Cover of The Children of Solaga by Daina Sanchez
The Children of Solaga
Indigenous Belonging across the U.S.-Mexico Border
Daina Sanchez

December 2024
192 pages.
from $25.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503640221
Paperback ISBN: 9781503641372



In this book, Daina Sanchez examines how Indigenous Oaxacan youth form racial, ethnic, community, and national identities away from their ancestral homeland. Assumptions that Indigenous peoples have disappeared altogether, or that Indigenous identities are fixed, persist in the popular imagination. This is far from the truth. Sanchez demonstrates how Indigenous immigrants continually remake their identities and ties to their homelands while navigating racial and social institutions in the U.S. and Latin America, and, in doing so, transform notions of Indigeneity and push the boundaries of Latinidad.

Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork between Los Angeles, California and San Andrés Solaga, a Zapotec town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, The Children of Solaga centers Indigenous ways of knowing and being in the world, and adds a much-needed transnational dimension to the study of Indigenous immigrant adaptation and assimilation. Sanchez, herself a diasporic Solagueña, argues that the lived experiences of Indigenous immigrants offer a unique vantage point from which to see how migration across settler-borders transforms processes of self-making among displaced Indigenous people. Rather than accept attempts by both Mexico and the U.S. to erase their Indigenous identities or give in to anti-Indigenous and anti-immigrant prejudice, Oaxacan immigrants and their children defiantly celebrate their Indigenous identities through practices of el goce comunal ("communal joy") in their new homes.

About the author

Daina Sanchez is Assistant Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"The Children of Solagais a thoughtful and engaging book, filled with insights that only great ethnography can provide. Daina Sanchez, the daughter of Indigenous Oaxacan migrants, explores belonging in both the United States and her ancestral pueblo for her and other Indigenous youth, a story that is often overlooked or neglected. It is a must read for its unique contribution to anthropology, migration studies, Indigenous studies, and American studies."

—Leo R. Chavez, University of California, Irvine

"As a member of the community she studies, Daina Sanchez brings readers to the heart of the music, language, social relations, communal joy (el goce comunal), and sharing that create multi-generational, transborder relationships for the Zapotec people of San Andrés Solaga in Oaxaca and Los Angeles. Sanchez demonstrates the power of Solagueño band music to develop pride, and a sense of belonging especially among Solaga youth, despite anti-Indigenous racism among Anglos, Mexicans, and Latinx people. The Children of Solaga is an innovative contribution to youth studies, Native Studies, and diaspora studies, adding much to our understanding of youth in transborder communities."

—Lynn Stephen, University of Oregon