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In the past decade, anthropologists have reevaluated what they have taken for granted about the process of mestizaje and the meaning of mestizo identities in diverse Latin American countries Comparisons between such processes and identities in Latin versus North America have been lacking, which has tended to obscure the ways that nationalist ideologies have produced and naturalized such identities, and, moreover, how anthropology itself has proven useful to nationalist projects in this endeavor. The identity-making systems that create knowledge about and legitimate the existence of indigenous peoples in this hemisphere persistently recapitulate anthropological obsessions with cultural traits and genealogy. This article offers preliminary comparative observations from the United States and from Iatin American examples based upon recent ethnographic work, stressing that advances in such studies should be oriented around the politics of alliance with indigenous communities and movements.