The Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821 and Mexico gained independence from Spain. The territory of the newly formed Mexican state included the American Southwest and California. The Plan of Iguala set forth the ideals for the new country, including doing away with all legal distinctions regarding Indians and affirming that Indians were to be citizens of Mexico on an equal basis with non-Indians.
In his book Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960, Edward H. Spicer reports:
“The Plan of Iguala had insisted on no racial distinctions for citizenship, and the federal constitution adopted in 1821 pursued this course.”
Edward H. Spicer also reports:
“All Mexican-born persons were to be citizens, and all citizens were guaranteed equal protection in the political life.”
According to the Plan:
“All the inhabitants of New Spain, without distinction, whether Europeans, Africans or Indians are citizens of the Monarchy, with the rights to be employed in any post, according to merits and virtues.”
Edward H. Spicer writes:
“By making the Mexican people one, and by legalizing their human rights, both political and economic, the friction between ‘the castes,’ fostered by Spanish distinctions of race and birth, would disappear and open the way to vigorous nationhood and economic progress.”
In California, a Mexican group inspecting mission lands between San Diego de Alcála and San Juan Capistrano came across a large stone which was sacred to the Indians. The Mexican priests ordered the rock to be destroyed. However, the rock was not destroyed.
The rock was a woman’s rock or a fertility rock: a large granite monolith that is vulval in appearance and used by women who wished to become pregnant or who were pregnant and wished an easy childbirth. In the eyes of the priests, the site was of “venal nature” and was therefore sinful.
A group of Mexicans, under the leadership of Luis Arguello with 67 soldiers, invaded the Lake Miwok territory. Several Lake Miwok men were pressed into service as “guides”, but many of them managed to escape.
In Texas, the new Mexican government permitted immigrant Indians to remain in the territory in lands selected by Cherokee Chief Bowles. Following the new constitution and the Plan of Iguala, the Indians were promised title to the lands they select. In his book The Kickapoos: Lordsof the Middle Border, A.M. Gibson reports:
“Encouraged by the friendly attitude of the new rulers of Texas, the confederated Indians flourished.”
In Texas, the new Mexican government attempted to restore peace with the Lipan Apache. They negotiated a treaty and conferred the rank of lieutenant colonel on Chief Castro (also known as Cuelgas de Castro).
In Texas, the Mexicans approached the Comanche to discuss a possible peace. In a conference which included Pisinampe, Parakevitsi, Guonique, and Temanca, the Mexicans explained that the new government was not Spanish, but Mexican. Pisinampe spoke in favor of peace and the council voted to send one of their principal chiefs to negotiate a peace treaty with the Mexicans.
In New Mexico, the Mexicans stopped issuing rations to the Mescalero Apache who then resumed raiding in order to survive.
In New Mexico, a Comanche delegation traveled to Santa Fe to receive their annual gifts. The newly formed Mexican government, however, did not provide the gifts—something which the Comanche had received for 35 years and which they viewed as a perpetual privilege. In response the Comanche began raiding the nearby villages, pillaging the houses, killing sheep and cows, and raping two women.
Twice each week this series explores various American Indian topics. More about the histories of the nineteenth century from this series:
Indians 101: California Missions 200 Years Ago, 1819
Indians 101: Greed, Corruption, and the Foundation for Oklahoma Statehood, 1893 to 1894
Indians 101: The American Indian Liberation Army
Indians 101: Georgia, the Cherokee, and the Execution of Corn Tassel
Indians 101: Suppressing Religion with Military Force
Indians 101: The Navajo and Mexico
Indians 101: The United States and the Pueblos
Indians 101: Kansas Land Sharks and the Kickapoo