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By Alan R. Sandstrom

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Additional resources for Corn Is Our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village

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Still, throughout it all, Page xxii most people appreciated the high comedy of the situation and tolerated me and my family with grace and humor. As I will demonstrate shortly, they were as curious about me as I was about them, and I like to think that, in our interactions, they discovered something worth knowing about American culture. It is a sad commentary on the world we live in that I feel I cannot thank people by name for fear this will cause them trouble, either from local authorities or from foreign missionary groups.

For this purpose all cultures are equally valid expressions of human nature, and thus all cultures contribute equally to our increasing understanding of human conduct. The early contact that fieldworkers had with people from alien cultural traditions paid unforeseen dividends. Fieldworkers returned home with a whole new level of respect for traditional cultures. Often arrogantly dismissed by other Western scholars, traditional cultures proved to be coherent, complex, and often elegant solutions to the problems of being human.

In this book I will examine the part that villagers themselves have played in maintaining their cultural identity. In attempting to understand the persistence of traditional cultures, I am led to consider other related questions. How do communities like Amatlán fit into the nation as a whole? What role do they play in national life? As we will see later in this chapter, anthropologists and other social scientists have struggled to understand the place of the Indian community in rapidly developing Mexico (and the persistence of traditional communities in other parts of the world).

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