Jeanette Rodriguez is Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University. She is the coauthor (with Ted Fortier) of Cultural Memory: Resistance, Faith, and Identity. Iakoiane Wakerahkats:teh is Condoled Bear Clan Mother of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.
Cultural Memory is not a comparative work, but it is a multicultural one, with four distinct case studies: the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the devotion it inspires among Mexican Americans; the role of secrecy and ceremony among the Yaqui Indians of Arizona; the evolving narrative of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador as transmitted through the church of the poor and the martyrs; and the syncretism of Catholic Tzeltal Mayans of Chiapas, Mexico. In each case, the authors' religious credentials eased the resistance encountered by social scientists and other researchers. The result is a landmark work in cultural studies, a conversation between a liberation theologian and a cultural anthropologist on the religious nature of cultural memory and the power it brings to those who wield it.
Rodriguez's study offers an important reinterpretation of one of the New World's most potent symbols. Her conclusions dispute the common perception that Guadalupe is a model of servility and suffering. Rather, she reinterprets the symbol of Guadalupe as a liberating and empowering catalyst for Mexican-American women.