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Synopsis

Through interviews with three generations of Yalálag Zapotecs (“Yaláltecos”) in Los Angeles and Yalálag, Oaxaca, this book examines the impact of international migration on this community. It traces five decades of migration to Los Angeles in order to delineate migration patterns, community formation in Los Angeles, and the emergence of transnational identities of the first and second generations of Yalálag Zapotecs in the United States, exploring why these immigrants and their descendents now think of themselves as Mexican, Mexican Indian immigrants, Oaxaqueños, and Latinos—identities they did not claim in Mexico.

Based on multi-site fieldwork conducted over a five-year period, Adriana Cruz-Manjarrez analyzes how and why Yalálag Zapotec identity and culture have been reconfigured in the United States, using such cultural practices as music, dance, and religious rituals as a lens to bring this dynamic process into focus. By illustrating the sociocultural, economic, and political practices that link immigrants in Los Angeles to those left behind, the book documents how transnational migration has reflected, shaped, and transformed these practices in both their place of origin and immigration.

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