How “Indians” Think
Colonial Indigenous Intellectuals and the Question of Critical Race Theory
This book shines light on Indigenous perspectives through a novel interpretation of the works of the two most important Amerindian intellectuals in the Andes, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala and Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca. Building on but also departing from the predominant scholarly position that views Indigenous-Spanish relations as the clash of two distinct cultures, Gonzalo Lamana argues that Guaman Poma and Garcilaso were the first Indigenous activist intellectuals and that they developed post-racial imaginaries four hundred years ago. Their texts not only highlighted Native peoples’ achievements, denounced injustice, and demanded colonial reform, but they also exposed the emerging Spanish thinking and feeling on race that was at the core of colonial forms of discrimination. These authors aimed to alter the way colonial actors saw each other and, as a result, to change the world in which they lived.
“How ‘Indians’ Think takes up the task of locating, describing, and analyzing [Indigenous peoples’] intervention in European thinking with respect to the formation of a race theory spun out of the Spanish conquest of Amerindian civilizations.”—Sara Castro-Klarén, co-editor of Inca Garcilaso and Contemporary World-Making