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The mystery of La Malinche

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20min 12sec
La Malinche
Jesús Sánchez Uribe/Courtesy Denver Art Museum
El sueño de la Malinche (Malinche’s dream) by Antonio Ruíz, 1939.

Was she villain, victim, or somewhere in between?

Five hundred years ago a young Indigenous slave known as La Malinche was forced into service as an interpreter for the Spanish forces that conquered Mexico. Through the centuries, her name has been uttered as an epithet, or spoken reverently by those who viewed her as a hero. In the 1960s, she became an icon of Chicana feminism.

Historically, La Malinche’s story has been told from a colonial perspective. A new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum offers a different take. The show is Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche. It’s on through May 8.