The Peoples

Although a term like the borderlands suggests a setting in which two monolithic groups confronted one another across a clearly defined boundary, in fact an incredibly diverse collection of peoples called the U.S.-Mexico borderlands home in the mid-nineteenth century. Centuries of migration and conquest had created an intricate mosaic of communities, each with a complicated history of conflict and cooperation with its neighbors. Moreover, none of these communities existed in isolation from the other. Through trade, raids, employment, or intermarriage, individuals regularly moved from one community to another.

O'odham Pima and Papago Sáíkiné
Nnēē Apache 'O:b
Vecinos Mexican Naka̡i̡yé
American Milga:n Innaa

One of the most telling measures of the region's diversity is to be found in the complex array of names that coalesced around each ethnic group. These names speak not only to the linguistic complexity that existed in the borderlands, but also to the different ways each group perceived itself and was, in turn, viewed by others.