Essay on Historical Truth

1410 Words 6 Pages
Historical Truth

Historical Truth?

As a child sits through history class in the first grade, he or she learns of the relationship between Christopher Columbus and the Indians. This history lesson tells the children of the dependence each group had on each other. But as the children mature, the relations between the two groups began to change with their age. So the story that the teenagers are told is a gruesome one of savage killings and lying. When the teenagers learn of this, they themselves might want to do research on this subject to find out the truth. But as one searches, one finds the inconsistency between the research books. So the question is, who is telling the truth? Mary Louise Pratt and Jane Tompkins probe these
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A “contact zone,” according to Pratt, is where two cultures “meet, clash, and grapple with each other”(625). “Ethnography” is a story where the superior writes about the inferior, while “autoethnography” is the opposite, telling a story by the inferior about the superior. As the cultures clash, the winner gets to tell the story. The winner is usually the one who has the superior power. Pratt brings up this idea while she discusses two authors: de la Vega and Poma. De la
Vega’s “ethnographic text” illustrates the relationship between the Incas and the Spanish during the conquering of the Inca’s land. On the other hand, Poma’s “autoethnographic text” on this historical account contains conflicting ideas. But both of these essays are sent to the king of Spain. Which essay is read by the king? For one, it is not Poma’s essay since it is [s]uch a text is heterogeneous on the reception end as well as the production end: it will read very differently to people in different positions in the contact zone...it deploys systems of meaning making, the letter necessarily means differently to bilingual Spanish-Quechua speakers and to monolingual speakers in either language (536)

With such a language barrier between who Poma is trying to make contact with, the Spanish King, allows his letter to be lost. But de la Vega, who is a son of a
Spanish official, writes his letter to the King of Spain. De la Vega also spoke
Quechua, but “ his book is
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