Bonfires of Culture
Franciscans, Indigenous Leaders, and the Inquisition in Early Mexico, 1524–1540
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Drawing on previously underutilized records of Inquisition proceedings, Don examines four of the most important trials of native leaders to uncover the Franciscans’ motivations for using the Inquisition and the indigenous response to it. She focuses on the consecutive impact of four trials—against nahualli Martín Ocelotl, an influential native priest; Andrés Mixcoatl, an advocate of open resistance to the Franciscans; Miguel Pochtecatl Tlaylotla, a guardian of native religious artifacts; and Don Carlos of Texcoco, a native chief burned at the stake for heresy. Don reveals the heart of Bishop Zumárraga’s methods of conducting the trials—including spectacular bonfires in which any native idols found in the possession of professed converts were destroyed. Don’s knowledge of the contemporary Spain that shaped the friars’ perspectives enables her to offer new understanding of the evolution of Franciscan attitudes toward evangelization. Bonfires of Culture reexamines important primary documents and offers a new perspective on a pivotal historical era.