The Squatter And The Don Analysis

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The indigenous of California experienced oppression at the hands of the Spanish, who abused and exploited them in order to build their wealth and power. In Pablo Tac’s account “Indian Life at San Luis Rey”, he depicts the way the Spanish dictate every aspect of the indigenous lives, presented under the guise of religion and leadership from genté de razón. In contrasts to Tac’s observations is Maria Ruiz de Burton’s novel The Squatter and The Don. Burton’s novel exalts Spanish-Americans as morally righteous and as intelligent leaders, who are vastly superior to their indigenous servants. Both Tac and Burton portray a Californian society where indigenous labor is used as an oppressive tool, as well as how the Spanish create the stereotype of …show more content…
Don Mariano states “…I don't go ‘busquering’ around lassoing, unless I wish to do so…You can hire an Indian boy to do that part. They know how to handle la reata and echar el lazo to perfection” (Burton 48). Mariano establishes that he and the other Spanish have the luxury to choose whether they labor or not, whereas an indigenous individual does not have that opportunity. Instead, the natives are expected to be skilled and useful, able to do labor that upholds the quality of the cattle and ranches of the Spanish upper class. Don Mariano states the availability of native labor without hesitance, as using the indigenous for their labor is the norm in the Californios society, and Mariano wishes to try and convince the Anglo-Americans to partake in the system in order to reinforce it. The desire for reinforcement comes from the resistance that the indigenous practice in eschewing labor for leisure. The narrator says “The two Indian vaqueros after putting their cattle in the corral, came down to inquire for further orders, and seeing the race going on, they thought they could join in too” (Burton 229). Initially, the indigenous are doing their jobs, and proceed to try and receive orders for their next job or task as they are expected to do so, but the natives resist this and decide to practice leisure instead when they see the opportunity to do so. The narrator makes note that the natives are wrong in doing this, since the natives “thought they could join in…”, but it is not within their authority to think so. This is emphasized when Victoriano says “Que es eso? A que vienen acá? Quien los convida? Cállense la boca, no sean malcreados, Vallense!” (Burton 230). The Spanish authority figure sees the indigenous practicing leisure by joking

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