… Christianity became wholeheartedly an element of indigenous culture. The Christian miracle was a given integrated into daily life as it was into the landscape, space and time of the pueblo.
Recent ethnohistorical trends point to a renewed interest in the complex interplay of beliefs and ritual practices that gave rise to multiple expressions of religiosity in different temporal and spatial settings of colonial America. Religion provides a rich thematic matrix for exploring the boundaries of alterité between Amerindian and European actors and figures centrally, as well, in the internal development of different cultural and ethnic identities. Cosmology, understood as those systems of belief that bind individuals to their communities and to the wider universe, informs different peoples' concepts of time and their sense of history. The Maya of Yucatán, for example, integrated both linear and cyclical notions of time into their cosmic order in ways that rendered sensible their rhythms of accommodation and resistance to foreign domination. Moreover, cultural constructions of the past rely heavily on myths that fuse spiritual beliefs with ethnic claims to the land, as observed in the intricate connections between syncretic religion and the survival of ethnic polities in colonial Oaxaca. Ethnic rationalizations of space, it has been argued, underwrote particular aesthetic and cognitive approaches to spatial and temporal “mapping” which, in turn, brought a religious dimension to the notion of territoriality.