Now Peru Is Mine

The Life and Times of a Campesino Activist

Now Peru Is Mine

Narrating Native Histories

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Book Pages: 256 Illustrations: 24 illustrations Published: December 2016

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies > Andes, Native and Indigenous Studies

Born in 1921, Manuel Llamojha Mitma became one of Peru's most creative and inspiring indigenous political activists. Now Peru Is Mine combines extensive oral history interviews with archival research to chronicle his struggles for indigenous land rights and political inclusion as well as his fight against anti-Indian racism. His compelling story—framed by Jaymie Patricia Heilman's historical contextualization—covers nearly eight decades, from the poverty of his youth and teaching himself to read, to becoming an internationally known activist. Llamojha also recounts his life's tragedies, such as being forced to flee his home and the disappearance of his son during the war between the Shining Path and the government. His life gives insight into many key developments in Peru's tumultuous twentieth-century history, among them urbanization, poverty, racism, agrarian reform, political organizing, the demise of the hacienda system, and the Shining Path. The centrality of his embrace of his campesino identity forces a rethinking of how indigenous identity works inside Peru, while the implications of his activism broaden our understanding of political mobilization in Cold War Latin America.


"Heilman has made a significant contribution to the literature by bringing Llamojha's story to a broad audience. . . . [T]he book works equally as well for general audiences or undergraduate classrooms as for specialists seeking thoughtful reflections on the political uses of identity. . . . Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
  — M. Becker, Choice

"The book is well-written and illustrated with photographs, excerpts from Llamojha's writings, and maps of the area of his activity.... Now Peru is Mine is a useful tool for learning about Peru's politics and history over the last century." — William O. Deaver, Jr., Journal of Global South Studies

"Now Peru is Mine is a major academic, intellectual and editorial success. Every specialist and student of Latin America, the Andes and Peru will enjoy this book. This is an exemplary study of how a single life illustrates the complexities of a century." — Javier Puente, Journal of Latin American Studies

"This is a moving and fascinating account of indigenous activism in a turbulent era that will be of great value to historians and political scientists seeking to understand the motives and sacrifices of those at the heart of their disciplines." — Eugene Carey, Latin American Review of Books

"We follow this gripping story of travail and turmoil through Llamojha’s simple, but heartfelt narrative, guided by Heilman’s skilled interviewing, as it unfolds on multiple fronts—local, regional and international. . . . Indeed a unique and worthy contribution that helps fill a large void in the historiography of the second half of the twentieth century." — Peter Klarén, The Americas

“By writing this important book, Heilman and Llamojha have provided general readers, college students, and specialists alike the chance to ?nd both learning and inspiration in the life story of a contemporary Peruvian activist.” — G. Antonio Espinoza, Ethnohistory

Now Peru Is Mine succeeds in offering a highly accessible and instructive account for students of Latin America and Peru specialists. One hopes that many readers get to know Llamojha Mitma and that his life story might serve to inspire new scholarship and new struggles.” — Joseph P. Feldman, Hispanic American Historical Review

“A highly accessible book that provides unique insights on Peruvian society and politics.” — Dan Cozart, The Latin Americanist

"A compact, accessible, and moving book. . . . An invaluable contribution to Peruvian, Latin American, and Native American studies." — Adrián Lerner Patrón, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"Heilman’s homage seems an act of restitution as well as a tribute of friendship. . . . Smooth and vivid, Now Peru Is Mine will bring novices close into the experience of agrarian elders as well as providing freshly researched micro-level evidence for historians. It remains only to say that Heilman’s and Llamojha’s photos are simply beyond praise." — Frank Salomon, Journal of Anthropological Research

"This book is a handsome contribution to scholarship on Indigenous activists, their historical context, and the activist intellectual role in the Andes. . . . [Now Peru Is Mine] is an excellent piece to teach Modern Latin America and other courses on Indigenous peoples’ history in the Americas." — Waskar T. Ari-Chachaki, Native American and Indigenous Studies

"Llamojha’s life history reflects the broader political history, hopes, and disappointments of the Peruvian and Latin American left, and tells of their possibilities, failures and legacies." — Salman Hussain, PoLAR

"Now Peru Is Mine makes a brilliantly original contribution to the study of twentieth-century Peru. Illuminating Manuel Llamojha Mitma's compelling and tragic life as well as his contribution to peasant politics, it provides insight into Peruvian politics, the politics of the Cold War, and the Sino-Soviet split as well. This is a wonderful book." — Paulo Drinot, author of The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State

"A winning character with strong storytelling skills and a lifelong commitment to social justice, Manuel Llamojha Mitma takes us into the labyrinth of twentieth-century Peruvian history. And Jaymie Patricia Heilman contextualizes Llamojha's compelling story with great insight. Now Peru Is Mine is an exemplary collaboration as wondrous and lovingly fashioned as the little painted wood dioramas, the retablos, for which Llamojha’s native Ayacucho region has so long been renowned." — Orin Starn, coeditor of The Peru Reader


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Manuel Llamojha Mitma (1921-2016) was an indigenous political activist who formerly served as the head of the Peruvian Peasant Confederation from 1962 to 1978.

Jaymie Patricia Heilman is Associate Professor of History and Classics at the University of Alberta and author of Before the Shining Path: Politics in Rural Ayacucho, 1895–1980.

Table of Contents Back to Top
A Note on Place  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction  1
1. "I'm Going to Be President of the Republic": The Formation of an Activist, 1921-1948  19
2. "I Made the Hacendados Tremble": Defending Jhajhamarka Campesinos, 1948-1952  41
3. "Jail Was Like My Home": Fighting for Concepción, 1952-1961  65
4. For Justice, Land, and Liberty: National and International Leadership, 1961-1968  99
5. "Everything Was Division": Political Marginalization, 1968-1980  131
6. A Wound That Won't Heal: Political Violence, Displacement, and Loss, 1980-2000  153
Afterword. "You Have to Stand Firm": The Elderly Activist, 200-2015  175
Notes  189
Bibliography  217
Index  229
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6238-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6218-0
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