Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

A Resource for Community and Classroom Use
by Mimi Lozano © 2001-8  mimilozano@aol.com

Historical Mini-articles
  Classroom Uses of Articles
  Ideas for Libraries
Ideas for Celebrating HHM
       Seeking local support
Hispanic Heritage  Month
       History of HHM

Public Law  100-402
Legislative Action
Dia del Maestro
. .   
click to: 
        Heritage Month PowerPoint 
    Observance Slide Show  

        Hispanic sailors
        Hispanic marines
       Dialog of the Dead

 Historical Resources
Researching  in Mexico     
Somos Primos
  Web mistress
Society of Hispanic Historical & 
  Ancestral Research, PO Box 490 
  Midway City, CA 92655-0490 


The Mission of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage is to support teachers, youth leaders and community leaders in their efforts to promote friendly awareness of the Hispanic historical and cultural presence - with a positive, accurate global perspective. 

Concern over the continual propagation of incorrect Hispanic history and the negative portrayal of our Spanish speaking and indigenous ancestors has prompted me to share materials that can promote a better understanding of who we are.  This is not only for social and public correctness, but for our youth who have a desire to be proud of their ancestors.  Positive visibility of their heritage, their history, their ancestor's accomplishments and contributions to humanity - these need to be revealed in a public manner.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage is a companion website to Somos Primos, a free monthly online magazine, with an archive of previous issues available online. The mission of Somos Primos is to help family historians in their task of gathering vital data, and to provide evidence revealing the current effects of historical events on the Hispanic community in the United States.   http://www.SomosPrimos.com  


  • Hispanics are under-represented in all areas of U.S. media.
  • Hispanics are a diverse group, made up of many sub-groups, complicating identity.
  • The history of Spanish colonization has not been presented accurately.
  • Hispanic contributions to the development of the United States are little known.
  • Hispanics will soon be the largest minority group in the United States.
  • The high school drop-out rate for Hispanics is over 30%.
  • Racism is detrimental to the well-being of the United States.
  • Positive Hispanic role models are needed to guide our youth.
  • Promotion of outstanding Hispanics serves to break down negative stereotypes.
  • Non-Hispanics and Hispanics will benefit by increased respect for one another.
                           Historical Mini-articles 

These materials were developed in 1997 to assist the classroom teacher in Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, to be observed, September 15 to October 15, twenty school days.  Coming at the beginning of the school year, it is a particularly difficult time to add supplemental materials. 

The materials were gathered and prepared as an easy supplement to the curriculum, for use as daily school announcements on the school's PA system.  The subject of each unit was selected to appeal to students from 4th-12th and the general public. Reading time for the essays are between 30 to 90 seconds.  At the very minimal level of promoting Hispanic Heritage Month, if two essays were used on each of the 20 days, it would amount to only one hour of recognition for Hispanic contributions during the season - but with minimal preparation time for the classroom teacher.
However, the classroom teacher can strengthen the intent of the celebration by using the two questions that precede each of the articles for a quick lesson.  Click for strategies to used the essays for a quick lesson.

In addition, classroom activities and suggestions can help the teacher supplement the curriculum by  integrating the articles into the prescribed, mandated curriculum.

One third grade classroom teacher allowed each of her students to select one of the articles and tape-record it. The students were multi-ethnic, mostly limited English, many newly arrived from Asian and Spanish speaking countries. Not only did they share their speaking efforts within the classroom and PA system, they also shared their tape-recordings in another way.  In cooperation with the Orange County Register in Orange County, California, their readings were posted on a call-in info line. Everyday a new reading was featured.  Esteem, multi- ethnic understanding and language skills all improved. 

In addition, arrangements were made by  the community liaison for the Spanish language newspaper, the Excelsior to translate the articles into Spanish, and they were used as public service mini-spots on Spanish radio stations. 

If you have a historical incident that you would like to submit, please send to Mimi Lozano at mimilozano@aol.com

The essays are arranged chronologically: 

Tracing Family Roots
Root Search Adventure
Genetic Roots Go back 270,000

Evidence of Indigenous Survival
El Pital, Pre-Columbian City 
Tribute to Christopher Columbus,1492
Origin & history of California Oranges      
Mayan Captives,1511
Indian Slaves in the South, 1512
First Impression of Europeans,1519
Spanish Treasure Ships,1519
Martín López, First Prefab Ship,1520
Physicians of New Spain, 1523
First European Settlements in U.S., 1526

First Thanksgiving in the U.S., 1541
Mining in Nueva España, 1548
Will of Tecuichpo, 1550
Saint Augustine, Florida, 1565
Earliest Scientists in the U.S., 1636
Spanish Sea Trade, 1638
Honduras, 1674
Dangerous Sea Trade, 1715
Connecting with Texas Indians, 1717
Banking, Texas Style,1734
Crown of the Andes,1750s
Hispanic Inventor, 1773
Spain's Role in the American Revolution
Count Bernardo de Gálvez, 1779
Hispanics in Hawaii,1794
Historic Bell of Los Angeles, 1820
Pablo Tac, 1841
Sister Mary Domínica Arguello, 1851
Santa Anna and Chewing Gum, 1860 
The Basque, 1860s
Elfego Baca, New Mexico Gunfighter,1865
David Belasco, Theater 1880s
Monterey Jack Cheese, 1890s
Fraudulent Land Claims, 1895
Cuban Hospitals and Doctors, 1902
A Pancho Villa Story, 1912
Filipino World War II Vets, 1941

  Tracing Family Roots

What is the hardest ethnic group to research?    Native Americans and African Americans
What is the easiest ethnic group to research?   Hispanics with Spanish records back a thousand years.

Genealogy, the study of one's family history is one of the most popular hobbies in America today. However, it is not 
a new interest. From Mayan steps to Egyptian tombs, from the Bible's Genesis to the European kings, records have been kept in one form or another throughout the world. Records for purposes of land and property rights were needed to insure the passing of one's wealth to one's posterity. But in many cultures, pride of bloodline itself was sufficient reason to keep the records straight, whether on paper or passed on orally.

Most Americans of ethnic background question the probable success of compiling a family tree. Some groups are harder to research than others. Unfortunately the hardest ethnicity's to research are Native Americans and African Americans, with written records going back 150 years; then Greek and Irish back 200 years; English, 300 years; Scots, Scandinavian, French and Italian are all 400 years; Germanic and Slavic, 500 years and Swiss 600 years. 
The surprise is that Spanish records surpass all of the aforementioned. Spanish records are the most complete with records dating back a thousand years.

Source: The Family Tree Aug/Sept 1994


Was Spanish colonization of the Americas done only by soldiers?    NO 

How far back did the researcher trace his surname in the Americas and his own family lines?  
1500s & 1770s

When you start looking into your personal history, you may be surprised at what historical ancestor's blood flows in your veins. It might be a mule driver, or a ship's carpenter. It may be a merchant, farmer or famous explorer. It may be a baker or miner. All of these occupations were vital for the colonization of the Americas. Each man and woman who participated in the colonization added a part to history. An Orange County, California man with the surname Grijalva was curious about family stories concerning an early Grijalva ancestor who came from Mexico as a soldier (rank, second corporal) in 1776 and helped to settle the Orange County area. Intense curiosity eventually lead to actually finding land records showing what land belonged to his ancestor, Juan Pablo Grijalva, and locating a wall section of the original adobe home.

More research on the Grijalva name found the story of a Juan de Grijalva that begins even further back, in 1518. Juan de Griialva led an expedition to the Yucatán and discovered a large river which to this day is named, the Rio de Grijalva.

Other Grijalvas, such as Sebastian de Grijalva, 1520, and Hernando de Grijalva, 1533, were adventurers too. The search to understand his personal history has been an adventure for researcher, Edward Grijalva. He has traveled the 2,000 mile trip made by his ancestor, has visited libraries, archives, and colleges, presented with joy his findings, a life-long adventure of respect and honor to his past.

Source: Edward T. Grijalva, Juan Pablo Grijalva, Paragon Agency, (c) 1995


Who was the first person to receive genetically engineered cells?     Ashie de Silva 

What does the new genetic research show?     Except for superficial things, we're all alike.

Genetic research, "gene hunting" is called the brave new world of human engineering. The search to understand human DNA has been long and hard. On September 1, 1990, the first individual to receive genetically engineered cells was a child named Ashie de Silva. Suffering from a defective immune system, Ashie's immune system was altered by gene therapy.

The medical revolution in gene hunting has also lead to theories in anthropology suggestive of the biblical Adam and Eve story. A study tracing the genetic roots of humanity suggests that the first common male ancestor-the father of us all, some might call him -- evolved 270,000 years ago. This is interestingly the same time period that other researchers give for the African Eve.

Robert L. Dorit of Yale University and two co-authors looked for humankind's

Common male ancestor by seeking genetic mutations in a specific part of the Y chromosome, which is passed only from father to son. By measuring these mutations in a representative population of living men, Dorit said, "it is possible to calculate backward in time to a point where all humans shared the Same male ancestor."

Dorit said the new research, "shows that all people are virtually identical from a genetic viewpoint. Except for superficial things, we're all alike."

Sources: KCET, The Secret of Life series; Orange County Register, May 26, 1995


How many active Indian dialects are spoken in Mexico?    100 

How many Indian languages have disappeared?    As many as 93

Mexico has between 8 to 10 million Indians divided into 56 recognized ethnic and language groups and speak daily over 100 different dialects, although some are spoken by only a few people. Some groups, such as the Nashuas, Mayas, Zapotecs and Mixtecs, number in the hundred thousands and dominate the population of entire regions of the country, though they are often fragmented into small communities. Others like the Lacandones, Kiliwas, Cucapas and Paispais, have been reduced to a few dozen families. Most have gradually absorbed features of the mestizo culture, but some still live in almost total isolation. "While millions of Mexican Indians primarily use their language in daily life, most also speak Spanish. Today, there are almost 100 active Indian dialects in Mexico. Only a few individuals speak some dialects. It is estimated that as many as 93 Indian languages have disappeared." The most commonly spoken Indian language is Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. The next most common languages are the Mixtec, Mayan, Zapotec and Otomi languages. These languages can be very different from each other, with many words bearing no similarities at all. "Government policy today no longer forces the Spanish language on the Indians. For instance, when the government began a war on illiteracy in 1944, it provided Indians with important information in their own languages. This tactic was very successful.

But once the Indians realized how much they could help themselves with Spanish, many learned Spanish. Television and radio have added to the Indian incentive to learn Spanish. Even the most remote villages have access to this media. So most Indians have become part of the Spanish-speaking community without giving up their own uniqueness and skills.

Source: Mary Jo Reilly, Cultures of the World, Mexico, Marshal Cavendish, N.Y. (c)1991


How old is the ancient city named El Pital thought to be?    2,000 years old.
Where is the city located?     In the state of Veracruz.

Archaeological research in Mexico, central and South America is changing many theories about the cultural heights attained by the indigenous in the Americas. In 1995, with magnificent structures rising a hundred feet in the air, a huge 2,000-year-old city was located in the state of Veracruz, near Mexico's Gulf Coast. The ancient city is called El Pital, named after a small village close to the site. Fl Pital is thought to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the Veracruz region in more that 200 years.

Buried under banana and citrus plantations, no one is prepared to say who the people were who inhabited the city between A. D. 100 and 600, but the time period indicates they were contemporaries of the Maya. Fl Pital appears to have been a link between the north-central Gulf Coast and the cities of central Mexico.

Some scholars suggest that during this time period, 1200-1800 years ago, corn and some cultural practices traveled from central Mexico northeast to the Mississippi River Valley, reaching their destination either by overland paths or sea trade,

Sources: National Geographic, Feb 1994 and Orange County Register Feb 4, 1995


Where was El Faro de Colón built?    Dominican Republic 

How much did the 7 story light house cost to build?   35 million dollars

Christopher Columbus' name has been both cursed and blessed. His accomplishments have been diminished by some; his sailing skills laughed at by others. However, by his four voyages, 1492, 1493, 1498, 1502, Columbus opened the door to the Americas, a door never to be closed again. Columbus died a sad, disappointed man, whose fame had faded, even before his death. Columbus had to wait five hundred years to receive the honor due him. Stamps from around the world now carry his story, from Russia to Guyana, from Tanzania to Romania.

In celebration of the Quincentennial, a most fitting monument to Columbus has been completed in the Dominican Republic. Called "El Fare de Colon," the enormous $35 million structure is a lighthouse with seven stories of displays mounted by 27 countries. Columbus landed in the present Dominican Republic on his first voyage. The Dominican Republic has more "firsts" than any other site in the Americas. Many colonial structures can be visited, such as the first palace, first cathedral, first fortress, and first university.

Source: O. C. Register, June 14,1992


When and who brought oranges to the Americas?  Columbus in 1493

What contributed to the growth of the California orange market?  Gold Rush of 1849

Sources:  The Food Chronology, James Trager, 1995
Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, 1993, Ensminger, Ensminger, Konlande, Robson

The sweet orange originated in the area extending from southern China to Indochina.  Oranges and other citrus fruits have grown in China for thousands of years.  9th-10th century A.D., Arabs brought the sweet orange westward and grew it on the Arabian Peninsula, where they had introduced the sour orange (Citrus aurantium) a century or two earlier.  (The famous Renaissance paintings, which show oranges at the Last Supper, are an error because the fruit was not likely to have been found in the Holy land at the time of Christ.  Crusaders had seen sweet oranges growing around Jerusalem and had concluded that the fruit was native to the area.


1493 Columbus brought orange seeds to Haiti on his second voyage to the New World.  Shortly thereafter, the fruit was planted on the Caribbean islands. 
1513 Oranges were introduced into Florida by the Spanish explorers sometime between the first landing of Ponce de Leon in 1513 and the establishment of the settlement of St. Augustine in 1565
1769 Spanish Franciscan monks from Mexico established the mission of San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego and planted orange trees there.
1805 The first California orange grove of any size is planted at San Gabriel Mission near Los Angeles.
1821 Spain ceded Florida to the United States in 1821.  New settlers find untended groves of oranges established by the Spaniards in the 16th century and started a commercial orange industry.
1849 California orange production grew as a result of the Gold Rush of 1849.  Almost all of the fruit was grown in the greater Los Angeles area.
1870 American missionaries to Brazil sent navel orange trees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.  Trees were propagated, then distributed to nurserymen in California and Florida.  Trees planted in Riverside, California bore fruit, which were far superior to the Australian navel oranges that had been introduced earlier.  In a short time the Washington navel orange become one of the major varieties grown in the citrus producing areas of the world.
1875 The orange crate devised by an U.S. inventor, weighted 15 pounds and was able to hold 90 pound ) about 200 pieces.  
1886 In this year, the first trainload of California oranges left Los Angeles for the East.


Who were the slaves in the article?   Spanish soldiers, Gonzalo Guerrero and Gerónimo de Aguilar 

How many years were the two men living with the Mayas on Cozumel Island before Cortez's landing?   
8 years.

Spanish blood was both spilled and mixed early in the colonization of the Americas. Two men, Gonzalo Guerrero 
and Gerónimo de Aguilar escaped death in 1511 by being slaves to the Mayas.

By 1519 when Cortés landed at Cozumel Island, both men had achieved both acceptance and prominence among 
the Indians. Of the two men, it was only Aguilar who responded to Cortés' inquiry. Aguilar stated that Guerrero did 
not come because "he has his nostrils, lips and ears pierced and his face painted and his hands tattooed according to the custom of that country... Indeed, I believe he failed to come on account of the vice he had committed with the woman and his love for his children." According to Spanish official reports, Guerrero died in action in 1536. 
Apparently he chose to remain and fight with his Indian family. "He is the one who lived among the Indians for 20 years or more, and in addition is the one whom they say brought to ruin the Adelantado Montejo ... he came with 
a fleet of 50 canoes to destroy those of us who were there. "

Source: National Geographic, Dec 1975, Vol 148. No. 6. p. 76


What were the Laws of Burgos?  Laws issued in 1512 to define the Spaniards' treatment of the Indians. 

What was the responsibility of the soldiers and priests?   To protect and educate the natives.

"The European explorers and settlers had the mistaken idea that the Natives of America were uncivilized savages. They felt that the only way to civilize them was to Christianize them. The Spanish, French, and English all established missions as a way of accomplishing this goal.

The responsibility of both the Catholic Spanish priests and Spanish soldiers who accompanied the priest in the establishing and maintaining of the missions was to protect and educate the Indian. Although difficult to enforce, 
King Ferdinand issued the Laws of Burgos in 1512 to define and regulate the Spaniards' treatment of the Indians 
in Nueva España.

The Spanish in the 1600s had established a string of missions from the Georgia coast to the panhandle of Florida. European slave traders destroyed many of these Spanish missions and surrounding Indian villages in these areas. The slave traders raided all the way to the Mississippi River. Captured Indians were sold either in South Carolina or 
in the West Indies. In 1708 nearly 1/3 of the slaves in South Carolina were Indian."

Sources: Shirley Donaldson, Indian Research: Missions anti Missionaries, American Records Today, Vol 17, No 2, April 1996 and Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America, Oxford University Press, (c) 1990


When and who is describing the magnificence of Mexico City?   Bernal Diaz del Castillo
From how far away could they hear the buzz of the market place?   Two miles

The journals of Bernal Diaz Del Castillo describe the magnificence of Mexico as seen through the eyes of Hernán Cortés and the first Spaniards to arrive. "On the morning of November 7, 1519 we at last reached this Mexico. We came to a broad causeway, which ran miles across the lake to the center where the city of the great king 
Moctezuma lay. All about us we saw cities and villages built in the water, their great towers and buildings rising straight out of it. On dry land were other great towns, and with the straight level causeway leading toward Mexico it seemed like the enchantments they tell of in the legends. Some of the soldiers... we were only four hundred... even asked were it not all a dream. As we approached Mexico, splendidly dressed chieftains came out to meet us and they lodged us in spacious stone palaces." "We saw in these cities temples all gleaming white and wonderful to behold. The noise and hum from the market place below us could be heard more than two miles distant. Those of
our men who had been at Rome and at Constantinople said that for arrangement, order and population, they had never seen the like." The territory was so large that Hernán Cortés confessed to the King of Spain, "The whole of it 
is so large that I am unable to find out exactly the extent of Moctezuma's kingdom." Written in the picture-writing books of the Aztecs, Cortés was able to identify 371 tribes and villages as being under tribute to the Aztecs.

Source: Victor W. Von Hagen, The Sun Kingdom of the Aztecs.


When was the harbor of Havana founded?   1519 

What evidence is there of an integrated global economy 300 years ago? 
Silver pesos known as cobs have been found all over the world.

Founded in 1519, Havana was considered probably the finest harbor in the Indies. With its narrow entrance it was easy to defend and entire fleets could be anchored. For centuries it was one of the most important bases of 
Spanish power in the New World. Veracruz and Panama City were both important ports, but limited by high temperatures and humidity, whereas Havana was moderate and healthy.

From Havana, wind and currents set the routes along the Florida coast of treasure fleets bound for Europe. Spanish control of Florida was essential to protect against both French and English pirates. The importance of establishing and fortifying St. Augustine in Florida was stated by the first Spanish governor of Florida, "fix our frontier lines, here, gain the waterway of the Bahamas, and work the mines of New Spain."

The royal share of the precious metals that came from the mines, was a Quinto, "fifth". By law, all subsurface minerals belonged to the crown, but in practice, the government allowed private individuals to operate the mines in return for a 20 percent royalty.

Evidence that an integrated global economy existed more than 300 years ago can be found in silver pesos known 
as cobs. Produced in the Spanish colonial mints, these coins have been found all over the world.

Source: Timothy R. Walton, The Spanish Treasure Fleets (c) 1994.


How did the small number of Spaniards escape from the estimated million of Aztec soldiers? 
Inside of a wood tank designed by Martin López. 

How many and which tribe of Indians helped carry the dismantled brigantines 60 miles to water? 
2,000 Tlaxcala Indians.

Martin López set sail with Hernando Cortés in 1519 as a ship's carpenter. It was not the position that Martin sought. He wanted to be a soldier-adventurer, but his skills, learned as the son of a Spanish carpenter, were to help him play a key part in the conquest of Mexico. It was Martin who oversaw the stripping and burning of the ships. Yardage, sails, metal, fittings, and cannon were saved and hidden.

When the once welcomed Spaniards were set upon by the million or so Aztecs, it was Martin who fashioned a kind 
of wooden mobile fortress armed with guns and small cannons. They succeeded in escaping from the 8,000 feet high Aztec capital, but lost most of their weapons and three-fourths of their men.

Despite the overwhelming numbers of enemy, Cortés was determined to attack Tenochtitlán. It was Martin who devised the strategy for fighting against the 1,000 war canoes which made up the Aztec navy.

From their base with the Tlaxcala nation, Martin directed the building of 13 brigantines from scratch. Using wood 
and sap, which he found, he fashioned from these, the needed parts of the ship. Short of nails, he improvised. The ship's riggings and sails, which had been saved from their ocean voyage, were brought. After testing their seaworthiness, the ships were then dismantled. On Christmas day and with the help of 2,000 Tlaxcala Indians, the traveling navy began its descent. Ship pieces were carried the 60-mile four-day trek over the 11,000 foot mountain pass.

The city of Texcoco was captured easily. Martin López directed the construction of dry docks inside the city and locks and dams, from the lake to the city. On April 28th, after a solemn mass, a salute was fired and the prefabricated vessels entered the water. The waters were calm, nature's capricious whims had not been considered. The small vessels were almost surrounded when a miraculous wind suddenly filled the ship's sails. Victory came quickly that day. By summer, the victory was complete. Martin López's carpentry skills and creative brilliance had succeeded in capturing Mexico.

Source: Great True Adventures, published by G. P. Putman.


How many different medicinal plants did the natives identify by name and uses in medicine?   1,200
Who and when was the first hospital built on the American continent?   Hernán Cortés, 1523, at his own expense.

In his History of Medicine in Mexico, Francisco Flores states that "before the coming of the Spaniards, Indian medicine was very advanced. Aztec physicians knew and could distinguish most illnesses of the human body. 
They could extract tumors, do amputations, cure fractures, treat wounds and ulcers." When Phillip II sent his 
learned doctor Francisco Hernández to study the medicinal plants of New Spain, the natives were able to identify
for him more that 1200 different species with their respective Mexican names and their uses in medicine. They used some plants like peyote and certain mushroom and ololiuhqui as anesthetics. The medicinal knowledge acquired 
from the Aztec healers by both the Spanish physicians and the missionaries was put to good use in the several hospitals established right after the conquest. Hospital de Jesus in Mexico City was the first hospital on the American continent. It was founded in 1523 by Hernán Cortés at his own expense, and, without interruption, it continues to be in service. The one that followed was named Hospital Real de San José de los Naturales. The hospital as founded by Fray Pedro de Gante in 1531 to serve the Indians exclusively.

Source: Francisco Flores, History of Medicine in Mexico


Where and when was the first European settlement in North America?   
Spanish colonizers on the Coast of Georgia in 1526. 

Who went and how many survived?
  Between 500-600 men, women, children, soldiers, priests, and black slaves sailed, but only 150 survived the storms, sickness, Indian attacks, and mutiny.

Lucas Vásquez de Ayallon established the first European settlement in North America, San Miguel de Guadalupe, 
in 1526. Although the exact location of the town is undetermined, it was on the coast of Georgia. In July 1526, Ayallon sailed from Santo Domingo, the colonial capital, what is now present-day Dominican Republic. Six ships carried between 500-600 men, women, children, soldiers, priests, and the first black slaves to reach American shores. The larger flagship was grounded and went down, along with most of the supplies. The smaller ships took 
on the survivors. Autumn storms, sickness and Indian attacks took the lives of 200. On Oct 18, 1526, Ayallon died. 
A raging mutiny followed. By December 1526 fewer than 150 had survived. They returned to Hispañola and buried Ayallon at sea.

Source: Family Tree, Feb/March 1993


According to Texans,  when was the real first thanksgiving in the United States?   In 1541
Where is the site of the first real thanksgiving?  
Palo Duro State Park, Texas, near Amarillo.

When was the first thanksgiving in the United States? Some Texans disagree with the traditional Pilgrims' date of 1621 and instead set the date for the first thanksgiving in the United States as May 9, 1541 at the base of what is now known as the Palo Duro State Park of Texas near Amarillo.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his expedition traveled eastward along the high plains of Texas, encountering the unfriendly Tiguex tribes of upper New Mexico. The expedition lost a large number of horses, men and supplies 
in their hasty retreat from the non-friendly tribes. The heat and the lack of shade trees made their journey quite unbearable and the loss of supplies and water was taking its toll on the remainder of the expedition. The situation 
was desperate.

Coronado's journal records that on May 8, 1541 they came upon a large hole in the ground which appeared all of a sudden before them as if to swallow the earth. From the edge of the canyon, the Spaniards killed some wild game, probably a deer, and feasted on it. The following morning, May 9, 1541, Coronado ordered one of his accompanying priests to say a mass of thanksgiving for having been spared. This became the first Thanksgiving of record in the United States, 80 years prior to the Pilgrims.

Source: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's Journal


Where and when did the first gold rush in North America take place?  
Zacatecas, Mexico,1548
Who introduced flat-bottomed bowls for panning gold in streams?   Miners from Sonora, Mexico

The first gold rush in North America took place in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1548, three hundred years before gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill. The Spanish had been mining gold and silver in Mexico and Peru for centuries. They 
knew a great deal about placer and quartz mining. The western coast of Mexico was heavily mined. Before the
formal announcement of the discovery of gold in California in 1848 and the consequent "mad" California gold rush, miners from Sonora were already panning the streams of California.

Anglo-Americans had little or no experience with mining. They relied on the knowledge and expertise of the miners from Mexico. It was the Sonorans who introduced the batea or flat-bottomed bowl for panning gold in streams. The Anglos also relied heavily on their Latino predecessors for technical mining terms and expressions, as well as 
mining law. American history books often cite the extraordinary capacity of Anglo-Americans for self-government in relation to the California miners early adoption of mining laws. However, the California miners merely adapted Hispanic-mining laws that had been developed over centuries of experience in Mexico and South America.

At the height of the California gold rush many Sonoran miners went home to Mexico  not comfortable with the lawlessness. Some returned.

Source: Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch & Gardens, Educator's Packet, summer 1994 and numerous issues 
of The California Historian published by the Conference of California Historical Societies.


Who was Tecuichpo?   The last princess and daughter of Moctezuma II. 

What was her name changed to and when? 

Her name was changed to Isabel when she married her last husband, Juan Cano de Saavedra.

Bits and pieces of historical documents are surfacing, revealing facts helping to unscramble the colonial past and history of the Americas. The marital unions in the Americas of indigenous with Europeans spanned all social levels.

One recent discovery is the July 16, 1550 will of Tecuichpo, the last princess and daughter of Moctezuma II. Tecuichpo was wife first to Cultidluac and then Cuauhtémoc, Aztec leaders who followed Moctezuma II. The will was discovered in the Archive General de la Naci6n and was exhibited for the first time to the public at El Foro Nacional 
de Censulta.

The document with the Royal Seal was found hidden between thousands of books. The will contains a genealogical study of the Moctezuma line. Perhaps one of the most interesting inclusions is that Tecuichpo proclaims an emancipation of her slaves. Tecuichpo ordered that all her slaves be given their freedom at her death.

Princess Tecuichpo married a third time, this time to a Spaniard. She accepted the Catholic faith, was baptized 
and renamed Isabel. She had a daughter, Leonor, by her last husband, Don Juan Cane de Saavedra.

Source: Article by Adriana Malvido, Cultura 27 La Jornada, January 12, 1996. Submitted by Gloria Márquez.


What is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States and when was it established? 
St. Augustine, Florida, 1565

How many years did the Spanish maintain a colonial existence in Florida? 230 years

St. Augustine, Florida founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles is the oldest continuously inhabited city in 
the United States. In 1564, French protestants established a foothold at Fort Caroline, north of St. Augustine. Menendez captured the fort, and built San Mateo on the site. Menendez, serving under King Philip of Spain, hoped 
to govern La Florida, which covered the entire southwest of the present-day United States. In 1586 privateer Frances Drake burned St. Augustine (San Agustin) but the establishment survived the attack.

Spanish Florida survived Indian rising, epidemics, and English attacks. For the next 75 years, Spanish missions, ranches, and pueblos populated La Florida. In 1763 La Florida was granted to Britain. Twenty years later, after the Revolutionary War with Britain, La Florida was returned to Spain for Spain's part in supporting the Colonists. For another approximately 30 years, Spain once again governed La Florida. Finally in 1821, after approximately 230 
years under Spanish rule, La Florida first founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, became part of the United States.

Source: Exploring Our Forgotten Century. National Geographic, March 1988: and the Encyclopedia Britannica 1959



What kind of mill did Capitán Andrés de Aruana invent and when?   A mill to grind ore for silver mining.
What did Bartolomé de Medina invent and when? 
A process using mercury, developed in 1636, still being used for securing silver from ore.

As early as the mid 1500s productive mines in Nueva España (New Spain) were being tapped with great skill. Early mining ventures challenged the ingenuity and engineering skills of adventurous Spanish explorers. Four hundred 
years later some of the methodology developed is still being used today. That the early Spanish contributed greatly 
to the field of mining is evident by several documented facts. In May 14, 1636, Capitán Andrés de Aruana made a patent submittal in Cerralvo, Nueva España, for a mill used to grind ore for silver mining. The petition was made to
 don Martin de Zavala. Unfortunately, Aruana did not live to enjoy royalties from his invention, as he and his son Simon were both killed by Indians the following year. In the same year, a Bartolomé de Medina invented the process for securing silver from the ore using mercury amalgamation. The same method is still being used today for 
extracting silver from ore.

Source: Rudy Zamora, Orange County chemical engineer


Between 1565 and 1815, what was Europe's most profitable commercial enterprise? 
Manila galleon trade. 

Why did the crew on the galleon, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, refuse to obey orders? 
The captain was an inexperienced young man appointed by his uncle.

One of the most profitable commercial enterprises in Europe's colonial history was the Manila galleon trade. 
Between 1565 and 1815, treasures of the Orient were carried to the West via Mexico in exchange for New World silver and the manufactured goods of Europe. More than 40 galleons were lost in the treacherous seas over the centuries.

The galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción went down off Saipan, September 20, 1638, en route from Manila to Acapulco. The Concepción was carrying a cargo of Oriental silk, porcelain, ivory, and precious jewels. Mutiny arose over the inexperience of her commander, Don Juan Francisco, the 22-23 year old nephew of Manila's governor, Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera. Several officers refused to obey orders, and each tried to gain control of the ship. The crew split, mutiny, and severe weather all contributed to the shipwreck.

In 1718 chronicler, Casimiro Diaz wrote that Governor Corcuera was a man "whose greed was great." Fifty-nine charges were brought against Corcuera during the official inquiry in.

Source: contributed by Steve Demara from National Geographic


How many different nations and languages were identified in the Valley of Olancho?   200
What is the estimated value of the treasure located in the 20 sunken Spanish galleons?   $3 billion

The country of Honduras is located in Central America, on the northern end of the strip of land that joins South America with North America. Interestingly, the area must have acted as a way station for merchants traveling in 
both directions. A Spanish missionary, Father Fernando Espino wrote in 1674 that in the Valley of Olancho there were 200 different nations and languages.

In Father Espino's records, he also identified the site of 100 unexcavated above ground structures. It is hoped that archaeological investigation of the structures will provide answers to the great mix of people that inhabited the area.

Both on land and in the sea, Honduras was part of the great colonial expansion. In 1995, the Honduran government stated that it plans to recover booty from at least 20 sunken Spanish galleons and may use it to help pay its $3.8 billion debt to foreign creditors. The government said that it has located the galleons in Honduran waters of the Caribbean. They hold treasures worth an estimated $3 billion.

Source: Buried Secrets, Luminous Find, James E. Brady, George Hasemann, and John H. Fogarty, Americas, July/August 1995.


What are the natural conditions on the Atlantic coast which facilitated travel between Nueva España and Europe?    Northeast and Southeast trade winds

How many Spanish ships out of the 10 that left Cuba in 1715 survived? One

The winds over the Atlantic Ocean create northeast and southeast trade winds, well known to the earliest of sea travelers. Active sea trade existed between Europe and Nueva España. On July 24, 1715 a rich armada of 10 
Spanish ships left Cuba, laden with gold, silver and precious jewels. The estimated value of the treasure, more 
than $14 million and all bound for Spain. As the fleet sailed up the Florida coast, the weather changed and a heavy storm broke. Soon waves crashed over the small ships and high winds tore loose the masts. One by one the ships overturned and sank in the shallow water off Cape Kennedy. Only one ship from the armada, the Grifón, survived. More than 1,000 sailors were lost. Another 1,000 made it to shore and tried to salvage their sunken hoard. Using divers, they were able to recover about $4 million worth of treasure. Even today, the area is a tempting one for 
modern treasure hunters.

Source: Ripleys Believe if or Not, Accidents and Disaster, published by Ripleys book 1982


 What was the unusual food that Fray Espinosa said was one of their most delicious dishes in times of famine?   Crow 

What were the foods regularly given to mission Indians?  Corn, meat, tobacco, beans, and brown sugar.

Fray Isidro Feliz de Espinosa wrote, "During the years 1717 and 1718, because of the severity of the drought, the harvest of corn and beans among the Indians was very poor. Since we usually received some provisions from the natives, it was inevitable that when they themselves suffered want, we too should feel the pangs of hunger. Many a day dawned when we had absolutely nothing to eat on hand."

"It occurred to one of the fathers that possibly the flesh of the crow might after all furnish us a meal... With the use 
of a gun, surely, we should be able to feast on meat every day. True, the color, flavor and toughness of this meat 
was quite repugnant, but hunger made it so appetizing that for the greater part of the year crow's meat was one of 
our most delicious dishes."

In 1758 Governor Jacinto Barrios described the food issued to the Indians at Mission San José. "Every week seven beefs are slaughtered to provide the Indians with meat. Those who are sick receive chicken and the mutton of lambs. Each Sunday the missionary doles out to each Indian one peck of corn, a slab of meat and some tobacco. On Thursdays he distributes among them beans, brown sugar bars and more corn to those who need it."

Source: Texas Women's Hall of Fame Cookbook, 1986


How thick were some walls of homes in San Antonio, Texas in the early 1700s?   Three to four feet thick. 

How did people mark their money for storage in the Garza's safe? They wrote their names on their bag.

In 1734 Gerónimo de la Garza built a Spanish-style mansion with fortress-like stone walls between 3-4 feet thick. 
The Garza were descendants from the earliest colonizers of San Antonio, Texas. The Garzas were landowners, cattlemen. Inside the Garza house was a room with a large stone closet.

Before paper money was common and checking accounts were known, San Antonio merchants used to ask José Antonio de la Garza to store their gold and silver in the large stone closet. This early "banking" was simplicity itself. Customers, on their trading trips to Mexico or Louisiana, would mark their names on the bags of money they stored, pay small honorarium for the privilege of using this respected family's safe room and pick up their reserves when 
they returned.

Source: John O. Leal, abstracted from article by Paula Alien in The San Antonio Express-News, 12-31-95


For whom was the crown designed?   The Virgin Mary 

Why was the crown made?   It was believed that a miracle had saved the town from a horrible plague.

The Crown of the Andes, a religious crown not designed for human attire is valued at between $3-$5 million.

The religious crown's story began late in the 16th century, when a devastating plague swept South America's 
coastal communities. The town of Popayan, Colombia was unexpectedly spared from the plague. The highly 
religious townspeople attributed this wonderful miracle to the Virgin Mary. In her honor the community created a 
votive crown to adorn her statue in the Cathedral of Popayan. The 18-22 karat 17th century gold colonial-style 
crown was the work of Spanish goldsmiths, highly skilled artists. Over time, the crown continued to be embellished with emeralds, gifts to the church from its parishioners. Today, the crown is encrusted with 450 emeralds. In 1936, 
an American syndicate purchased the crown. In 1995, the syndicate toured the United States looking for a buyer. 
The estimated selling price is expected to be between $3 and $S million.

Source: Orange County Register, April 6, 1995.


Who built the first experimental cotton gin?    José Alzate
When did Eli Whitney build his cotton gin?   Twenty years later

Those inexpensive comfortable t-shirts that you enjoy might never have happened without an idea which first came 
to José Alzate of Mexico. The cotton gin started an industrial revolution all over the world. The design idea to build 
a machine to perform a task done through laborious hand work first came to José Alzate in the 1770's. José built 
an experimental cotton gin model in 1773 in Mexico. The machine removed seeds from cotton after the cotton had been picked from bushes. Before the cotton gin was invented, workers had to use their fingers to remove the seeds. 
It was tiring work that took a long time.

José Alzate's experimental cotton gin was built 20 years before Eli Whitney's, who is usually credited with inventing the cotton gin. Eli Whitney's cotton gin was built in the United States in 1793. Defined as a "more practical" cotton gin, Eli Whitney soon became known as the inventor of the cotton gin.

Source: McDonald U.S. Hispanic Heritage Art Contest/Teacher's Resource Guide.

Written by Dr. Mildred Murry

On a map of North and South America, compare Spain's empire in 1773 to the present. 
Spain claimed all of Central and South America except Brazil. In North America everything south of the 33 parallel and east of the Mississippi, up to the American colony of Georgia. 

Name the three ways Spain helped the American patriots win their independence from England? 
1) Spain loaned the Americans large sums of money;
2) Provided military assistance; and
3) Secret supplies given through a dummy company.

By Royal Order, August 17, 1780, King Carlos III of Spain asked for a onetime, voluntary donation from Spaniards 
and Indians in his North American colonies. This tale of Spanish silver from the first eight Alta California Missions 
is but a part of Spain's support of the American Revolution --support given in secret that included loans of large 
sums of money, a clandestine supply operation and military aid. When the United States Congress requested a report from Spain in 1794 on the sum due for payment, even the King could not evaluate the amount since this aid had passed through so many hands before it reached its final destination, the Second Continental Congress and General Washington's army. Different cash transactions worth millions of dollars were made, yet Congress 
reportedly only repaid only $174 thousand and eleven dollars. For a country at war whose only currency was paper, that purchasing power may well have meant the difference between victory and defeat. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchis, French King Louis XVI's top spy, Beaumarchis and Count Vergennes, French Minister of Foreign Affairs made plans to set up a dummy company to be financed by France and Spain, one that could deliver military supplies and equipment to the Americans at war with England. By May 1775, the French King authorized Beaumarchais to set up said company, Roderique Hortalez et Cie, then he gave the first million livres to start the operation.

Within a short time, King Carlos III of Spain matched this sum. Located in a Dutch embassy building in Paris, the company's actual operations were located on a Dutch-owned island in the Lesser Antilles, St. Eustatius. Here 
Dutch ships delivered war material brought in from Europe, then stored on the island until other Dutch ships could deliver them to American Patriots, usually to Charleston or Philadelphia. Reports show that this company paid to bring military men like Lafayette and Baron Von Steuben to fight with the Americans as well as furnishing military arms, ammunition, clothing and blankets for service men. Once Spain declared war on England May 8, 1779, there was aid given to the Americans openly. Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana, expanded his civilian leadership duties to include military leadership. In quick succession in 1779, Gálvez captured by land and sea, but the British General Campbell did not surrender until May 7, 1781. King Carlos III named Bernardo de Gálvez Lt. General as 
well as Governor of Louisiana and West Florida. Although England's Cornwallis surrendered to Washington on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown, the war between Spain and England continued for Gálvez in the Caribbean. 
Gálvez's military campaigns helped determine the terms of peace in the Treaty of Paris, 1783, for Spain did receive lands lost, especially East and West Florida and some Caribbean islands. In October 1784, the United States Congress gave a handsome citation to Count Bernardo de Gálvez for his outstanding aid during the American Revolution.

Written by Dr. Mildred Murry

Before 1779, in what ways did Bernardo de Gálvez help the American patriots?
1) He loaned the Americans money 
2) Sent military supplies and medicine and 
3) Allowed Americans to sell goods and ships taken from the British

What British military forts in the Mississippi River Valley and on the Gulf of Mexico did Bernardo de Gálvez capture between 1779 to 1783?   Manchac, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and Pensacola

One of the American Patriots' best friends in the American Revolution was Bernardo de Gálvez, a young Spanish nobleman. You do not hear or read much about Gálvez in American history, but this Gálvez' accomplishments certainly rank him with Lafayette, the French friend of the Americans. Spain had lost much land to England at the 
end of the French and Indian War in 1783. Thus, it was only natural that Spain was most interested in the American colonists fighting England for their independence. How could the American colonists possibly win against one of the world's most powerful nations. Therefore, Spain secretly began giving help to the colonists. 

The young Bernardo de Gálvez was one of the key Spaniards in this plan. As acting Governor of the province of 
New Orleans in 1776, Bernardo sent money and military supplies to the Americans with King Carlos ill of Spain's blessings. The American agent was Oliver Pollock who had land in Louisiana and who spoke Spanish fluently. 
Guns, ammunition, blankets and medicine were sent up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to George Rogers Clark 
at Ft. Pitt, and overland to General George Washington's armed forces in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Gálvez allowed Americans to sell goods and prize ships they took from the British in New Orleans. Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, and Thomas Jefferson, Commissioner from Virginia, corresponded with Gálvez, both requesting supplies 
and thanking him for them. 

May 8, 1779, Spain declared war on England, openly supporting the American Patriots. Gálvez then became a military ally as well as a civil administrator. In preparation for the defense of New Orleans, Gálvez began gathering military supplies and recruiting men. Pollock was his Aide-de-Camp. Gálvez headed for British forts and settlements on the Mississippi River. In an 11-day march with 1427 men, Gálvez reached Ft. Brat at Manchac, north of New Orleans. On September 6, 1779, he captured it. By September 21, Gálvez captured Baton Rouge, and, on 
October 5, Natchez surrendered to Gálvez. 

It took longer for Gálvez to prepare to capture Mobile in West Florida and Pensacola in East Florida. He needed 
more supplies, troops and even ships, many of them to be sent from other Spanish forts and seaports. However, 
once they arrived, Gálvez set sail and reached Mobile Bay on February 10, 1780, five months after the Mississippi River Campaign. On March 10, 1780, he took possession of Ft. Charlotte at Mobile. A year later, April 23, 1781, Gálvez had surrounded Pensacola, British posts at Manchac, Baton Rouge and Natchez in the Mississippi River Valley. With additional military supplies, troops and ships, Gálvez took possession of Mobile on the gulf of Mexico March 14, 1781. Other British islands in the Caribbean fell to Spain after the British General Cornwallis surrendered 
to General Washington at Yorktown October 1781, but before the peace was signed in 1783. Thus, Spain proved to be a crucial ally in determining America's victory over England thus winning America's independence by sending the patriots' money, supplies and military aid.


Who were among the first non-Hawaiian residents of Hawaii?   Spaniards
Where does the Hawaiian word for cowboys come from?   The kerchiefs worn by the Mexican cowboys who were  imported from California to teach the Hawaiians the art of cattle ranching.

Contrary to popular and most assuredly incorrect belief, Hispanics are not recent arrivals to the islands. In fact, Hispanics were among the first non-Hawaiian residents of Hawaii.

Don Francisco De Paula Marin, a former Spanish seaman, became a resident of Honolulu in 1794. He served King Kamehameha I as physician, interpreter (he learned the Hawaiian language), business manager, and horticulturist (according to "The Rise and Fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom," he planted the first pineapple in Hawaii on January 2nd, 1813.

The Hawaiian word for cowboy is paniolo. In 1830 two hundred Mexican Cowboys were imported from California to teach the Hawaiians the art of cattle ranching. The vaqueros wore brightly-colored kerchiefs they called pañuelos ("pan-you-el-os"). It sounded like "pan-ni-o-los" to the early Hawaiians (this is not unusual when you consider the 
first school for commoners in the kingdom was started circa 1823; and there was no written Hawaiian language until 6).

One hundred and sixty-five years later, the legacy left by those early vaqueros has become an integral part of Hawaiian culture.

Source: Extracted from Hawaiian Hispanic News downloaded by Charlie Fouquet from WWWeb


What was the act that brought criminal charges against Captain Fitch?   The elopement with Josefa Carrillo. 

What was his fine?   To purchase the church bell.

Throughout the southwest, many Protestant Anglo men converted to the Catholic faith as a religious requirement to marry a Spanish speaking Catholic lady. Language, religion, and many customs differed between resident Spanish speaking and the newly arrived others, who spoke English, Irish, German, and many other languages. In addition to language differences, were differences in customs and traditions which resulted in problems. A gentleman who did 
not follow the Spanish customs of the time donated the first bell in Los Angeles' Old Plaza Church, under court order.

In the 1820s, Capt. Henry Pitch had criminal charges made against him by the family of Josefa Carrillo. He was 
being charged with abduction because without asking for her hand in marriage from her parents as customs required, he eloped with Josefa.

To satisfy this breach of custom, the condition for having abduction charges against Captain Pitch dropped was for him to purchase and donate to the church, a church bell. Perhaps a reminder to the community that each time the bell was rung, tradition was to be respected.

Source: Beverly Hendrickson Waid


How old was Pabio Tac when he went to Rome?   Twelve years 

What did he write?   A grammar of the Luiseño language.

We frequently think of the courageous deeds of the indigenous people to protect their homeland and that of 
exploring colonizers risking life in service to God and country. There are many kinds of bravery required in a life 
of service to God and country.

Pablo Tac, a California Indian was filled with both courage and a great desire to serve his new Christian God and 
his own people. Pablo received an education at Mission San Luis Rey. The records refer to him as a Luiseño. The practice of naming the local tribe by the mission's name was common.

Pablo Tac's abilities and dedication must have been observed by the Mission priests. As a young child of only 12, Pablo was sent to Pome to become a priest so that he could return to San Luis Rey to serve his people. While in school in Pome, Pablo wrote a description of San Luis Rey and Quechia, and included drawings of dancing men to explain the Luiseño culture. He explained that Luiseño men danced at feasts and in memory of dead grandparents, and now that they were Christians, they also danced for ceremony.

Before Pablo died of smallpox in 1841, he wrote a grammar of the Luiseño language, and was developing a Luiseño dictionary. Pablo Tac's father was Pedro Alcantara Tac, a native of the town of Quechinga, and his mother was Ladislaya Molmolix of Pumusi.

The Tac manuscript is preserved in the University of Bologna library, where it was first noted in the literature in 1858, as an item in the collection of American Indian linguistic materials. Pablo Tac's book was first published in Spanish 
in 1930, and was translated into English in 1952.

Source: July 1952, The Americas, Submitted by Elizabeth Yamaguchi


Who was Concepción Arguello engaged to?   A Russian, Nickolai Petrovich Rezanov 

Why was Nickolai in California?  
To obtain needed food supplies for the Russians in Alaska.

The first California-born Nun to receive the Dominican Habit was Concepción Arguello. With special permission 
from Archbishop Joseph Alemany O. P., Concepción was allowed to become a novice at the advanced age of60. 
She took her vows in 1851. Novels, poems, myths and tales have been written in English, Spanish, and Russian about the tragic romance between Maria de la Concepci6n Marcela Arguello and Nickolai Petrovich Rezanov. In 
1806, in response to a directive from Czar Alexander I of Russia, Rezanov attempted to obtain needed food supplies for the Russian colonists in Alaska from the Spanish colonists in California. In the absence of Concepción's father, Commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco, JosC Dario Arguello, Rezanov charmed both the padres and ladies. Arguello was shocked when Rezanov, 42 years old asked for the 15 year old Concepción 's hand. Unfortunately, 
after obtaining and delivering the needed supplies to Alaska, Rezanov died in a horse accident. Concepción who vowed at his departure that she would never marry anyone but him, never did. Concepción moved with her family,
 first to Santa Barbara where her father was given command of the Presidio, then to Loreto, Baja California, when José Arguello was appointed governor of Baja. Concepción returned to Monterey from Loreto in 1830. She spent 
her life in pious works and was called "La Beata," the blessed one.

Source: Eve Iverson, Nickolai Rezanov and Concepción Arguello, California Historian, Vol 42, #4, Summer 1996.


What did Santa Anna do during his forced retirement on Staten Island? 
Chewed something that Central American Indians had been using since Aztec time. 

What did Thomas Adams find when Santa Anna left Staten Island? 
A chunk of chicle, latex sap of the sapodilla tree.

Antonio López de Santa Anna might have fulfilled his ambitions of money and power if he had recognized what 
he held in his mouth. Instead of "Remember the Alamo" he might have been known in the United States as the chewing gum king. Santa Anna was exiled to Staten Island in the 1860s. In order to ease the tensions of his forced 
retirement, Santa Anna chewed frequently on pieces of chide, the latex sap of the sapodilla tree, which Central American Indians had been masticating since Aztec times. Thomas Adams, a neighbor discovered a large chunk
 of the chicle when Santa Anna left New York. Adams tried unsuccessfully to turn the chicle into rubber. Eventually Adams turned the product into a candy item, gum.  Eventually William Wrigley, Jr. took the lead as the chewing gum king.

Source: Curious Customs The story behind 296 Popular American Rituals by Tad Tuleja, Published 1987 Submitted by Laura Smith


What is strange about the Basque language?   It does not have any connection with any other languages. 

What important skill did the Basque bring with them to California?   Sheep herding.

The Basque who inhabit the Spanish and French Pyrenees are considered the most ancient surviving ethnic group
in Western Europe. Their language, Euskara is unrelated to any other European language, however most Basques speak either or both, Spanish and French. The Basque are among the earliest of world travelers.

Many Basque migrated to California first in response to the promises of the gold rush. However for most, the gold rush was a fever which passed with little gain. However, the Basque bringing with them centuries of farming and sheep raising skills, achieved in the golden hills what they could not find in the river streams. Two well known 
Orange County Basque leaders were Domingo Bastanchury and Domingo Oyharzabal.

DOMINGO BASTANCHURY was born in Basses-Pyrenees, France 1839. At 21 Domingo left home, sailed around Cape Horn to California and arrived in 1860. He worked as a sheepherder for wages and after several years acquired his own flock. Eventually Domingo became the largest sheep owner in Los Angeles County, having from 15,000 to 20,000 head. As Orange county developed into an agricultural center, land was purchased and available ranges for sheep herders diminished.

DOMINGO OYHARZABAL was born in Basses-Pyrenees. He came to the United States in 1863, to Orange County in 1878. With much vision, he invested heavily in real estate purchasing small ranches until he owned over 4,000 acres in the Orange County area. In addition to large herds of cattle, sheep and livestock, he planted over 130 acres of walnuts. In addition, to a congenial partnership with his brother "Steve" in ranching, they also got into construction and built both a grocery store and hotel in the city of San Juan Capistrano.

Source: Samuel Armour, History of Orange County, California with Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men 
and Women of the County Who have been identified with it Growth and Development from the Early Days to the present. Historic Record Company of Los Angeles was the publisher, 1911


For how many hours did Baca hold off 80 men?   Thirty three hours 

What were some of the official positions that Baca eventually held? 
Mayor, county clerk, school superintendent, district attorney

Anyone with a Baca surname in New Mexico should research the fascinating Elfego Baca, son of Francisco Baca. Elfego was born in 1865 in Socorro, New Mexico Territory, but spent his boyhood in Topeka, Kansas. On October 1884, nineteen-year-old Elfego pinned on a mail-order badge and made a citizens' arrest of a drunken cowboy that was making the Mexican populace dance by firing at their feet.

Elfego was confronted by a small group of men and quickly dispersed them. The next morning a group of 80 
cowboys crowded Baca just as he left the prisoner to the local justice of the peace. For Thirty-three hours Baca 
held the 80 men off. It was claimed that more than 4,000 bullets were fired into the little shed that Baca fled into 
for cover. The door had 367 holes in it, and a broom handle had been hit 8 times.

Baca agreed to let the deputy sheriff and Francisquito Naranjo take him under custody to Socorro, but only if Baca were allowed to keep his guns. The cowboys rode in the lead, followed by a buckboard in the rear of which Baca 
was seated with his guns trained on his captors. Baca was tried twice for murder, but won acquittal on both occasions.

Baca was admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 1894 and ultimately served as mayor, county clerk, school superintendent, and district attorney. He was elected sheriff of Socorro County in November 1918. He died 
August 27, 1945.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters by Bill O'Neal, University of Oklahoma Press (c) 1979 and New Mexico Legend by Chuck Parsons, True West, Oct 1993, pg 12.


What was David Belasco's heritage?   Spanish-Portuguese and Jewish 

Where did David's family go when David was 5 years old?   To the gold strike in British Columbia.

David Belasco was a Spanish-Portuguese Jew and the leading American theatrical personality in the late 1800s 
and early 1900s. David was born very soon after the family arrived in San Francisco, California, July 25, 1853. His father ran a small grocery store and had difficulty supporting his growing family. In 1858, the family rushed to the 
gold strike in British Columbia, living there for 7 years.

The family returned to San Francisco in 1865, when David was 12. David prepared for his Bar Mitzvah and quickly made a name for himself as a star elocutionist and actor at Lincoln Grammar School. While still in school, David,
 the oldest of 7 boys and 2 girls, started writing plays and did odd jobs in San Francisco theaters, including taking small roles.

His varied talents expressed in all phases of theater began to attract local attention. Soon his plays began 
to attract national attention. In 1882, David went to New York and quickly established himself as a prime mover 
in the theater. David Belasco, first generation American, of Spanish-Portuguese Jewish roots.

Source: Harriet and Fred Rochlin, Pioneer Jews, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston 1984


Who originated the cheese now called Monterey Jack?   Juana Cota de Boronda. 

Why is it called Monterey Jack?   Because David Jack mass produced the cheese and gave it his name.

That delicious white cheese, Monterey Jack, popular in Mexican food would probably have been called Cota 
Cheese if not for the unprincipled business dealings of a certain David Jack living in Monterey, California.

After Señora Juana Cota de Boronda's husband was crippled, she needed to find a way to support her 15 children. Señora Cota was well know for her cooking skills, and especially for her famous cheese attributed in part to the 
fields in which her animal grazed. In the 1880s she was producing a high moisture cheese known as "queso de Pais." She was making small quantities of the cheese for local markets on her Rancho de Los Laureles in Carmel Valley.

In the 1890s David Jack, a wealthy community leader observed the success of the white cheese and also Señora Cota's methods for producing the delicious cheese. He saw an opportunity. In spite of the Cota's family situation, David Jack leased neighboring land and contracted with farmers to produce the cheese on a large scale for distribution statewide. He called the cheese Jack's Monterey cheese, which eventually evolved into Monterey Jack Cheese.

Source: California Historian, Dec 1992


Who was the man who fraudulently claimed most of the state of Arizona?   James Addison Reavis 

How did he attempt to achieve this goal?   He falsified genealogical records showing his connection with a nonexistent Miguel Nemecio Silva de Peralta y de la Cordoba who supposedly had lands rights.

The development of the United States is filled with stories of land being lost at the end of a gun or won with a 
wedding band. Lands were lost to corrupt politics, crooked business practices, cheating gamblers, and creative 

A James Addison Reavis through a fabricated genealogical lineage contrived one of the most ingenious frauds. 
Reavis fabricated and documented a false birth (1708) and his genealogical connection with a non-existent Don Miguel Nemecio Silva de Peralta y de la Cordoba. By a series of actions, which included actually changing parish records, Reavis made claim to, and almost achieved ownership to most of the state of Arizona.

Fortunately, his claim within the courts revealed its fraudulent base. In 1895 the U. S. attorney general described 
the case as "...probably the greatest fraud ever attempted against a government in its own courts." The second trial 
in 1896 was further elaborated as "...in the magnitude of the claim made, and the fertility of criminal resource displayed in its support, this case has rarely, if ever, been equaled in judicial annals."

Source: Dr. Bruce Harley, By the Gentle Waters: Agua Mansa and San Salvador Parish, 1842-1893, Volume III, pages 107-121


What medical concept was innovative? 
  That the mentally ill should be separated from criminals. 

Who did the hospitals admit? 
Everyone, including the local poor and multi-ethnics whose ships entered the port of Havana.

Havana constructed many fine hospitals in the early 19th century, both to treat the ill and for medical research. Most hospitals only accommodated 40 patients at a time, two patients per room. A reporter of the time Mote, "Nothing is missing in these elegant sanatoriums..."

Not only did the hospitals treat the local poor for free, but also opened its doors to the multiethnic ill whose ships entered the port of Havana.

Hospitals in Havana were among the earliest hospitals in the world to recognize and separate the mentally ill from criminals. In Mazorra, Cuba the Hospital para dementes was founded in 1857.

In July 1902, The Congreso Sanitario Internacional Panamericano met in Havana. A writer of the times wrote that Havana had attracted the attention of numerous visiting medical professionals. Several stated that the organization and intent of the hospitals in Havana were original, not duplicated in North or South America.

Source: "Las Casas de Salud en La Habana de Principios del Siglo," by José A. Soto, M. D., Medicina y Cultura Vol. IV, No. 10, Marzo 1996.


Do you think that the re-shoeing of the horses is a folktale?   Why?
How much money did Dennis Chávez say the U. S. government spent to try and catch Villa?   $130 million

Many families with roots in the southwest, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have stories of encounters with the legendary Pancho Villa. To some, Pancho Villa was a hero, to others an outlaw bandit. Photographers mounted life-size figures of Pancho Villa. Villagers purchased photos standing next to Pancho Villa's figure, as a tribute to Pancho Villa. It was the mixed attitudes of the people, which made the capture of the elusive Pancho Villa particularly difficult. One folktale claims that Pancho Villa ordered his soldiers to reshoe their horses, with the horseshoes placed backwards, sending the United States Army in the opposite direction.

In 1912, shortly after New Mexico was admitted to the Union, John B. McManus was appointed warden of the New Mexico State Penitentiary. McManus related a story to Dernis Chávez, who later became United States Senator from New Mexico.

The story concerned the possible location of Pancho Villa's head and how a Mariano Contreras desiring the $1,000.00 award supposedly available for the recovery of the head had approached McManus. Dennis Chávez laughed and replied that a reward of one thousand dollars for Villa's head was a rather small amount, considering the U. S. government spent one hundred and thirty million dollars trying to catch Villa.

Sources: Doug Westfall, taken from the Legends of the West, Dr. Gary Shumway, California State University, Fullerton


When did the United States buy the Philippines?   1898 

When did the United States grant citizenship to men who had fought in World War II?   1990

The Spaniards colonized the Philippine Islands, named for King Philip II of Spain, in the 1500s. Spain sold the to the United States for $20 million in 1898.

In July 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the United States Armed Forces of the Far East inducting 12,000 draftees of the Philippine Commonwealth into U. S. Military service. From 1898 to 1946, the Philippines was a part of the United States, and these men were considered United States soldiers. An estimated 1 million Filipinos died during the war. The Philippines was granted independence July 4, 1946 by the United States. In February 1946 the Rescission Act was passed by Congress depriving more than 120,000 Filipino soldiers and countless guerrillas who fought alongside Allied troops of any recognition, right or privileges as veterans, even though during World War II, the Philippines were part of the United States.

In 1990 the U. S. granted citizenship to those who could prove military service, paving the way for a massive influx of elderly Filipinos into the United States. Many settled in southern California. Census figures for 1990 identify more than 26,00 Filipinos veterans in Orange County. Today, there are likely many more veterans, carrying names like Gomez and Rivera because of their ancestral roots.

Source: O. C. Register



Quickie Lesson 1
Quickie Lesson 2
Ideas for Integrating into Various Areas of the Curriculum
Creative Writing Ideas
Writing Dialogue
Writing Chants
Writing Limericks
Drama and Creative Writing Skits
Poetry Reading and Writing

Creative Writing, Writing letters
Drama, Reader's Theater to be performed in class, 
           suitable essays 
Creative Writing Radio Interview/News:
Social Studies, Comparative Cultures Research,
Social Studies, Southwest History Research
Social Studies Debates:
Current Issues: 
Social Studies:
Physical Sciences


There are many different ways in which these facts may be used to observe and celebrate Hispanic 
Heritage Month, from a quickie 3-5 minute daily observation to a Unit on Hispanic Heritage. The month 
allows for 20 school days between September 15 and October 15. Following are some suggestions for 
oral language and written language activities which can be adapted for students, 4th-12th grade.

QUICKIE Lesson 1: With the objective of facilitating teacher preparation time and encouraging inclusion
 during the month, two key questions were prepared for each essay. Teacher writes the questions on the 
board. Teacher reads the essay for the day. Teacher leads a class discussion in answering the questions.

QUICKIE Lesson 2: Teacher assigns an essay to each student, or distributes a copy of the table of 
contents and allows students to select an essay. Students present the essay to the class in their own words.

 IDEAS for Integrating mini-articles  into various areas of the curriculum 
Creative writing Ideas:

Adapt a song
to the theme of essay. 
For example: Genetic Roots Go Back 270,000 Years sung to O' My Darling, 

Every Body, Every Body, 
Every Body is a-like. 
Blood and bones, and toes and muscles, 
we together, 

Writing Dialogue 
Students in pairs develop a dialogue based on a flow of questions that they ask each other 
from a select essay, but do not use the questions already prepared  

For example: Tracing Family Roots 
John, do you know what is one of the most popular hobbies in America today? 
Mary, do you know why people first started keeping family lineage records?

Writing Chants. For example: A Root Search Adventure

Ed Grijalva, had a goal, 
finding out what had not been told. 
He searched and searched, until at last. 
He brought honor to his illustrious past.

Writing Limericks  For example:  Monterey Jack

David Jack was a slimy sleeze. 
Stole Juana Cota's delicious cheese. 
Stole by hook. 
Stole by crook. 
Soon got named, Monterey Jack Cheese.

Limericks are usually written about an individual. 
The rhyming pattern is simple, lines 1,2, and 5 rhyme, 3 and 4 rhyme. 
Syllables/beats in lines 1,2, and 5 are usually between 7-11, 8 and 9 are the most common. 
Syllables/beats in lines 3 and 4, usually between 4-6. 
If the 1,2,5 lines are particularly long, lines 3,4 will be very short.

Other essays suitable: 
A Pancho Villa Story 
Hispanic Inventor 
Count Bernardo De Galvez 
Tribute to Christopher Columbus 
Martin Lopez, First Tank and Prefab Ship Builder 
Elfego Baca, New Mexico Gunfighter Legend 
David Belasco and the American Theater

Drama and creative writing, Skits For example: Banking, Texas Style 
Write and perform a dialogue between a merchants that want to leave his money 
with Jose Antonio de la Garza.

Other essays suitable: 
The Historic Bell of Los Angeles 
Cuban Hospitals and Doctors 
A Pancho Villa Story

Poetry reading or writing  
Assign students to research Spanish poetry and/or Nahuatl poetry and present a poem in class, 
either in English or the original Spanish or Nahuatl.
Assign students to write a poem based on one of the essays.   

Creative Writing, Writing Letters For example: Tribute to Christopher Columbus 
As Christopher Columbus, students write a letter expressing personal thoughts historically 
consistent with his life. 
Will of Tecuichpo 
The Earliest of Scientists 
Food Connections with Texas Indians 
Hispanics, Making a Difference in Hawaii Since 1794 
Pablo Tac 
Filipino World War II Vets

Drama, Reader's Theater to be performed in class, suitable essays 
For example: 
Martin Lopez, First tank and Prefab Ship Builder  
Crown of the Andes 
Spain's Role in the American Revolution 
Count Bernardo de Galvez, A Spanish Friend in the American Revolution 
First European Settlement in North America

Creative Writing Radio Interview/News:
For example:
First Impression by Europeans. After viewing an artist's depiction of Mexico City, 
as viewed by the first Spaniards, student writes a monologue describing the view as an onlooker, 
or two students working together write as news reporter questioning the individual.
Other essays suitable: 
Spanish Sea Trade 
Honduras, the Valley of Olancho 
Dangerous Sea Trade 
Spain's Role in the American Revolution 
Count Bernardo De Galvez, 
Fraudulent Land Claims

Social Studies, Comparative Cultures Research, contrast commonly held historical 
beliefs with new information. 
Physician of New Spain 
First European Settlement In North America 
First Thanksgiving In The United States 
Mining In Nueva Espana 
Saint Augustine, Florida

Social Studies, Southwest History Research, further research on the Spanish vaquero's 
(cowboys) contributions to the development of the United States.  
Food Connections With Texas Indians 
Banking Texas Style 
Hispanics in Hawaii 
Elfego Baca, New Mexico Gunfighter Legend

Social Studies Debates:

Many of the essays are included for purposes of giving new insight to American history and the 
part that Spain played its development. They provide a good debate subject for 11th and 12th graders.

For example, a debate about the Laws of Burgos, presented by the prevalent attitudes during the 1500s 
would reveal the underlying Spanish compassion, yet express the commonly held views about the right 
of domination of serfs as practiced in Europe.

Did the Spanish come to explore, exploit, or colonize? 
Did the Spanish help the indigenous in the Americas? 
Was there an existing condition in the Americas that lent itself to European domination?

Current Issues:  
Explore Multi-Ethnic issues from a historical perspective of contributions to the United States. 
For example: 
Spain's Role in the American Revolution 
Count Bernardo de Galvez, A Spanish Friend in the American Revolution
The Basque 
American Theater Page 
Filipino World War II Vets

Social Studies:
Maps and Migration Patterns Understanding the waves and migration patterns of colonizers 
can be visualized by preparing maps. Numerous essays lend themselves to this activity. 
Indian Slaves in the South 
Hispanics in Hawaii 
Pablo Tac 
Sister Mary Dominica Arguello 
The Basque

Physical Science: 
Many essays lend themselves to advanced research in the areas of physical science. 
For example: 
Spanish Treasure Ships
Havana and Florida 
Physician of New Spain 
Hispanic Inventor


Celebrating Hispanic Month 

By Mimi Lozano, 2006


GOAL: To engender public respect for the heritage and culture of Spanish speaking and/or Spanish heritage patrons, and increase their skill and use of computer resources.



Post information on the history of Hispanic Heritage Month, with copies available for distribution, and web 
sites with additional information.

Post information on Spanish surnames and prepare a 
list of Spanish Heraldry web sites that can be explored.

Compile a list of family history web sites prepared 
by individuals and encourage shot-gun explorations 
on the internet. 

Set up a How-To Start Your Family History Center with print materials (pedigree and family group sheets) of 
how to get started, plus a list of web sites to explore.

Make information available on Latino magazines that 
can be viewed online.


Make available in a special bookcase, family history books written by Hispanic researchers, such as De Leon, A Tejano Family History by Ana Carolina Castillo Crimm, Ph.D. or The Farias Chronicles, A History and Genealogy of a Portuguese/Spanish Family by George Farias, Remnants of Crypto-Jews Among Hispanic Americans by Gloria Golden.

Increase collection on:
Classical Spanish language literature
Current Latino authors,
History books with a more inclusive history
Place histories which include the Spanish/Mexican time period: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, etc.

Subscribe to magazines marketing to the Hispanic community. 

In addition to posters on the following themes, compile websites for:

Spanish names of California cities.
Spanish names of California counties.
Cowboy words derived from Spanish, for example:
       bronco, chaps, ranch, lariat. lasso, rodeo, jerky
Geographic words that are Spanish.

Compile posters showing spelling similarities, such as:
Words spelled the same in Spanish and English, 
but pronounced differently, such as: accidental, acre, admirable, album, alcohol., altar, angel, animal, ardor, arsenal, artificial, audible, auto.

One letter different ending:         Small differences:
Spanish dichos and English translations.
Spanish poetry and English translations

Oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine

Map of Spanish Contributions to the American Revolution, Galvez campaigns.**

Vaqueros, old drawings showing the Spanish cowboys.

History of horses brought in to the Americans by Spanish colonizers.

History of livestock and vegetation brought in by Spanish colonizers.

Medal of Honor Recipients

Athletes, i.e. Pancho Gonzales, tennis




Current Latino leaders in town.
Early Latino leaders in town. 
List of early City Council members, back to Spanish period.
Honoring local Hispanic teachers, merchants, doctors, lawyers, policemen, etc. Could be grouped by category. Military, local soldiers serving now, in previous wars, and/or historically.
Photos of local service organizations with Latino leadership.

ACTIVITIES . . fun community-involved possibilities

Select culturally appropriate books to be read by patrons during Hispanic Heritage Month. Schedule book discussions with refreshments. They could be 
the easy reading pop authors, such as Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul and Spilling the Beans by 
Jose Antonio Burciaga or classics. They could be books written in Spanish or English, depending on 
the make-up of the community.

Develop a brief local history inclusive of every cultural groups and make copies available. Schedule a speaker to talk about the history of the local area/town. With 
the information develop a walking tour map of the city.

Gather family group photos, with the name of the 
family and how long they have lived in the area. It 
could be just Latinos or all groups, using the same ethnic ratio existing in the community.

Record the Spanish language lullabies remembered by patrons, and have a station with poster information set up for patrons to listen.

Purchase or rent an award winning historical Spanish soap, and host a viewing with supplement information on that time period and a discussion after the viewing.

Invite patrons to share their potted medicinal plants. Put on a display with English and Spanish identities and what they are used for.

Invite patrons to share their talents in an afternoon of live guitar music, and art/crafts displays. Serve refreshments.

Hold sing-a-longs of Spanish folk and children songs with words for the parents to take home with them.

Children's story-telling with bilingual books that parents can then check out.

Invite senior citizens to share their personal stories, oral history night. "When I first moved here . ."

Invite patrons to share their stories with children, "When I was little. . "

Poetry reading nights, original or published.

Play reading night, with segments or scenes from classic Spanish language plays.


Recommended web sites can be prepared for each of the following:
Before school starts: Hold a Loteria night for everyone. Ask service organizations to supply the gifts of school supplies, pencils, notebooks, erasers, backpacks, etc. Prepare bookmarks with historical tidbits and distribute. 

Before Halloween and Dia de los Muertos: Working with the local schools, organize a Calaveras writing competition. 


Before Christmas: Tamale demonstrations by different countries with recipes.**

Before Easter: A demonstration of how to make Cascarones and a display by different countries.**

Before Mother's Day: 


for Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in your Community


ALL of us have professional and personal contacts who can support our efforts to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

ALL of us are already involved with activities that could augment the season.

ALL of us know of local community groups planning activities.

WE need to gather and compile for the benefit of the community and the media what will be happening, both cultural and historical, and resources already in place.

Identify a specific event to kick-off the month, such as an art contest, exhibit, musical program.  Choose a site which adds the historical emphasis, a public building, church, school, park.  The court house steps adds emphasis to the legality of the observation.  

Work with a local committee.  If possible, it would help to make it a city event if the committee was appointed by the city council.

Use the Historical mini-articles to promote the month.  Use the articles on radio and cable. Publish them in the local newspaper, industrial and community group's newsletters.  Condense the information for a posters and distribute for use in public buildings, such as libraries, post offices, city hall, police stations, recreation and senior citizen centers.


(1) Seek out  local Hispanics who have traced their roots back to the colonial periods.

(2) Gather information/articles on local historical sites 
that have a Hispanic legacy.

(3) Supply information/articles on early historical figures and historical sites to the local school  media centers. 

(4) In cooperation with a local reporter,  run a series on each periods of migration of Hispanics into your area, 
with historical background, maps, and locals whose descendants still live here,

(5) Run a how-to series on genealogical research in particular places, give resources, i.e. Cuba, Honduras, Arizona.

(6) Identify Latin America citizens, their lives and accomplish-  Their migration into the U.S. is fairly recent.

(7) Make arrangements for the community to observe 

(8) Locate all the cemeteries in your area with Hispanic history and publish the history and the location of each. Arrange for living historians to be hosts and hostesses  at each site.

(9) Trek, in period dress, a historical segment of road.

(10) Run a period and/or location dress competition, entrants sewing their own entry.

(11) Interview and promote resources available at local libraries and Family History Centers for Hispanic family research.

(12) Encourage local theater groups to perform historical play based on local history.

(13) Organize a One Act Hispanic historical play competition, select 6 winners,  produce/perform the 6 one-acts.


(14) With local media, run a writing contest Award: "My Grandfather/Grandmother/Great Uncle came/was/did. ."

(15) Run a Calaveras poetry contest, with poems written about a family member. AWARD.

(16) Run an old family recipe contest with biographic information as to the source of the recipe. AWARD.

(17) Prepare 30 short historical paragraphs which can be announced daily over secondary school intercoms and radio stations .

(18) Youth gather oral histories, submit tapes for competition.  Winning tapes are  played on local radio. AWARD.

(19) Distribute free early music to secondary schools played in your region. Compete by submitting tape which is then played on radio. AWARD to winning school.

(20) Prepare information on historic walking tours for your area, distribute free or publish in the local newspaper.

(21) Dedication or rededication of Hispanic historical sites with much media fanfare,

(22) Prepare Reader's theater scripts for secondary school use.

(23) Sponsor a poster contest representing Hispanic Heritage Month.

(24) Connect with local historical groups.

(25) Contact business groups, such as Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and banks reaching out to Hispanics..

26) Assist the local public libraries in setting up historical displays.

(27) Assist the local schools as a speaker or resource.

(28) Ask the music department of your local college to present a program of colonial Spanish music.





 in Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month



Each community is different, but all have many of the same agencies and services. As President of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research and Chair of the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Orange County, we participated in genealogical, historical, and heritage presentations, displays, and/or events throughout the community. Your organization can reach out to the community and make a difference by adding the historical dimension to cultural festivals . You can lead the way by sharing your personal family history with pride.


A. Assess your member resources:

1) What research location and surnames are your members involved with?

2) What expertise do members have, both in their area of research and other areas, such as speaking skills, writing skills, computer knowledge, artistic/craft skills, photography, heraldry, period costumes, foods, music, printing and publicity experience.

What contacts do members already have? Active people are usually involved on many levels, professional organizations, service organizations, churches, schools, library boards, etc. Also members who have lived in the same area for many years have friendly contacts and rich human resources.

4) How are your members currently employed, or if retired what was their field of employment?

B. Prepare a portable Family History/Heritage display.

1) Compile a list of Hispanic annual events.

2) Compile a list of annual events community events open to the public

3) Through member contacts, connect with the organizers of the above events and offer to participate.

4) Be alert to reunions, Hispanic Heritage Month events, school events and offer to help them to prepare an event and/or prepare the entire program.

C. Compile lists of the following:

1) Genealogical societies within driving distance, regardless of researching interest

2) Historical societies, local, county, and state.

3) Historical Museums

4) Newspapers, radio stations, and public/cable television stations

5) Schools, elementary and high schools, county and state

6) Public Libraries

7) LDS Family History Center

8) Churches

9) Colleges

10) Recreation Departments

11) National Parks Ranger

12) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

13) Missions

14) Mayor and City Council

15) County Board of Supervisors

16) Hispanic service organizations

17) Hispanic artists, entertainers

18) Book stores

19) Youth groups, Girl's Scouts, etc.

20) Commercial agencies, departments stores

D. Reach out to the Anglo Community

Strengthen your local base through cooperative programs with the above groups.

Help local groups to understand the Hispanic presence in a very positive and friendly tone.

Devote a generous expenditure of time and information to non-Hispanic groups.

Give experience to members to increase leadership skills.

Give opportunities to members to share their information.

Acknowledge, promote and emulate the good works of other groups.

E. Publicize your activities

Contact your local newspapers and alert them to any presentations, displays, or events.

Send news releases.

We need to change attitudes.

We need to change images.

We need to change stereotypes.

We need to help families find one another.

We need to help heal a nation of historical neglect and abuse.

We need historical fairness.



En Herencia Unidos  by Mimi Lozano

Thirty years ago, responding to the growing demands for recognition by many Hispanic organizations, a  Joint Resolution (H.J. Res. 1299) was approved September 17, 1968 by the U.S. Senate and House of  Representatives, 90th Congress.(l) The resolution was passed by 'voice vote' indicating obvious solid support, not requiring a vote count.(2)

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress  assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as "National Hispanic Heritage Week" and calling upon the people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.(3)

The time period was selected to tie in with the celebrations of Mexican Independence Day and other Latin American Independence Day celebrations commemorated in our country during September 15 and 16. (4)

Since 1968, presidential proclamations have been published, honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, On September 4, 1974, Gerald R. Ford proclamation begun: "Our country's Hispanic heritage reaches back more than four centuries.  When the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock, Hispanic civilization was already thriving in what is now Florida and New Mexico. Since then the Hispanic contribution to America has been a consistent and vital influence in our country's cultural growth." (5)

Unfortunately, asking the educational community to observe Hispanic Heritage in the middle of September when most schools are beginning a new semester resulted in very limited promotion. Teachers were too busy counting heads and distributing books. In 1974, President Ford proclamation expanded the call encouraging those organizations concerned with the protection of human rights to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.(6)

Twenty years after the first resolution Public Law 90-498 was passed, Public Law 100402 was passed, August 17, 1988, again by 'voice vote' expanding Hispanic Heritage Week to Hispanic Heritage Month. (7)

September 13, 1988, President Ronald Reagan spoke at the Rose Garden at the White House, remarking on the signing of the National Hispanic Heritage Week proclamation. "We have all been enriched by the contributions of Hispanics in every walk of American life. " In addition to the noted Hispanic leaders in attendance, he gave special recognition to Colonel Gil Coronado.

". .. I'm honored to welcome Colonel Gil Coronado (USAF). Due to his efforts, we're not just here to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Week but to announce that in 1989 the period between September 15th and October 15th will be Hispanic Heritage Month. It's an honor well-deserved. And you can thank Colonel Coronado, who's been a stout defender- of his Hispanic heritage and the United State of America." (8)

President George Bush has embraced Hispanics with great understanding and warned, "We must never take our friends for granted." (9) "We are rural and urban; native-born and foreign-born; Hispanic and non-Hispanic, brown, black, white - but most of all, we are Americans. " (1O)

Confusion about the Hispanic historical presence is understandable. Most textbooks gloss over the period of Spanish colonization, preferring to concentrate on the history of the formation and development of the United States. The Black and Indigenous historical interaction and presence within the boundaries of the fledging United States are well documented, via government and private records. Hispanic records are also available, but have not been as accessible. In addition to those Hispanics already occupying what became the United States, Hispanic migrations into the continental United States have continued from all parts of the world, bringing unique cultural variations on Spanish language-heritage individuals, Hispanics.

President George Bush expressed his respect for Hispanic contribution in a series of messages on the observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month: "Perhaps no single ethnic group has had as profound an impact upon our Nation as Hispanic America. From the days of the first explorers in what is now Florida, Texas, and California, the Hispanic peoples have played a major role in taming this vast country and developing its abundant resources." (113 ".. . The values passed from generation to generation in Hispanic American families are values central to the American experience. " (12) We need to let the people understand that "What's good for Hispanic America will be good for the United States." (13)

"While our Nation's history bears ample evidence of our Hispanic heritage, we cannot view that great heritage solely in terms of the past. Rather it is a living legacy. "(14) We ourselves as Hispanic Americans need to know who we are and share insight with the world, en herencia unidos. "Common cultural roots enable us all to seek a shared destiny for our hemisphere, for ourselves. "(15) It is indeed a challenge, but as President George Bush stated: "... Hispanic America is at her best when the challenge is the toughest." (16)

President Reagan September l3, I988 closed with a borrowed phrase, "If only we are faithful to our past, we shall not have to fear our future." (17)

Footnotes: (1) "With regards to 1968, the major sponsors of the bill appeared to be Rogers (D-Colorado) in the House, and Montoya (D-New Mexico) and Mansfield(D-Montana) in the Senate." Fax correspondence, July 17, 1998 from Dr. John R. Hébert, Senior Specialist in Hispanic bibliography, Hispanic Division, Library of Congress. Extracted information from references to the National Hispanic: Heritage Week supplied by Barbara Salazar of the Congressional Research Service.

(2) Dr. John R. Hébert, July 16, 1998, phone interview.

(3) Public Law 90-498. Approved September 17, 1968 by 90th Congress.

(4) Senator Montoya (D-New Mexico), Congressional Record, September 12, 1968.

(5) Gerald R. Ford, Proclamation 4310, National Hispanic Heritage Week, 1974 September 4, 1974.

(6) Ibid.

(7) Op. Cite. Hébert, "In 1988, the major sponsors were Byrd (D-West Virginia) and Pressler (R-South Dakota)  in the Senate and McCloskey (D-Indianaj, Torres (D-California), Richardson (D-New Mexico), Myers (R-Indiana), and Dymally (California) in the House with a reference to Colonel Gil Coronado, who according to Mr. Richardson, : I especially want to complement Col. Gil Coronado, who apparently is the original inciter of this outstanding idea and passing it on to the gentleman from California (Mr. Torres)" (August 8, 1988) Congressional Record- House

(8) President Ronald Regan, Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, September 13, 1988.

(9) President George Bush, Remarks to the United States Chamber of Commerce in New Orleans, Louisiana,  September 8, 1989.

(10) President George Bush, Remarks to Members of the Hispanic-American Community in Los Angeles, 
April 25, 1989.

(11) President George Bush's message on the Observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month 1989, 
September 11, 1989.

(12) Ibid.

(13) President George Bush, Remarks at the Annual Convention of the United States Hispanic Chamber 
of Commerce in Chicago, Illinois, September 20, 1991.

(14) President George Bush, Proclamation 6488 National Hispanic Heritage Month, 1992, September 2, 1992.

(15) Op. Cit. Bush, September 20, 1991

(16) Op. Cit. Bush, September 8, 1989

(17) Op. Cit. Reagan, September 13; 1988





Analysis by Mimi Lozano Holtzman, Task Force Historian
U.S. Senate Republican Task Force on Hispanic Affairs


PUBLIC LAW 90-498, Approved September 17, 1968
, 90th Congress

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United State of America in Congress assembled, That the President is hereby authorized and requested to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as "National Hispanic Heritage Week" and calling upon the people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

PROCLAMATION 4310, September 4, 1974
- - - Partial text (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United 
States, Gerald R. Ford, 1974, U.S. Government printing office)

Now, THEREFORE, I GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the 
week beginning September 10, 1974, and ending September 16, 1974, as National Hispanic Heritage Week. I call upon all the people of the United States, especially the education community and those organizations concerned with the protection of human rights, to observe that week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

PUBLIC LAW 100-402, Approved August 17, 1988
, 100th Congress

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress 

The joint resolution entitled "Joint resolution authorizing the President to proclaim annually the week including September 15 and 16 as `National Hispanic Heritage Week'" approved September 17, 1968 (36 U.S.C. 169f)  is amended --

(1) by striking "week including September 15 and 16" and inserting "31-day period beginning September 15 
and ending on October 15";

(2) by striking "Week" and inserting "Month"; and

(3) by striking "week" and inserting "month"


The amendments made by section 1 shall take effect on January 1 of the first year beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

PROCLAMATION 5859 September 13 1988
Partial text (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Ronald Reagan, 1988-89, II, U.S. Gov. Printing Office)

Now Therefore, I RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning September 11, 1988, as National Hispanic Heritage *Week. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  [[*Apparently a typo, should have read month.]]



Report to the U.S. Senate Republican Conference on Hispanic Affairs
 by Cultural Heritage Committee, submitted by Mimi Lozano, May 14, 1999


*We recommend that legislature address the problem of exclusiveness on the boards of private and public  organizations who receive federal money intended to produce historical and educational programs.

*We suggest that funds be distributed with weight given to the cultural diversity represented on the board.  The minority presence on the agencies' boards should equal in percentage the minority population in the  community they represent.  We propose that this policy would result in greater accuracy and more positive  images of minorities.

*We also propose that tax incentives be created to encourage private funding for the production of media  show-casing minority culture and history.  These tax incentives would duplicate the ongoing enterprise and  empowerment zones initiatives.

Cultural Heritage Committee
May 6, 1999 meeting of the U.S. Senate Republican Conference on Hispanic Affairs
Mimi Lozano, Chair
Claudia Alexander, Victor Cabral, Elaine Coronado, Rafael Davila, Mary George.



Dramatic activities for Language Development
Composing Limericks
Composing Limericks in Spanish

One-sided dialogue skits
Spanish creative dramatic skits 
The Wall

South-Coast International Resource Center Coach Institute, August 8-12, 1988
Presenters: Mimi Holtzman and Muffy Tait
Dramatic applies to speech or action having the power of stirring the imagination or the emotions.

We learn 
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we say
90% of what we say while doing it.

The purpose of these activities are to meet the following goals: 
to engage both sides of the brain
to reduce anxiety filter
to maintain active involvement 
to distract the language learner
to focus on language meaning

1. Duet recitation
2. Song, word substitution
3. Choral reading 
4. Reader's theater
5. Structured pantomime
6. One-sided dialogue
7. Cartoon clips
8. Overhead Projector dialogue
9. Radio drama with sound effects
10. Shadow puppet shows 
11. Hand puppet show
12. Mask interviews 
13. Creative Dramatics:  Person, trait, place, problem
14. Targeted phrase or vocabulary creative dialogue/monologue: Figures of speech, Commercial, Idioms
15. Continuous story


by Mimi Lozano, (c) 1988

1. Select a character of your own or use one from the noun list.

2. Describe your character's appearance by adding an adjective.

3. Explain your character's problem or situation by selecting rhyming verbs.

4. Develop your limerick using the syllable count of 11-14 in the first line 
and 6-8 syllables in the second and third line.



Un muchacho muy feo le gustaba bailar, 
estirando su pello
 y rodillas juntar. 

Una muchacha bonita le gustaba cantar
pero pobre, no podia
las palabras juntar.

Un hombre barbaro en vez de fumar,
escupia tabaco
en su cochino hogar.




One-sided dialogue skits can be written based on classroom needs, but they can also be used  for performances.  The freshness in timing is based on the strategy that neither side knowing what the  other character will be saying.  

To write the skits, students can be paired off to write the skit, then exchange with another couple to perform the skit.

One-sided dialogue Skit: Sopa Character #1 

No puede usted comer la sopa?
Pero es buena.
Esta muy caliente?
Esta muy fria?
Pues que pasa?
One-sided dialogue Skit: Sopa Character #2 

No, no puedo comer la sopa
Le digo que no pudeo comer 
No, pero no puedo comer
No, pero no puedo comer.
No tengo cuchara!
One-sided dialogue Skit: Economia Character #1

Desea usted algo?

Si, senor, tengo un ejemplar nuevo y muy hermoso. 

Setenta reales. 

Si, senor, tengo aqui otro. Mire usted, esta como nuevo y cuesta solo cincuenta reales.

Porque no me dijo eso al principio? Aqui tengo uno muy usado. Se vende por catorce reales.

Vaya usted con Dios! No estudie mas economia! Ya sabe usted bastante! 


One-sided dialogue Skit: Economia Character #2

Si, soy estudiante y quiero comprar el "Tratado de Economia. Tiene una copia?

Cuanto vale?

Si es hermoso, pero muy caro. No tiene usted otro mas barato.

No quiero gastar eso. No tiene uno usado? 

Si, pero esta en venta hoy dia?

Adapted from Eusebio Blasco: Economia 

Students can write the situation and perform the skit.  
What is needed is: characters, location, and a problem to be solved.


Skit: Los Frijoles
Characters: Mama, Papa, y Maria
Location: Cocina
Problem: Los frijoles estan quemandose y Papa va a llegar con hambre.

Skit: Salir con Novio 
Characters: Abuelita, nacio en Mexico 
Mama, nacio en Texas
Maria de quience anos nacio en California
Location: Donde quieren estar
Problem: Maria quiere salir con un muchacho. La abuelita piensa que alguien debe de ir con ella. La mama cree que es muy joven para salir con novio. 

Skit: La Tienda
Characters: Alberto, el hijo de diez y seis anos es muy estudioso
Papa, tiene una tienda
Location: En la tienda
Problem: Alberto no esta ayudando porque quiere estudiar. Tiene un examen muy importante.  Su Papa quiere que Alberto  se atienda del negocio porque el Papa esta listo para jubilarse. La Mama quiere que un dia su hijo sea abogado.

Skit: El Sobrino 
Un nino 
Una Tia 
Location: En la sala
Problem: La tia quiere platicar con su sobrino. El nino puede comprender el Espanol un poco, pero no puede hablar el Espanol muy bien.


DIALOG of the DEAD—An Interactive One-Act Play


Rubén Sálaz Márquez

© Copyright 2005 by Rubén D. Sálaz



Dramatis Personae

Narrator (female), Chicano, Above-It-All, María (female), Latino, Immigrant (female), Hispano.

Heckler, Policeman, Immigration Officer (female), Army Soldier, Sheriff, FBI Agent. Two male stage hands.

Dual roles: Heckler/Sheriff; Policeman/Stagehand.

Scene: The stage is dark and bare except for the Narrator standing behind an upstage, brightly spotlighted (overhead) podium. Behind her in the dark are six seated individuals: Chicano, Above-It-All, María, Latino, Immigrant, and Hispano. All are dressed in ordinary clothes of their choosing. The only thing they have in common is a luminescent cross-hair target painted on their foreheads.


NARRATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, Damas y Caballeros, Bienvenidos. Welcome to this presentation on ethnic identity. Let me advise you immediately that the viewpoints presented here will not leave you unmoved. We encourage your sincere participation and we wish for everyone to consider what will be expressed, even if you don’t happen to agree with the various points of view. The effort is to reach a rationale consensus of opinion, despite the fact that we realize some people destroy unity by denigrating everybody else. There are also those who believe they must be the center of attention so they argue about everything. We are here to dialog, not argue. We have a right to disagree but we have no right to destroy. Please keep that in mind.


In hopes that we will make progress in our communities, we will now begin our dialog. Speakers may use the podium or the entire stage. We conducted a drawing to decide on the order of presentations and as it turned out, the Chicano will be our first presenter.

CHICANO: Thank you. I am a CHICANO. That means I recognize who I am: a mestizo, mostly Indian, part Spanish, part Mexican. I am proud to say I am descended from the Aztecs of the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs came from Aztlan, a faraway place in the northland. They kept migrating south until they saw a sign, an eagle devouring a serpent atop a cactus and that became their home in the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs became masters of a rich and sophisticated empire before it was destroyed by Spaniards.

Chicanos are the mestizo race. We are proud to be who we are, no matter what anybody says, because we believe in self-determination. We have forged our own identity and have cut away the Spanish fantasies that plague our people. Chicano and Chicana artists often incorporate images of Aztecs like Quetzalcoatl and Cuahtemoc because they are proud of their indigenous roots. We have a history that goes way beyond the arrival of Europeans, Spanish or otherwise. We demand that this be respected and we show the way by respecting it ourselves.

We realize we have been repressed since the United States took over the northern half of Mexico, today called the Southwest. People didn’t want to be called Mexicans because to the oppressors that was equivalent to greaser, wetback, or illegal alien.

Nomenclature is a factor in our Southwestern reality. A whole menagerie of euphemisms cropped up and everybody could take their pick. Chicanos picked their name from the Aztec under classes, an offshoot of Mexica, combining Sheeka with the Spanish "ano" to form CHICANO, a distinct identity that recognizes our proud Mexican past that racists would deny us. We will not be forced into being ashamed of our indigenous roots nor our present working class realities. Most importantly we openly reject repression by dominant societies, whatever their origin. We acknowledge our deep cultural, racial, and linguistic differences from Anglo-Americans. We will actively seek social justice for our people as we widen their awareness of our history as natives of this land..

We have also endeavored to open the university ivory tower to the community. We demanded that courses be taught about our people and our communities. We demanded that courses be directed toward Mexicans in the United States. Subservience would not be the foundation for Chicano courses. Universities didn’t favor the movement but we forged classes because we struggled, channeled student indignation, and united with other non-white minorities. I think we’ve made progress.

By necessity we are activists. First and foremost we will not reject our indigenous heritage. It doesn’t matter that we are attacked on all sides. We know who we are and we stand proud. We chose to use CHICANO as our name. Nobody shoved it down our throats. We chose it for ourselves.

Self-respect starts with yourself. Look at how everybody else scurries around, toadying up to the powers that be. They’ll say and do almost anything to get accepted. That’s true everywhere but especially on the college campus. Chicanos or Chicanas will be or might not be accepted, but it’s under our own terms. And there is nothing to apologize for. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Thank you. The Chicano seems to be saying "Know thyself." As I mentioned at the beginning, our participants have deep-seated beliefs and we advise everyone to weigh and consider them.. Our next presenter is Above-It-All.

ABOVE-IT-ALL: I am an American, first, last, and always. It doesn’t matter where my ancestors came from. The only important thing is that they came HERE, to America, the good old U.S. of A.

So what’s the problem? This is our homeland, this is where we live and are going to die. This is where we pay our taxes. This is where we get an education. This country, whether you think it is good, bad, or indifferent, is the basis for our culture. What came before, whether from Spain or Mexico or Timbuktu, is of no importance to me.

When we go to war we wear the uniform of the USA. If we die on the battlefield it’s for the USA. I hope our country is always on the side of right, but right or wrong, it’s my country.

Will we get veterans’ benefits? Social Security? Medicare? I sure hope so. But I’m damned sure of one thing: nothing is coming to me from Spain or Mexico, Aztlan, or any place else.

Let me tell you what you already know. The language of the USA is English. Speak it, speak it well, then use another language if you want to or see a need for it. But don’t expect the rest of the country to fall into step with you. It won’t happen because you can’t change a country’s language or culture. It hasn’t happened in the entire history of the world. Don’t bother me about having another language, Spanish or otherwise. If I don’t need it for business or daily living there’s no need for it and that’s not an insult. That’s not racism because the language of this country is English.

You say you’re being targeted by the police? Then why behave in a way that draws police attention to you? Why dress like gang members if you don’t want racial profiling? You tattoo yourself then you resent being treated like convicts? That makes no sense. Some people think they can cuss out the police and nothing should happen to them. You think that’s acceptable in some other country? Let me know when you try it.

Are you going to be accepted in America? Maybe so, maybe not. It’s up to you to work on it because it’s a free country. That holds true for everybody. If you don’t like your neighborhood you have the right to move. That’s part of our freedom. That’s part of being an American. Do you think you’re going to be accepted by doing graffiti, fighting the cops, dropping out of school, doing drugs, or going on welfare? That’s downright sick.

Let’s wise up. If you don’t like this country nobody said you had to live here. Be what you are, an AMERICAN, and learn what you have to learn to live a good life. What other country offers you anything better? Just about everybody wants to come here. We’re here and you don’t appreciate it? Wise up. You’re just making a lot of trouble for yourself. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Thank you. Above-It-All believes we should recognize our American culture. Next we will hear from María, la Mujer.

MARÍA: I am not particularly concerned with labels so I am here as your grandmother, mother, daughter, granddaughter. I have seen our communities torn apart by people like you who don’t realize we are viewed as one and the same, whatever your label. Women give us life but you, all of you, are responsible for our death, figuratively and often literally. What have you people done for your communities other than tearing them apart? We give you life then what do you do with it, THIS?! Where are the heroes and heroines of our people? Where are YOU?! I’ll bet you can’t even agree on that. You people will lead us to the grave. I believe hope will come from women. Thank you.

NARRATOR (nervously): Ah, thank you. María, la Mujer, who believes we should, ah, recognize our responsibilities to community. Next we will hear from the Latino.

LATINO: I call myself a Latino because that is what I heard growing up in Texas. Valid history tells us we are from the Latin branch of the human family. I believe many Americans shy away from history because they don’t want to face reality. Greeks and Latin Romans laid the foundation to what we now refer to as Western Civilization. People in Europe and the Americas are the beneficiaries of that civilization. Latin people can be justly proud of the civilization they created. We should be encouraged to be proud of our heritage, but valid history isn’t taught in the schools. The Germanics, Anglos as they usually call themselves, were the destroyers of civilization. When the Anglo barbarians finally conquered Rome our world was plunged into the Dark Ages. We didn’t get out of the Dark Ages until the Roman Empire resurfaced in Europe.

The greatest king during the Middle Ages was Charlemagne but ordinary people know next to nothing about him, even after taking a high school course in World History. We are bombarded with stories about King Arthur, who was never a real person, and the Knights of the Round Table, who never existed either. The movies make you think he was the King of England when in fact he was always and is now only fantasy, along with his knights of the round table. This fantasy heritage is pervasive in the minds of most Americans and some get angry when you tell them King Arthur was never a real person.

You might say: So who cares? What happened a thousand years ago doesn’t matter now! That’s a standard reaction. But if you rely on fantasy instead of valid history you have other fantasies that skew your life. Take the fantasies of the West about people like the Texas Rangers or Wyatt Earp. Yes, now we’re hitting closer to home, aren’t we? The Texas Rangers were ruthless killers who would shoot you down or in the back before they asked any questions. And being unarmed didn’t matter to them. They were Nazis on a smaller scale but people won’t say that because they are afraid of the consequences. I have often wondered why our people accept all the abuse that is directed at them. One of the few to fight for his rights was Juan Cortina, who is still being vilified in warped Texas histories. But how many Latinos know Cortina’s story? I’ll bet most of us don’t know much about him.

Why don’t our people stand up for their dignity and self-respect? Why are they constantly tolerating insults? Why don’t we promote valid history about men like Juan Cortina and Elfego Baca instead of accepting the Hollywood dream factory of sheer fantasy? Take Wyatt Earp as an example. He was a pimp and back shooter. Yes, that’s the historical truth. The "glorious" thirty-second fight at the OK Corral was over who would control the prostitution industry in Tombstone. They don’t mention that in the movies or even most books. Let it be said once and for all that Wyatt Earp worked in the prostitution industry of Tombstone, Arizona, was a back shooter, a bushwhacker who finally had to flee from Arizona because he shot down his enemies in the back as they were riding by.

Americans get their sense of history from the movies. The nonsense about two gunmen walking toward each other on main street is Hollywood fantasy. Most of those guys in the West were back shooters but now they’re made out as heroic gunmen. Earp and Doc Holiday were anything but heroic yet they continue to make movies about them. Movies make you think that John Wayne created the West. He didn’t and neither did anybody else from east of the Mississippi. Tejanos created western ranching in Texas, Californios did it in California, and Hispanos in New Mexico.

Why don’t you see to it that your children study about themselves and their valid history? Yes, you and me, the whole community is to blame because we don’t bother to educate our kids. We leave it to the schools, and all they really get there is that Latinos are vile people while the heroes are individuals like Davy Crockett who came from east of the Mississippi river, all speaking English. Incidentally, Crockett at the Alamo is about as big a myth as King Arthur.

If you don’t study your real history you are confused or lost. I’m sure you’ll see what I mean just by being here tonight. Stay tuned. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Thank you. Our Latino seems to be saying that we have to know our history in order to know ourselves. Next we have perspectives from the Immigrant.

IMMIGRANT: I am in this country because I like it here. I’ll bet you’ll never guess what I like the best. It’s BOOKS. This country is fabulously wealthy in BOOKS and that’s what I like best of all.

Most people think immigrants are out working in the fields or in construction. That isn’t the case for everyone. I started in the fields as a little girl then I got a janitor’s job in a library then I worked my way into different aspects of library work. Someday I hope to finish college work in Library Science, si Dios quiere. It hasn’t been a piece of cake by any means and I’ve encountered people who don’t think I have the right to work in a library. They didn’t mind when I was cleaning toilets but some sure resent me now. I guess that’s the way it’s always been with immigrants in this country. I love it anyway. But I’m aware of very real dangers. For example, it has been documented that a total of 4,742 Americans were lynched between 1882 and 1968. Of these 3,452 were African Americans. No one has studied how many Hispanos were lynched. That is still to come. So living here isn’t just a piece of pie.

Another of the things I like about American life is that you have to rely on yourself. Let me start by saying we immigrants have paid the price for coming to the United States. Let me set the record straight on what immigrants are doing for this country. Immigrant workers, legal or otherwise, will pay around $500 billion into the Social Security system during the next twenty years. Immigrants collectively earn $240 billion a year, pay $90 billion a year in taxes, and only claim a return of $5 billion per year. That’s an 85 billion dollar profit for this country. If you don’t believe me check out People for the American Way.

We’re get accused of taking away American jobs! ¡Mentiras! We do the work Americans won’t do. Now that I’ve worked my way up the latter, now I’m taking away an American’s job? Don’t kid me. Nobody wanted to start with janitor work so they gave me the job. I did the job and I’ve climbed up the ladder of opportunity. We immigrants are the work ethic of this country. Now that’s what we do for Americans like you and for your wonderful country. Muchas gracias.

NARRATOR: Thank you, señora. That information is very interesting and certainly a revelation to me personally. Next we have the Hispano.

HISPANO: Thank you. There are any number of ethnic labels used locally, regionally, and nationally. Some are positive, many are derogatory. This applies to all ethnicities which comprise the population of the USA.

Despite the belief of some to the contrary--"It’s their name for us" they like to say--the label used historically for New Mexico’s Spanish speaking population is and has been Hispano, Hispanic in English.

Is it really "their name for us"? No, it isn’t. I agree with Latino that we don’t study our history. And by the way, I don’t believe HISTORY is boring. The word HISPANO has its roots in a history that is more than 3000 years old and it goes like this: at around 1200 B.C. the Phoenicians were the first to record visiting a land which they referred to as Hispalis, the Iberian Peninsula, and to the people living there as Hispani. So Hispani is the name given to us some 3000 years ago. When the Romans conquered the area they named it Hispaniarium which later became Hispania and the people were referred to as Hispano. To this day, the people who came out of Spain and Portugal are referred to as Hispano, as are those Latin Americans who became products of the basic cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain and Portugal. And no one speaking English gave it to us.

Yes, we all recognize that we are AMERICANS. Everybody knows that, but that isn’t the point. The reality is that we are not accepted as equals by racist Americans. Notice that I am singling out ONLY racists. Furthermore, be aware of differences which exist amongst our people: we Hispanos of New Mexico didn’t come to the USA, the USA came to us. We’re not immigrants coming to the United States. We didn’t change out names so we could be "Anglos" the way so many Ellis Island immigrants did. We had a long history before we were made citizens of the USA. Indeed, our Spanish history is longer than our USA history. Understand the point that I’m making: historical New Mexicans are not immigrants who came to the USA.

Some people recoil against the idea that New Mexicans are Spanish. You know why they do that? Because they have bought the racist concept that "one drop" of blood can make you inferior. So if you have "one drop of African blood" that makes you a black person. If you have one drop of Indian blood that makes you an Indian. And so on down the line. The "one drop race theory" is ludicrous on all counts but it is basic to racist American psychology. And some of our people have bought it. That’s why they ridicule anyone who refers to himself as Spanish or Hispanic.

I’m sure you can make a case for use of Latino. We are part of the Latin family, but so are Italians, Portuguese, French, and Romanians. How come they don’t refer to themselves as Latin Americans? That’s what they are, just like us.

The label Chicano doesn’t exist in any historical document as far as I know. There is no reference to the label used by any historian before the twentieth century, as far as I know. Being barrio slang, it was used sparingly in the 1940s but became a rallying point during the Civil Rights struggles beginning in 1964 to 1970. The Chicanos, often militant, some people referred to them as militontos, made demands at the college level and some new courses were initiated because of the pressure. That’s about as far as it went because the community didn’t embrace the militancy or the idea that anyone who didn’t use CHICANO was a phony, a "Tío Taco" sellout, someone pretending to be "pure Spanish," which Chicanos ridiculed as ludicrous fantasy. A fratricidal situation developed that is recognizable to this day. Maybe that’s why we’re here right now??

Chicanos laud their Indian blood, which is fine, but at the same time they denigrat the Hispanic past. Put succinctly, Chicanos became as virulently Hispanophobic as any racist Skinhead racist who hated Spain and its Catholic Church. For example, in Albuquerque some so-called Chicanos worked against honoring Juan de Oñate in observance of New Mexico’s 400th anniversary. That’s a historical fact.

Despite the fact that Indians don’t consider Chicanos to be blood brothers, Chicanos, seemingly omniscient, promote the idea that Hispanos are more Indian than Spanish. How do they know? "Well, one drop of Indian blood makes you an Indian, that’s how." That’s American racism, pure and simple.

Like American racists who fancied they were fighting for purity of the white race, Chicanos have made demands in favor of the "mestizo race" where race mixture is the all important reality. Land grant swindles, failing public schools, the hell of drug abuse, grinding poverty, illiteracy, poor academic achievement, all are subordinate to acknowledging race mixing. And in the mixture the Aztec Indians, who by the way came from Siberia if you have studied anthropology, not some fabled Aztlan, are claimed and lauded as progenitors of Chicanos. How is it possible that Chicanos from everywhere came only from Aztec people? What happened to the hundreds of other tribes? There was no mixing with the other tribes who lived all over Mexico and the Southwest?

The truth be told, the Aztecs were conquered by Spanish-led Indians who hated the Aztecs. Why isn’t that historical fact acknowledged? Why do we ignore historical realities like the fact that the many Indian tribes in the Valley of Mexico hated the Aztecs as war mongering cannibals who believed in daily human sacrifice? Why aren’t we aware that the flesh of sacrificial victims was sold in the market place as food? The Aztecs are now often portrayed as heroic while Cortés and his Christian handful of men are villainized, the latter of which fits nicely into "Tree of Hate" American psychology which has always been used against us. Are Chicanos in league with American racism?

Speaking historically, the people of California referred to themselves as Californios, those of Texas as Tejanos, the New Mexicans as Hispanos. Genome testing has now proved that human DNA is 99.9% exactly the same throughout the human race so racist ideas of "purity" or "mixing" are invalid, in reality more social than science. Furthermore, use of the label Chicano was doomed from the start because there is not now nor has there ever been historically a Chicano community. The effort came from individuals at various universities, especially in California, and never became the fabric of community life. Latino is still the preferred label in Texas, as is Hispano in New Mexico. Take a quick look at the various organizations in Albuquerque: the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Roundtable, the Hispanic Culture Preservation League, American G.I. Forum. None of them employ the Chicano in their organizational name.

Individuals can use whatever name they wish. My feeling is that hate should not be fomented by anyone. Live and let live. We all hate war, disease, ignorance, racism, and all those ugly things, but we should not hate each other or we could wind up in crematoriums, one group at a time. I invite you to read the short story, THE WALL, which has been published on various websites. Thank you.



NARRATOR: Thank you, Hispano. Now we will have a short rebuttal period—

HECKLER: (seated in the audience area and yelling) WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DISCUSS THE NAMES THEY REALLY CALL YOU??

NARRATOR: (startled but peering into the direction of the voice) Excuse me?

HECKLER: I said why not discuss the names they really use?

NARRATOR: (trying to be accommodating) Sir, I don’t know what you mean. Like what?

HECKLER: Like GREASER. Don’t tell me you’ve never heard it!!

NARRATOR: Well, yes, of course, but sir, at this juncture you would have to be on stage in order to raise such questions.

HECKLER: (Taking it as an invitation he strides onto the stage and into the spotlight.) OKAY, it’s time to tell it like it is. When are you going to face reality?? You say you’re Chicanos, Latinos, Mexicans, Spanish and all the rest, but what you really have to confront is when they call you a greaser, a spic, a pocho, a surumato, a hodge-podge of mixed-blood mongrels of the human race but little removed from savagery, on par with Indians and blacks.

NARRATOR: Sir, I meant to say we will open it up for questions at the end. And the first thing I would require is respect for all people.

HECKLER: Let’s not waste anymore of my time. Address the real issue: why do Americans think of you as degenerate GREASERS?!

NARRATOR: Sir, you’re going to have to leave the stage but let me say that we are not responsible for racist societies that have targeted Amerindians, Africans, and Mexicans.

HECKLER: There you go again, avoiding reality. Why not say redskins, niggers, and greasers? Afraid to look the situation in the face?

NARRATOR: Sir, that’s enough. (Looking to the wings.) Some one get this person out of here.

HECKLER: Face American reality: a white skin symbolizes the light of knowledge, religious purity, the beauty of innocence, faith, true joy, and life itself. That’s what people believe and you guys haven’t even touched upon it. Integrity is the key, along with humanity and high chastity in women.


HECKLER: A dark skin is the sign of darkness, wicked mongrelism, punishment and suffering, ignorance and superstition, a lack of hygiene, pervasive squalor, laziness and misery, decadence and death. Those are the real issues that you have to discuss if you really want to face reality.

[Two burly stage hands come on stage and forcibly drag the Heckler away to the wings while he continues to express himself until his voice is suddenly silenced.]

You stand here and laud your mestizo mongrels?! [To the stage hands as they drag him offstage.] GET YOUR GREASY HANDS OFF ME!! You’ll hear from my attorney!! When will you people ever learn?! You’re nothing but rejects like everybody says! You’ll hear from real AMERICAN LAW!!


NARRATOR (slightly shaken): I apologize, ladies and gentlemen. We didn’t intend that scene, it’s not part of the program. We’re back to normal again. As I was saying before we got interrupted, we will now have a short rebuttal period in which our presenters can clarify their commentary if they wish. We will maintain the order of presenters by beginning with our Chicano.

CHICANO: Thanks. As you have seen ladies and gentlemen, that’s what we have to confront. How are we going to do it? The racist practices witnessed on this platform are symptomatic of stubbornly held ideas that include, first, denying there is a war at home along with today’s wars abroad, and the two are intimately connected. Second, denying that both are racist wars, as well as apparently forgetting that U.S. foreign policy is fundamentally rooted in American racism. In 1500 the invaders arrived to take the land and the woman, and then systematically worked to destroy the culture. The Europeans came from Spain and later from England. Then came the Dutch to sell slaves, and even the Russians came.

The Chicano has a history of activism and cultural survival or we wouldn’t be here. It was the Chicanos who organized the Mexican American Civil rights movement during the late 60's and early 70's.

So how should we activate today? The same as yesterday: you’ve got to have huevos. Do you really think these eunuchs here tonight are capable of providing you with leadership to face the realities of this country? You have to come to grips with who and what you are. Only then can you face reality and work for your goals. And let us admit that we have to study our history if we are to succeed in American society, despite its penchant for fantasy as reality. But you don’t have to be Euro-clones to be happy or fulfilled.

Chicanismo always was, and is, an idea. We all know, of course, that you cannot kill an idea. Today, in widespread educational circles, the idea lives. We see the elements of El Plan de Santa Barbara bearing ripening fruit, such as bilingual education, multicultural perspectives, and the recognition that Chicano history is very relevant for today's well-rounded education and for the self-esteem of Chicano and Chicana students. Chicanismo, therefore, is not dead. It is our best weapon against American racism. Thank you.

ABOVE-IT-ALL: I believe in American progress. I believe in improving what went before. This does not include being "different," not even being perceived as different. When you belong you want to be like everybody else. Being different is antagonistic, a threat to security of the whole. It is dangerous and calls for incarceration, deportation, or being put on a reservation. If you want to be happy, if you want salvation, ACCULTURATE. If that means being Germanic in the British sense, so be it. The professor at UCLA had it right when he said acculturation, through education or the work place or whatever, was the key. IT’S WHAT ALL OTHER IMMIGRANT GROUPS HAVE DONE. Why should you people be the exception?

Furthermore, it’s time we started talking like AMERICANS to everybody here present and the rest of the world. You know what I would like to hear coming out of Americans from here to the White House? That America is for AMERICANS. It’s time to hear that since Congress does not want to spend any more money on the current war, that our mission is complete. All American forces and personnel will be out of the war zone within 30 days!

We should create two lists that include all of the industrialized nations of the world. The short list contains the names of countries who went into the war zone with us. The longer list contains the names of countries who did not. So be informed that, effective immediately, countries who did not help us in time of war will no longer be eligible for any kind of foreign aid from the USA. We figure the money saved will pay for the war on terror, which we thought all countries wanted to combat.

In the future, together with Congress, American leaders will work to redirect this foreign aid money toward solving the heavy social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Mess with us and we will hunt you down and exterminate you from the face of the earth, along with all your friends. That’s a promise!

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "damn right." America should be first and foremost for AMERICANS.

Nearly a century of trying to help people like you and around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. The world can now take care of itself. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time for America to take care of its own. And if you don’t like it, no one will stop you at the border when you move out.

If you want to progress, be an American. If you don’t want to be one, there’s plenty of transportation out of here. If we want the same rights and privileges as every other American we have to be true Americans. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Well this is America and we’re as American as anybody else. GOD BLESS AMERICA. This is my country and no one is going to take it away from me. NO ONE! And that includes everyone here.

MARÍA: We ARE here. The United States finally took count and
found out that within the last ten years our people have crossed the borders into America not only fulfilling the American dream, but more importantly fulfilling the destiny of our becoming the entire majority in the Southwest There is nothing on this earth that can stop a movement of people whose history revealed that they would once more govern not only their lives, but their land.

We must have the heart, courage, and concern for the well-being of our people. We must never forget that in some fashion or another we are related. We are all Mexicanos -- different names, different places, different native languages, but at the end we are Mexicanos. The states within the borders know that it is a matter of time before we become the majority. Those who doubt this may study the U.S. census of people at the borders. The battle cry for many centuries has been about life and death for justice, liberation, and land. As a people and a race, we have returned to those times once again. The land itself cries for us.

It is our responsibility to undo the mental brain washing imposed on us, making us believe that we who reside in the United States of America are different. We are not different but we are one. "Nosotros somos uno."

We are the same Mexicanos/Mexicanas that at times we see at the borders -- barefooted, hungry, and chained. They are our sisters and brothers. These Mexicanos are related to all of us. We are one, and there is no river, no border, no agents or Minutemen that can ever stop the process of evolution.

Being a woman hasn’t absolved me from any responsibilities to God, country, family or community. I call for all women and men to join together to pay respect to mother earth and to women for being life givers and keeping our cultural traditions alive. Thank you.

LATINO: We need to learn to appreciate each other. Most people do not realize that many doors were opened for la Raza because of the sacrifices of many of our past leaders. Corky Gonzales was one of those leaders and a personal inspiration to me. I remember him fondly because he told me once If there ever was a fight for rights, to invite him and he really meant it.

Corky was one of the leaders during the Mexican American Civil Rights Era during the late 60's and early 70's. He did much to improve conditions in Colorado and to promote communications. César Chávez improved conditions in the farm fields. Others worked valiantly to improve conditions in the cities in California, Arizona, the Mid-West, Oregon and Texas. There were leaders like José Angel Gutiérrez and Reis López Tijerina who also did much for the people, even if the ordinary Fulano doesn’t know it.

An organization that has not received its due is the Brown Berets. The Brown Beret National Organization of 60 chapters had to take a lot of the reactionary flack, but because of its sound structure, they contributed to much of the youth development and safety in the field. The Berets were able to organize many events across the nation despite disruptors, and police provocateurs. The Berets went to jail more than anyone because they were effective and not afraid to practice their civil rights on the streets.

We must ORGANIZE. You can’t wait for white activists to do it for you. We all know that white activists can wage passionate campaigns against oppression and human rights abuses in Chile, El Salvador, South Africa and such, but NOT in the ghettos and barrios of their own cities. WE have to do it. Thank you.

IMMIGRANT: I am shocked beyond belief at what I have witnessed on this stage. What is wrong with you people?! In my native country poor people don’t get their kicks by fighting each other. They realize the oligarchies and global corporations are keeping them underfoot and poverty stricken. Why do you hate each other so much?! Do you really think that blood is the thing that matters? So you are Chicano or Hispanic or Spanish or Mexican or Indian, so what, if you’re poor and uneducated? So you’re a mestizo! What of it?! So you’re Indo-Hispano or Mexican American or Spanish American. I’ve heard one person say he was no longer a Chicano but rather an Aztlano! Who cares if you can hardly read or write English or Spanish? I’ve met tons of ordinary people who don’t respect anybody and numbers of university professors who think they’re gods!

You are the only people I have ever met who fight each other over labels or blood instead of oppression, crime, poverty, exploitation, lack of education and all those things which most people value. What planet have you people been living on?

You have millions upon millions of brothers and sisters in this country but for you people I guess they are just someone to fight with instead of for. I have lived next to Indian villages and there isn’t a single person on this stage whom I would consider to be an Indian. Neither are you Spanish unless you were born in Spain, and I doubt that too. The people I have met in this country are German, Irish, Italian, Polish and all the rest from all over the world. They came here for a better life but all you people want is to fight each other. Get ready. We, all of us, will soon be obsolete, irrelevant, or dead.

HISPANO: I don’t believe that everything that came before is "dead, obsolete, and irrelevant." Neither do I believe that Chicanismo is the only key to "the good life" because we all have a right to pursue whatever we believe is the essence of happiness. Acculturation is "one size fits all" but so is "Chicanismo," whatever that is. Maybe Aztlanismo is next?! Maybe the Chicano will tell us. For my money, all its done is fragment our communities with all kinds of animosities. Look at what’s happened right here on this stage.

NARRATOR: We will now open up the discussion to any presenter who wishes to add something by way of summation.

CHICANO: El Movimiento is who and what we are, beyond our
heart into our very soul and being por vida. Like Che said, every true revolutionary is motivated by LOVE, and that is what the Movimiento is, was and will always be, about eternal love.

Yes, there are many vendidos and tapados among us but whatever they are, they were never Chicanas or Chicanos, in the first place. Race, color, nationality, culture and tradition do not a Chicana or Chicano make; Chicanismo comes from the heart, and it grows from there, outward throughout your mind forever. Anyone who thinks you can quit the Chicano Movement was never in it in the first place.

LATINO: I believe the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has to become a basic factor in our reality. In that treaty, signed after years of war between the United States and Mexico, Mexico was forced to cede about half of its territory, the lands that would become the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah, ceded to the American government in exchange for $15 million in hypocritical reparations, conscience money probably, for war damage.

Our people in 1848 were Mexican citizens, and the U.S. promised to respect their rights as such, whether they chose to remain Mexican citizens and relocate, or if they chose to stay where they were and eventually become citizens of the United States. The federal government also set about determining how much land belonged to Indian peoples under the terms of the Treaty. In California, they asked the people in 1851 to provide proof of their land grants and pretty much accepted all of the land claims that were filed. The federal government lost half of California and realized that it had made a mistake. If you really have Article VIII rights, real property rights, you as individuals and as a people have superior rights. If we can establish that you have Article VIII rights, you are the sovereign. If you are the sovereign, you can say, 'I don't care what you pay; we will not sell." Indians are in a good position for court cases. All Latinos have the obstacle of proving they were defrauded out of their lands. The crux of the struggle is for the LAND. If you don’t see it, your head is buried in the sand.

MARÍA: Our basic focus has to be the family and especially our children. The military are trying to sign up our kids to go fight poor people from some other nation. We must recognize reality. Across the country, parents, teachers, and activists are taking action to protect students from the lies, manipulation, and abusive tactics of military recruiters who are going into the poorer communities and trying to recruit our young people to fight their hateful wars. Rich kids aren’t targeted, just the poor.

Recruiters have no place in public schools. They are predators who
lie to young people and manipulate their economic situation in order
to drag them away to fight bloody wars of conquest and occupation. We have a right and an obligation to demand that they not be allowed to use schools to recruit cannon fodder for their illegal, immoral wars.

HISPANO: It’s time to act. If you lived through the struggles the 60's and 70's you know what price has been paid. It's our youth that doesn't know.  They have it easier than we did, thanks to all those paladins that opened the doors of opportunity. To continue the struggle is the ultimate sacrifice. We must combat historical amnesia. It's more complex than just plain amnesia. Perhaps it should be characterized as cultural amnesia or cultural schizophrenia because the fatal flaw in our armor is the fight over European or Indio roots. This fight is destroying all of us, whether we admit it or not.

IMMIGRANT: Education is the key. According to the U. S. Department of Education, 37% of Hispanics do not finish high school, compared to the national average of 15%. In fact, overall statistics show that Latino students do not succeed as well as non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans or Asians. They have higher dropout rates, lower test scores, and fewer college graduates, leading to less involvement in community affairs. We must stress education to all our people. Without education we will always be viewed with contempt and we won’t be able to defend ourselves.

NARRATOR: I am privileged to be able to draw this dialog to a close. Like everyone here present, I too have something to say by way of summation, even though that really isn’t a Narrator’s role. I have my commitment to our people so let me just state this generation is being put into competition with workers from all over the whole globe by the giant corporations. The trend is a race to the bottom for the young of the world, including the USA, and especially the barrios and ghettos. What you did for your kids está a todo dar. My entire family has achieved lots and I assure you, not one of my children, nieces or nephews has ever had to shine shoes in downtown Los Angeles to help the family make ends meet.

I hope I'm not speaking for myself, that I'm not the only one that made a better life for my children and the children of others. That would be a disappointment. But the next generation will likely have a harder time doing the same for theirs over time. My hope is that whatever we do to make a good life for ourselves -- whether we become teachers, or social workers, or business people, or lawyers, or poets, or scientists, or artists – my hope is you will devote part of your life to making this a better world for your children, for all children. My hope is that the next generation will demand an end to war, that future generations will do something that has not yet been done in history and wipe out the national boundaries that separate us from other human beings on this earth.

I will now give our presenters a brief moment for one short, final comment.


[The four males step forward boldly, each wanting to make his last comment before the others. They jostle and push each other disrespectfully until finally each one has the following to say.]

ABOVE-IT-ALL: When I write the Chicano version of ROOTS, you know what I’m going to call it? GRASS!

CHICANO: I am a Chicano from Califaztlan and I’m going to nominate each one of you for a "Purple Shaft with Barbed Wire Cluster"!

LATINO: If I’m a Pachuco from Pachucoville…¿al cabo que anyway what?

HISPANO: Get rid of the confusion and fratricidal blood letting. Get a life!

ALL Four Males: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY [each one pointing at the others] AND THEY ARE YOU!!

NARRATOR: (Trying to prevent the four from coming to blows.) Please: let us maintain our composure. Think of what kind of example you are setting!!

[The lights flicker in a strobe effect as the men begin fighting in slow motion, punching and kicking, the Narrator, Immigrant, and Maria in the middle but unable to stop them so the women scream. There now enters into the front of the audience the Policeman, Immigration Officer, Army soldier, Sheriff, and FBI Agent, all brandishing lethal rifles. The lights go up in strobe surrealistic fashion and remain throughout the following scene.]

POLICEMAN: Everybody STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING or you will suffer the full force of the law. You characters know I mean it. I SAID STOP!!

[Everyone on stage stops and peers confusedly toward the audience.]

FBI AGENT: [Addressing the audience.] This audience is under protective custody until everything can be sorted out. [The lawmen point their weapons at the audience.] Don’t try to leave the scene without prior approval.

[The lawmen now focus on members of the audience, pointing their weapons at individuals. They respond in character to whatever comments are made by individual audience members.]

SHERIFF: You, let me see your ID…I said let me see your ID.

ARMY SOLDIER: Of what nation are you a citizen? What proof do you have?

IMMIGRATION OFFICER: Do you have a passport? What do you have to prove your identity?

POLICEMAN: Do you speak English? Speak up now! What kind of an accent is that?

NARRATOR: (Addressing the lawmen.) Hey, this is not part of the program. What are you doing?

ALL MALE PRESENTERS: (Standing in a row on stage.) You can’t do that. THIS IS AMERICA! This isn’t a police state. We’ve got rights!

[The lawmen all turn toward the stage, form a straight line, lift their rifles and when the POLICEMAN hollers "Ready, Aim, FIRE!" all rifles boom out in unison. All presenters and the Narrator fall down dead. The entire theater goes to black and we hear the song "Mañana" by Peggy Lee, sung in its entirety, as the finale.

At the end of "Mañana" the house lights come up and all characters in the play engage the audience, with NARRATOR as MC, in a commentary-question-and-answer session.]

Rubén Sálaz M.
10401 Central N.W. #131
Albuquerque, NM





Wooden Ships with Wind Blown Wings, Choral Reading
Una Rima
de Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Choral Reading
El Burro Flautista por Tomas de Irarte, Choral Reading
Salir con un Domingo Siete by Carmen Lira,  
          Readers' Theatre
¿Quien Necesita Antiojos?  One-Act


Wooden Ships with Wind Blown Wings 
Choral Reading by Mimi Lozano

Female Trio 1 From far across the sea they came, 
those brave explorers with Spanish names,
searching strange lands for God and King, 


in wooden ships with wind blown wings.

Male Trio 1

Churning seas, thirsting bellies and tongues 
to mast and faith they waiting clung.
Sailors seeing sights unseen


wooden ships with wind blown wings.

Female Trio 2

At last the trip brought them to land,
the weakened band on sand did stand.
Continents, the oceans had been spanned


wooden ships with wind blown wings.

Male Trio 2

Christopher Columbus, a famous name,
let's honor others with quiet fame.
Heroes who after Columbus came,


wooden ships with wind blown wings.


Trio 1

Alarcon, Alvarado, Arellano

Single 1


Duo 1

Cabrillo and Cardenas

Trio 2

Coronado, de Ayllon, and de Leon

Single 2

De Niza

Single 3

De Salas

Single 4

De Sosa

Single 5

De Soto

Single 6

and De Vaca


Dias, Espejo, Ferrelo, and Gomez

Duo 2

Gordillo, Guadalajara

Duo 3

Humana and Kino

Duo 4

Martin-Castillo and Mendoza-Lopez

Duo 5

Narvaez, Oñate

Duo 6

Pardo and Pineda

Single 7


Single 8

Teran de los Rios

Single 9


Duo 7

Vizcaino and Zaldivar


Wooden ships with wind blow wings           Full voice
wooden ships                                            Softer
wooden ships                                            Softer
wooden ships                                            Softer
with wind                                                    Clear and bold
blown                                                         Strong
wings.                                                        Extended crescendo
Suggestions for
The chorus of each stanza should be spoken in slow, soft tones, extended like the sound of whispering wind.
The names of the explorers are shouted out like a muster call, varying both the speed and loudness.
Grouping the voices much as a singing choir will add to the dramatic quality of the reading.
A few period costume pieces worn by some of the readers will help set the stage.

Una RIMA de Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

Spanish Choral Reading adaptation by Mimi Lozano (c) copyright 1988

PARTS:  Voices 1 >Male, Voices 2 >Male, Voices 3 >Female, Voice 4 >Solo Female

Voices 1: Los supiros son aire,

Voices 2: y van al aire,

Voices 1: Las lagrimas son aqua,

Voices 2: y van al mar.

Voices 1: Dime, mujer, cuando el amor se olvida,

Voices 1 & 2: Sabes tu a donde va?

Voices 3: Que es poesia?

Voice 4: dices mientras clavas en mi pupila, tu pupila azul.

Voices 3: Ques es poesia?

Voice 4: Y tu me lo preguntas?

Voices 3: Poesia . . . .

Voice 4: eres tu.

Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Spanish lyric poet. He was born in Seville in 1836 and died in Madrid in 1870. He was considered the best of the late Romantic poets. The main themes of Becquer's poetry are of longing and frustration. His use of language is simple under- statement. The poem above is one of a collection printed in 1860 under the title of RIMAS.

EL BURRO FLAUTISTA por Tomas de Irarte
Spanish Choral Reading Adaptation by Mimi Lozano (c) Copyright 1988

Voices 1, 2, and 3: mixed voices

All: entire chorus

Solo, male

Solo, female

Voices 1: Esta fabulilla salga bien or mal, me ha ocurrido ahora

ALL: por casualidad.

Voices 2: Cerca de unos prados que hay en mi lugar pasaba un borrico

ALL: por casualidad.

Voices 3: una flauta en ellos hallo,que un zagal se dejo olvidada

ALL: por casualidad.

Voices 1: Acercose a olerla el dicho animal;

Solo, female: Y dio un respolido

ALL: por casualidad.

Voices 2: En la flauta el aire, se hubo de colar;

Solo, female: y sono la flauta

ALL: por casualidad.

Solo male: Oh! - dijo el Borrico: !Que bien se tocar!

!Y diran que es mala la musica asnal!

Voices 3: Sin reglas del arte, borriquitos hay que una vez aciertan

ALL: por casualidad.

Thomas de Irarte y Oropesa, Spanish author best known for his fables in verse. He was born in the Canary Islands in 1750 and died in Madrid  in 1791. His satirical fables, which ridiculed contemporary society, were popular both in Spain and throughout Europe. His style was simplicity, ingenuity of story line and naturalness in the use of language.

Spanish Language Readers' Theatre Adaptation by Mimi Lozano (c) Copyright 1988

Characters: Narrator, Pobre, Rico, Brujas > 1, 2, 3, 4:  Burro del Pobre, Burros del Rico

PROPS: Two goiters to be made from a paper cutout or balloon. Attach one with masking tape to the left side of el Pobre's neck and one to the left side of el Rico's neck. Two ropes to attach to the donkeys and two signs: The poor man's donkey has the sign which reads, Un Burro and the rich man's donkey has the sign which reads, Cinco Burros. Five bags/sacks with ORO written on them.

The readers are positioned as follows: The Narrator, Pobre, and Rico are on the left hand side (stage right when facing the audience)  The Narrator stands on the extreme left.  Next to him is el Rico and than el Pobre. The donkeys stand next to their owner.

In the opening, the Narrator is facing the audience. The Rico and Pobre turn as their lines are to be delivered. After the Rico delivers his  line he again turns away and remains until el Porbre re- turns from the woods.

The Brujas are positioned on the right hand side (stage left when facing the audience.) They have their backs to the audience and do not face the audience until they start chanting their phrase.

Narrator: Once there were two compadres, two friends. Both had a tumorous goiter. One of the men was very rich and one was very poor. The rich one was a stingy type . .

Rico: (Turns towards audience.) de los que no dan ni sal para un huevo. (Turns away from audience.)

Narrator: El Pobre was a kind, hard working honest man who used to go to the woods every Saturday

Pobre: (Turns towards audience.) a cortar lena que vendia en la ciudad. (Cross towards Brujas, 
stage left.)

Narrator: One night el Pobre got lost . .

Pobre: Y para poder ver donde estababa, se encaramo en un arbol. (Motion climbing a tree.)

Vio una luz a lo lejos. (Motions looking all around.) Se bajo y se encamino con su burro hacia ella. 
Motions climbing down and walks towards Brujas.)

Al irse acercando, oio musica y carcajadas y lluego vio una casa grande y elegante en un pedaso 
despejado  del bosque.

Narrator: El Pobre was surprised to find such a rich hacienda in the middle of the forest.

Pobre: En puntillas se fue acercandose. (Tip toe.)

Se escondio detras de una puerta (Use the script as the door.)y se puso a curiosear por una rendija. 
(Divide the script sheets and look as through a crack.)

La sala estaba llena de brujas mechudas y feas, brincando y cantando a gritos una unica cancion:

Brujas: (All turn towards audience. Stand hunched over bobbing head up and down to accent the 
phrase  or jumping around. Emphasize the s sound.)

Lunes, y martes y miercoles tres.

Lunes, y martes y miercoles tres.

Lunes, y martes y miercoles tres.

(Whisper in unison the same phrase until the Pobre has made his addition.

Lunes, y martes y miercoles tres.

Lunes, y martes y miercoles tres.

Narrator: The man soon tired of hearing the same phrase over and over and

Pobre: en vocecilla de guecho dejo:

(Change of voice.)

Jueves y viernes y sabado SEIS.

Brujas: (Freeze on the word SEIS.)

Bruja 1: Quien ha cantado?

Bruja 2: Quien ha arreglado tan bien nuestra cancion?

Bruja 3: Que cosas mas linda!

Bruja 4: Quien ha cantado asi merece un premio!

All Brujas: Vamas a hallarlo. (All turn in different directions.

Bruja 1 crosses towards him.)

Narrator: The witches searched for the source of the voice and quickly found El Pobre behind the door 
shivering with fear.

Bruja 1: Aqui esta! Aqui esta! Lo encontre. (All the Brujas gather around him, pulling, hugging, kissing, 

Le vamos a cortar el guecho.

All Brujas: Si, Si!

Pobre: Eso si que no!

Narrator: But before he realized what was happening,

Bruja 1: ya estaba la protagonista rebanandole el guecho con un cuchillo, (Motions as if cutting
the goiter away and dramatically pulls off the  goiter and proudly states...)

sin que el sintiera el menor de dolor y sin que derramara una gota de sangre.

Bruja 2: Luego sacaron del cuarto de sus tesoros sacos llenos de oro y se los ofrecieron en pago 
de haberles terminado su canto.

Bruja 3: Puseron los sacos de oro en el burro (Attach 3 sacks of gold onto the donkey and give the
donkey 2 sacks to carry.)

Bruja 4: y el Pobre se partio (Standing upstage of el Pobre motions as if giving directions to go over 
and around a mountain.)  por donde las brujas le indicaron.

All Brujas: Y las brujas comensarron brincando y candando.

Lunes y martes y miercoles tres.

Jueves y viernes y sabado seis.

Lunes y martes y miercoles tres.

Jueves y viernes y sabado seis.

(Repeat in a whisper getting softer and softer.)

Narrator: Just as el Pobre was approaching his village, El Rico (El Rico turns towards el Pobre 
and crosses to him.)

Pobre: El probre que era un hombre que no mentia, le conto al Rico su aventura sencillamente. 
(Crosses to Narrator and stands with his back to the audience.)

Rico: El rico se moria de envidia! Decidio ir al monte a cortar lena. Quien quita que me pase lo 
(Pulls angerily at the rope of the donkey character which represents 5 donkeys.)

Narrator: El Rico took his five burros, greedily hoping to return with not one burro loaded down with 
sacks of gold, but five burros loaded down with sacks of gold, gold coins and jewels.

Rico: Al anochecer se metio el Rico en lo mas espeso de la montana y se perdio. Se subio a un arbol, 
(Climb tree.) Vio la luz, (Climbs down) 
y se fue hacia ella. Llego a la casa. Hizo lo mismo qu su compadre pobre y semetio detras de la puerta. 
(Hide behind script.)

All Brujas: (Turn towards audience.)

Las brujas estaban en lo mejor de su canto:

Lunes y martes y miercoles tres,

Jueves y viernes y sabado seis.

Narrator: El Rico eager to fill his pockets with gold, did not respect the rhythm and rhyme of the Brujas song

Rico: y salio con (Change voice.) Domingo siete!

All Brujas: (Freeze with anger in posture and face.)

Narrator: The witches were furious and bared their teeth like a dog about to attack.

Bruja 2: Quien es el atrevido que nos ha echado a perder nuestra cancion?

Bruja 3: Quien es quien ha salido con ese Domingo siete?

Bruja 4: Encontraron al rico y lo sacaron a trompicones y jalonazos.

Bruja 1: Vas a ver lo que te va a pasar. Tenia un su mano el guecho del compadre pobre. 
La coloco en  el cuello del infeliz, (Attach goiter to the Rich man's neck.)

Rico: en donde se pego como si alli hubiera nacido.

Bruja 1 & 2: Lo echararron afuera con mas golpes (Continue beating him until following lines 
when join the other witches.)

Bruja 3 & 4: y se quedarron con sus cinco burros. (Lead donkeys away.)

All Brujas: Turn with back to audience, stand shoulder to shoulder

and repeat the chant in a low whisper through the end

of the script.)

Lunes y martes y miercoles tres

Jueves y viernes y sabado seis.

Narrator: Eventually, the bruised, aching el Rico found his way home, but without any oro and 
without his five burros.

Rico: Pero con dos guechos.

Maria Isabel Cravajal wrote under the name of Carmen Lira. She was born in Costa Rica in 1888. She was a master of folklore and is best known  for her Cuentos de la Tia Panchita, a collection of popular folktales written by her in simple, unpretentious style.



¿Quien Necesita Antiojos?

Art Gallery.  The gallery walls are stark white and irregular in shape and position.  On the walls are painted pictures in black and with heavy black frames.  The pictures are completely abstract, just lines and circles and blotches.
Upstage right, at an angle, is a door frame.  Behind it, a white screen.  Downstage of door, a table holding a stack of art show programs.
Downstage left of center stage is a large oval framed metal drip-type sculptured piece.  It is about 6 feet high and on a shining base.  
Characterization should be highly stereotyped and exaggerated.

Enrique:  Average height and appearance.  He is wearing a dark blue suit and tie.  Intelligent, open and receptive quality.

Gloria:  Small, young, studious female college student, sociology/philosophy major.  She wears tailored clothes.  Her hair pulled back into a pony-tail or bun.  She has on extra large eye-glasses with heavy black frames and non-colored cellophane glasses.  Anxious quality.

Gallery Attendant:  Short, bald man in a brown suit, wears small glasses.  He wears no tie, but a large metal medallion hangs around his neck.

Guard:  Large man in a suit suggesting a policeman.  He carries a whistle.

Art Viewers:  Eight or more men and women dressed in exaggerated "arty" clothes.  Each has a predominant different color hue than the others. They all wear matching extra large glasses with large frames.  Their skins are whitened.  The viewers are arranged like a rainbow with hot colors on stage right going to cool colors on stage left.

SCENE:  When the curtain opens:  

stand in motionless, awkward poses looking at the pictures.  Their backs to the audience. 

sits on the table with arms folded.  His head is slightly bent.

stands to the left of the statue.  His hands are behind him.  He looks bored.

Enrique and Gloria
enter through the door.  Gloria is first and is very loud and excited, but no one turns and looks at them except the attendant who sees possible buyers.


Aqui esta Enrique. . . . . . the Hidden Eye.


[Laughing]   Y porque Hidden?  Nosotros lo ayamos muy facil.
[Gloria rushes past the table.]


Miss, Miss, don't you want a program?


Oh, yes, a program.  We'll need a program.  
[Gloria returns upstage of the table.  The Attendant hands her a program]


You'll need one too, Sir.

[Enrique has been standing looking at the people.  He does not hear the attendant.  The attendant pushes the program into Enrique, who seems to snap out of it and takes the program.]




A program, Sir.  You'll need a program.  (Opens a program and points to it.)  The price list is to the right of

the title.  Just above the explanation.


Oh good, explanations.  Whose?


Sometimes the artists, sometimes teachers or noted critics.


Oh, I see.  Good. Good.  Come on Enrique, let's look at them.


Yea.  Them.  

[Enrique and Gloria walk around, downstage right first.  Gloria is looking at the pictures.  Enrique is more interested in the people.  Gloria stops at the first picture.  She looks at it and then at her program to read the explanation.]


Ay, que bonito, an internal sunset.  Look Enrique this one is about death.


¿Porque no se mueven? They're just standing there.


[Loudly]  Who Enrique?


[Whispered]   Them.


[Gloria looks around at the viewers.  Then looks at her program for an answer.  Finding none.]

No se . . . . .    I don't know, Enrique.  It doesn't say anything about it in the program.


[The Attendant comes to their assistance.]   May I help you?


Yes, why aren't they moving?


Are we doing something wrong?


No, you just don't know the right way yet.


The right way?


The right way to view these paintings.  It's written down on the bottom of the program.  See. . .
[Attendant shows Gloria  
See. . . .  [Gloria is very eager to understand the right way.] 

"One should look at a painting for at least 20 minutes in order to be absorbed in its essence."  
[Gloria nods in agreement and becomes intensely involved in reading her program.]


Absorbed in its essence?  Absorbed. .  in . . its . . essence?


Yes, one must experience a union, a cosmic union with the creative energy which flowed out through the painter.  You must become, not only one with the picture, but with the painting and the purity of the truth
 being expressed in order to experience a true aesthetic moment.
[Gloria is nodding in understanding.]


They're trying to become one with those paintings?

[Loud buzzer goes off and the viewers immediately start moving, extremely animated, whispering things to one another.  They turn towards the audience in couples or trios as they speak.  The Guard moves upstage in slow easy movements and stands with his back to the paintings.]


[Viewing painting 1 and speaking to Female 1]  The information is given at once.


Yes, you don't have to explore it.


[Crosses to them.]  Excuse me.  Did you say this [Pointing to the picture] is clear to you? 

 [Motioning and including all the paintings.] 
What's it all mean?


[Male 1 and Female 1 look at each other, like where did he come from.  Then they look at Enrique and nod.  Gloria seeing that they are going to talk to Enrique, crosses to Enrique's side.]

It's minimal art . . . .  Bro 


It's the abyss of existence itself - which is futile, unjust and absurd.  
[Enrique indicates he still does not understand.]


It's an internal sunset, Enrique.  


Its the brooding vibration of the natural man who is dying because of the absurdity of living.


It's an internal sunset, Enrique.  


Its the vibration of destruction.  


Yes, the vibration of destruction.
[Viewers at picture 4 turn around.  They are referring to picture 4 and nodding.]


That one, too?   [Crosses to picture.  The first couple continues looking at Enrique. Gloria follows Enrique, crossing part way.  Enrique looks at the picture from different angles.  Gloria looks at the program, searching for understanding.]  What's all mean?


It's meaning is transparent.


It is? [Crosses to the picture.]


It's terrible in its glittering purity of molten fury. 


It welds the mind to the mind.


The heart to the heart.


The skin to the skin.


The soul to the soul.


[Trying to understand.]  Is it another internal sunset, but before it even comes up?


[Couples 1 and 2 shake their heads in disbelief with Enrique's and Gloria's lack of understanding.  They laugh loudly at Gloria's comment.  Male 2 raises his hand for quiet.  No one moves, even   those with backs to audience.  He speaks with great strength and wisdom.]
You have to learn to deal with the purities and the impurities as you find them.


[Mystified.] Oh?



[Those viewing pictures 2 and 3 turn around.]


I just don't see anything pure about it.


It's the substance, the pure sensuousness of abandonment which gives it an impervious aura of innocence.


Religion is the great remaining pocket of cultural insanity and those two pictures radiantly release man from inhibitions..


Are those pictures a comment on religion? [Crosses to a picture, following the movement of the lines.]
What? . . . .  how does this mean anything?


[Reading her program.]  It says that the artist has the opulent genius to translate what he is feeling into the vocabulary of art.  And this painting is called, Spiritual awakening 1 [pointing to it] and this one is called Spiritual awakening 2.  [Gloria crosses to Spiritual Awakening 2 and looks carefully at it.  It is clear that she wants to be an accepted part of the crowd.]


You mean he felt spiritual so, he painted a picture and then it is spiritual too? [The crowd starts getting angry.]


The last viewer with back to the audience, turns around and makes a sign of peace.]     
It is less a matter of the craft than it is a matter of conception.


 [Enrique looks at Male 4.  Enrique looks at the program.]  
You mean these [indicating the paintings] are an act of mind?  [Everyone nods eagerly.]  Well, there must have been free barrels of PCP and LSD around here. 

[The viewers become more angry and gather around him.  Gloria starts backing away from Enrique and joins the others.  The Guard watches quietly. The Attendant nods to both what Enrique says and those things being said about Enrique.]


That is the problem of being a middle-class immigrant.


Yes, he has had no experiences of sacred depth.


[Chant in whisper]  No experiences of sacred depth.  


[Chant ]  Middle-class immigrant.

[Individuals shout comments to Enrique]


What do they mean?  Middle-class immigrant. . 


You've survived, but haven't assimilated.  [Three men pick him up, over their heads.  Enrique struggles in confusion. The following lines are said as he is being carried out.]


It goes beyond dress. . .




You need a different perspective. .  


[shouting to Gloria]  ¿Que quieren decir?


You must see the present as we see the past 


I don't understand. . 


[shouts as if now understanding] Experience Enrique . experience. 


[chant] Yes, You must see the present as we see the past 


I can't . .  I can't . . .  


[boldly]  But then you will see the pictures as we see them.


[boldly]  I see the present, as I see the past. . .


He's has had no experiences of sacred depth.


I have my depth!!!


Middle class immigrant. . .


[ignoring her] Gloria, it doesn't make sense.


[agreeing with other female 3] Middle class immigrant. . .


I don't understand. . .   [He has been carried almost to the door]


Enrique . . . concentrate. . .


Gloria,  nothing is  there . . .  but  . .


Sacred depth!!!


blotches . .  blotches . . 


[Loudly]  Enrique, Enrique
[Everyone turns towards her.  Gloria has her back to the audience.]
 Necesitas antiojos!!  You need glasses.


Mexico's Dia del Maestro

Genealogy of a Border-Crossing Day by Galal Kernahan

Mexico's Dia del Maestro crossed the frontier to become California's Day of the Teacher.  No one is sure exactly when this happened, but it was eventually legalized by the California Legislature.

There are rumors that first evidence of its presence showed up in the form of small, hand-picked bouquets on teachers' desks in some out-of-the-way San Joaquin Valley schoolhouse in early Mary decades ago.  What is known is that in the 1970s, crowds began to gather yearly to honor teachers here and there where there were concentrations of Latino population.

Some events were organized by the Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE).  One of the  largest  drew more than 2,000 parents, children and teachers to the East Los Angeles' Plaza de la Raza   in 1982.

In that same year, I wrote a two-sentence bill passed in Sacramento an signed by the Governor.  It gave  official sanction to California's transplanted Day of the Teacher that will be observed for the 18th year in  many of the state's schools, Wednesday, May 10, 2000.

Teachers are held in unusually high regard in Mexico.  On or about May 15 each year a special delegation  of classroom instructors are traditionally honored by the President, often at his official residence Los Pinos.   Medals and honoraria are presented schoolhouse veterans of 30 years . . . and 50 years!  Observances  take place in villages and cities throughout the Republic.

Our California legislation provides for non-mandatory in-school observances annually on the second  Wednesday of May.  There is a double purpose: to recognize teachers and to call the attention of young  people to teaching as a worthy career choice.

By late April, teachers retiring at the end of the school year in June have already taken steps toward winding  up their instructional service.  Day of the Teacher provides a timely occasion for students, their parents and  other educators to pay tribute.

Some school districts ay wish to call attention to Millennial Teachers in this Year 2000.  These are credentialed  classroom educators, who have just begun school service and whose students stretch out before them far  into the 21st century.  Such an emphasis may lend itself to promotion of teaching careers to students at a time when teacher shortages may become increasingly severe. 


Cable in the Classroom Magazine 
September 2002

A Multicultural Core Curriculum
Using the Internet to Direct Student Inquiry into Latino and Community History 
by Howard J. Shorr, Clackamas Community College (Oregon City, Oregon)

Learning Goals 
Grades: 9 – 12 
American history: American Revolution, Immigration, Mexican-American War, labor relations, race relations 

Information literacy: use technology for research; understand who produced message, intended 
audience, and media techniques  I have always taught from a multicultural perspective. My first job out of college in 1973 was teaching U.S.  history and government at San Gabriel Mission School in suburban Los Angeles. My students were all girls and most of them were Mexican American. I not only made the roles of women and Latinos a central part of my history and government courses, I initiated the first Chicano studies and women's studies courses at the school. Then in 1981, while teaching at Roosevelt High School in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles, I inaugurated the first course on the history of the area, which had changed from a predominantly Jewish American and Japanese American neighborhood in the 1930s and 1940s to one that is more than 95 percent Latino today. 

These classes helped my students to better understand themselves and the role that their community had played in the history of Los Angeles and California, as well as in the wider context of American history and world events.

In the 1970s, including the roles of women, Latinos, and other ethnic and racial groups in an American history or government course was highly unusual. Today, educators need to embrace diversity in their classes. Multicultural education is now inseparable from the core curriculum. It is not a question of finding a way to relate diversity to the core materials—it is the core curriculum. If an instructor is teaching the American Revolution, for instance, the roles of African Americans, Native Americans, women, and poor whites are as central to the subject as the roles played by wealthy white men. 

At first, few resources for teaching a multicultural history curriculum were available. My students dug into old newspapers and magazines in local libraries and I arranged for people from the community to speak to my classes. Today, the Internet provides students with more content on a wider range of topics than ever before. Yet it's critical for educators to address how to make Internet use a rewarding learning experience for students. Using the Web in class not only provides students with new sources of information. It also provides them with a means to develop critical-thinking skills, encourage individual creativity, work as a group, and close the digital divide.

A Broader Perspective 

Reading local, national, and international news sources online provides one way for students to understand current issues in diversity. Now that students can search the Web to find articles and newspaper stories about a topic, they can more easily see the national and international dimensions of the Latino presence in the United States. A paper covering a local story gives students a better idea of how people view events within their own community. Comparing local coverage to national or overseas coverage allows students to explore different perspectives on the issue. For instance, when the controversy surrounding Elian Gonzalez was unfolding, we could compare the way Florida papers covered the story with other coverage. This also led us to the history of the Cuban expatriate community in Miami, non-Cubans in Florida, federal policy, and how history and politics shaped reactions.

Students don't always know a lot about other ethnic or racial groups. Instead, students bring to class a "suitcase" full of stereotypes. For instance, students often perceive Latino issues as primarily relating to either the Chicano population in the Southwest and California or the Puerto Rican population of New York City. A search of national newspapers quickly shatters this stereotype for my students when they find stories in the Des Moines Register about the need for bilingual teachers in Iowa. 

When students access online data from the 2000 census, they find more detailed information about the growth of Latino populations throughout the country. For instance, they read about the large growth of the Latino populations in certain southern states. The changing demographics of Latinos in the South are further revealed in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about racial tensions between Latinos and African Americans in Georgia. This leads us to explore the history of race relations in the South, which is usually talked about in terms of African Americans and whites, and how the growing Latino population is affecting interracial and interethnic relations. 

A Part of History 

For topics such as race relations, population shifts, gender roles, and economic class to have any meaning for students today, they have to understand them in historical terms. Most history surveys discuss Mexican Americans in terms of the Mexican-American War, the Zoot Suit Riot, and the United Farm Workers. Other Latinos, such as Puerto Ricans and Cubans, are still largely left out of the story. But the Internet 
now helps fill those gaps with good information about many Latino groups (see the Teaching Tools box on page 18). Directing student inquiry into the roles that Latinos played in American history not only provides a way to cover important areas of the curriculum, it begins to correct the ways in which Latinos have been marginalized in many history textbooks. 

When I teach immigration in American history, I teach it as a diversity issue. Immigration is covered in U.S. history textbooks mostly in terms of the African slave trade and the European immigrant experience. Other points of entry for other immigrant groups are not dealt with as thoroughly. It's important for students to understand that Latinos were in North America before the Pilgrims and that their history is not new. We need to reshape our teaching of immigration as an important part of national history. 

Exploring why Latinos frequently are excluded from history books, mass media, and politics leads students to important information literacy skills. They begin to question who is telling the story and what their motives are. These higher-thinking skills are valuable for evaluating information on the Web, as well as in newspapers, textbooks, and other media. Students' self-confidence and feelings of empowerment increase along with their degree of information literacy. 

Using diverse ethnic histories and as many resources as possible—including the Internet—incorporates multiple perspectives into history. This approach also breaks down stereotypes and builds a new sense of community and pride among Latino students. It can even have an impact outside the classroom. In 1999, as a result of creating my Roosevelt High course, I was asked to serve as a historical advisor to an exhibition about the history of Boyle Heights at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. It has been gratifying working with the museum staff, and now people will see the range of cultures that have left their mark on this ethnically diverse neighborhood. 

For many students, learning about their history and culture had a positive effect on their lives. A former student who is now a director of a non-profit in New York City that helps single parents with their children recently wrote to me.  "You introduced us/me to a different world and gave us an opportunity to critically think about our world," she said.  "I still remember so many details about your government class after all these years." 

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1982, Colombian author Gabriel GarcÌa Marquez said, "Our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable." I think for teachers and students, one means is the Internet. 

Howard J. Shorr Howardshor@aol.com lectures on diversity, teaching methods, Latinos, and community history at universities and public schools. He served on the American Historical Association U.S. History National History Standards Committee. He is currently the Contributing Web editor for AmericanLatino.net and teaches at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon. 

Teaching Tools Links 

American Latino http://www.americanlatino.net/
This site links to newspaper and magazine stories about Latinos and is updated daily. 

Boyle Heights: America in the Mirror  http://www.lalc.k12.ca.us/access/units/sue/right.html
This social-studies lesson plan by Roosevelt High School teacher Susan Anderson includes standards, tips for using the Internet, a virtual museum project, and related lessons on U.S. history and oral history. A good example of multicultural history research that incorporates Internet resources. 

Chicano! Related World Wide Web Sites: Resources for Teachers and Parents http://www.lalc.k12.ca.us/access/units/sue/right.html
Many sources about diversity, history, teaching, and other topics. 

CLNet: Building Chicano/Latino Communities Through Networking 

http://www.lalc.k12.ca.us/access/units/sue/right.html  This site covers many Latino groups (mostly Chicano) with a focus on topics such as history, the arts, and research. 

Hispanic Population, U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/pub/population/www/socdemo/hispanic.html
A great site to introduce statistics about the Hispanic population. 

The Japanese American National Museum http://www.janm.org/main.htm  Information on the Boyle Heights exhibition, which runs from September 8, 2002, though February 23, 2003. 

Local, State, and National and International Newspapers http://www.refdesk.com/
A site that list newspapers on a daily basis. A wonderful teaching tool. 

Recommended US Latino Web Sites http://www.public.iastate.edu/~savega/us_latin.htm
Susan A. Vega-Garcia compiled these links to Latino resources 

Young Americans and the Digital Future Campaign http://www.public.iastate.edu/~savega/us_latin.htm
This site discusses digital divide issues and offers a fact sheet about the topic for each state.

Zoot Suit Riots Teacher's Guide http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/eng_tguide/index.html
This interesting site offers primary sources grouped into four categories: history, economics, geography,
  and history of the 1943 Los Angeles Riots.




The Positive Characteristics of the Mexican American Students

Inner pride
Inner contentment
True enjoyment of life
Acceptance of life
Hard worker
Strong emotions
Strong family ties
Respect for others
Avoidance of tension
Straight forward
Live in the now
Respect for work
Relaxed attitude towards the future
Sensitive to people
Positive Learning Characteristics
Non-verbal grasp of concepts
Visual, pictorial memory
Excellent dexterity and physical abilities
Acute sensitivity to colors
Group Learner
Learn by example
Learn by experience
Learn by imitation
Open to the new
Exploratory, if guided

Una raza no pude subir a menos que su lideres dentro de esa raza siguen adelante.  
Y, cuando un individo de este grupo se levanta, la raza total se levanta con el.

Mimi Lozano 



Heard by Mimi Lozano
 from the West Coast to the East Coast 

1. "The records were destroyed in all the revolutions. I'll never be able to do it." 
Hispanic researchers can So back further than any other ethnic group. 
Work on the lines that you can because every time you go back a generation, you double your grandparents.

2. "My family did not keep records.They were poor/lndian/uneducated/landless." 
The Priest kept the church records.
All levels of public records were kept by governmental agencies. 

3. "I am afraid I will find a bunch of horse thieves." 
People are people. We don't know what our ancestors suffered. 
We can't really judge why they did what they did.
You may find governors and kings. This prospect is incomprehensible to most U.S. Hispanics.

 4. "I can't afford to travel back to where my grandparents were born." 
You don't have to go any place. You can do most of it at a Family History Center. 
You may want to join some groups for networking. Lots of information is available on the Internet.

5. "It will be too hard. I will not be able to do it. I don't even know my. . .  ." 
It used to be, but now there is so much information gathered for us. The LDS Church started gathering 
Latin American records in the 1930s. A lot of individuals have gathered information and are eager to 
find cousins. You may already have a cousin doing the work. We need to find them. 

6. "I don't know how to do it."
Everyone does it the same. Just start with yourself and work backward. 

7. "No one in the family will tell me anything." 
Secrecy appears to be a very cultural attitude. 
Researchers that are Catholic are very suspicious.  Start asking for family stories - the oral history of the family's migration into United States and their specific location of residence. Suggest that they look at the history of the nation of their heritage. 

8. "I was adopted." 
Usually Latinos adopt within the extended family. Suggest that they ask family members and friends 
of the family. 

9. "My mom and dad never got married."
 There may not be a wedding certificate, but they would be listed in the padrones.  If they were Catholic 
and had children, they would have had the child baptized. The parents names would have been included. 

10. "I am an American, what happened yesterday, doesn't matter." 
You are not less of an American by claiming your heritage. You are more. The United States is made up of 
immigrants. If minority groups do not share their part in the history and development of the United States, 
then it is incorrect history. You owe it to your children to know their family history. We can help people to 
understand the Hispanics in their community. This can help diffuse national racism. Greatly needed at this time, given the fact that Hispanics will soon be the largest minority group in the United States. Hispanics themselves do not understand their racial-multi-ethnic cultural diversity and how historically these varied groups connect with another. We all need to understand!



Circumstances affecting the Attitude of Hispanics  

These points were shared with the U.S. Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs
by Mimi Lozano, 1995


"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage,
 to know who we are and where we came from. 
With out this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning.
 No matter what our attainment in life, there is a still vacuum, an emptiness, 
and the most disquieting loneliness." 
Alex Haley


Although family history research has become one of the most popular hobbies in the United States, Hispanic (in particular Mexican-heritage) family researchers in the United States have a myriad of obstacles to overcome in seeking out their ancestors. We must understand the inherent difficulties in order to best reach out, find and assist our community..

1) Intentional absence of the Hispanic historical presence in U.S. history books, particularly in lower education, glossing over the important early contributions by Spanish colonizers in the development of the United States.

The belief that Hispanic ancestors were not worthy of inclusion in U.S. history.
The belief that research documents and records for Hispanic research are not available.
Some Hispanics living in the Southwest experience a sense of detachment from the United States.

2) Those historical accounts included are usually slanted and biased against Spanish/Mexican colonization 
efforts;  the Black Legend persists to the present.

Sense of shame and inferiority about self and family.
Negative attitudes of Hispanics towards pursuing personal family history.
Mixed reactions of individuals with mixed pedigree (Hispanic/Anglo) to pursue both lines.

3) Spanish language researchers in the United States have many different roots, i.e.: multi-national (Spain, 
Philippines), multi-ethnic (Sephardics, Catholics), and multi-racial (Jamaicans, Indigenous), further complicated by regionalism (Texas, Californios, Hispanos), plus different migratory histories into the U.S. (Cubans, El Salvadorians).


Considerable divisions within the United States among Hispanic/Latino family history researchers, some racism among Spanish heritage groups towards one another.

Isolated problems with Catholic documents being sought after my other religious denominations.

Monumental task to meet the needs of the varied Spanish language nations, who are connected historically, 
but view themselves as separate.

4) In the United States researching one's family history appears to be of special interest to all economic/education levels, however limited researching skills, computer literacy, mono-lingualism, and available discretionary funds do affect continued and successful involvement.


Segments of society are not engaged in gathering personal family records. Awareness of our "shared history" can not be complete unless all levels of society are representative. It is the combined stories of the interaction and global historical Hispanic contribution which will lead to self-respect and respect for others.

Surely computers and the Internet have speeded up and shrunk the world. Internet draws the world together, a neighborhood with the potential for global unity. GEDCOM files are facilitating the creation of databases and connecting researchers with their past and present cousins in ways never envisioned. Genealogical organizations' web pages are proliferating. One man's dream of sharing his history and data is possible. Databases representing the efforts of millions of generous family researchers are also daily being added for free access.

Changes in historical perspectives are also taking place. Computers have facilitated the availability of archival collections. Historians can more easily use primary documents and are suggesting new historical interpretations. Oral/public histories are being gathered, analyzed and respected. Historians are recognizing the historical value of family history researchers, and Family history researchers are recognizing the value of historical research as a support to their own investigation.

1997 will probably be recognized as the most celebrated year for Hispanic Heritage Month. September 17,1968 the 90th Congress first approved Public Law 90-498 authorizing and requesting that the people of the United States, especially the education community observe "National Hispanic Heritage Week" to September 15-16. Twenty years later, August 17, 1988, with Public Law 100-402, the 100th Congress expanded the week to Hispanic Heritage Month, setting the time period, September 15 to October 15.

Coming at the beginning of the school year, the education community unfortunately has found the designated time period difficult to observe. Your organization could spearhead Hispanic Heritage Month in your local schools. There  is a growing interest and commitment to promote Hispanic heritage among community groups and public agencies. For many Hispanics, this show of respect to our culture could lead to improved self-esteem and greater desire to seek out ancestors.

In a U.S. News & World Report, October 20, 1997 an article entitled and subtitled clearly points out a monumental problem when a group's history is erased, "The Hispanic Dropout Mystery, a staggering 30 percent leave school, far more than blacks or whites. Why?" Carl Sandburg answers the question.

"When a society or a civilization perishes,
one condition can always be found.
They forgot where they came from"


Multicultural Core Curriculum
Using the Internet to Direct Student Inquiry 
into Latino & Community History

by Howard J. Shorr, 
Clackamas Community College (Oregon City, Oregon)


                                                       Cable in the Classroom Magazine

                                               Hispanic Heritage Month Issue,  September 2002

I have always taught from a multicultural perspective. My first job out of college in 1973 was teaching U.S. history and government at San Gabriel Mission School in suburban Los Angeles. My students were all girls and most of them were Mexican American. I not only made the roles of women and Latinos a central part of my history and government courses, I initiated the first Chicano studies and women's studies courses at the school. Then in 1981, while teaching at Roosevelt High School in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles, I inaugurated the first course on the history of the area, which had changed from a predominantly Jewish American and Japanese American neighborhood in the 1930s and 1940s to one that is more than 95 percent Latino today. These classes helped my students to better understand themselves and the role that their community had played in the history of Los Angeles and California, as well as in the wider context of American history and world events.

In the 1970s, including the roles of women, Latinos, and other ethnic and racial groups in an American history or government course was highly unusual. Today, educators need to embrace diversity in their classes. Multicultural education is now inseparable from the core curriculum. It is not a question of finding a way to relate diversity to the core materials—it
is the core curriculum. If an instructor is teaching the American Revolution, for instance, the roles of African Americans, Native Americans, women, and poor whites are as central to the subject as the roles played by wealthy white men.

At first, few resources for teaching a multicultural history curriculum were available. My students dug into old newspapers and magazines in local libraries and I arranged for people from the community to speak to my classes. Today, the Internet provides students with more content on a wider range of topics than ever before. Yet it's critical for educators to address how to make Internet use a rewarding learning experience for students. Using the Web in class not only provides students with new sources of information. It also provides them with a means to develop critical-thinking skills, encourage individual creativity, work as a group, and close the digital divide.

A Broader Perspective

Reading local, national, and international news sources online provides one way for students to understand current issues in diversity. Now that students can search the Web to find articles and newspaper stories about a topic, they can more easily see the national and international dimensions of the Latino presence in the United States. A paper covering a local story gives students a better idea of how people view events within their own community. Comparing local coverage to national or overseas coverage allows students to explore different perspectives on the issue. For instance, when the controversy surrounding Elian Gonzalez was unfolding, we could compare the way Florida papers covered the story with other coverage. This also led us to the history of the Cuban expatriate community in Miami, non-Cubans in Florida, federal policy, and how history and politics shaped reactions.

Students don't always know a lot about other ethnic or racial groups. Instead, students bring to class a "suitcase" full of stereotypes. For instance, students often perceive Latino issues as primarily relating to either the Chicano population in the Southwest and California or the Puerto Rican population of New York City. A search of national newspapers quickly shatters this stereotype for my students when they find stories in the Des Moines Register about the need for bilingual teachers in Iowa.

When students access online data from the 2000 census, they find more detailed information about the growth of Latino populations throughout the country. For instance, they read about the large growth of the Latino populations in certain southern states. The changing demographics of Latinos in the South are further revealed in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about racial tensions between Latinos and African Americans in Georgia. This leads us to explore the history of race relations in the South, which is usually talked about in terms of African Americans and whites, and how the growing Latino population is affecting interracial and interethnic relations.

A Part of History

For topics such as race relations, population shifts, gender roles, and economic
class to have any meaning for students today, they have to understand them in historical terms. Most history surveys discuss Mexican Americans in terms of the Mexican-American War, the Zoot Suit Riot, and the United Farm Workers. Other Latinos, such as Puerto Ricans and Cubans, are still largely left out of the story. But the Internet now helps fill those gaps with good information about many Latino groups. Directing student inquiry into the roles that Latinos played in American history not only provides a way to cover important areas of the curriculum, it begins to correct the ways in which Latinos have been marginalized in many history textbooks.

When I teach immigration in American history, I teach it as a diversity issue. Immigration is covered in U.S. history textbooks mostly in terms of the African slave trade and the European immigrant experience. Other points of entry for other immigrant groups are not dealt with as thoroughly. It's important for students to understand that Latinos were in North America before the Pilgrims and that their history is not new. We need to reshape our teaching of immigration as an important part of national history.

Exploring why Latinos frequently are excluded from history books, mass media, and politics leads students to important information literacy skills. They begin to question who is telling the story and what their motives are. These higher-thinking skills are valuable for evaluating information on the Web, as well as in newspapers, textbooks, and other media. Students' self-confidence and feelings of empowerment increase along with their degree of information literacy.

Using diverse ethnic histories and as many resources as possible—including the Internet—incorporates multiple perspectives into history. This approach also breaks down stereotypes and builds a new sense of community and pride among Latino students. It can even have an impact outside the classroom. In 1999, as a result of creating my Roosevelt High course, I was asked to serve as a historical advisor to an exhibition about the history of Boyle Heights at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. It has been gratifying working with the museum staff, and now people will see the range of cultures that have left their mark on this ethnically diverse neighborhood.

For many students, learning about their history and culture had a positive effect on their lives. A former student who is now a director of a non-profit in New York City that helps single parents with their children recently wrote to me. "You introduced us/me to a different world and gave us an opportunity to critically think about our world," she said. "I still remember so many details about your government class after all these years."

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1982, Colombian author Gabriel GarcÌa Marquez said, "Our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable." I think for teachers and students, one means is the Internet.

Howard J. Shorr Howardshor@aol.com
lectures on diversity, teaching methods, Latinos, and community history at universities and public schools. He served on the American Historical Association U.S. History National History Standards Committee. He is currently the Contributing Web editor for AmericanLatino.net and teaches at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon.

Teaching Tools Links

American Latino
This site links to newspaper and magazine stories about Latinos and is updated daily.

Chicano! Related World Wide Web Sites: Resources for Teachers and Parents
Many sources about diversity, history, teaching, and other topics.

CLNet: Building Chicano/Latino Communities Through Networking
This site covers many Latino groups (mostly Chicano) with a focus on topics such as history, the arts, and research.

Hispanic Population, U.S. Census Bureau
A great site to introduce statistics about the Hispanic population.

The Japanese American National Museum
Information on the Boyle Heights exhibition, which runs from September 8, 2002, though February 23, 2003.

Local, State, and National and International Newspapers
A site that list newspapers on a daily basis. A wonderful teaching tool.

Recommended US Latino Web Sites
Susan A. Vega-Garcia compiled these links to Latino resources

Young Americans and the Digital Future Campaign
This site discusses digital divide issues and offers a fact sheet about the topic for each state.

Zoot Suit Riots Teacher's Guide
This interesting site offers primary sources grouped into four categories: history, economics, geography, and history of the 1943 Los Angeles Riots.


Genealogical Research in Mexico  

by John P. Schmal


Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is a land rich in historical, cultural, and religious significance. It is also the ancestral homeland of almost one out of every ten Americans. Boasting a total area of 756,063 square miles, a large part of Mexico sits on an immense, elevated plateau, flanked by mountain ranges that fall off sharply to the narrow coastal plains of the west and east. The two mountain chains, the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east, meet in the southeast portion of the country. 

The Federal Republic of Mexico is made up of 32 states and the Distrito Federal (federal district). Each state is divided into municipios. According to the 1990 census, the population of Mexico was 81,249,645, with a population density of 107 persons per square miles. Almost 71% of these people lived in the urban areas. The population is composed of three main groups: the people of Spanish descent, the Indians, and the people of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage (mestizos). Of these groups, the mestizos are by far the largest, constituting about 60% of the population. 

Today, the Indians only make up about 30% of Mexico’s population. However, 500 years ago before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the area that is now called Mexico was inhabited by as many as 25 million Indians. The study of pre-Hispanic Mexico and its numerous Indian tribes would fill volumes and no amount of discussion could hope to tell the story in its entirety. Mexico’s remarkable diversity, in large part, led to its conquest by the Spaniards. Speaking more than 180 mutually alien languages, the original Mexican Indians viewed each other with great suspicion from the earliest times. When Hernan Cortés (1485-1547) arrived on the east coast of Mexico in 1519, he found a large but fragmented collection of tribes. 

The delicate political balance that existed among the indigenous groups for centuries was forever altered as Cortés and a small band of Spanish soldiers slowly made their way to Tenochtitlán, the island capital of the formidable Aztec Empire nestled deep within the heart of the continent. Within two years, Cortés, with an army of 2,500 Spaniards, assisted by tens of thousands of Indian allies, had defeated the empire and seized control of the imperial capital. With the collapse of Tenochtitlán and the subsequent disintegration of the highly centralized Aztec Empire, much of central and southern Mexico automatically fell into the hands of the European intruders.

However, the Aztecs had never conquered the northern half of Mexico. For this reason, Cortés sent forth expeditions to conquer the indigenous peoples. In 1529, Nuño de Guzmán, a lawyer from a noble family with powerful connections, led a large force of Spanish soldiers and Indian auxiliaries northward into the territories now known as Jalisco and Michoacán. Cutting a bloody path through central and western Mexico, Guzmán burned villages, murdered tribal chiefs, and enslaved the Indians he subdued. Although he had conquered a large amount of territory, Guzmán met with a great deal of resistance from some of the indigenous groups. The subjugation of the northern Indians was made more difficult because of their fragmented political structure.

A decade later, the Indians, still reeling from the cruelty of Guzmán, began a massive uprising. This rebellion, which is usually referred to as the Mixtón War, started in 1540 and lasted one year. The intended goal of the war, which was to drive the Spaniards back to the Gulf of Mexico, failed. Although this insurrection did not succeed in driving the Europeans back into the eastern sea, the complex landscape of Jalisco, combined with the tenacious resistance of some bands of Indians, kept the Spaniards from totally securing the area of Jalisco until 1591. 

For 300 years, the Spaniards ruled over all of Mexico. However, in 1822, after a bloody twelve-year war of liberation, Mexico broke free from the reigns of the Spanish Empire. But independence did not bring stability and for the next hundred years, Mexico struggled through tumultuous times. Revolts in 1831 and 1832 were followed by a war with the United States of America (1846-1848). This war, complicated by the imperialistic vision of the United States to move its borders to the Pacific Ocean, resulted in the loss of almost one-half of the Mexican Republic’s total land mass. 

In the first 33 years of independence, forty-four governments came and went. The Liberal Revolution of 1854 (against Santa Ana) and the War of the Reform (1858-1861), were followed by a French invasion in 1861. After the turn of the century, a ten-year civil war (1910-1920) cost a million and a half lives and left the Mexican people impoverished and demoralized.

War and economic instability throughout Mexico became a catalyst for northward immigration. For this reason, many Americans today look toward the Mexican Republic as the land of their ancestors. For those who seek to trace their roots in Mexico, the best source of genealogical information is the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. Through this library and its associated Family History Centers scattered around the United States, you can access some 150,000 rolls of microfilm dealing with Mexico. According to the International Collections Department of the FHL, approximately 65% of these rolls are church records. In addition, the library holds nearly 900 books and maps dealing with Mexico. You can access the FHL catalog at http://familysearch.org/search/searchcatalog.asp.

By virtue of its large size, the Mexican state of Jalisco has contributed its fair share of immigrants to the United States during the last century. Located along the Pacific Ocean and extending eastward into the north central portion of the Republic, Jalisco has the second largest population of any Mexican state. With a total area of 31,152 square miles, Jalisco borders eight other Mexican states: Nayarit, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Colima. From Jalisco come many of the images that represent Mexico, most notably, tequilla and mariachis.

Boasting a population of six million people, Jalisco has the third largest economy in Mexico and exports almost $5 billion in goods to over eighty-one countries each year. As the fourth largest recipient of foreign investment, Jalisco is a hub for high-tech production. According to the Secretaría de Promoción del Estado de Jalisco, electronics made up 54% of Jalisco’s exports in 1994. Tequilla, the legendary liquor distilled from the mescal plant, represented only 3% of total exports in 1994.

The name Jalisco is derived from the combination of two Nahuatl words, Xalli (sand or gravel) and ixtli (face, or plain). Thus, the literal translation of the state name in English would be sandy face, or by extension, sandy plain. In pre-Columbian times, many indigenous groups, most notably the Olmecas, Nahuas, Tarascos, Cazcanes, Tecuexes, Coras, Huicholes, and Guamares, made their homes within the bounds of what is present-day Jalisco. 

For the state of Jalisco alone, the Family History Library owns almost 20,000 rolls of microfilm, covering 198 distinct localities. Of the 165 towns and villages whose Catholic churches are represented in this collection, 46 have registers going back to the 1600s while another 37 have records stretching back to the 1700s. Each roll of microfilm in the FHL collection can be ordered from any local Family History Center for $3.77. That roll of film will stay "in-house" for one month and can be renewed at the end of that period.

Most of Jalisco's 124 municipios are also represented in the FHL catalog. Although Mexico enacted civil registration in 1859, most of the municipios of Jalisco did not start keeping birth, marriage, and death records until 1867 or later. In addition, the 1930 Mexican census is available for almost one hundred of the municipios. Another invaluable resource for the Hispanic researcher is the International Genealogical Index (IGI). In this database, many of the church records held by the FHL have been indexed. Of Mexico’s 26 million baptism and marriage entries in the IGI, Jalisco accounts for 3.5 million. In my own research, I have found this database to be of enormous value. 

Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, is the capital of Jalisco. Founded in 1542, Guadalajara became the administrative capital of the province of Nueva Galicia. As the second largest tourist destination in Mexico, the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area enjoys the highest quality of life in Mexico. With a present-day population of almost 1,700,000, it is not surprising that many Mexican Americans search for their roots in the parish registers of Guadalajara and its immediate vicinity.

The FHL owns an impressive 3,400 rolls of microfilm dealing with Guadalajara. Fifteen Catholic churches, some with baptism and marriage registers stretching back as far as 1635, are represented on 1,500 rolls of film. Padrones (local census lists) from 1639 to 1875 comprise 48 rolls of film and can be a very useful resource. Property and water rights records can be found on 269 rolls of microfilm and date back to 1584. Notarial and probate records, dating back to at least 1583, make up almost 1,300 rolls.

For the most part, the baptism and marriage records of the Jalisco parish registers are remarkably detailed. With few exceptions, starting around 1800, the baptism records listed the abuelos paternos (paternal grandparents) and abuelos maternos (maternal grandparents). 

Even Aguascalientes (Hot Waters), one of the smallest states of the Mexican Republic, has a significant representation in the Family History Library. With an area of 2,113 square miles, Aguascalientes has a population of 619,000 and was a part of Zacatecas until 1857 when it received its own status as a state. The capital of Aguascalientes is the city by the same name which had been founded by the Spaniards in 1575 as a small mining settlement. Some have referred to the city as La Ciudad Perforada (The City of Holes) because of the labyrinth of tunnels created by one of the Indian tribes in pre-Hispanic times. Although small in size, the state of Aguascalientes is an important element in Mexico’s economy because of its textile, electronics, and auto parts industries. The state is also known for its production of silver, zinc, copper, gold, cattle, fruits and fine wines. 

The FHL owns almost 1,900 rolls of microfilm that have been extracted from the churches and municipio offices of Aguascalientes. With twenty-five distinct localities represented, many of the municipio records are available to researchers. The Catholic church records for the city of Aguascalientes are contained on 531 rolls of film and date back to 1616. The municipio records for Aguascalientes date back to 1859 and are found on 460 rolls of film. The Mexican GenWeb page for your online exchange of information regarding Aguascalientes is http://www.rootsweb.com/~mexwgw/Aguas.html

From one end of Mexico to the other, there are many resources available to those seeking to find out more about their Mexican heritage. But a successful search is contingent upon your own preparation. There are three preliminary steps to take in a successful search for your Mexican ancestors. First, you need to locate your ancestral town on a map. Secondly, you need to find out the name of the municipio in which the town was located since civil records were usually recorded in the capital city of each municipio. Thirdly, it is important to be aware of the names of adjacent villages where your ancestors may have attended church or baptized their children.

For the first step, it is important to realize that maps of Mexico in atlases and tourist brochures usually only show the largest and most historically significant cities. For this reason, I strongly advise that you visit a college or university map library to locate a large scale map (preferably 1:250,000). If you have an ancestral community which you have not been able to locate on a conventional map or in the FHL catalog, you will understand the reason for this course of action.

Last year, I was trying to locate the church and civil records for a family that had lived in the small Hacienda de Santa Monica, Zacatecas, during the Nineteenth Century and the first decade of the 1900s. However, I was unable to find the hacienda on any conventional maps of Zacatecas. My next step was to pay a visit to the UCLA Map Library where I located a gazetteer of Zacatecas. Having pinpointed the geographic coordinates of Santa Monica in the gazetteer, I subsequently consulted a large-scale present-day map of Zacatecas, which showed Santa Monica as a small town. I made note of the fact that Santa Monica belonged to the municipio of Sain Alto and was a short distance from the small town of Rio de Medina.

Once I had become familiar with the terrain surrounding Santa Monica, Zacatecas, I was able to check the FHL catalog. I found that the Catholic church records for Rio de Medina went back to 1899. I also checked the FHL inventory for Sain Alto and found that Sain Alto’s civil records went back to 1862. I was able to locate the family in question in the records of both towns.

Since most municipio records in Mexico started in the 1860s, the only way you will be able to trace your ancestors back into the 1600s or 1700s is by searching Catholic church registers for baptism and marriage records. For this reason, locating the church your ancestors attended is crucial to a successful search. A few months ago, I was researching the family of a friend in the small pueblo of Villa Hidalgo in northern Jalisco. The parish register at La Santisima Trinidad church in Villa Hidalgo starts in 1814. Once I traced my friend’s family as far as back as I could in the Villa Hidalgo registers, I surveyed the surrounding area for other churches. 

A few miles to the north, across the border in Aguascalientes is the small villa of Cieneguilla, where the baptism registers started in 1716. In the opposite direction is the town of Teocaltiche, where the parish records are available through the FHL back to 1627. My analysis paid off, and I found the ancestors of my friend’s Villa Hidalgo families in both towns and traced her ancestors back to the early 1700s (so far). 

For the beginning researcher, tracing your ancestors back to Mexico is like a search for ethnic identity. Before Mexico gained independence, the Spanish padres at each parish would categorize each baptized child or newlywed with an ethnic label. Some of the most commonly used classifications were español (Spanish/White), mestizo (half Indian/half Spanish), indio (Indian), negro (African descent), mulato (half Spanish/half African), zambo (half Indian/half African), and lobo (three-quarters African/one-quarter Indian).

Over the last two centuries, China, the Philippine Islands, France, Italy, and the United States have contributed significant numbers of immigrants to Mexico. Along with the numerous Indian groups who occupied pre-Hispanic Mexico, these settlers have given Mexico its remarkable and fascinating diversity evident in the faces and features of Mexican Americans today.


Somos Primos and the Society of Hispanic and Historical Ancestral Research 

Society of Hispanic Historical & Ancestral Research, 
P.O. Box 490 Midway City, CA 92655-0490   

ty of Hispanic and Historical Ancestral Research is a self-help genealogical organization founded in 1987 to help Hispanic heritage researchers.  Diverse activities support the goals of the society, as follows:

(a) For 10 years, Somos Primos was published as a hard-copy newsletter/quarterly.

In January 2000, Somos Primos was shifted to a magazine format monthly Internet publication. The publication is dedicated to Hispanic heritage and diversity issues. Readers can down-load articles free and if desired will be notified when each monthly publication is uploaded. http://www.somosprimos.com

(b) The Society home page, at http://SHHAR.org  includes a links to other organizations, resources, a calendar of events and a networking database.

(c) The networking database identifies researchers searching in similar locations or for the same surnames, their emails or included to facilitate networking. 

(d) Quarterly meetings are held during the year, January, March, May, and September. In addition small study groups hold informal meetings throughout the year.

(e) The Society sets up displays throughout Southern California, at sites and facilities, such as Rancho Los Alamitos, Mission San Juan Capistrano, the History Discovery Museum, Bowers Museum, California State University at Fullerton, Santa Ana College, UC Irvine, and the Orange County Fair.

(f) Society members frequently make presentations to community groups.

(g) The Society cooperates and coordinates with many community groups in organizing and presenting special events, such as a Celebration to Mexican-American Veterans, and a reception held for Ignacio Gomez at the Orange County Hall of Administration.

Fee: No membership fees. Open to inclusion on the networking database.


Mimi Lozano,
Web Mistress

Hi, I was born in San Antonio, Texas.  My father was Catalino Lozano, born in San Antonio, son of  parents Jesus Lozano and Francisca Garcia from Mexico. My mother Aurora Chapa, was born in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. My legal name is Nohemi, but my older sister always called me Mimi.  We moved to Los Angeles when I was an infant. Spanish was my first language. Most of our schooling was within the Los Angeles School system in the Boyle Heights area. However, because of our parent's divorce, my sister and I both graduated in 1951 from Manteca High School, a small rural school in the San Joaquin valley.  

1955 U.C.L.A., B.S.
1957 U.C.L.A. Masters, Public and Recreation Administration
1970 University of California State, Dominguez College, K-12 Teaching Credential,
1975 California State Community College Teaching Credential
1981 State Certificate of Competence, in Spanish, also special ESL and Bilingual training. 

Brief Chronology of Community and Professional Involvement:
Lead dancer with the Richland (WA) Light Opera Company. Director of Dancers of Truth.
Writer, director, producer, choreographer, singer, dancer, performer in many theater productions.
Award winning playwright.  Poetry published. Manhattan Beach Recreation Commissioner.   
1975-1980: Puppetry and Marionette teacher, Golden West College, Huntington Beach, CA.
Completed 3 media related Golden West College grants. Video production skills gained.
1979-1986: Oral language specialist, Huntington Beach Union High School District. Prepared K-12 teacher materials for English language acquisition, primarily ESL. Co-authored a grant, coordinated and directed the production of 100 language development video tapes under a Title VII project.
1986-2001: Heavily involved in promoting Hispanic heritage, locally and nationally.  Co-Founder of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research.  Chaired the Orange County Hispanic Heritage Committee and the Visibility Committee.  
1997-2003: US Senate Republican Conference Task Force on Hispanic Affair. Came in with the 105th Congress to the present.  
1999, Board member, Pepperdine University's Hispanic Council of Orange County.
2000, Latino Issues Forum, Park Committee
2001, Paso al Norte Museum, member of the International Advisory Council

Published in: Family Tree, Excelsior, Family Records Today, Hispanic Family, Reforma, California Historian, California Alliance of Genealogical Societies, and editor/producer of Somos Primos since its inception.

Diverse interests have lead to educational presentations all over the United States, public and private schools, libraries, churches, conferences and at colleges and universities in California., such as University of California, Santa Cruz, Cal State University, Long Beach, Cal State University, Pomona, Golden West College, Santa Ana College, and out of state University of Texas, Lubbock, and Trinity University on the east coast.

Hispanic family history displays have been placed at schools, recreation sites, libraries, churches, service groups, fairs, museums, such as Museum of Latin American Arts, and Bowers Museum of Arts, historical sites, such as San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Los Alamitos, and government facilities, such as Santa Ana Court House, U.S. Senate Hart building and U.S Senate Dirksen building during Task Force meetings. In addition running an annual family history booth at the 17-day Orange County Fair has given me the opportunity of talking to a great variety of  Hispanics.

Because I am  fair with green eyes, reactions to me have varied widely.  I have heard comments, sarcasm, asides, recurring hostility and negative perspectives about Hispanics from people who are not aware that I am Mexican. I've also experienced rejection by Latinos.  I've heard the bias against Mexicans by other Hispanic groups. All of it has been a source of wonderment to me.   It has taken me a life-time of trying to understand why,  and I have finally come to some understanding and closure..

Anyone Mexican-American  that started school  in the Los Angeles school system in the 1930-40s will understand when I say, we had a lot of catching up to do.  At Evergreen Elementary we were one of the few Mexican families in the predominantly Jewish Boyle Heights neighborhood.  Questions started arising in my mind when I attended Hollenbeck Junior High. Although the student body was a very multi-ethnic  population, I was the only Mexican heritage girl in any of the college prep classes.  

During my undergraduate studies at UCLA (1950s) I was involved in many youth related activities. Field experiences were varied, one in particular affected me. As an interviewer of Los Angeles Playground Directors for the L.A. County Social Services, I began to see what little understanding of the Mexicans culture existed among the playground directors. 

In 1975, I had an opportunity of using my position as instructor of Puppetry at Golden West College to help educate the community to the broader Hispanic culture. Using puppetry as the media, I produced/directed/mounted Hispanic folktales puppet plays. These were performed in the little theater at Golden West College to a children's audience. In addition, with me as the puppeteer and a young man as a juggler/front man, I developed a traveling two-man troupe which performed at schools, libraries, and churches. The theme was to keep trying and included a white bear playing a trumpet, and a mule in love with a beautiful caterpillar. I also received a grant from a State commission on alcoholism among Hispanics and produced 4 puppet scripts, audio tape dramatization of them, a stage, and puppets on the theme Ganadores Saben Decir Basta.

While at UCLA, I was an intern at the Los Angeles Shatto Drama Center. This included some opportunity to experience television production (l954>). As an instructor at Golden West College (1975>), I held puppetry classes in a television production classroom, giving me more opportunity of developing television production experience. In addition, I availed myself of public access training, film production and was among the first group to go through public access training when cable first entered the area. In addition I wrote three media related GWC grants and helped at the newly organized Trinity Broadcasting Station with a children's program.

My broadening awareness expanded through my years as an Oral Language Specialist with the Huntington Beach High School District, I co-authored and completed a Title VII federal grant. The 100+ video programs produced were varied in format: dramatized, documentaries, interviews, experimental, 8-22 minutes in length.

In 1984, I began to focus specifically on Hispanic history as the point of need. Starting with myself, I began a personal root search adventure. In 1986, I co-founded the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, SHHAR. Reaching out to the community with workshops, the quarterly Somos Primos, and conferences, SHHAR grew to international membership.

However, again observing the community, I became aware of the need to tie both concepts together, the cultural background of Hispanics to the historic background of Hispanics. In 1990, I became involved with the Mexican-American Arts Council at Bowers. I was encouraged to contact the newly formed Excelsior. In the fall of 1992, I started writing a weekly heritage column which was published in the Excelsior. The series which eventually was written by other SHHAR members ran for about two and a half years.

The purpose of the series was to give heritage (culture/history) information to the community. It was hoped that the series would be published both in Spanish and English. The format was to give information about the origin of a Spanish surname, an Orange County resident with that surname, and the migration pattern of that individual into the Orange County area. Each article clearly showed occupancy in this hemisphere, contributions, and assimilation.

During this time, I increasingly began to assess the media coverage (print, radio and television) of Hispanics, growing more and more alarmed at the biased, misconceptions, and distortions concerning American Hispanics. Deeply involved with professional and family historians, I started questioning people about their reaction to the news. As SHHAR attracted more activists to our meetings, I had an opportunity to observe that part of our lack of correct Hispanic visibility was based on the Hispanic community's own limited historical knowledge. I became convinced that we needed to move. We needed to share our personal histories, the composite of all would help to dispel, diminish, and unify our efforts.

In 1994, I began to share that vision with community activists, many of whom had been part of the 60s movement - a movement which unfortunately did not produce changes in the national perceptions of Hispanics. IN 1995 a Heritage Subcommittee of the society formed the nucleus of the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Orange County.  Rather than focusing on family history research,  the subcommittee's activity attempted to promote awareness of Hispanic history and culture.   

In 1997, the historical mini-essays found on this website were published and distributed in the Orange County area under the title Historical Moments, Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Many of these brief essays had appeared as articles  in Somos Primos, the quarterly publication of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research between 1990-1996 and were distributed to members of the society.  Distribution was accomplished through the combined efforts of Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Orange County, the Orange County Chapter of REFORMA, the local Spanish language newspaper, Excelsior del Condado de Orange, and the community newspaper, the Orange County Register. The purpose of the distribution was to promote the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The results within the community were gratifying.

Having the opportunity of participating on the U.S. Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs and traveling frequently to Washington, D.C. supplied the last piece of the puzzle.  As I visited each monument, each tourist site, I was sadden and disappointment  not to find some evidence of our participation in the development of the United States. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and of New Mexicans  have had an on-going supportive relationship with the U.S. government, and currently the Central Americans.  The benefits to them can be seen in their visibility in Washington, D.C. and across the country. However, simply stated, the U.S. government historically has not basically acknowledged the early Hispanic presence of those with Mexican roots.    

The bias of the U.S. government has shaped general public  bias, giving rise, in part, from historical neglect and misinformation pervasive in the United States. Textbooks give scant recognition to Hispanic contributions.  Reviewing the history of  the United States as it relates to Mexico has been one of aggression and dominance.     

In general, I have found that most Mexican Americans are not aware of their own history. The contributions of their forefathers to the colonization, development and support of the United States are not well known. The increased numbers of Hispanics recorded in the recent census has created more of an interest in all Hispanics.  However, confusion remains the greatest about those of us with 500 year old European roots in this continent and a bloodline that includes indigenous roots as well. Mexican-Americans, representing the largest number of Hispanics, 58% (minimum estimate)  are the least understood.

Mexican-Americans can bring about  needed understanding. We are the ones who should care enough to help increase universal respect for the contributions made by the Hispanics to the United States of America.  Everyone will benefit by that knowledge.  This website and the monthly issues of  Somos Primos are my effort in the direction.   I hope you will help in that effort too.

           "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."   Mohandes Karamchand Gandi



      12/30/2009 04:49 PM