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Travel Narratives from New Mexico: Reconstructing Identity and Truth By John Dean ...

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Travel Narratives from New Mexico:

Introduction

Other New Mexico
Travel Voices

The colonialist West has spoken for New Mexico since 1540, when Francisco Vásquez de Coronado traveled to Ácoma Pueblo in his search for the legendary cities of gold. With the Spanish incursion, followed fifty-six years later by the first English-speaking colonists in New Mexico, began the representation of New Mexico from an outsider's perspective. The colonial West imagined itself to hold central claims to knowledge, so it knew its peripheries only as it encountered and articulated their presence to itself. This Western narrative, based on an imagined Western privilege to foundational or platonic knowledge, has become the dominant Euro-American discourse through which New Mexico has come to be known. Within the framework of this discussion of representation and encounter in New Mexico, the terms “West” and “Western” refer to both dominant European and Euro-American discourses. Whereas the term “Other” refers to the oriental “East” in postcolonial criticism of European colonization, this discussion refers to Native Americans and Mexicans as “Other.”