The Indigenous Eroticism and Colonial Morality in New Mexico: The Confession Manuals of New Spain

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The Indigenous Eroticism and Colonial Morality in New Mexico: The Confession Manuals of New Spain

The matters of sexual interactions and social norms have always been a controversial subject all through history. After reading these confession manuals, I was a bit stunned by the content of it, but even more astonished by the question a higher priest would ask. Their obsession with knowing what's now considered personal behavior, was what stunned me the most.

The Spaniards believed that, "lust was the Indian's most frequent sin", yet they raped and took the virginity of indigenous women. It was sort of a way of washing their hands of sin and blaming the less educated society for the more shameful activities. The Spaniards also imposed these laws and regulations that caused even more deaths amongst the Indigenous people. In Mesoamerica marriage was not indissoluble. According to investigators provisional marriages in pre-conquest Mexico and in Mayan culture wife or husband could temporarily or permanently interrupt the marriages. In the text by de Landa we discover that men start killing their wives due to infidelity, "...and now, since the Spaniards in this matter (when women leave their husbands for other men) kill theirs, they (the Mayans) being to mistreat and even kill their wives".

These indigenous people like any other uncivilized society was driven by pleasure and didn’t see their excessive and at times improper sexual acts as a sin as the Spaniards did, which in a way was a very hypocritical act. This battle to "save people's souls", was an act with good intentions led by sinners, just like the one they claimed they could save. All the Spaniards did was destroyed the identity of these people, wiped out their temples and gods. In conclusion I believe the Spaniards, just like they did with all their colonization’s tried to take the native's identity, culture, and in other cases land and treasures.
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