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This text is the prologue that José Uriel García, an intellectual from Cuzco, wrote to his book El nuevo indio. In it, he proposes the category of “the new Indian” (the English translation of the book’s title) to designate, in physiological and racial terms, the original inhabitant of the Americas (the “historical Indian” or the “Indian of the past”); the term also refers to “all those that pursue inner growth” and “feel their soul is rooted in the land” through contact with the continent’s nature. The author includes in that category the Spanish, mestizos, and criollos that have settled and progressed in the continent, enriching “the life of the Americas to renovate it.” He advocates going beyond “race” and “blood” which, in his view, serve to limit and to separate, in order to develop a continental spirit that brings together and unifies. Education, artistic creation, and major human feats will allow a valuable and original culture to resurge amongst the peoples of the Americas. García maintains that the mountain range in southern Peru is particular important in relation to that potential.
A second strain of Indianism—known as “neo-Indianism,” in reference to the title of the book El nuevo indio by José Uriel García, the main framer of the movement—took hold in Cuzco in the twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties. This movement contrasted with an earlier “Incanist” strain of Indianism led by Luis E. Valcárcel, a movement whose tenets were voiced in his book Tempestad en los Andes (1927). Whereas Valcárcel argued that the true native identity as well as contemporary indigenous culture should be envisioned as a vestige of the Incan, García proposed that “the Andean” be seen as an innovative reality, product of a fusion of native and Hispanic elements. García’s nationalist theory contained three parts: “El indio antiguo” (the Indian of the past), “El nuevo indio” (the new Indian), and “El pueblo mestizo” (the mestizo people) which—according to García’s idealist vision—came together to form “the Indian” in the different periods of Peruvian history. The prologue outlines the basis of the proposal, expressing a desire to replace ethnic determinism with historical and social consciousness. The book was first published in 1930; a second, amended version was published in 1937; and a third edition was published in 1973. Despite his ideological differences with García, Valcárcel edited that third version, which was published after García’s death and before he had time to finish revising it; this third edition, which included an appendix by García, evidences García’s theoretical orientation in his final years when his thinking was informed by Marxist thought.
See as well Chapter VI of El Nuevo indio (ICAA digital archive doc. no. 1136679).