Graduation Date

Fall 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Cutcha Risling Baldy

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Janelle Adsit

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Nicholas Perdue

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


The dehumanization of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) during the colonial period has led to an internalization of colonial beliefs about ourselves informed and reinforced by settler-colonial, nation-states that continue to occupy our lands. This thesis explores how the construction of the Mexican[1] identity of mestizaje is based on the logic of racial hierarchy embedded within the colonial construct of the state and this has led to an internalized colonial mentality and inferiority complex among Mexicans. These internalized racial hierarchies have become a part of Mexican society and culture which becomes apparent in the way that we as a community, both in Mexico and abroad, continue to devalue our worth as BIPOC people and contribute to the erasure of our people. Exploring the various forms of identities which have been impacted by colonial ideology allows for a reflexive process in helping us as oppressed people undo the internalized mentality forced onto us. I use a re-examination of historical narratives concerning the genesis of mestizaje and trace it through its continued progression in our present-day communities using auto-ethnography. The ability to tell our own stories and exploration of our roles within settler-colonial nation-states becomes pertinent in sparking conversations that acknowledge and transcend the colonial narratives and views about ourselves.

[1] I have chosen to not capitalize the names of settler-colonial nation-states throughout this thesis. I do as a form of resistance of the illegal occupation of Indigenous lands.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location