Alternative Title

Mestiza, Métis, American

Subject Area



This project compares mestizaje in Mexican American communities of the Texas-Mexico border and métissage in Franco American communities of the Maine-Canada border, from the pre-contact period to the 20th-century. Exploring the central themes of intermixing, borders, and identity, the paper shows the long-standing presence of mixed-ancestry groups in the U.S. and investigates how social and geopolitical borders have been used to racialize and exclude these groups from U.S. history, and, ultimately from acceptance as part of U.S. identity. The comparison of Texas’s Lower Rio Grande Valley and Maine’s St. John River Valley follows the development of these communities and recognizes the transborder relationships with their international sister cities. Family stories help show how the personal, local lives of borderlanders were interrelated with national and international events, and how locals responded. A comparative study of these two frontiers reveals the nature of geopolitical borders between international neighbors, the social borders created between groups within U.S. society, and the relationships that can bridge those borders.

Degree Date

Spring 5-20-2017

Document Type


Degree Name





John R. Chávez

Second Advisor

Crista J. Deluzio

Third Advisor

Andrew R. Graybill

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License