The author's considerable gift as a writer and admirable empathy with the subject and the different (and opposing) actors are two notable qualities that make "Indigenous Apostles" a compelling read. Revealing both the inner workings of Maya society and the research process of a superb mind, this book deserves the widest possible readership.
Jean Meyer, Centre for Research and Teaching in Social Sciences, Mexico City.
Stockel also explores Jesuit and Franciscan attempts to maintain their missions on New Spain's northern frontier during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She focuses on how international political and economic forces shaped the determination of the priests to mold the Apaches into Christians and tax-paying citizens of the Empire. Diseases, warfare, interpersonal relations, and an overwhelming number of surrendered Chiricahuas at the missions, along with reduced supplies from Mexico City, forced the missionaries to use every means to continue their efforts at conversion, including deporting the Apaches to Cuba and selling others to Christian families on the colonial frontier.
The texts included in this work are diverse. Their authors range from Spanish ecclesiastics to native assistants, from Catholics to Methodists, and from sixteenth-century Nahuas to nineteenth-century Maya. Although translated from its native language into English, each text illustrates the impact of European and native cultures on its content. Medieval tales popular in Europe are transformed to accommodate a New World native audience, biblical figures assume native identities, and texts admonishing Christian behavior are tailored to meet the demands of a colonial native population. Moreover, the book provides the first translation and analysis of a Methodist catechism written in Yucatec Maya to convert the Maya of Belize and Yucatan. Ultimately, readers are offered an uncommon opportunity to read for themselves the translated Christianities that Nahuatl and Maya texts contained.