“Mestizaje,” which is associated with the word “mixed,” can be understood as the product of mixing two distinct cultures—that is, Spanish and Indigenous American. While it is  etymologically  connected  to the French métis (a person of mixed ancestry, similar     to mestiza/o in Spanish) and métissage (the cultural process that leads to this) and to the Portuguese mestiço (a person of mixed ancestry), it is an unstable signifier that has different meanings depending on its context. Referring to the biological and cultural mixing of European and Indigenous peoples in the Americas, mestizaje can be understood as  the  effect  caused  by the impact of colonization. In North America, the closest approximation to “mestizaje” is the word métis, indicating a person of mixed aboriginal and European ancestry. For example, in western Canada the term is used in reference to people of Caucasian and Native Indian ancestry. However, both métissage and …

This essay may be found on page 133 of the printed volume.

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