The Medicine of Memory: A Mexica Clan in California

Paperback | November 1, 2002

byAlejandro Murguía

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"People who live in California deny the past," asserts Alejandro Murguía. In a state where "what matters is keeping up with the current trends, fads, or latest computer gizmo," no one has "the time, energy, or desire to reflect on what happened last week, much less what happened ten years ago, or a hundred." From this oblivion of memory, he continues, comes a false sense of history, a deluded belief that the way things are now is the way they have always been.

In this work of creative nonfiction, Murguía draws on memories—his own and his family's reaching back to the eighteenth century—to (re)construct the forgotten Chicano-indigenous history of California. He tells the story through significant moments in California history, including the birth of the mestizo in Mexico, destruction of Indian lifeways under the mission system, violence toward Mexicanos during the Gold Rush, Chicano farm life in the early twentieth century, the Chicano Movement of the 1960s, Chicano-Latino activism in San Francisco in the 1970s, and the current rebirth of Chicano-Indio culture. Rejecting the notion that history is always written by the victors, and refusing to be one of the vanquished, he declares, "This is my California history, my memories, richly subjective and atavistic."

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"People who live in California deny the past," asserts Alejandro Murguía. In a state where "what matters is keeping up with the current trends, fads, or latest computer gizmo," no one has "the time, energy, or desire to reflect on what happened last week, much less what happened ten years ago, or a hundred." From this oblivion of memor...

ALEJANDRO MURGUÍA is Associate Professor in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

other books by Alejandro Murguía

Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.75 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292752679

ISBN - 13:9780292752672

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Table of Contents

Preface: Maize for the MetatePhantoms in the MirrorThe "Good Old Mission Days" Never ExistedJosefa of Downieville: The Obscure Life and Notable Death of a Chicana in Gold Rush CaliforniaTriptych: Memories of the San Fernando ValleyGathering ThunderTropi(lo)calidad: Macondo in La MissionPetroglyph of MemoryThe Marin Headlands: A Meditation on PlaceThe Homecoming of an Azteca-Mexica ClanNotesSelected BibliographyAcknowledgmentsIndex

Editorial Reviews

With new conceptions and interpretations, this book is a significant contribution in a number of fields: California history, México and the Southwest, pre-colonial California, Chicano studies. It is also an example of the finest of memoir literature.... Murguía is an elegant stylist reminiscent of Hemingway in his deceptive simplicity. - Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor of Ethnic Studies, California State University, Hayward