Negotiating sovereign claims in Oaxacan post-mortem repatriation
Lars Ove Trans
This chapter explores the process of death and repatriation of a Mexican migrant, Jacinto, from his home in Los Angeles to his native village of San Pedro Yalehua. The village of San Pedro Yalehua is a part of Zapotec Indian community located in the Sierra Juárez mountain range in the southern state of Oaxaca. It argues that the involved authorities in the process of making sovereign claims over Jacinto's dead body concomitantly seek to shape meanings related to membership, belonging and obligation. The chapter illustrates how various authorities seek to exert their sovereignty by inscribing their claims on the deceased migrant body. The importance of death and the corpse as a site for identification of symbolic, national boundaries arises as it not only reinforces the idea of Mexico as a nation but also stresses the importance of Mexico in the lives of the migrants.