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Researching In The Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City

Researching In The Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City

Last updated: 11/16/2015

Most scholars doing historical research of any sort in Mexico will likely have to stop in the Archivo General de la Nacion at least once. The AGN  is located in the delegación Venustiano Carranza. If you are lost and looking for the archive, asking for the Palacio de Lecumberri is a better option, since more people know where that is.

Consultation Hours:

9AM-4:45PM, M-F

Technically the galerias are open until 5PM, but most will ask you to return your documents at 4:45PM.

How to get there:

What You Need to Register:

  • A reference letter (typically your adviser or institution)
  • An ID (drivers license works but I would use a passport because that WI make things go smoother)
  • Fill out an application provided by the AGN
  • An idea of what you want to see in the archive. The application will ask what your research topic is, and what you want to see, if you don’t have an answer for the either of these, the staff will ask you to look on the database and find some things. A good place to start is by checking the AGN’s online search guide. Keep in mind the online search guide is not definitive and you will want to also poke around in “Archidoc” once you get to the AGN. Archidoc is only available on site.
  • The first time you go to the AGN, you will have to go to the centro de referencia. Here you will have to submit and fill-out the items listed above.

What You Need to Consult Documents:

  • Your archival research kit
  • A recommend bringing headphones.
    • Archives can be very noisy, from camera shutters to chatting. In order to avoid any issues I simply wear headphones and listen to music. I find this makes the time go by quicker as well.

Consultation/ Image Reproduction

  • Transcribing
    • You can either type your transcriptions on a laptop, or write them down on loose pieces of paper.
  •  Photographs
    • The AGN allows you to photograph documents for free.  You can consult most documents in the AGN as long as they are not in restoration, and they have not been previously digitized.
  • Digitizing
    • You can pay  to have a document digitized. This is the price break down:
      • 100 MXN per foja for 300 dpi scans
      • 180 MXN per foja for 600 dpi scans
    • If the item you wish to consult has already been digitized, you can request printouts for 10 pesos per page. This is much cheaper than digitizing.
    • NOTE: If an item has been digitized, you will not be allowed to consult the original unless you appeal. The appeals process takes a week or so, and is a hassle. The most common option is consulting the document on ARCHIDOC in the AGN (free), getting prints (see above), or paying for pdf reproductions (see above).

The Daily Grind at the AGN:

  • When you first enter the AGN, you will have to make quick right and get a locker. You are not allowed to take anything past this point except a laptop/tablet, cellphone, camera, loose leafs of paper, and a bottle of water. You are also allowed to use a clear bag to carry your items in and out of the galleries. You cannot enter with a tripod or cases for you laptop, cellphone, camera, or tablet. You will have to leave your backpack in a locker that will be assigned to you. When I started going to the AGN you had to leave a 20 MXN deposit for the key, now you leave your ID.
  • Once you get past the locker section, you will get to a main security desk. Here you will have to register any large electronics (e.g., digital camera, or laptop) that you take into the AGN. On the way out, you will have to sign out at this very same location.
  • Assuming you are registered and have an investigator ID, you can head over to the gallery that you wish to visit. Every gallery has a guard right inside of its entrance, they will ask for you investigator ID, and provenance. Then you will be free to investigate.
  • The AGN’s collection is divided into various viewing rooms, called galerias. I will update this post soon with a full list of what each galeria contains.



Where to eat:

  • The AGN has a cafeteria for its employees that it opens to researchers as well. The cost is 50 MXN.
  • Bring lunch
  • Eat in a fonda nearby. There a couple of restaurants nearby, depending on how safe you feel in the area, you might want to poke around.

Always be aware of your surroundings at all times and try to keep valuables tucked away. There have been reports of muggings and such from San Lazaro to the AGN and in the park behind the AGN. Generally the AGN area is safe, but you should be careful. I would stay away from the AGN area early in the morning, or at night. Definitely avoid staying in housing or hotels near the AGN, unless you will be staying with family or friends.

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries Across the Americas – 2/1/2013 at the University of Arizona

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries Across the Americas – 2/1/2013 at the University of Arizona

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries

   Across the Americas

University of Arizona, Center for Latin American Studies Human Rights Initiative


Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Rogers College of Law

Friday, February 1, 2013

8:30am – 6pm

Arizona Historical Society

949 E. 2nd Street

The objective of this one day conference is to bring to the fore a range of issues and concerns with regard to natural resource extraction on indigenous lands across the Americas. Drawing on a human rights framework the conference participants examine some of the multiple, complex responses by indigenous peoples to the social, juridical and environmental dimensions of extraction. Recent examples from Chile to Mesoamerica to the United States, Canada and the Russian Far North illustrate the timeliness of such an examination.


The conference intends to facilitate a meaningful exchange of ideas and practices among social science and legal scholars, activists and between the university and the community at large. We broaden our scope geographically to open a discussion about the commonalities and contradictions that ordinary indigenous people face on their homelands. The Center for Latin American Studies will interview and film with each participant at the conference about their work. These five minute video clips will be made available on their UA LAS website.


Provisional Program


8:00 coffee


8:30 Yaqui Pascua opening ceremony( not confirmed)


8:45 Dean JP Jones, College of Social and Behavioral Science – Welcome

9:00 Professor Linda Green, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, Associate Professor of Anthropology – opening remarks, moderator



9:15  Dr. Salvador Aquino, anthropologist, CIESAS, Pacifico Sur,  Cuidad de  Oaxaca, Mexico  “Si a la vida, no a la mineria: Large scale mining exploitation and the challenges confronting indigenous peoples in Mexico”


10:15 coffee break



10:30 Professor Benadict Colombi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American Indian Studies, UA, “Kamchatka: Mapping Indigenous Cartographies and Extractive Industries”

11:00 Professor Dana Powell, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Appalachian State University  “Extractive Industries have productive effects: Energy activism on the Dine Nation”

11:30 Mr. Manuel Prieto, PhD student, School of Geography and Development, UA “The Chilean Water Reforms: Mining and Dispossession of the Atacameno People”

12:00 Mr. Cory Schott, PhD candidate, Dept. of History, UA “Colonial Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries in the Americas

12:15 Mr. Sebastian Quinac, “Reporting from the “Encouentro del Pueblos de MesoAmerica “, Sierra de Oaxaca, January 2013


12:30 Discussion


12:45-1:30 lunch hosted by LAS and IPLPP


1:30 Professor Robert A.Williams, Jr., E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and American Indian Studies,  Faculty Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program,UA- “Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights to Ancestral Lands in Historical and Contemporary Perspective:Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group v. Canada”

2:30 Professor James Hopkins, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, UA, “Rio Yaqui Land and Water Rights and the Agro-Chem Industrial Complex”

3:00  Ms. Seanna Howard, Staff Attorney, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program—“Maya Community of Southern Belize and Western Shoshone: Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American Human Rights System”

3:30 “Arizona Tribes, Extractive Industries and Indigenous Human Rights”- (speaker TBA)


Mr. Austin Nunez, Chairman, San Xavier District, Tohono O’odham Nation—Mining, Water and O’odham lands (not confirmed)

Mr. Vernon Masayesva, Founder and Director of The Black Mesa Trust and former Tribal Chairman of The Hopi Nation—coal mining, water and Hopi lands (not confirmed)


4:30 Discussion


5:30-6:15 Closing Ceremony and Performance – Institute for Latin American Studies Leaders, cultural exchange from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.


Co- sponsors: American Indian Studies, Institute for the Environment, Confluence Center, Department of History, School of Anthropology, School of Geography and Development


The Nahuatl Language Project to Host Dr. John Sullivan at UCR

The Nahuatl Language Project to Host Dr. John Sullivan at UCR

The Nahuatl Language Project at UCR will be hosting Dr. John Sullivan, the director of the IDIEZ Summer Nahuatl Institute in Los Angeles . Students interested in the summer program are encouraged to attend the event.


Nahuatl Language Project at UCR’s Meeting info:



INTN 4043

University of California, Riverside

More information on the summer course can be found in this link.

Check out the Nahuatl Language Project’s blog for more information.

Nahuatl Course in LA

Nahuatl Course in LA

2012 IDIEZ Summer Nahuatl Institute in Los Angeles
The Zacatecas Institute for Teaching and Research in Ethnology (IDIEZ), Macehualli Educational
Research (MER), la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas (UAZ) and California State University Los
Angeles (CSULA) are partnering to offer the opportunity to study Classical and Modern Nahuatl at the
beginning and intermediate-advanced levels in a summer intensive course.
Where: California State University Los Angeles (CSULA).
When: July 2 to August 10, 2012.
Instructors: John Sullivan, Victoriano de la Cruz Cruz, Delfina de la Cruz de la Cruz, Sabina Cruz de la
Cruz, Ofelia Cruz Morales, Catalina Cruz de la Cruz, Eduardo de la Cruz Cruz, Abelardo de la Cruz de la
Cruz, Ana Delia Cruz de la Cruz.
Objectives: The course seeks to: 1. develop students’ oral comprehension, speaking, reading, writing
and knowledge of language structure, as well as their cultural wisdom and sensibility, in order to
facilitate their ability to communicate effectively, correctly and creatively in everyday situations; 2.
provide students with instruments and experiences that demonstrate the continuity between past and
present Nahua culture, through the study of colonial and modern texts, and conversation with native
speakers; 3. penetrate into the historical, economic, political, social and cultural aspects of Nahua
civilization; and 4. prepare students to take university level humanities courses taught in Nahuatl
alongside native speakers.
Activities and schedule: All students will have class approximately five hours per day, Monday through
Friday for a minimum total of 145 contact hours: two hours and fifteen minutes of Modern Nahuatl
immersion and introductory grammar with native speaking instructors; two hours of Classical Nahuatl
taught by John Sullivan; and an additional three hours of individual work per week on a research project
of the student’s choice with a native speaking tutor. Intermediate-advanced students will study specific
topics drawn from Older and Modern sources, using Nahuatl as the sole language of class discussion,
and continue to work with individual tutors. Optional extracurricular activities include traditional dance,
song, and embroidery, as well as public presentations given by students on their research projects.
Materials: All students must have personal copies of the following texts: 1. Karttunen, Frances. 1992. An
Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. $31.77 @; 2.
Lockhart, James. 2001. Nahuatl as Written. Lessons in Older Written Nahuatl, with Copious Examples
and Texts. Stanford: Stanford University Press. $22.10 @; 3. Molina, Alonso de. 1977(1555-
1571). Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana. Colección “Biblioteca
Porrúa” 44. México: Porrúa. Contact John Sullivan at regarding the purchase of this book;
4. Two weeks before class begins students will be sent, free of charge, electronic copies of the exercise
manuals, grammar charts, vocabulary lists and manuscripts which will be studied.
Credit: The Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas will register students, issue grades and grant 145 hours
of course credit.
Tuition: Tuition of 5,000 dollars is payable to our US non-profit corporation, Macehualli Educational
Research. A receipt for a tax-deductible donation will be issued upon request.
Financial aide: IDIEZ will make every effort to ensure that financial constraints are not an obstacle to
participation in the program. If you are in need of financial assistance for the Summer Nahuatl Institute,
please contact John Sullivan at Financial aid may also be available in the form of FLAS
fellowships through your own institution or another Title VI funded National Resource Center for Latin
American Studies.
Room and Board: Information regarding on-campus room and board options at CSULA will be available
beginning in February. Students who choose not to stay on campus may make their own arrangements
for off-campus housing.
Contact: This course description is available at Please direct all questions to
John Sullivan at, +52 1 492 103-0195 or +52 492 768-6048.

Tips for Travelers Conducting Research in Mexico City

Tips for Travelers Conducting Research in Mexico City

Updated: 11/16/2015


This article is intended for researchers that are visiting Mexico City for the first time. Although this article is primarily based on my experiences in Mexico City, Morelia, and Puebla, I think these tips will help anyone traveling in Mexico in general.

Your Best Friends While in Mexico City

The first thing you are going to want to do when you are in Mexico City is find a Sanborns. This chain of stores will be some of your bestfriends while in Mexico’s Federal District. Sanborn’s has clean, free, and safe restrooms. Moreover, Sanborns stores  have ATM machines that are not only safe, but also offer competitive rates on fees. Lastly, Sanborns also sell calling cards, water and other supplies for travelers.

Another store you are going to want to look for is OXXO and 7-11 (yes like the US). This chain of convenience stores has competetive prices on water, snacks and even junk food. OXXOs are all over Mexico City and they are usually open 24/7.

  • This is a great place to buy pepto bismol, advil etc. late at night when pharmacies are closed

Get a cellphone! 

  • Once you are serious about researching abroad you will either get a “world phone” or switch to a US phone company that uses GSM technology for their mobile devices. Another option is a cheap “burner” phone which you can buy for under 20 USD in the Plaza de la Tecnología. A third option would be to purchase a mid or high range smartphone for a Mexican provider. I don’t like this idea because you end up with a phone you can’t use in the US unless you pay extra to unlock it since Mexican phone companies do not unlock phones for free.
  • If you are on T-Mobile, MetroPCS, or AT&T you can request to have your phone unlocked (meaning that it can take a SIM card from any phone provider as long as it is the correct band. Luckily, Mexico and the US use the same bands.
  • As long as your phone is unlocked, it will work in Mexico. I have tried the big three companies in Mexico, Telcel, Movistar, and Virgin Mobile Mexico. Out of the three I would not recommend Virgin (horrible reception and slow internet when you do have reception), and Telcel and Movistar are a toss-up depending on your needs. Telcel is the undisputed champion of wireless communication in Mexico. Their 4g is fast, and the reception is great. The one drawback is their higher prices and relatively poor customer service.
  • Depending on the length of your stay you will want to decide between a prepaid plan or a postpaid plan.
    • Prepaid plans are very easy to get, you simply buy a sim card, add airtime and you are ready to rock.
    • Postpaid plans are a better deal, but they are a hassle to get. Probably not worth the trouble unless you planning on staying in Mexico for three or more months.
  • Click here for more tips on how to communicate to the US from Mexico

Simple Rules That Will Keep You Healthy and Safe

1) Do not drink water or have iced beverages, unless the water is purified and sealed.

-Mexico’s water is not potable out of the tap. Do not drink water in the shower. Ice made from tap water contains the same bacteria in water, and it melts into your drink. It is safe to wet your toothbrush with tap water and to rinse your mouth, unless you have a compromised immune system.

2)Only eat at restaurants that are busy.

There are two main reasons:

-If its full, that means the food is good and the place has built a good reputation.

-If the restaurant is full, that means the food is moving and isn’t sitting around for too long.

3)Do not eat vegetables or fruit, unless you are certain purified water was used to clean them, or they are cooked long enough to kill bacteria.

-Anything that comes into contact with tap water is a potential hazard, thus raw vegetables have to be cleaned carefully using the vinegar method or other products (preferably without harsh chemicals).

4)Avoid wearing shorts and sandals (men and women).

  • Although some Mexicans do wear these items, not very many do, especially when conducting daily business in the city, or on the Metro or other forms of public transit. You want to attract the least amount of attention as possible.
  • If you are hanging out around your hotel or apartment, shorts and sandals are just fine. A little walk around your block or a quick errand shouldn’t be a big deal. I would just advise against wearing shorts on the metro or metro bus.

6)Keep a firm grip on your bag if its a purse or messenger, and preferably wear it towards the front of your body. If you wear a backpack, when in large crowds use only one strap and keep one hand on the bag. Keep valuable items such as wallets, money, camera etc.  in your front pockets.

  • If you stay in well-lit, populated areas, your only fear will be pickpockets and bag snatchers. If you keep your wallet in your front pocket and your bag firmly gripped, you should be okay.
  • Like most large cities, Mexico City is as safe as you make it. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Paris can present dangers to its residents and tourists if precautions are not taken.

7)Avoid isolated and/or empty streets.

-The likely hood of one being mugged, increases exponentially in isolated areas or streets.

9)When asking for directions, avoid asking police officers.

  • I have found myself getting lost many times after asking a cop for directions. I prefer to ask Oxxo employees or hop into a safe environment and use my phone for directions.
  • Cops in Mexico City are great people, but they are often shuffled around the city, thus they do not know where certain streets or landmarks are.


10)Only take Taxi’s that you call, never take a street cab.

  • “Pirate cabs” are on the streets sometimes, looking for victims. Said cabs look like “official” cabs, and unsuspecting victims get on-board and are robbed. Have your hotel call you a cab, or call one yourself.
  • Another safe and cheap alternative is Uber. Keep in mind that Uber only works in Mexico City at the moment.


11) Use a money belt and distrbute your money on your person.

  • When arriving to Mexico City or any other town keep the majority of your money, credit cards, and passport in a money belt. I personally use the Eagle Creek Travel Gear Hidden Pocket. This works great for travelers that use belts, and keep their belt line covered virtually most of the time.
  • Most days I carry a couple hundred pesos in cash, and leave the rest of my cash and cards in a safe place. I do not carry a money belt everyday.
  • Some people swear by always carrying a 500 peso bill in a specific spot so that if they get mugged they can sacrifice that bill and walk away unscathed. Many believe that 500 MXN is the sweet spot to satiate an assailant.

12) Avoid Carrying any electronics that you do not need.

  • Why carry stuff that might be stolen, if you do not even need it?
  • When I am going to the archives and need some of my gear I typically head straight there, and straight home when I am done. I then unload all of the non-essential items to mitigate loss in case a mugging occurs.





As I mentioned earlier, the Metro will be one of your best friends in Mexico City. Click here to visit their webpage for more information on hours of operation and routes.

The first thing you are going to want to do is download and print a color version of the Metro map. Make sure that you have this map with you at all times.

The metro runs in the direction in each line’s title, so for example the blue line runs to “Cuatro Caminos” or “Taxquena,” you are going to want to take the metro in the direction towards the stop you wish to head. Simple enough. Each trip costs 5 MXN.

The Metro will get packed, and it can get very hot an uncomfortable. This usually only occurs during rush hour. Simply ride with your back pack facing forward so you can always keep your eyes on your belongings, and you will be fine. During peak hours the front cart is reserved for women and children under the age of 12.


Check their page for more info, but here are the basics:

  • Each trip costs 6 MXN.
  • You need a “metro card” to get on-board, you cannot pay cash



Click here for the fine-print, these are the essentials:

  • The annual plan is the best bang for your buck.
    • This plan requires a Mexican debit or credit card, it doesn’t have to be in your name, but it will get charged if you use your bike for too long. If you can find a friend that has a Mexican card, and trusts you enough to put it on your account, go for the annual plan.
    • The annual plan requires you to visit a module and bring the following:
      • a copy of your passport or visa
      • fill out an application and sign a contract
      • pay 400 MXN
  • You get 45 minutes to ride your bike from one station to another.
  • After you return a bike, you have to wait 5 minutes before you can take a new one.
  • Not all parts of the city have stations, so download the app or check the map on their webpage to see if it is convenient to take an ecobici for your trip.
  • Wear a helmet and a reflective visit. The latter is especially important at night, the former is always invaluable. If you need to purchase bicycle accessories visit the bike district on calle San Pablo. I would advise readers to only visit this area during the day.


Download the app, call your ride, and be on your way. Many Fulbrighters swear by Uber and say that it is very safe, and the app is much cheaper than a sitio cab or radio-taxi.

Places to Eat and Drink in Mexico City and Puebla


  • Chilakillers
    • You can’t go wrong with any pick, I like the bean sauce.

Zona Rosa, DF

  • Salon Corona
    • The original location is actually in the Centro Historico, but in my opinion this is the best location. Get the tacos de pastor con piña.
  • Casa de Toño
    • This place is simply fantastic. The pozole con pollo or maciza is a flawless option. The flautas de papa are also very good.

Centro Historico, DF

Puebla, Puebla

  • Antigua Taquería la Oriental
    • I always go for the tacos arabes.
  • Cemitas la Poblanita
    • Cemitas are a poblano invention and tradition. This is one of the best places in the center. I always get the cemita de milanesa de cerdo. The cemitas here (and most places) are pretty huge, I suggest you get it cut in half and share it with a friend. Another tip: the first time you try cemitas, ask for the papalo on the side. Not everyone likes papalo, and it can ruin your meal if you end up not liking it.

Things to Always Have in Your Bag and/or Pockets:

When possible try to avoid carrying huge bags. Backpacks are common in Mexico, but most Mexicans do not walk around with giant backpacks and cameras around their necks. Use a small backpack or messenger to carry essentials for trips around town, and keep your camera tucked away until you need it. You do not want people to think you are carrying expensive items on your person or in your bags. Here are some things to take with you:

  • Umbrella
  • Smartphone
  • Metro Map (or digitally on your phone)
  • Pen
  • Notepad
  • Hand-sanitizer
  • Water bottle
  • Map (digitally on you phone)
  • Metro Card

Things To Pack For Mexico

The way you pack, will depend on the length of your trip. Below I discuss my approach to packing for a short trip. Check this article for tips on packing for a longer trip.

Towel. I suggest a compact travel towel such as this one. They dry quicker than regular towels, and they are extremely compact. Not all hostels or hotels provide towels, and if they do, they are not always the freshest.

Tooth Brush: If it is electric or new, if your toothbrush is looking kind of old and you need some space in your bag, buy a new one in Mexico.

Clothing. I personally pack light and bring only enough clothing for four days, I then find a laundry place and get my clothing washed for about four bucks. I typically pack clothing I do not mind leaving behind if I have to, that way I can load up on books and gifts. The only exception is one nice button-down shirt and a tie. You can throw a button-shirt and tie together with jeans, and bam, you are ready to meet with professors, curators or go to a conference.

Loofah: These scrubbers are light and take up little space. More importantly, it is hard to find a good loofah in Mexico unless you pay a pretty penny.

Any products that are for your special needs, for example: sensitive skin products. These type of products might be difficult to find in Mexico, especially exactly like the ones you need.

Rubber Sandals. These come in handy for showers and restrooms. (these can also be purchased at an affordable price at Wal-mart or other stores)

Empty Duffel bag. I like to pack as light as possible, but taking an empty duffel bag allows you to stock up on gifts and books, and then check either your original bag or the duffel bag.

Some Things You Do Not Need to Pack for Mexico City:

Toiletries. Wal-Mart in Mexico has almost all the same products that they sell in the US. In order to pack lightly, I typically buy my supplies in Mexico, its cheaper and easier than buying little travel bottles and dealing with TSA. Of course the only exception would be the aforementioned “special needs products.”

Must Have APPs in Mexico City

  • WhatsApp Messenger
    • Use this to communicate with other individuals that have the app installed on their phone.
  • Mi Policia
    • This app gives you the information of the officers in your quadrant. If an emergency occurs you can call them directly instead of having to call the station.
  • EcoBici
    • This app will help you locate stations and manage your account.
  • Red Cross Earthquake App
    • Most of you should know about the monstrous earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985. Most chilangos over the age of 30 carry that event deeply cemented in their minds. They would be the first to tell you that it is important to know if an earthquake is coming. Get the app!


If you have any suggestions or ideas, you can email me or leave them as a comment. I appreciate any contributions.