First conceived and nurtured by Catholic priests during the colonial era, indigenism has survived through all the stages of Latin American history. It was kept alive after the Independence by countless associations dedicated to protect the “indios” and it cannot distinctly be identified with any particular social class.

Of course, indigenism drags the burden of the conquistadores’s bad conscience as well as that of the criollos —white settlers of Spanish descent—and mestizos in face of the aboriginal populations’ backwardness and sufferings. Indigenism, however, has seldom placated that everlasting bad conscience.

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