Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John T. Way

Second Advisor

Ian C. Fletcher


Indigenismo has often been associated with leftist figures like José Carlos Mariátegui and Víctor Haya de la Torre. The association of the movement with leftist intellectuals and political activists has created an image of indigenismo as a mostly left-leaning movement. However, this study argues that a significant number of indigenistas believed in the liberal idea of private property ownership as the solution to the Indian problem. They also believed in the importance of education as a mechanism that would help integrate indigenous people into Peruvian society by teaching them reading and writing, civics, history, and technical skills. Indigenistas also sought to make indigenous culture the central element of Peru’s national culture and identity. This cultural project, however, did not imply the substitution of the Hispanic heritage with the indigenous heritage. Instead, most indigenistas sought the inclusion of indigenous cultural expressions as the principal component of Peruvian culture.