Carla Mendiola, Southern Methodist University and Brenden Rensink, University of Nebraska Kearney | Newberry

Carla Mendiola, Southern Methodist University and Brenden Rensink, University of Nebraska Kearney

Friday, December 7, 2012

3 to 5 pm


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

“From Border Crossers to Borderlanders: Using Census Records to Understand and Compare the Development of Mixed Culture Communities Along the Texas-Mexico and Maine-Canada Borders, 1880-1930”
Carla Mendiola, Southern Methodist University

This study focuses on Madawaska, Maine and Hidalgo, Texas, while recognizing the transborder relationship with their international neighbors – Edmundston, New Brunswick and Reynosa, Tamaulipas. This research project analyzes census records to better understand how these Mexican American and Franco American hybrid cultures developed, how these transborder cultural communities responded to tightening border and immigration policies, and to examine what role language and gender may have played in these international, intercultural marriage practices. National borderlines were attempts to create clear dividing lines, but the reality for local borderland communities and families was much more complex.

“The Indigenous Immigrant: Comparing Native Immigration from Canada and Mexico in the U.S. Borderlands”
Brenden Rensink, University of Nebraska Kearney

This article considers the similar and divergent ways in which transnational “Canadian” and “Mexican” Indians were received in the United States.  Different phases of their transnational movements alternated between involvement in U.S. economic markets to flight under duress from persecution, prosecution or extermination in Mexico or Canada.  By comparing experiences across both borderlands, new conclusions are brought to light about how indigenous peoples fit into Native and non-Native labor markets, how Americans perceived the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Canada differently and how these differences led to very different outcomes for the Chippewa-Crees of Montana and Yaquis of Arizona.  The comparison helps explain why the two opposing groups, who at most stages crossed into the United States in under very similar circumstances, ended up facing such different receptions in the United States.

Commentator: Ramón Gutiérrez, University of Chicago

Cost and Registration Information 

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.