Grito!: Cultural Nationalism and the Chicana/o Insurgency in New Mexico, 1968-1979

Dennis Jason Aguirre, University of Texas at El Paso


“¡Grito!: Cultural Nationalism and the Chicana/o Insurgency in New Mexico, 1968-1978,” is one of the first to examine the development of Chicana/o movement practices in the “Land of Enchantment.” While others have cast the Chicana/o movement’s criticisms and actions against federal, state, and local governments as a struggle to gain greater rights for Mexican Americans, I argue that the insurgency was not exclusively a strategy of resistance to subjugation. Instead, I believe the Chicana/o movement was a conversation that activists attempted to have with their own communities to convince ethnic Mexicans to think about themselves in profoundly new ways. Focusing on four prominent organizations in various parts of the state—El Grito del Norte (an alternative newspaper), La Academia de la Nueva Raza (a community educational organization), Las Gorras Negras, also known as the Black Berets (a self-help paramilitary group), and Chicanos Unidos Para Justicia (a collective that established an alternative school)—my investigation demonstrates that cultural nationalism was utilized as a social practice that channeled individual identities into a generalized Chicana/o community. While Chicana/o activists struggled to forge a collective cultural identity for ethnic Mexicans in the United States, my study also illustrates that the Chicana/o movement should not be identified solely as a local articulation of cultural nationalism. Instead, I demonstrate that Chicana/o activists participated in a global dialogue between various exponents of a “Third World” anti-colonial network that rarely occurred in previous eras. My exploration thus illuminates a process that called for a redefined identity that was local, national, and international in scope. This study, then, makes clear the fact that the Chicana/o insurgency in New Mexico was a multifaceted process of cultural remaking that enhances our vision of this movement in particular, other social movements, both nationally and internationally, and more broadly contributes to our understanding Chicana/o, U.S., Borderlands, and Global history. This study is based on a variety of sources including the papers of organizations, mainstream and movement newspapers, interviews with participants, census data, photographs, and other ephemera like posters, pamphlets and flyers.^

Subject Area

History|Ethnic studies|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Aguirre, Dennis Jason, "Grito!: Cultural Nationalism and the Chicana/o Insurgency in New Mexico, 1968-1979" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10278694.