cover image: Don't Cry: The Enlhet History of the Chaco War



Don't Cry: The Enlhet History of the Chaco War

7 Apr 2022

The Enlhet, an Indigenous people of the Paraguayan Chaco, remained virtually untouched by colonialism until the 1920s. This changed with the arrival of Mennonites, who began settling in the centre of Enlhet territory in 1927; the Chaco War soon after (1932–35); the deadliest conflict in the western hemisphere after the American Civil War; and a terrible smallpox epidemic at the same time.In Don’t Cry the Enlhet give their own account of this period, focusing on their experiences of the war between Paraguay and Bolivia, in voices never before heard outside their own society. Their accounts, translated from the Enlhet language and set alongside sensitive historical-anthropological analysis, allow unprecedented access to these hitherto hidden perspectives. Enlhet witnesses to those times describe the processes of colonization to which they were subjected while, at the same time, insisting on their own vision of the world. This vision challenges the views of colonial society, symbolizing the search for a relationship that assumes a shared history, addresses the gulf between peoples, and embraces the potential of each. These oral histories bear witness to the role of Indigenous voices in overcoming the colonial mindset deeply rooted within Western societies, which lacks the conceptual framework to meet Indigenous societies on equal terms.A unique example of history from an Indigenous perspective, this book reflects a crucial moment for a people who preserved their language despite adverse circumstances and whose origins still inform their daily life. Don’t Cry demonstrates the importance of native voices for both Indigenous and colonial societies.
history / latin america / south america history / native american


Hannes Kalisch, Ernesto Unruh, Nicholas Regan

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