the Coloniality of Power

Abstract
Abstract

This article discusses the colonial encounter of the Welsh and Tehuelche/Mapuche in the Welsh colony (Y Wladfa Gymreig), founded 1865. The Welsh sought to create a Welsh-speaking utopia in the ‘empty’ lands of Patagonia, paradoxically using this colonisation as a way to resist disparagement of the Welsh language and culture by an English-dominated state. The article deploys a ‘coloniality of power’ perspective and explores archive materials that reveal how both the Welsh and the indigenous communities whose land they colonised were caught up in coloniality and expanding capitalist modernity. I conclude that exploring the ambiguous relationship which results from this encounter complicates and deepens our understanding of how the coloniality of power works. Particularly, I argue that stripping away the ‘myth of friendship’ between the Welsh and indigenous is vital, not to diminish moments of genuine mutual affinity but rather to show how these are caught up in processes of colonialisation.

Spanish abstract

Este artículo discute el encuentro colonial de galeses y tehuelches/mapuches en la colonia galesa Y Wladfa Gymreig, fundada en 1865. Los galeses buscaron crear una utopía con lengua galesa en las tierras ‘vacías’ de la Patagonia, paradójicamente utilizando esta colonización como forma de resistencia a la discriminación del idioma y cultura galeses por el Estado inglés dominante. El artículo utiliza una perspectiva de la ‘colonialidad del poder’ y explora materiales de archivo que muestran cómo los galeses y las comunidades indígenas cuyas tierras ellos colonizaron, fueron atrapados en la colonialidad y modernidad del capitalismo en expansión. Concluyo que explorar la ambigua relación que resultó de este encuentro complica y profundiza nuestro entendimiento sobre cómo funciona la colonialidad del poder. Particularmente, señalo que deshacerse del ‘mito de amistad’ entre los galeses y los indígenas es vital, no para disminuir momentos de genuina afinidad mutua, sino más bien para mostrar cómo todo ello quedó atrapado en los procesos de colonización.

Portuguese abstract

Este artigo discute o encontro colonial entre galeses e Tehuelches/Mapuches na colônia galesa de Y Wladfa Gymreig, fundada em 1865. Os galeses buscavam criar uma utopia nas terras ‘vazias’ da Patagônia onde se falaria galês, paradoxalmente usando esta colonização como uma forma de resistir à maneira pejorativa que a língua e cultura galesa eram tratadas em um Estado com domínio inglês. O artigo emprega a perspectiva da ‘colonialidade do poder’, explorando materiais de arquivos que revelam como tanto os galeses quanto as comunidades indígenas que tiveram suas terras colonizadas foram envolvidos na colonialidade e na expansão da modernidade capitalista. Concluo que a observação das relações ambíguas que resultam destes encontros complexifica e aprofunda nosso entendimento de como a colonialidade do poder funciona. Argumento, especificamente, que eliminar o ‘mito da amizade’ entre galeses e indígenas é fundamental, não para menosprezar os momentos de afinidades mútuas genuínas, mas para demonstrar como estes foram envolvidas nos processos de colonização.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Lorenzo Veracini , ‘Settler Collective, Founding Violence and Disavowal: The Settler Colonial Situation’, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 29: 4 (2008), pp. 363–79

Lorenzo Veracini , ‘“Settler Colonialism”: Career of a Concept’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 41: 2 (2013), pp. 313–33

Scott Lauria Morgensen , ‘The Biopolitics of Settler Colonialism: Right Here, Right Now’, Settler Colonial Studies, 1: 1 (2011), pp. 5276

Monica Quijada , ‘La ciudadanización del ‘Indio Bárbaro’: políticas oficiales y oficiosos hacia la población indígena de la Pampa y la Patagonia, 1870–1920’, Revista de Indias, 59: 217 (1999), pp. 675704

Patrick Wolfe , ‘Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native’, Journal of Genocide Research, 8: 4 (2006), pp. 387409

Esther Whitfield , ‘Empire, Nation and the Fate of a Language: Patagonia in Argentine and Welsh Literature’, Postcolonial Studies, 14: 1 (2011), pp. 7393

Ana Ramos and Walter Delrio Mapas y narrativas de desplazamiento. Memorias mapuche-tehuelche sobre el sometimiento estatal en Norpatagonia’, Antítesis 4: 8 (2011), pp. 515–32

Lucy Taylor , ‘Decolonizing Citizenship: Reflections on the Coloniality of Power in Argentina’, Citizenship Studies, 17: 5, (2013), pp. 596610

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Journal of Latin American Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-216X
  • EISSN: 1469-767X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-latin-american-studies
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