Somos Primos

107th Online Issue

Mimi Lozano ©2000-8

Dedicated to Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues

Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research


Aztec Death Whistle
Constructed and played by craftsman/performer 
Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

This sacred instrument has transformed as a "Day of the Dead Ceremony" whistle.
Click for more information. 

Table of Content Areas  

United States 
National Issues
Action Item
Bilingual Education
Anti-Spanish Legends
Hispanic Heritage Month

Military & Law Enforcement Heroes
Patriots of American Revolution


Orange County, CA
Los Angeles,CA

Northwestern US
Southwestern US 

East of Mississippi
East Coast

Family History

SHHAR 2009 Meetings  


Quotes for the Month:  

During this election year let's be reminded of these words by 
Abraham Lincoln: 

You cannot help the poor, by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak, by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity, by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up, by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man, by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage, 
by taking away people's initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently, 
by doing for them what they could and should, do for themselves.

'A government big enough to give you everything you want, 
is big enough to take away everything you have.'  

Thomas Jefferson

Thoughts for the Month:

If there is a Mexican obsession with history, it likely exits because those who continue to ignore the history of Mexicans in the United States or paint them as inferior are willfully ignorant of those stories.

Closing sentence in "Trial of the Century: That Never Was" 
article by Michael A. Olivas
Indiana Law Journal, Vol 83:1391 Page 1403
Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.

Information below was sent by Juan Marinez who writes . . 
This was sent to me by my good friend and fellow "Agraciado" Luis Ramirez who lives in San Antonio. 

From Luis:
I found the quote below by Jovita Gonzalez in the  book Tejano Empire by Andres Tijerina.  It was written in 1930 yet applies so appropriately well to today’s immigration predicament.   Our family, as many others, is one of those families who still own land originally granted by the Spanish crown in 1767.

INTRODUCTION:   There exists in Texas a common tendency among Anglo-Americans, particularly among Americans of  one or two generations' stay in the country, to look down upon the Mexicans of the border counties as interlopers, undesirable aliens, and a menace to the community. Those among the last group named who have this opinion should before making a definite stand consider the following: First, that the majority of these so-called undesirable aliens have been in the state long before Texas was Texas ; second, that these people were here long before these new Americans crowded the deck of the immigrant ship; third, that a great number of the Mexican people in the border did not come as immigrants, but are the descendants of the agraciados who held grants from the Spanish crown.  Jovita Gonzalez, 1930


Letters to the Editor:  

Dear Mimi,
     You and I don't know each other....but I want to thank you for the obviously tremendous effort that you put into “Somos Primos.” I do hope that all of this that you do is archived in an appropriate and easily accessed place.  THANK YOU!!  
          Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll

Editor:  I responded to Elizabeth's concern and thought I best share the response with everyone.  All of the previous issues of Somos Primos are available online from the homepage.  Just scroll down to the years and click on any year and month,

Querida Mimi:

Magnifico ejemplar. Su biografia es impresionante por lo muchisimo de logro que hay en ella. El trabajo mensual es ademas enorme. La comunidad hispana debe agradecer esta labor ingente tan valiosa y digna. Gracias por la insercion de Importadora Espanola en Caribbean/Cuba: Ha sido concretamente en Puerto Rico.
Retransmitire el mensaje a muchas direcciones.  

Alfonso Rodriguez

Alfonso sent along this joyful photo to share with readers: 

Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps picks up Thor Canales, son of a friend,  before acknowledging the crowd at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.   AP photo by Carlos Osorio.

The link below includes a photo of both Thor and his brother Francisco Canales.  Thank you to "Pancho" Canales for sharing this joyful experience.

This link includes information of "Pancho" Canales and his connection with Michael Phelps.


Somos Primos Staff:  

Mimi Lozano, Editor

Mercy Bautista Olvera
Bill Carmena
Lila Guzman
Granville Hough, Ph.D.

John Inclan
Galal Kernahan
J.V. Martinez
Armando Montes
Dorinda Moreno
Michael Perez

Rafael Ojeda
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Tony Santiago
John P. Schmal
Howard Shorr 
Ted Vincent  

Contributors to the October Issue:  

Fredrick Aguirre
Ruben Alvarez
Luce Amen 
Dan Arellano
Armando Ayala, Ph.D.
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Jerry Benavides
Eric Beerman, Ph.D.
Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.
Bill Carmena
Henry J. Casso, Ph.D.
Salvador Delvalle
Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll
Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll

Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Lorraine Frain
Elizabeth Erro Hvolboll
Eladio Garcia
James E. Garcia
Mary Rose Garcia
Wanda Daisy Garcia
Raul Garza
Henry Godines

Roberto Guadarrama Perez
Phil Hampton 
Manuel Hernandez  Carmona
Granville Hough, Ph.D.
Silvia Ichar 
John Inclan
Priscilla Lopez 
Roberto Lovato
Jeanie Low
Heriberto Luna
Juan Marinez
Ann Minter
Dorinda Moreno
Carlos Munoz, Jr. Ph.D.
Paul Nauta
Alberto Ochoa 
Maria Angeles O'Donnell Olson 
Rafael Ojeda 
Daniel A. Olivas
Alberto Ochoa 
Rudy Padilla
Willis Papillion
Jose Maria Pena
Nancy Perez
Richard Perry
Angel Custodio Rebollo
Crispin Rendon
Sandra Robbie
Alfonso Rodriguez
Annette Rodriguez Valenzuela
Norman Rozeff
Steve Rubin
Antonio Santiago, Jr.
Tony Santiago
Richard G. Santos
Howard Shorr
Bob Smith
Ricardo Valverde
Janete Vargas
Ted Vincent
Kirk Whisler 

SHHAR Board: 

Bea Armenta Dever, Gloria Cortinas Oliver,  Mimi Lozano Holtzman, Pat Lozano,  Michael Perez, Crispin Rendon, Viola Rodriguez Sadler, John P. Schmal, Tomas Saenz



Project to Document 200 Years of Latino Journalism in United States
Remember Dr. Hector P. Garcia
Largest Re-enlistment Ceremony - Ever
The Farm Workers Movement in the United States
Rural Migration News
U.S. Senate and House elected Latinos, 1822-2006
San Francisco State marked 40th anniversary of strike
Mr. Ambassador: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro
Cristián Samper, Director, National Museum of Natural History
First Hispanic Woman Grad Credits Academy for Her Success
Marie Therese Dominguez, United States Postal Service
Israel Cuellar, 1947-2008
Peter Miguel Camejo


Project to Document 200 Yrs of Latino Journalism in United States

With the 200th anniversary of the first Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S. upon us, the nation is set to celebrate this historic moment that began in 1808 in New Orleans with the founding of El Misisipi. 

Commemorative events are being planned from September 2008 to September 2009 at various universities and Latino communities.

A news conference commemorating the 200th anniversary of El Misisipi is planned Oct. 15 in New Orleans.

"This is a historic time for the Latino community as we remember the milestone feat of the Latino press," said Juan Gonzales, who chairs the journalism department and who is founder/editor of El Tecolote. "This is a time to pay tribute to the countless number of publishing pioneers who provided a vigilant voice for our communities and who championed for their needs."

But he absence of any visual documentation on the history and evolution of the Latino press has also spawned a San Francisco-based project titled, Voices for Justice: The Enduring Legacy of the Latino Press in the U.S. It  is a dream come true for Gonzales who is the project coordinator.

The dream, a multi-media project that will tell the story of the establishment, growth and current strength of the U.S. Latino press, is being spearheaded by San Francisco-based Acción Latina, a non-profit organization that publishes El Tecolote, a bilingual, biweekly newspaper founded in San Francisco's Mission District in 1970.

The project includes a documentary film for possible airing on the Public Broadcasting System and for use in the classroom, a companion book with added details and stories, and an interactive website, Gonzales said.

Dr. Félix Gutiérrez, one of the project researchers, said the film itself would document stages in the development and growth of the Spanish-language press.

"The story begins in New Orleans with the founding of El Misisipi in 1808 that set the stage for thousands of publications, broadcast, and Internet news outlets currently serving Latinos," Gutiérrez said.

Gutiérrez added that Voices will also trace the early exile press on the east coast, the many newspapers established during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s, the youth publications of the 1930s and 40s, the Puerto Rican and Chicano activist newspapers of the 1960s and 70s, the emergence of major media corporations publishing Latino newspapers and magazines, and the growth of Latino broadcasting and online media used by Latinos into the 21st century.

"Throughout the last two centuries, Latino/Hispanic communities from coast to coast have supported newspapers ranging from eight-page weeklies printed in Spanish or bilingually to highly entrepreneurial large-city dailies published completely in Spanish," said Nicolás Kanellos, project member and University of Houston professor and author of "Hispanic Periodicals in the United States (Arte Público Press, 2000).

"Most newspapers have protected the language, culture and rights of an ethnic minority within a larger culture that was in the best of times unconcerned with the Hispanic ethnic enclaves and in the worst of times openly hostile," added Kanellos, who has gathered the largest collection of copies of Latino newspapers and magazines.

Acción Latina, according to Gonzales, is also orchestrating a yearlong national call to commemorate the bicentennial year of the Latino press in the U.S.

"From coast to coast we will encourage Latino newspapers in various cities to host events to help draw attention to this historic time." he said. "It will also include securing a congressional proclamation, as well as city proclamations paying homage to the nation's Latino press."

To date, according to Eva Martinez, executive director of Acción Latina the project has secured initial funding from the Ford Foundation to create a short pilot of the film by September. It has also received other resource support from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, the Department of Journalism at City College of San Francisco, the University of Houston Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage and Arte Público Press, the Freedom Forum Trustee Initiative, and La Raza Media Education Fund of the San Francisco Foundation.

"We welcome all the support we can get ," Martinez said. "We want to talk to folks who can help us in any way - getting stories written, leading us to funding sources, helping us to do research, directing us to pioneers and archival materials, and contributing money."

For more information on the project and planned events, contact Gonzales at or Martinez at (415) 648-1045.


Kirk Whisler
Hispanic Marketing 101
Vol.6   No.34
September 23, 2008

voice: (760) 434-1223
Latino Print Network overall: 760-434-7474



By daughter

Daisy Wanda Garcia  


The Texas Legislature designated September 17 as the day to recognize Dr. Hector P. Garcia for his advocacy work in civil rights and health. Dr. Hector P. Garcia founded the American GI Forum in 1948 to help veterans obtain educational, medical and housing benefits promised under the GI Bill of Rights.  He was involved in school desegregation and electing Hispanics to public office.  In 1984, President Ronald Reagan awarded Garcia the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor given to a civilian by the president. Dr. Garcia was the first Hispanic American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Garcia died in 1996.  

Dr. Hector P. Garcia changed the lives and destinies of Hispanic Americans.  His work helped Hispanic Americans break through socio economic barriers that denied them access to the American dream.   

The Texas Legislature will consider making the Day of Recognition permanent during the next legislative session.  Therefore, many Texas communities and American G.I. Forum chapters hosted various activities to express support for the Dr. Garcia’s State Recognition Day.  In Dr. Hector’s hometown of Corpus Christi, TX, the community and the local American G.I. Forum chapters celebrated all week with many events.  The focus of these events was to increase public awareness by recalling his work with the poor and the veteran.   Below are some of the highlights of the events.  

On Monday, September 15, 2008, the local AGIF chapters held a ceremony in memory of Dr. Hector P. Garcia at Seaside Memorial Park Chapel.  This ceremony initiated the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.  J.A. Tony Canales, Dr. Hector Garcia’s nephew, gave the keynote address at the ceremony.  The local American G.I. Forum chapters concluded the ceremony by laying a wreath at Dr. Hector’s grave.  Later, the Johnny Canales chapter of Robstown, TX, held a reception in honor of Dr. Garcia.  

On Wednesday, September 17, about four hundred students and community leaders gathered at Garcia Elementary School.  The school is named after Dr. J.A. Garcia one of Dr. Hector’s brothers. The students drew pictures of Dr. Hector and lined their school hallways with the pictures.  Speakers talked about Dr. Hector’s contributions to education.

In the afternoon, Mr. Patrick Birmingham and the Corpus Christi Caller Times newspaper hosted a luncheon to pay tribute to Dr. Garcia’s life and legacy. At the luncheon, Texas Representative Juan Chuy Hinojosa gave a status on the Legislation introduced by the Nueces County delegation and passed in 2007 renaming a seven-mile stretch of State Highway 286 after Dr. Garcia.

“I think people know who Dr. Hector P. Garcia is," Hinojosa said. "People know his legacy and his contributions to history and education.”[1]  

Both of Garcia’s daughters Daisy Wanda Garcia and Cecilia Akers addressed the crowd. Daisy Wanda Garcia delivered a special message how Dr. Hector Garcia’s spirit continues to guide us. The Caller Times presented a slide show created by Jay Sanchez featuring Dr. Hector’s family photos and interviews with his three daughters, Daisy Wanda Garcia, Cecilia Akers, and Dr. Susanna Garcia.

On Friday, the Coca Cola Company and the Hector P. Garcia and Beatriz Perez Women’s Chapters sponsored the second annual recognition luncheon in memory of Dr. Hector Garcia. J.A. Tony Canales spoke about Dr. Hector Garcia’s family history.  This luncheon concluded the festivities.  

Dr. Garcia deserves to be honored with a Texas holiday and a National holiday. He dedicated his whole life to improving the lot of Mexican Americans.  He made inroads for Hispanics in the area of politics, health and education.  Dr. Garcia was honored nationally and internationally for his work. It is up to us to ensure that he obtains his deserved place in the history of our country.  Please contact your elected officials to express support for national and state holidays honoring Dr. Hector P. Garcia.  If you need more information, please email

[1] Corpus Christi Caller, September 18, 2008



Largest Re-enlistment Ceremony - Ever


This was the largest re-enlistment ceremony ever held in military history. The ceremony was held on the 4th of July, 2008 at Al Faw Palace, Baghdad , Iraq . General David Petraeus officiated. This amazing story was ignored by the 'mainstream' media.

American men and women volunteering to stay longer in Iraq, so that when we leave, the new democracy will have a chance of surviving.

For those who have been in the Al Faw Palace, you'll have a better appreciation of the number of people crammed around the rotunda supporting the re-enlisting soldiers.  

A pizzeria in Chicago donated 2000 pizzas that were made and shipped to Baghdad , and were delivered on the 4th. The media did report that 2000 pizzas were sent to Iraq on July 4th...  The only part they left out of the report was the event for which the pizzas were sent.

Sent by Salvador Delvalle



The Farm Workers Movement in the United States


October 20, 2008

My name is LeRoy Chatfield. In the 1960’s and 70’s, I was a close friend and associate of César Chávez, the founder of the National Farm Workers Association (1962), the precursor of the United Farm Workers of America (1966).


In 1969, Mr. Chávez asked me to gather up all documents, photos, correspondence, and graphics accumulated by the movement to that point - crammed into various closets and nooks and crannies in a half-dozen Delano locations - sort through and organize them, and ship them to the newly-formed UFW Archives at Wayne State University.


Chávez explained it to me this way: “Some day, people will want to know what happened in our movement, what mistakes we made, and what we accomplished.”  Now, 40 years later – and 15 years after his passing – I have created a (non-commercial) Website – - to publish those very same documents, and many thousands more. These primary source materials cover the period 1962 to 1993 and more than 95% of them have never before been released to the public.


I write you with a simple request: will you help me bring this historical farmworker movement Website to the attention of students, especially postgraduates, who may wish to apply their critical analysis and writing skills to fulfill the purpose of César Chávez in preserving these documents - “what happened in our movement, what mistakes were made, and what was accomplished.” Thank you.


SI SE PUEDE, LeRoy Chatfield


P.S. Using the Documentation Project, I have created a promotional, farmworker movement gift, “Songs of the Farmworker Movement” and six “César Chávez” iconic photographs, which I would be pleased to send you and all the professors, graduate students, librarians, archivists, filmmakers, teachers and others who might receive this notice through the listservs with which you communicate.  To you and all of them I extend the invitation to email me – - your name and complete preferred mailing address where I may send this gift.  Please help us spread the word and usage of the Farmworker Documentation Project Website among your friends, students, and colleagues.

The letter was sent to and shared by
Dr. Roberto Calderón,




Vol. 14, No. 4  October, 2008

Rural Migration News summarizes the most important migration-related issues affecting agricultural and rural America.  Topics are grouped by category:  Rural Areas, Farm Workers, Immigration, Other, and Resources. 
There are two editions of Rural Migration News.  The paper edition has about 10,000 words and the email version about 20,000 words. 
Distribution is by email.  If you wish to subscribe, send your email address to:  Current and back issues may be accessed  at:
There is no charge for the email version.  A one-year subscription to the paper edition of Rural Migration News is $12 domestic and $20 foreign; a two-year  subscription is $22 domestic and $38 foreign.  Make checks payable to UC Regents and send to: Philip Martin, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of California, Davis, California 95616 USA.

Suggested citations: "California: San Joaquin Valley." Rural Migration News. October 2008. Vol. 14. No 4. or Rural Migration News. 2008.  California: San Joaquin Valley.  October. Vol. 14. No 4.

Editor:  Philip Martin
Managing Editor:  Cecily Sprouse
ISSN 1086-5845
Paper Edition ISSN 1086-5837

Sent by Dorinda Moreno


U.S. Senate and House elected Latinos, 1822-2006


As we end this year Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations and look forward to our National Election on Nov 4, let teach our children and America that we have a long and proud history of Latinos serving in the U.S. Senate and House.  This site will take you to brief biographies on all U.S. Senate and House elected Latinos from 1822-2006.



Mr. Ambassador: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro

A world premiere presentation 
Opening November 7th
Featuring James E. Garcia as Ambassador Castro
Directed by Terry Earp
Produced by New Carpa Theater

Experience the story of a living legend. Born in 1916 during the Mexican Revolution, Raul Castro has been a farm worker, boxer and hobo, going on to make history by becoming the Arizona’s first and only Latino governor and U.S. Ambassador to three nations.

“One of my mottos in life has always been, I’ve never wanted to be loved, never loved, I’ve wanted to be respected.” - Raul H. Castro

TICKETS ON SALE NOW… $18 a person 
(student and group rates available by calling the box office)
Tickets online at or call 602-254-2151, press 4
Featuring James E. Garcia as Raul H. Castro
Opens Nov. 7 at Playhouse on the Park, 1851 N. Central Ave. (Palm and Central Ave.) 
The show runs Nov. 7-16. 

Evening performances on Nov. 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 begin at 7:30 p.m., 
Matinees on Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 16 begin at 2 p.m.

SPECIAL NOTE: Ambassador Raul H. Castro and his wife Pat Castro will be in attendance on opening night.  

Check for details and ticket information.
For more information, call 602-460-1374 or email

NEW CARPA THEATER’s Upcoming Productions….
Dec. 12-20
American Pastorela: The Road to the White House by James E. Garcia
Dec. 12-20, Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave. American Pastorela is a satirical take on the nativity story. When the Hernandez family in Sonora hears news of the baby Jesus, and set off to Phoenix to catch the light rail to Bethlehem. Guided by Bartolo, a curandero who speaks to God through his I-Pod, the Hernandez family encounters an array of characters along the way, including the Minutemen, twin brothers Monty and Harry Dystal, El Diablo, and more than a few failed presidential candidates. Tickets available now at or by calling 602-254-2151, press 4. 

April 10-19, 2008
Voices of Valor by James E. Garcia
April 10-19, 2008, Playhouse on the Park, 1851 N. Central Ave. (Palm and Central). Inspired by the oral histories of Latino and Latinas who served during WWII. Based on more than 500 interviews conducted by researchers across the nation. Tickets available (This play premiered at ASU’s Gammage Auditorium and at the Performing Arts Center in Austin 2006.) Tickets available at or 602-254-2151, pres 

New Carpa Theater (formerly Colores Actors-Writers Workshop) was founded in 2002 by James E. Garcia. The company incorporated in 2006 and is launching its second full season. The company focuses on Latino and multicultural theater works. Our recent productions include Por Amor/For Love: An Operachi in One Act, (Herberger Theater Center, Second Stage West & Playhouse on the Park); Dream Act (Playhouse on the Park, 2008), A Mother’s Will (SMCC, 2007), American Pastorela: The Shepherds’ Odyssey (Playhouse On The Park, 2007 / Mesa Arts Center, 2006), and Voices of Valor (ASU Gammage and UT-Austin, 2006.)

For more information about New Carpa Theater, contact: James E. Garcia / Contact Phone: 602-460-1374, or visit

New Carpa Theater is supported in part by the City of Phoenix, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Maricopa Community College District, Phoenix College and people like you


San Francisco State marked 40th anniversary of strike 
Tanya Schevitz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, October 26, 2008 


For nearly five months in late 1968 and early 1969, near anarchy at San Francisco State played out on national television as police thumped striking students with batons and hundreds of students were arrested after throwing rocks and firebombs.

The strike, led by minority students angered by their lack of representation on campus, marked the most violent chapter in the campus' history, paving the way for student activism around racial issues across the nation. It also fueled the political career of campus president S.I. Hayakawa, who later was elected to the U.S. Senate.

This week, the campus is holding a series of academic discussions and cultural activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the strike.

Critics of the strike said some of its goals did not justify the violence. But ethnic studies experts and historians say it brought positive change to the university, particularly the creation of its College of Ethnic Studies, which includes Asian American Studies, Black Studies, La Raza Studies and Native American Studies.

The ethnic studies college now has nearly 50 tenure-track professors and 20 lecturers, and it is adding the study of Arabs and Muslim ethnicities as well as race and resistance studies.
Before the strike, the university occasionally offered a black music or black sociology class taught by part-time faculty, said Joseph White, who was dean of undergraduate studies and was faculty sponsor for the Black Student Union at the time.

"Black people were invisible in higher education in California," White said. "We were invisible on the faculty, in the curriculum and on the staff. And we were almost invisible in the student body."
The strike "changed the legacy of San Francisco State," White added. "It changed San Francisco State to a multicultural campus. Those ideas we fought so hard for now are a reality not only at San Francisco State University but all over the United States."

following revolutions
Black students and the Third World Liberation Front were following revolutions in Africa, Latin America and Asia in leading the strike at what was then San Francisco State College.
On Nov. 6, 1968, they called for the closure of the campus until their demands were met, including the rehiring of Black Panther George Murray, a graduate student and instructor who was suspended after he urged black students to bring guns on campus.

But more significantly, the group, which included blacks, Latinos, whites and Asians, wanted a speedy establishment of a Third World college representing all ethnicities. They also wanted the admission of more black and other minority students.

UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Carlos Munoz Jr., who teaches a course on the civil rights movements of the 1960s, said the San Francisco State strike was for students of color the equivalent of the Free Speech Movement in the mid-1960s in Berkeley.

"It sort of brought the civil rights movements around the country to a more inclusive framework," Munoz said. "Jesse Jackson had not yet organized the Rainbow Coalition. What happened at State was the first large-scale multicultural effort and set the tone for that kind of rainbow politics."
When the strike began, most students went to class. But the strikers quickly spread chaos on the campus, banging on classroom doors and threatening to forcibly remove students and teachers if they did not leave. Strikers also cut electric cords on typewriters, telephones and copy machines in academic offices, while toilets and bathroom sinks were backed up and overflowed into hallways, said San Francisco State Professor Jason Ferreira, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the strike.

After a long weekend, campus President Robert Smith called in hundreds of police in full riot gear, and on Nov. 13, police showed up at a student gathering and began to arrest students and other participants, Ferreira said. In response, students began throwing rocks and the battle escalated until Smith decided to close the campus indefinitely.
Gov. Ronald Reagan and the California State University Board of Trustees ordered Smith to reopen the campus. He resigned instead and was replaced by Hayakawa, an English professor, who opened the campus Dec. 2 under a "state of emergency," with a ban on picketing, sound amplification or any other form of protest activity without administrative approval, Ferreira said.
The next day, which came to be known as "Bloody Tuesday," Hayakawa ordered police to remove strikers who had assembled. They chased students around campus, attacking them, Ferreira said.
Later, after a rally with prominent black leaders including Carleton Goodlett, editor of San Francisco's Sun Reporter, Democratic Assemblyman Willie Brown, Berkeley City Councilman Ron Dellums and the Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church, police sealed off the central campus and began "indiscriminately" beating students, faculty, campus staff, community members, medics, photographers and even church officials, Ferreira said.

pioneer in ethnic studies
Early in 1969, the university agreed to many of the student demands, including the establishment of the nation's first and only college of ethnic studies. The strike ended March 20.
Retired San Francisco police Lt. George Eimil, who was on campus with about 100 officers every day during the strike, was critical of the students' tactics.
"Did their 15 demands justify the bombings? Hell no," he said. "They placed a bomb in the administrative offices while school was in session. They were setting fires in the library. They were putting people's lives in serious danger."

But Laureen Chew, now associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies and one of nearly 700 students jailed during the strike, said the battle was necessary. As an Asian American, she had faced racism in high school and from customers of her parents' laundry shop who called her father a "stupid Chinaman."

Her conservative parents did not know she was involved in the strike until she was arrested. She served 20 days in jail in connection with misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace, illegal assembly and failing to disperse.

"You have to look at all the social justice agendas that have happened in the past 40 years," Chew said. "We were the first to put many of those on the agenda. You have to fight for those things to be included in the curriculum."

About 500 other colleges and universities have ethnic studies departments or programs, but San Francisco State University is the only one with a college of ethnic studies, said Larry Estrada, president of the National Association of Ethnic Studies and director of American Cultural Studies at Western Washington University.

Kenneth Monteiro, dean of San Francisco State's College of Ethnic Studies, said the strike is taught in the campus' courses on history, organizing and social justice. He said the strike was a key flash point among similar movements around the world.

"When you say Kent State, I think of anti-war protests. When you say free speech, I think of UC Berkeley. If you say multi-ethnic struggles, it is San Francisco State," Monteiro said. "This was one of the watershed events, that blast that opened the doors. It wasn't that the other struggles weren't important, but this was the Normandy."

if you go
Events marking the anniversary of the strike will be held from
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. Saturday. Registration and the full schedule of events and speakers is available at links.sfgate .com/ZFDY
E-mail Tanya Schevitz at

Sent by Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr.
and Dorinda Moreno


Cristián Samper
Director, National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 106, P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012 
Biography: Source . .  Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Cristián SamperCristián Samper (sahm-PAIR), a biologist and international authority on environmental policy, is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. As director 
of the National Museum of Natural History, Samper is responsible for the largest natural history collection in the world and a museum that welcomes more than 6 million visitors each year. Since his arrival in 2003, Samper reinvigorated the research staff by hiring new curators to replace retiring staff; built major new collections storage facilities and laboratories in Suitland, Md.; and raised 
more than $100 million to support new long-term exhibitions and programs, including the Encyclopedia of Life and the Sant Ocean Hall.

Samper served as the Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian from March 2007 through June 2008. As Acting Secretary, he guided the Institution through a transition period, working with the Board of Regents on comprehensive governance review and reform, as well as enhanced communications with key stakeholders. He worked with Congress to address the funding need for facilities; initiated the planning for the Institution’s first national fundraising campaign; restructured and refocused Smithsonian Enterprises (formerly Smithsonian Business Ventures); and oversaw the work of a new leadership team. 

Prior to coming to Washington, D.C., Samper, was deputy director and staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, the largest research facility for tropical biology, with emphasis on tropical forests and coral reefs, from 2001 to 2003.

From 1999 to 2001, he was chairman of the Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. In this role, Samper helped develop a global strategy for plant conservation and launched the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, designed to determine the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and provide the scientific basis for action to conserve and use ecosystems sustainably.

From 1995 to 2001, Samper was the founder and first director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, the national biodiversity research institute of Colombia. He was responsible for developing the National Biodiversity Policy for Colombia, promoting research on biological inventories, conservation biology and sustainable use of biodiversity. At the same time, he served as chief science adviser for biodiversity for the Colombian government and served on the boards of many environmental institutions. For his contributions, he was awarded the National Medal of the Environment by the president of Colombia in 2001.

Samper served as director of the environment division of the Foundation for Higher Education in Colombia from 1992 to 1995, and he also was adjunct professor of biology at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. He was a moving force behind the establishment of a network of private nature reserves and major environmental education programs throughout Colombia.

Known for his work in the ecology of the Andean cloud forests, conservation biology and environmental policy, Samper currently sits on the boards of directors for the American Association of Museums, the Center for International Forest Research, and the Nature Conservancy.

Born Sept. 25, 1965, in San José, Costa Rica, Samper grew up in Colombia and holds dual citizenship from the United States and Colombia. Samper received a bachelor’s degree from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá (1987); he earned his master’s degree (1989) and doctorate degree (1992) in biology from Harvard University, where 
he was awarded the Derek Bok prize for excellence in teaching.

Sent by Rafael Ojeda




First Hispanic Woman Grad Credits Academy for Her Success
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2004 – Not only was Linda Garcia Cubero the first Hispanic woman graduate of the Air Force Academy, she was the only Hispanic woman to graduate from any of the nation's service academies in 1980, when the first classes with women graduated.

Linda Garcia Cubero, center, the first Hispanic woman graduate of a service academy, chats with Robert E. Bard, president and chief executive officer of Latina Style magazine, and Air Force Brig. Gen. Maria Owens, director for manpower and personnel on the Joint Staff, before the start of the program during the First National Latina Symposium in Washington. Photo by Rudi Williams

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation Oct. 7, 1975, permitting women to enter the nation's military academies. Women entered the Air Force Academy for the first time on June 28, 1976. The first class with women graduated in May 1980.

A graduate of Chicopee Comprehensive High School in Chicopee, Mass., Cubero was the first woman in that state to receive an appointment to any military academy.

Cubero said she decided to pursue an education at the academy to follow her father's footsteps into the Air Force as a commissioned officer. She also wanted to travel and see the world.

"And I wanted to get a really good education and the opportunities at the service academies were just too good to pass up," said Cubero, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in political science and earned her free-fall parachute wings.

She spent seven years in the Air Force serving as a command briefer to a four-star general and on national-level task forces at the Pentagon. As a liaison to the White House, Cubero supervised the development of a U.S. commemorative postage stamp honoring Hispanics in the defense of the nation. The stamp was designed by the 10 surviving Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients and unveiled by President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1984.

The former Air Force captain said she spent four years at the Pentagon with the Defense Intelligence Agency and three years at the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. She resigned her commission after marrying a civilian and starting a family, and she started a graduate-degree program.

Cubero said her first year at the academy "was pretty rough."

"I wasn't used to being yelled at and being braced up against the wall and told to tuck your chin in and do push-ups and sit-ups," she noted. "The academic environment didn't bother me. The physical aspect didn't bother me, but the mental and emotional challenge was tough. The intent is to strip you down as individuals and form you into first a follower and then learn how to be a leader and how to be a part of a team. They do a very good job of that."

But the transition is tough, she said, for an 18-year-old who has never been away from home.

"So emotionally and mentally it was quite a challenge. But one that I think created a foundation for my success today," said Cubero, now a client director at Hewlett-Packard. She's also on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts Tejas Council.

In 1998, Cubero was inducted into the National Hispanic Engineering Hall of Fame. In 2002, Hispanic Business magazine named her as one of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" in the United States. She has been featured in several magazines and is a frequent keynote speaker.

She said the four years at the academy, the discipline, the leadership, the skills she learned and the academic background all laid a foundation for her successes in life. "The self-confidence I have today was built there," Cubero said. "It had a tremendous impact on my career and my success both in the Air Force and in the corporate environment."

Her advice to young Hispanic women who are contemplating attending a military academy is to "make sure it's something you really want; make sure it's for you. If it's not for you, you will not survive. You'll be very unhappy."

Cubero said those who are given an opportunity to attend an academy should give back as they grow and learn. "Make sure you share those learnings with others," she said.

When she spoke at the National Latina Symposium honoring Hispanic women military academy graduates earlier this month, Cubero told the gathering that her lifelong motto is, "You tell me I can't, and I'll show you I will." While at the academy, she said, she learned the value of an education is not just from books or classrooms, but also from experiences and relationships. "I learned that the only barriers in your way are those you create yourself," Cubero said. "I learned the value of true friendship and what it means to serve others before self." She said she also learned about an honor code that says, "We will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." "And I learned that your integrity, your word, is something that no one can ever take away," Cubero said. "I learned that serving your country is not just about putting on a uniform every day; it's about duty, pride, honor, character and about being part of a team." Since graduating from the academy, Cubero said, she learned that the definition of success "isn't in the size of your paycheck, but in the opportunities you create for others and in the differences you can make. "I've also learned that when they said, 'Just being an academy grad will open up doors for you,' they really meant it; it's true," Cubero noted.

Sent by Rafael Ojeda



Marie Therese Dominguez

Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy

Marie Therese Dominguez was named Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy in June 2007. In this role, Dominguez reports to the Postmaster General and is responsible for all aspects of government relations for the Postal Service.

She brings to the Postal Service 20 years of expertise in the fields of government relations and organizational development in both the federal and the private sectors. These organizations have benefited from her strength as an attorney, political strategist, campaign innovator, management consultant, and workforce development leader in the transportation and environment arenas.

During her eight years of working with the Clinton administration, Dominguez brought to the White House her skills in political planning and human capital. As Special Assistant to President Clinton for Personnel, Dominguez contributed to the placement of executives into 2,300 leadership positions within the federal government. 

Dominguez has served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Corps of Engineers). She also was a partner at FieldWorks, LLC, a grassroots and political consulting firm based in Washington where she worked for and advised government, non-profit organizations and private sector corporations on developing and executing successful political management and legislative strategies.

Dominguez is a graduate of Smith College and holds a Juris Doctorate from Villanova Law School.

Sent by Rafael Ojeda



Israel Cuellar, 1947 - 2008

Dr. Israel Cuellar completed his life's work on Sunday, September 7, 2008. 

The renowned Chicano research psychologist directed the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University 2001-2003. His 1977 doctoral dissertation in Community Psychology from UT-Austin uncovered underutilization of Texas MHMR services by Mexican-origin consumers. He directed one of the nation's first culturally responsive treatment units for Hispanics at the San Antonio State Hospital 1977-1984 and developed acculturation scales for assessing multicultural integration, used as models for scales employed in Australia, Israel, Germany and Spain. As a professor at UT Pan American, Israel co-edited the Handbook of Multicultural Mental Health. His research added to the understanding of how ethnic identity and acculturation relate to mental health and to the numerous ways culture and language influence diagnosis and treatment. After retirement triggered by a diagnosis of ALS, he returned to South Texas where he recently completed a soon-to-be-published 300-page novel, The Barrida Cure.

Israel (Chai) was born in 1946 in Douglas, Arizona and grew up there and in Laredo. He was preceded in death by his father, Adolfo Cuellar, Jr. of Zapata, and mother, Josefa Flores, of Guerrero Viejo, where his ashes will become one with the earth. The pioneer Chicano scholar is survived by his wife of 27 years, Hope, his children, Nikole Mendoza and Ruben, Lisa and Anthony McRae, their spouses, numerous grandchildren; his siblings, Ariel, Adolfo and Linda Cuellar and Elda Bielanski, their spouses as well as numerous nieces and nephews. In the fullness of time a life's journey ends. But love once shared continues to live. And beyond this day... that love prevails.

Memorial donations may be made to VITAS Hospice, Attn: Debbie Brennan, 5430 Fredericksburg Rd, Suite 200, San Antonio, Texas 78229 or ALS Association South Texas Chapter, 8600 Wurzbach Rd, Suite 700, San Antonio, Texas 78240.

Sent by Roberto Calderon, Ph.D.



In Honor of Peter Miguel Camejo  

by Ralph Nader   

Peter Miguel Camejo, a civil rights leader, socially responsible investment pioneer, and magnanimo caballero for third party politics in the US, peacefully passed away early Saturday morning at his home in Folsom, CA with his wife Morella at his side -- only days after completing his autobiography.

The 68-year-old justice fighter had been battling a reoccurrence of lymphoma cancer, and his condition had rapidly deteriorated over the past few days.

Peter was a student leader, civil rights advocate, leader in the socially responsible investment industry with his own investment firm, Progressive Asset Management, Inc., and author of books on investment and history including Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861-1877, The Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction, California Under Corporate Rule, and his recent book, The SRI Advantage: Why Socially Responsible Investing Has Outperformed Financially.

Peter used his eloquence, sharp wit, and barnstorming bravado to blaze a trail for 21st century third party politics in the US. He was a third party candidate for state and national office, making three gubernatorial runs in California as a Green, including one in the 2002 election when he earned 5.3 percent of the vote. In the 2003 recall election, he debated Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis, and in the 2004 Presidential election, he was my running mate on our Independent Ticket.

Among the many causes Peter forcefully championed were a living wage, healthcare for all, and making the US the world leader in renewable energy. He was also a passionate advocate for electoral reform, pressing for proportional representation and instant run-off voting (allows voters to rank their top choices) in an effort to overturn the "200-year-old dysfunctional money-dominated winner take-all system that disrespects the will of the people."

Peter was a friend, colleague and politically courageous champion of the downtrodden and mistreated of the entire Western Hemisphere. Everyone who met Peter, talked with Peter, worked with Peter, or argued with Peter, will miss the passing of a great American.

Peter Camejo is survived by his wife Morella, his father Daniel, his daughter Alexandra, his son Victor, three brothers Antonio, Daniel, and Danny, and three grandchildren Andrew, Daniel, and Oliver.

When his autobiography (with the working title Northstar) is published, we will all be able to get a vivid sense of the great measure of Peter Camejo as a sentinel force for civil rights and civil liberties, and expander of democracy. His lifework will inspire the political and economic future for a long time.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno


Los Repatriados/The Repatriated, Play based on real events

Passports Denied: Mexican-Americans Can't Travel
Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream
Mexican workers in US during WWII can get back pay


“Los Repatriados/The Repatriated”

(Play based on real events presented by the New Carpa Theater)

For what was happening in Michigan to Los Repatriados, click:

Play was performed Oct. 12, 2008, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. free to the public in Phoenix.  This production was part of Chicanos Por La Causa’s Dia de La Raza events at Barrios Unidos Park

Los Repatriados/The Repatriated is a “people’s theater performance” of a short play by James E. Garcia based on the true story of the mass deportations of an estimated 500,000 Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans during the Great Depression.  

The performance will be immediately followed by a candlelight vigil in memory of the approximately 150 migrants who’ve died crossing the Arizona border with Mexico this year and thousands more who’ve died crossing over the past decade.  


New Carpa Theater invites volunteers of any age, gender, race or ethnicity to participate in this performance as “extras” by playing the roles of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and Mexican Americans who were deported by U.S. authorities after President Hoover and others publicly blamed Mexican immigrants for perpetuating the nation’s economic collapse. No acting experience is required.  

Los Repatriados/The Repatriated is the first act of a two-act “people’s theater performance.” Act II of this play is this play is called “Operation Wetback”and will be staged at ASU at the West campus as part of the “Crime, Justice and the Border”” conference in March 31, April 2 of 2009 (  

Information: 602-460-1374 or or visit



Passports Denied: Mexican-Americans Can't Travel

By Roberto Lovato, New America Media Posted: Sep 22, 2008


Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people of Mexican descent were subjected to unreasonable and arbitrary demands to prove that they are citizens of the United States before getting a passport. This includes Texas native, David Hernandez, a former marine, reports NAM writer Roberto Lovato.

Texas native David Hernandez, a former marine who served his country in different parts of the world, can no longer see the world after his country denied him a passport.

Hernandez and other residents living in and around the U.S.-Mexico border are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit alleging that, in denying them passports, the U.S. State Department is engaging in a new kind of racial discrimination: non-citizen profiling.

'This all started when I sent them (the U.S. State Department) my passport and they sent me a letter saying that it wasn't sufficient. So, I sent them all kinds of documents -a baptismal certificate, military records, pictures of me in the pre-kindergarten, a copy of my grandmother's birth certificate that showed that she was an American citizen,' he said, adding, 'and that still wasn't enough. I knew something was wrong when they even started asking me for things like Census documents from the 1930's that don't even exist.'

Hernandez and the other plaintiffs say that the U.S. government is denying them passports because they are persons of Mexican and Latino descent whose births were assisted by parteras, or midwives. 'The law says that if you're born in this country, have parents who are or who get naturalized, you are a citizen,' said Hernandez his voice cracking with anger and frustration. 'We were all born here. We're all citizens. The only difference is that we're Hispanic, we grew up poor and we happened not to be born in a hospital. My mother had to pay a partera $40 instead.'

Lawyers for Hernandez and the other plaintiffs say they have documented a systematic pattern of racial discrimination among hundreds, perhaps thousands of people of Mexican descent who, like him, applied for passports and were subjected to unreasonable and arbitrary demands for an inordinate and often impossible-to-find documents proving they are citizens of the United States.

For Robin Goldfaden, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is co-counsel in the case along with other law firms, the passport suit 'shows a spirit of disregard for birthright citizenship and a reckless disregard for the actual citizenship of an entire class of people.'

Goldfaden pointed out that although midwifery is a long-held tradition among whites, blacks and others living in Appalachia, Texas and other parts of the United States where hospital-assisted birth is unaffordable or unavailable, the denial of passports is only taking place among people of Mexican descent living along the southern border.

'Some of the plaintiffs in this case were born in the 1930s and earlier, when, for example, half of all babies in Texas were delivered by midwives,' said Goldfaden, who believes that the case raises concerns beyond those raised by Hernandez and other plaintiffs. 'Anytime the government violates due process and the constitutional promise of equal protection as they did in this case, we should all be concerned.'

The passport case comes on the heels of intensified efforts to fundamentally alter the definition of who is and isn't a citizen. For several years, members of Congress and anti-immigrant groups in Texas and several other states have proposed state and federal laws denying birthright citizenship to the U.S. born children of undocumented immigrants. Some Texas residents like Father Mike Seiffert also trace such practices to the long history of denying citizenship to different categories of people in the United States.

'I was born in Alabama' said Seiffert, who is pastor of the San Felipe de Jesus Catholic church in Brownsville, 'and I've seen this kind of discrimination before; I've seen government officials trying to deny rights to people by not recognizing them as citizens, only here in Texas it's not African Americans, but Latinos.'

Seiffert became aware of the passport denial issue in his church. 'After a couple of the members of my congregation came to me concerned and even crying because they were denied passports and would no longer be able to see their families in Mexico, I decided to ask the congregation if there were others facing similar situations,' Seiffert said. 'And 60 people came up and said they had the same passport problem.'

He called what happened to members of his congregation affected by the passports situation “disgraceful.” Behind the tears, he said are, 'Many members of our congregation (who) won't be able to do what they've done for decades: cross the border to see their families; many won't be able to sustain themselves by doing business as they've always done in Mexico,' he said. 'There's no hospital around here and when you drive many miles to get healthcare, it's very expensive. So people will also be denied basic healthcare because they will no longer be able to go just across the border to get cheap medicine or see a doctor in Matamorros for $15. This is deeply disturbing and it reminds me of Alabama.'

And like in the deep South, the non-citizen profiling in Texas is also inspiring activism among many. 'I grew up studying the history of civil rights, Martin Luther King and how he had to fight his own government,' said Hernandez, ' But I never thought I'd be fighting for my civil rights. Now I understand history in a different way.'

Sent by Howard Shorr




Brown is the New Green: 
George Lopez and the American Dream

A new documentary film by Phillip Rodriguez that examines how media and marketers are shaping America’s perception of Latinos was aired October 6th, hosted by
The Center for Mexican American Studies & MACC 

This fresh, provocative film examines how corporate efforts to profit from the "Latino market" are shaping America's perception of Latinos. The program features the extraordinary insight and observations of Latino icon and advocate George Lopez through rare behind-the-scenes access to the actor/comedian's remarkable life and career.

Numbering 44 million, Latinos are this nation's largest and fastest-growing ethnic group; they are also big business. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, Latino buying power will grow to $1.2 trillion by 2011.

"Impressive numbers notwithstanding, Americans are in a collective state of confusion about Latinos," says Rodriguez.

"This isn't surprising given that the Latino image is stage-managed by marketers and media companies.  Latinos are caught in a netherworld," Rodriguez adds. "Mainstream media have largely ignored them, while Spanish-language networks and Hispanic ad companies have served up an exoticized image that has no basis in contemporary American reality."  

As Bill Cosby did for African Americans decades ago, Lopez normalizes the image of Latinos through entertainment. Lopez, whose eponymous ABC sitcom was the longest-running show with a Latino lead in television history, strives to represent Latinos in a manner true to their realities and aspirations.  

In BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN, viewers see Lopez walk a tightrope between ethnic authenticity and primetime appeal. In his TV sitcom, he plays a guy next door who happens to be Latino. In sold-out theatrical performances, he adopts an edgier, more Chicano-specific persona to send up the idiosyncratic details of Chicano life. In writers' meetings, he delicately maneuvers to maintain a Latino sensibility amidst a staff and industry dominated by non-Latinos. In behind-the-scenes conversations, he speaks candidly of his childhood longing to fit in, as well as the costs and rewards of working within the system.
"I've been in meetings with Warner Bros. when I wasn't particularly happy with what I was hearing.  And the Chicano in me would say 'I'm leaving,'" he recalls. "But when you leave, you're out. So I made myself stay. Probably a lot of people would say that's selling out. But it's not selling out. It's the way the business is set up."

While Lopez advocates Latinos' move into the media mainstream, Hispanic marketers have a different agenda: to present Latinos as a separate America. Whether their target audience is elderly immigrants or predominantly English-speaking youth, these Hispanic marketers are pursuing Latino dollars via the myth of cultural Otherness. BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN reveals clips of their programming -- from "folkloric" commercials to cheesy Latin American soap operas to butt-shakin' bicultural music videos.   

features interviews with a variety of influential Latinos, who weigh in, often with conflicting opinions, on the role of marketing and media in shaping Latino identity. Interviewees include advertising executive Hector Orci, actor Bill Dana ("Jose Jimenez"), author Arlene Davila, media activist Alex Nogales and "George Lopez" producer Bruce Helford (who also produced "Roseanne" and "The Drew Carey Show").    

The film also features conversations with members of the much-coveted Latino youth market, whose tastes and interests are far more eclectic than one might think.

Phillip Rodriguez's documentaries include Los Angeles Now (2004), Mixed Feelings: San Diego/Tijuana (2002), Manuel Ocampo: God Is My Copilot (1999) and Pancho Villa & Other Stories (1998). A Senior Fellow at Institute of Justice and Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communications, he recently received the first annual United States Artist's Broad Fellow Award.   

Underwriters: Latino Public Broadcasting, USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism, Public Television Viewers, PBS and Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The University of Texas at Austin
West Mall Building 5.102
1 University Station F9200
Austin, TX 78712

(512) 471-4557   (512) 471-9639 Fax








Guide for New U.S. Immigrants Comes in 13 Languages
Government offers many resources to help new legal immigrants assimilate

By Louise Fenner, Staff Writer, 27 May 2008


Ana Henriquez Diaz of the Dominican Republic 
is hugged by Florida Governor Charlie Crist after becoming a U.S. citizen. 
(© AP Images)

Editor, as an aside: Out of 80,000 refugees, Latin America and the Caribbean is only allocated 4,500. I wonder why the numbers are so small to our next door neighbor?  Whereas 57,000 slots are identified for Asian countries and 12,000 for African.  
The 80,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States in 2009 are in the same proportions as this year. 
OC Register, Oct 1, 2008
37,000   Near East and South Asia
19,000   East Asia
12,000   Africa
  4,500   Latin America and the Caribbean
  2,500   Europe and Central Asia
  5,000   Allocated as the need arises

“This is a very welcoming book,” says Nathaniel Stiefel, a spokesman at the USCIS Office of Citizenship.  “It provides all sorts of general settlement information, and I think it does a good job of explaining American civic values.”

The guide, which was introduced in 2005 and recently updated, also comes in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese, Stiefel told

“There are a lot of people who try to take advantage of immigrants, and what we want to do is get accurate materials into the hands of those who need them,” he added.

The United States receives 1 million legal permanent residents a year, Stiefel said, and roughly 750,000 people are naturalized as citizens each year. 

The 114-page guide explains the rights and responsibilities of legal permanent residents -- “green card” holders -- and provides practical information about life in the United States.  It introduces immigrants to the U.S. system of government and gives tips on such things as how to obtain a Social Security number or safe driving practices.

“In some countries a stop sign is more of a suggestion,” Stiefel said.  “But here, if you see a stop sign, you stop. And why is that? It’s because we’re a country based on the rule of law.”

Before arriving in the United States, all successful immigrant visa recipients receive a brochure from the State Department in their native languages telling them how to obtain the new immigrants’ guide.  The 13 language versions can be printed or downloaded from the USCIS Web site, and free printed copies in English, Spanish or Chinese are available to new permanent residents who call the USCIS Forms Line.

Printed guides in other languages are available from many libraries, community groups and educators who serve specific immigrant populations.  In December 2007 in New York, USCIS introduced Arabic and Urdu printed versions of the guide, in partnership with several Islamic community organizations. In November 2007, it rolled out the Polish printed edition in Chicago.

The guide is available in many languages because “many immigrants don’t speak English when they come here, but you have to engage them in some way,” Stiefel said.  “This book encourages them to go to adult education classes and look at opportunities to learn English.”

“One thing I think people take for granted in this country is that they think immigrants just assimilate,” Stiefel added. “There are now 8 million eligible for citizenship that have not applied.  A lot of those folks probably haven’t applied because they don’t speak English very well. That’s usually the stumbling block.”

Starting in September, USCIS and the Department of Education will offer a free Web-based, English-language learning program, Stiefel said. USCIS will provide a link to the program on, its special Web site for new immigrants launched in mid-2007. (See “New U.S. Web Site Helps Legal Immigrants Assimilate.”)   

Also on the Web site is the new citizenship test -- both questions and answers -- that will be introduced this October.  (See “Revised U.S. Naturalization Test To Focus on Civic Values, History.”)

The Office of Citizenship has many other tools to help immigrants successfully integrate into American life.  One of the newest is a 10-minute digital video disc, A Promise of Freedom: An Introduction to U.S. History and Civics for Immigrants, which was produced in partnership with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.  Currently in English, it soon will have Spanish-language captions, said Stiefel.  There is also a 10-minute flash presentation on compact disc outlining the eligibility requirements and steps for becoming a citizen.

Alfonso Aguilar, chief of the Office of Citizenship, “takes these around to citizenship classes,” Stiefel said.  “Last week, we were in Arkansas and we taught a class of 40 students, primarily Spanish speakers. We talked about the rule of law, inalienable rights, separation of powers.  It’s fascinating that a lot of times it takes immigration to get us to talk about these things.”

The DVD and CD are part of the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit that USCIS distributes to libraries, churches, community groups and adult education classes.  “If they have a program for immigrants -- English-language classes, citizenship classes -- we are making this available for free,” Stiefel said.

The most popular item in the toolkit is a set of flash cards with questions and answers about the American government for people studying for the citizenship test, he said.  The kit also contains the Citizen’s Almanac, a collection of fundamental documents of American democracy.  (See “Citizen’s Almanac Introduces New Americans to Nation’s Symbols.”)

Stiefel said that in 2006, President Bush created the Task Force on New Americans to coordinate government efforts to help immigrants learn English and integrate into American civic culture. This fall, the task force will issue recommendations on strengthening these efforts.

“Bush is really the first president to talk about assimilation since Woodrow Wilson,” Stiefel said.

The task force is headed by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS’ parent agency. “We’ve met with businesses, libraries, foundations,” said Stiefel. “A movement like this is going to have to be a wholesale effort. It’s going to have to include all sectors of society.”

All language versions of Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants are available on the USCIS Web page Resources for New Immigrants. Also available on the USCIS Web site is information on the U.S. naturalization test.

Also see Diversity` and the eJournal Immigrants Joining the Mainstream.
Sent by Rafael Ojeda 


Pew Report: Latino Settlement in the New Century
Available on the Center's website,

Hispanics Account for Half of U.S. Population Growth Since 2000, New Report Finds 
WASHINGTON - Hispanics accounted for just over half of the overall population growth in the United States since 2000 - a significant new demographic milestone for the nation's largest minority group, a new Pew Hispanic Center report released today finds.

The report, "Latino Settlement in the New Century," includes a series of web-based interactive maps that illustrate the size and spread of Hispanic population growth since 1980, including easy access to detailed state and county-level data. It also presents a list of the counties with the largest Hispanic populations, as well as a list of those counties with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations.

In the 1990s the Hispanic population also expanded rapidly, but its growth accounted for less than 40% of the nation's total population increase in that decade. From 2000 to 2007, Latinos accounted for 50.5% of the total U.S. population growth, even though, as of mid-2007, they made up just 15.1% of the total population. 

In another change from the 1990s, Latino population growth in this new century has been more a product of the natural increase (births minus deaths) of the existing population than it has been of new international migration, according to Pew Hispanic Center analysis. 

The dispersion of Latinos in the current decade has tilted more to counties in the West and the Northeast than it had in the 1990s. Despite the new tilt, however, the South still accounted for a greater share of overall Latino population growth than any other region did from 2000 to 2007. 

Much of the Latino population growth in this decade has taken place in small and mid-sized cities and in suburbs - many of which had relatively few Latino residents until the past decade or two. A handful of big cities have also played a sizable role in Latino population growth in this decade. For example, the Latino population grew by more than 400,000 from 2000 to 2007 in just three counties: Los Angeles, Maricopa (Phoenix) and Harris (Houston). But because these counties already had a large base of Hispanic residents at the start of the decade, the growth of their Latino population since then has been less dramatic in percentage terms.
Mary Seaborn

or Paul Fucito 

Sent by Bill Carmena

Mexican workers in US during WWII can get back pay


By SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press Writer

Ramon Ibarra remembers his backbreaking days repairing railroads in the Southwest, a contract job for which he left Mexico in 1942 as part of a guest worker program. More than 60 years later, he's looking forward to the rest of his paycheck.

Now 86, Ibarra was one of the hundreds of thousands of Mexican laborers, or braceros, who helped the U.S. meet its labor demands during World War II. A judge recently decided they can now apply for money that was withheld from their paychecks in the 1940s and sent to the Mexican government as an incentive for them to return home.

Many of them never saw the money again.

Ibarra, of Chicago, and others like him are entitled to approximately $3,500 each after the preliminary approval of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit settlement in San Francisco last week.

The terms of the settlement, which does not admit fault, call for the Mexican government to pay braceros or their descendants a total of about $14.5 million. In addition, U.S. lawyers will receive about $2.8 million.

But the total payout could change if more braceros step forward before the Dec. 23 deadline to file a claim. The deal is subject to final approval in February.

Chicago attorney Matthew Piers filed the lawsuit against the Mexican government and three Mexican banks seeking class-action status on behalf of several former braceros, mostly in California, who claim they were unfairly denied wages between 1942 and 1946.

"These are the founding fathers of the Mexican community in the U.S. They were treated abysmally," Piers said Wednesday. "We are very hopeful that finally the braceros are going to get their compensation in the United States."

Starting next week, former workers based in the U.S., or a surviving family member, can file a claim at the Mexican Embassy in Washington or Mexican consulate offices. Former laborers must present original paperwork and identification to be eligible. They also must be living in the U.S., but they do not have to be citizens.

Messages left Wednesday seeking comment from defense attorneys and the Mexican Embassy were not returned.

An estimated 2.5 million braceros worked in the U.S. between 1942 and 1964, largely in agriculture. The first group of workers had about 10 percent of their paychecks withheld and sent to the Mexican government.

It is unknown how many former braceros will step forward to apply for the lost money, Piers said. Potentially thousands are still alive, he said.

Locating them might be difficult, a challenge addressed in the terms of the settlement.

Advocacy and marketing groups in Illinois, Texas and California have reached out to communities with Spanish-language ads, a toll-free hot line and a Web site. The U.S. Hispanic Consumer Market, along with other Latino community groups, is focusing on the Chicago area, Houston, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

"There are thousands of stories like this," Piers said.

In 2005, the Mexican congress approved a $26.5 million fund to finally pay the braceros their money. But the government required braceros or the families of deceased workers to file their claims at offices in Mexican state capitals or Mexico City.

Many of the braceros who have been living in the United States for decades took buses to Mexico to make their claims, but thousands were unable to make the trip. Even those living in remote regions in Mexico have struggled to claim their payments.

Applications for the U.S. settlement will go into the claims process immediately, essentially making the same program approved in Mexico in 2005 more user-friendly for braceros living in the U.S., Piers said.

Ibarra, originally from the northern state of Tamaulipas, read about the settlement in a Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago. He recalled his experiences in 1940s as physically difficult, but says, "I was young."

He was recruited in his hometown of Madero to work in Arizona for several months on the rails. He lifted rails and girders during the day and slept in woolen tents at night for almost a year. Eventually, he went to Chicago and worked for Illinois Central Railroad.

The retired widower, who is a U.S. citizen, believes the settlement money is crucial. He lives off a $1,400 monthly pension. "It's very important," he said. "I can buy a lot of medicines that I need."

Associated Press writers Julie Watson in Mexico City and Paul Elias in San Francisco contributed to report. On Web: Braceros Lawsuit Settlement:

Sent by Ann Minter
and Juan Marinez



Sample letter in support of the National Museum of the American Latino
GI Forum Takes A
ction Against Media Treatment of Hispanics
Action Alert! The Truth About AB 540
By Any Means Necessary
Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship in Contemporary Plural Societies
Current stats on immigrants in our Military Armed Forces for your review
Alien Case Files May Be Moved from the National Archives at San Bruno


National Museum of the American Latino
Letter and information prepared by Mercy Bautista Olvera





                                                            [Zip Code]


Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, D, C 20515

Honorable Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi,  

I am happy to hear of the final passage of the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the American Latino. The museum should reflect Latino history, art, culture and achievements. American Latinos have contributed span all the way from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean, War , Vietnam War, Gulf War, and now the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . It is also an opportunity to have various historic sites around the country to honor Civil Rights leader Cesar Estrada Chavez.  

The Commission that will study the impact and the cost of the construction and maintenance, develop a plan were Commission members, selected by the President and Congress will be given to leaders who would be committed to the American Latino Community to create the museum where Latino’s history will be display.  

We are looking forward to have a National Museum of the American Latino in United States . Children from our schools visit museums from Washington D.C. , sadly to say nothing reflects on Latino ancestry, not a single museum, monument or collection that educates them about United States largest minority. Children in general from all backgrounds would benefit from learning other culture’s history. Many people are unaware of the role Americans of Latino descent played and continues to play in contributing to our country.      

Creating a National Museum of the American Latinos in United States , people can learn the culture and heritage. With great pride and enthusiasm, we are looking forward for new horizons, experience a new world, and a complete history of our great nation. All people in general would benefit from it, and get to know Latino’s history thru visiting a National Museum of the American Latino and historic sites to honor Cesar Estrada Chavez.   


[Name and Signature]


Please send letters to:  

The Honorable Norman Dicks, Chair
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations
B-308 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, D. C. 20515

Dianne Feinstein, Chair
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, Related Agencies
Committee on appropriations
131 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510  

The Honorable Todd Tiahrt
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies
House committee on Appropriations
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510  

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington , D.C. 20515  

Honorable John Boehner, House Minority Leader
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington , D.C. 20510 

Honorable David Obey, House Appropriations Chairman
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington , D.C. 20515 

Honorable Jerry Lewis, House Appropriations Ranking Member
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington , D.C. 20515 

Honorable Robert Byrd, Senate Appropriations Chairman
SH-311, United States Senate
Washington , D.C. 20510

Honorable Thad Cochran, Senate Appropriations Ranking Member
United States Senate Office Building
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington , D.C. 20510-2402

Honorable Senator Ken Salazar  
702 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510

Honorable Representative Xavier Becerra
1119 Longworth House Office Building
Washington , D.C. 20515  


GI Forum Takes Action Against Media Treatment of Hispanics

Hola Mimi.  Congratulations on the latest edition of Somos Primos - it is great.
In addition to being the Chapter Commander of the American GI Forum (Kansas City, Kansas) 
I produce a weekly column for the Kansas City Kansan newspaper called "Caminos." 
I recently had a intense meeting with the local public tv station KCPT.  I am attaching the letter I mailed to the Jimmy Kimmel Show at ABC and my letter to KCPT TV here.  Feel free to use. Be back with an article.
Rudy Padilla (913) 381-2272.


September 9, 2008

Jimmy Kimmel Show
C/O ABC, Inc.|
500 S. Buena Vista St .
Burbank   CA   91521-4551  

Mr. Kimmel:  

This letter is in reference to your show of satire on the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima at the end of World War II.  Your sad take on comedy last year commented that the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima would have been different if Mexican Americans had been part of the photo on Mount Suribachi .  

You only have to read the book “Among the Valiant” written by Raul Morin several years ago to know that the Mexican American was very prominently a part of the war started by the homeland of your grandparents, Germany and Italy .  

Alexander Peña, a Mexican American from Kansas City , Kansas died as a U.S. Marine during the battle for Guadalcanal during WWII.  There were many Mexican American Marines in the Marine 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions who fought in the Pacific during World War II and also in Europe .  I can assure you that they went in wearing full battle gear and that they did not die wearing sombreros.  

After World War II, General Douglas McArthur commented that a group of Mexican Americans and Native Americans from Arizona as the “greatest combat team ever deployed for battle.”  

I am demanding that you apologize for your unfunny and uninformed comments.  If you wish to meet me in person, I am always available. I can be contacted at the below numbers.

Sincerely, Rudy Padilla, 
Chapter Commander
8531 Lamar Ave.
Overland Park KS 66207         
Tele. (913) 381-2272    

Copy:  ABC Entertainment, Inc.


October 1, 2008

Mr. Jay Meschke, Chair, Board of Directors
KCPT Public Television
125 E. 31st Street
Kansas City MO 64108

Greetings Mr. Meschke:  

I appreciated your offer to work with our organization to improve the Hispanic American programming at KCPT Television.  

At some point I would like to meet with you again to discuss the contributions of the Hispanic American which would help to educate the public at large.  Our Hispanic youth should not have to defend themselves against future unwarranted attacks and insults by the entertainment media.  

At the Board meeting on September 24th I left some material written by Mr. Richard G. Santos.  I have not met Mr. Santos personally, but I am interested in his passion about the Hispanic American.  I did contact Mr. Santos by email recently and I believe that the future KCPT Station Manager would benefit immensely by contacting Mr. Santos.  

Hopefully in the future a fund for Hispanic programming could be arranged with the Endowment of the Arts, federal funds or private foundations.  I would hope we could explore the possibility of a coalition of the Region VII states of Kansas , Missouri , Iowa and Nebraska to increase the amount of Hispanic programming throughout these states.

I request that KCPT contact Mr. Richard G. Santos, P.O. Box 892 , Pearsall TX   78061 He has produced programs, columns and various projects for the History Channel and his own company. His email address is

Sincerely, Rudy Padilla
Chapter Commander (913) 381-2272

Enclosure: Marcos De Leon article




Action Alert! The Truth About AB 540:
Still Providing Educational Opportunities for All Californians


On September 15, 2008, a California appellate court in Martinez v. U.C. Regents issued a decision in response to a legal challenge to AB 540, the California law that allows undocumented students who have graduated from a California high school and met other requirements, to pay in-state tuition at California colleges and universities. AB 540 remains in full force and effect while the case works its way through the legal process. It is still the law and provides an opportunity for undocumented immigrant students to achieve a higher education. Undocumented immigrant students should not be discouraged and should continue to pursue their educational goals. It is more important than ever that undocumented immigrant students take advantage of this educational opportunity.

This communication is meant to clarify the recent court decision and encourage you to share this information throughout your community. Here's what you can do to help:

Many students, counselors and parents are not aware of AB 540. You can educate them about the benefits and eligibility requirements of AB 540 so that they can take advantage of this educational opportunity. 

You can inform students, parents and counselors that AB 540 remains in effect while the lawsuit takes its course through the legal system. You can encourage the California community college system, Cal State system and University of California to step forward in defense of AB 540. You can collaborate with the leadership at these institutions to develop strategies to educate the community on the benefits of AB 540. These strategies can include media outreach, public education and campus organizing efforts. 

We have provided flyers of frequently asked questions about the legal challenge to AB 540 in English and Spanish. Please distribute them to your networks. 

MALDEF will continue to vigorously defend AB 540 and will communicate any updates on the legal challenge to you using this listserv. If you would like to be added to the listserv, please contact Anna Godinez at 213-629-2512 or by email at Thank you for your support of AB 540 and your commitment to increasing educational opportunities for all Californians. 

Sent by Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr. 
Source: MALDEF
634 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 629-2512


By Any Means Necessary


On September 26, the  Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration,
and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) mobilized 2,000 students of all races in a spirited and determined march and rally at the State Capitol. 

California mayors, Chambers of Commerce, and every major educational institution support the California Dream Act (right of undocumented immigrant students to receive campus-based financial aid for college.) We will fight for our rights and for the economic
and social future of California," said Yvette Felarca, Northern California Coordinator of  (BAMN).  "The new, youth-led mass civil rights movement will not stop fighting until separate and unequal treatment of undocumented immigrant students ends and full freedom and equality are ours."

"The families of undocumented students pay taxes and make an enormous contribution to California economy and prosperity, yet their sons and daughters face the same kind of discrimination that young black students experienced in the old Jim Crow south," said Ronald Cruz, a UC-Berkeley student and BAMN organizer. "It is unfair and unjust to ask undocumented students to accept a situation in which their dreams are deferred because
of something they could not control and cannot change. Our large and determined march last Friday made clear that the New Jim Crow, like the old Jim Crow, must fall."

Ronald Cruz, BAMN UC-Berkeley Organizer (510) 502-9072
Maricruz Lopez (para Espanol) (313) 675-5915

Sent by Dr. Armando Ayala


Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship in Contemporary Plural Societies

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Call for Papers


  What is the relationship between racism, immigration and the privilege and practice of citizenship? How might our understanding of the interactions between these independent yet overlapping processes enable scholars and governments to better comprehend political and cultural pluralism in
contemporary societies?  These are the motivating questions under girding the first international conference of the project on Racism, Immigration and Citizenship (RIC). RIC is a cross-regional, comparative research effort that seeks to identify both general and anomalous forms of interaction between immigration and racism, and their combined effect upon how groups and states shape citizenship laws and practices.
  Some of the common questions we seek to address across cases are:
            1) How salient are somatic differences within racial classification and
  codification across societies?
            2) What is the role of citizenship criteria and privilege in
  perpetuating or eliminating racial hierarchy?
            3) Do societies with jus soli citizenship policies exhibit fewer
  indicators of racial inequality than those with jus sanguinis policies?

            We seek paper proposals from scholars interested in these and other related questions. Proposals should include the paper title, the author's contact information, and an abstract of no more than 300 words.  The deadline for proposal submission is December 15, 2008.  Send proposals to:

Alexandro José Gradilla, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
California State University, Fullerton
Chicana and Chicano Studies Department
800 N. State College Blvd., H314
Fullerton, CA 92831
714-626-8168 (fax) (for CSUF students only)

Sent by Roberto Calderon



Alien Case Files May Be Moved from the National Archives at San Bruno 
Researchers and History Organizations are Concerned
By Leonard D. Chan & Edited by J.Lew

Once again, Save Our National Archives is asking your aid to write letters to USCIS and NARA and contact your state legislators about the state of the Alien Case Files at San Bruno, CA. Please send a copy of your letter to me via email or Sona c/o JWC Low P.O. Box 472012 San Francisco, Ca 94147. Jeanie Low


Recent correspondences between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and a group called Save Our National Archives (SONA) has indicated that if funding cannot be found, valuable historical materials may soon be removed from the NARA facility at San Bruno, California. The fate of these primary source materials are uncertain. SONA is concerned that access to these items may become much more difficult or even impossible if the articles are damaged, destroyed, lost, or never returned during their removal and processing at another facility.

The items in question are called the Alien Registration Files (A-files). Under the Alien Registration Act of 1940, all aliens in the United States were required to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now know as the USCIS). The A-files are the detailed evidentiary records collected for each of these registered individuals. The contents within these files may include photographs, birth and marriage certificates, visas, employment records, transcripts of testimony, personal artifacts, and other important biographical and historical information.

Although the A-files were first started in the 1940s, some of the A-files contain much older information that was collected and consolidated from earlier entries back and forth through ports of entry into America. Immigration records that are currently available for public research and viewing at NARA, San Bruno (known as Record Group 85 case files) go as far back as the late 1800s. Since A-files are still under the authority of USCIS, they are not viewable without submission of a formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. As a result, many files (e.g. like those from the Chinese Exclusion Act era) that were originally part of R.G. 85 but have since been consolidated into the A-Files are inaccessible without a FOIA and are subject to possible censure to protect the privacy and/or government sensitivities as determined by USCIS officials.

In 1998, USCIS began consolidating all of its A-files at a non-research NARA facility in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. At that time a group of educational institutions, researchers, history and genealogical organizations, non-profit organizations, and individuals got together to form SONA. Their goal has been to make sure that the non-current A-files are transferred from the authority of USCIS to NARA so that they can be permanently preserved and made accessible to the public by database. For the past 10 years SONA, under the leadership of Congressman Tom Lantos (previously representing San Mateo) and others, were able to demand the A-files be stored at San Bruno and never move to Lee’s Summit. Indeed, USCIS has admitted the Pacific Region A-Files are the “lone exception” being the only A-Files that have not been moved to Missouri.

The A-files stored at San Bruno are a valuable collection of historic immigration records from the Port of San Francisco, Honolulu and Northwest. These A-files not only include records of Chinese immigrants during the Chinese Exclusion period, but also records of such people as German, Italian, and Japanese WW II alien internees; Holocaust survivors; Filipino Freedom Fighters; WWII “war brides”; immigrants from many different regions of Eastern Europe and the Pacific Islands.

A further note – government documents are not automatically preserved. When a government agency such as USCIS retires its older documents, NARA must evaluate these records for their historical value before they can be considered for inclusion in NARA’s permanent collection. Approximately 98% of all the records produce by our national government are not preserved by NARA and the A-files were among those originally designated for destruction.

NARA and USCIS are now in agreement with SONA that the A-files should be preserved. However, the plans on how and where they are to be stored remains un-resolved after years of indecision and lack of commitment. Almost a decade of negotiations and organizing, and a meeting with the USCIS director culminated in a detailed letter of SONA demands a June 2007 USCIS reply letter to SONA stated –

“USCIS continues to work closely with NARA to develop a comprehensive plan to address the accountability and accessioning of the historically important files located at the San Bruno facility...

USCIS agrees that no files will be removed from the facility in order to be inventoried and that these files will be handled in a manner that will not compromise their historical value (underlined added). NARA and USCIS are committed to the A-File inventory. We will continue to collaborate with the user community on the progress of these efforts and look forward to working with you and other interested parties.”

However, in an August 2008 email to SONA from Tom Mills of NARA, Mills states that -
“USCIS has halted plans for the joint A-files processing project at the San Bruno FRC (Federal Records Center), and NARA does not yet know how and when USCIS plans to process the records to prepare them for accessioning.”

Jeanie Low, the Communications Co-Chair of SONA, states that shortly after the email from Tom Mills was received, she had a phone conversation with USCIS’ records manager Dominick Gentile. In their conversation Gentile said that USCIS has no funding to process the A-Files at San Bruno and that even with funding it would take 10 years and approximately $5 million for six trained staffers to process the files at San Bruno. He further stated that the facility at Lee's Summit had the funding and staff to process the files in less than two years and implied that USCIS Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen preferred the processing of the files at Lee’s Summit, contrary to USCIS June 2007 letter (signed by Mr. Scharfen). In this conversation, no promises were made to have the files returned to San Bruno after they were processed at Lee’s Summit.

After further communications with Gentile, he stated in his latest email that “… we are still looking at doing the files in San Bruno. We are waiting for cost estimates from NARA based on new requirements from us.”

Jennie Lew, SONA’s other Communication Co-Chair, states that “Regardless of the mixed messages we are getting from agency folk, we can no longer rely on occasional phone and email messages that seem contradictory. It's been over a year and a half, and nothing has been agreed upon much less acted on...

Their credibility with our community is now non-existent. Imagine how our community feels to first be victimized by immigration policy and now have our immigration history so disrespectfully compromised because the government can't find $5 million … to database and consolidate the files. Are our contributions to this country and our devotion to our genealogical history worth so little to be treated this way?”

SONA is organizing a writing campaign to USCIS and NARA heads, and congressional representatives to seek an immediate halt to any movement of the A-files from San Bruno until the next administration in 2009 can take further, more agreeable action.

If you would like to add your support to the community’s request to immediately negotiate an agreement to consolidate and process the A-Files at NARA, San Bruno ON-SITE, write to:

Jonathan Scharfen, Acting Director
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
20 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20529

Allen Weinstein, U.S. Archivist
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20408


Silvia Ichar: California Business Woman of the Year
Whole Foods and CIW Reach Agreement!!
Quinoa: A Sacred, Super Crop


Orange County, California
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Special Announcement
September 2008

Congratulations Silvia Ichar!
   Hispanic Businesswoman of the Year

Please join us in congratulating Silvia Ichar recipient of the Hispanic Businesswoman` of the Year award presented to her by the
California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at their 29th Annual State Convention
Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board member, Silvia Ichar (Para Todos magazine), named California Hispanic 
Chamber of Commerce 'Hispanic Business Woman of the Year'
The California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CHCC) hosted its 29th Annual State Convention, August 13 - 16, 2008.  The convention took place at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco, CA.

"Every year we work to create avenues for Hispanic business owners and Chambers to grow their business and expand their reach in the marketplace," said Joel Ayala, President & CEO of the CHCC.  "As Hispanic business ownership continues to rise, it is important that we work together to have our voice heard from the boardrooms of corporate America to the halls of government. This convention serves a valuable role in making that happen."

Editor:  When I sent congratulations to Silvia, she responded. . ..  Thank you Mimi! I was just admiring the amount of information you give to us every time you send us Somos Primos.  Thank you for enriching our lives with so much knowledge and fine work of yours! 

"We are so proud that one of our very own board members/small business owners and community leaders, Silvia Ichar was awarded the "Hispanic Business Woman of the Year" award.  Silvia is an outstanding and very empowering Latina that has successfully grown her business for over a decade, congratulations Silvia!", said Priscilla Lopez, OC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO.  Para Todos magazine is an integral part of the Hispanic community in Orange County with a circulation of over 50,000.





Cordially, Silvia Ichar 

Publisher, PARA TODOS magazine



Photo by Scott Robertson
Whole Foods and CIW Reach Agreement!!  
Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida

September 9, 2008 – Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Florida-based farm worker organization spearheading the growing Campaign for Fair Food, announced today that the two will work in partnership to help improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers.

According to an agreement signed this week, Whole Foods Market will support the CIW’s “penny-per-pound” approach for tomatoes purchased from Florida, with the goal of passing these additional funds on to the harvesters.

“With this agreement, the Campaign for Fair Food has again broken new ground,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “This is not only our first agreement in the supermarket industry but, in working with Whole Foods Market, we have the opportunity to really raise the bar to establish and ensure modern day labor standards and conditions in Florida.”

“We commend the CIW for their advocacy on behalf of these workers,” said Karen Christensen, Global Produce Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “After carefully evaluating the situation in Florida, we felt that an agreement of this nature was in line with our core values and was in the best interest of the workers.”

Additionally, Whole Foods Market is exploring the creation of a domestic purchasing program to help guarantee transparent, ethical and responsible sourcing and production, using the company’s existing Whole Trade Guarantee program as a model. Whole Trade Guarantee, a third-party verified program, ensures that producers and laborers in developing countries get an equitable price for their goods in a safe and healthy working environment. The goal is to purchase Florida tomatoes from growers that will implement a similar program. “We are especially excited about working with the CIW to develop this domestic ‘Whole Trade-type’ program,” said Christensen.

About the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
The CIW ( is a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, Florida, with over 4,000 members. The CIW seeks modern working conditions for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international labor standards. Among its accomplishments, the CIW has aided in the prosecution by the Department of Justice of six slavery operations and the liberation of well over 1,000 workers. The CIW uses creative methods to educate consumers about human rights abuses in the U.S. agriculture industry, the need for corporate social responsibility, and how consumers can help workers realize their social change goals. The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food has won unprecedented support for fundamental farm labor reforms from retail food industry leaders, with the goal of enlisting the market power of those companies to demand more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers.

About Whole Foods Market®
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market ( is the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer. In fiscal year 2007, the company had sales of $6.6 billion and currently has more than 270 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The Whole Foods Market motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures the company’s mission to find success in customer satisfaction and wellness, employee excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Whole Foods Market, Fresh & WildTM, and Harry’s Farmers Market® are trademarks owned by Whole Foods Market IP, LP. Wild Oats® and Capers Community MarketTM are trademarks owned by Wild Marks, Inc. Whole Foods Market employs more than 53,000 Team Members and has been ranked for 11 consecutive years as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine.   239.986.0688
Sent by Juan Marinez  




Quinoa: A Sacred, Super Crop
Excerpt of article by Nicole Spiridakis

What was a sacred crop to the Incas has been classified as a "super crop" by the United Nations because of its high protein content. It is a complete protein, which means it has all nine essential amino acids. It also contains the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous.

While many think of quinoa as a grain, the yellowish pods are actually the seed of a plant called chenopodium quinoa, native to Peru and related to beets, chard and spinach. The plant resembles spinach, but with 3- to 9-foot stalks that take on a magenta hue. The large seed heads make up nearly half the plant and vary in color: red, purple, pink and yellow.

In the Andes Mountains, where they have been growing for more than 5,000 years, quinoa plants have overcome the challenges of high altitude, intense heat, freezing temperatures and little annual rainfall. Peru and Bolivia maintain seed banks with 1,800 types of quinoa. It has been grown in the U.S. since the 1980s, when two farmers began cultivating it in Colorado.

Quinoa plants grow at high altitudes and produce round, highly nutritious kernels that can be boiled into pilafs, turned into soups, stirred into breakfast porridge or ground into flour.

For more, please go to:
Source: National Public Radio
Sent by Rafael Ojeda 


Languages fill the melting pot
Hispanics are one-five of all Public School Students Nationwide
Expert touches on education for Latinos
Status & Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008
Brownsville, Texas Schools Win Prestigious Award


Languages fill the melting pot
Census data show big jump in Spanish - and many other foreign - speakers

By Leslie Berestein, Union-Tribune Staff Writer 
and Danielle Cervantes, Staff Data Specialist, September 24, 2008

Photo: Nelvin C. Cepeda/ Union-Tribune

At the San Diego Farmers Market, a sprawling complex of small businesses in Logan Heights catering mostly to Latinos, it's uncommon for customers to hear "May I help you?"

Francisco Lopez worked on pants yesterday at the Jedgga's Bridal and Alteration Center in the San Diego Farmers Market on Imperial Avenue in Logan Heights.

"We'll usually say, 'Te ayudo?' or 'Te puedo ayudar?' " said Janeth Herrera, co-owner of Red Hot Fashion Shoes, located in one of the stalls.

An analysis of U.S. census data shows that the number of foreign-language speakers, particularly Spanish speakers, has grown dramatically in San Diego County since 1990 in relation to the county's population growth.

While the number of county residents 5 and older has increased 19 percent since then, the census data released this week show a 78 percent increase in residents who say they speak Spanish at home. 

The number of self-identified Spanish speakers has risen to more than 661,000 last year from 370,000 in 1990.  

The 2007 American Community Survey sampled 3 million randomly selected U.S. households throughout 2007.  

Though their numbers are far smaller and have fluctuated in recent years, there also have been significant increases since 1990 in Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean speakers in the county. For example, there are more than three times as many Korean speakers today as there were then.

Overall, at least one in three county residents speaks a language other than English at home; since 1990, the total number of county residents who speak a language other than English has gone up 66 percent.  

All of this is evidence of the county's growing polyglot identity over two decades, said Ana Celia Zentella, a professor emeritus of ethnic studies at University of California of San Diego.

"There is this misperception that San Diego is merely bilingual, that is, Spanish and English, when in fact it is very multilingual," Zentella said. 

Of course, Spanish speakers dominate the region's multilingual landscape, making up 69 percent of the county's other-than-English speakers, and their influence is felt everywhere, from health care to schools to local radio.

Spanish-language billboards line Imperial Avenue outside the San Diego Farmers Market. One day last week, a Radio La Nueva 106.5 van was parked across the street, emblazoned with an ad for the morning show starring Eduardo "Piolin" Sotelo, a popular Los Angeles-based host whose show was recently rated the most listened to in San Diego County.

While Tagalog-speaking health care workers are plentiful in the county thanks to English-language nursing programs in the Philippines, where programs are structured around placing graduates in U.S. jobs, the situation is different for Spanish speakers, said John Cihomsky, a spokesman for Sharp HealthCare.

"There is a real need in the community for more Spanish-language physicians and nurses," said Cihomsky, who said there have been efforts to recruit Spanish-speaking staff, including nurses in Tijuana as part of a pilot program for Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where as many as 40 percent of patients are Spanish-speaking.

About 50 percent of the students in the San Diego Unified School District speak a language other than English at home, and nearly 80 percent of those are Spanish speakers, said Teresa Walter, director of the Office of Language Acquisition for the district.

About 30 percent of the district's students are considered English learners, and the percentage has remained relatively fixed for five to eight years, Walter said.

This is consistent with census data that indicate greater English fluency among school-age children: Between 2000 and 2007, the percentage of children ages 5-17 from Spanish-speaking households in San Diego County who speak English "very well" has jumped to 70 percent from 60 percent.  

During this time, older Spanish speakers reported declining English fluency.

Zentella, who has studied bilingualism in local high schools, said that although Spanish continues to be spoken in the county by new immigrants, older generations and border residents with ties to San Diego and Tijuana, Spanish fluency is being lost at a high rate by young people.

With few bilingual programs still running in local public schools, the rate at which young Latinos continue to speak Spanish depends on how long their parents have been in the United States, how often they return to their native country and their social networks, Zentella said.

Sent by Alberto Ochoa



WASHINGTON - The number of Hispanic students in the nation's public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. Presently, 10 million Hispanic students attend the nation's public schools, 20% of all public school students.

In 2006 Hispanics were about half of all public school students in California, up from 36% in 1990. They were more than 40% of enrollments in three additional states (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and between 20% and 40% of all public school students in five states (Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Florida and New York). Overall, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the public schools in 22 states.  

Strong growth in Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue for decades, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau population projection. In 2050, there will be more school-age Hispanic children than school-age non-Hispanic white children.

In order to illuminate this growing group of public school students, the Pew Hispanic Center today releases "One-in-Five and Growing Fast:  A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students," a statistical portrait of the demographic, language, and family background characteristics of the nation's 10 million Hispanic public school students.  

Key findings from the report:  

  • The vast majority of Hispanic public school students (84%) were born in the United States.
  • Seven-in-ten (70%) Hispanic students speak a language other than English at home.
  • Nearly one-in-five (18%) of all Hispanic students speak English with difficulty.
  • Nearly three-in-five Hispanic students (57%) live in households with both of their parents compared with 69% of non-Hispanic white students and 30% of non-Hispanic black students.
  • More than seven-in-ten U.S. born Hispanic students of immigrant parents (71%) live with both parents.  Smaller shares of foreign-born students (58%) and U.S.-born students of native parentage (48%) reside with both parents.
  • More than a quarter of Hispanic students (28%) live in poverty, compared with 16% of non-Hispanic students. In comparison, more than a third of non-Hispanic black students (35%) reside in poverty and about one-in-ten non-Hispanic white students live in a poor household.
  • Foreign-born Hispanic students (35%) are more likely than their native-born counterparts (27%) to live in poverty.

The report, One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students, is available on the Center's website,  

Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a non-partisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  

Contact: Mary Seaborn  202-419-3606  
or Brandon Maitlen 202-419-4372  



Extract: Expert touches on education for Latinos

By Ginger Livingston, The Daily Reflector, Friday, October 24, 2008

Helping a growing Latino population send its children to college is going to require creative thinking about the nation's universities, an expert in Latino education said during a conference on Latino issues.
Antonio Esquibel, an author, professor emeritus and member of the board of trustees at Metropolitan State College in Denver, was the keynote speaker during a conference on building leadership to help Latinos access education.
More Latino students are graduating from high school, he said. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, an education research and policy organization, released a report earlier this year showing that between the 2004-05 and 2014-15 school years, the graduation rate of N.C. Latinos will grow between 10 percent and 20 percent, Esquibel said.
Esquibel studied the movement of Latino children through the educational system. He found that, of 1,000 elementary age students, 41 percent received some form of preschool education. As those elementary school students moved up the educational ladder, their numbers declined: only 60 percent graduated from high school, with 53 percent of that group going on to college.
Few of those students graduated: only 83 of the original 1,000. Of those who did graduate college, 20 pursued advanced degrees, Esquibel said.
Esquibel's father was a migrant laborer who moved to Detroit during World War II when the United States government invited Mexican workers into the country because of labor shortages. Esquibel holds a doctoral degree.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno



"Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008."
The National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences has released the report:

"Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008."

 This report examines both the educational progress of American Indian/Alaska Native children and adults and challenges in their education. It shows that over time more American Indian/Alaska Native students have gone on to college and that their attainment expectations have increased. Despite these gains, progress has been uneven and differences persist between American Indian/Alaska Native students and students of other racial/ethnic groups on key indicators of educational performance.

To view, download and print the report as a PDF file, please visit:

Sent by Dorinda Moreno





CUNY Signs a Deal to Expand Educational Opportunities for Mexican-Americans
By Karen W. Arenson 
New York Times, Published: September 22, 2005


Arturo Sarukhan, left, Mexico's consul general in New York, discussing education with Ricardo R. Fernandez, president of Lehman College.

"Education is the key to economic, social and political advancement for any immigrant community," Arturo Sarukhan, the consul general, said in an interview. "We're trying to use a wide-barreled shotgun to address a number of issues at the same time."

Photo by Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

Mexicans and Mexican-Americans account for fewer than 2,000 of the 200,000 undergraduates at the City University of New York. But they are one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in New York. Yesterday, CUNY's chancellor signed an agreement with Mexico's consul general in New York to try to expand educational opportunities for this group.

The agreement calls for a scholarship program; radio, television and other advertising; contacts with high schools where large numbers of students of Mexican ancestry are enrolled; a training program for community leaders, run with the American Jewish Committee; and a bilingual Web site put together by the university and the consulate.

Hispanic students nationwide have high dropout rates and low rates of college graduation, and students of Mexican descent have an especially poor track record. In New York, recent immigrants from Mexico over 24 have the highest rate of not completing high school (65 percent) and the lowest rate of college graduation (5 percent), according to a recent report by the population division of the New York City Planning Department.

City University, which has traditionally served as a pathway for immigrants, has tried to reach out to Hispanics in recent years. Hispanic students now make up about 26 percent of the university's undergraduates, including 18,000 of Dominican ancestry and more than 12,000 of Puerto Rican descent.

The group from Mexico is far smaller but growing. "This is an emerging ethnic group that has been totally underserved educationally," CUNY's chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, said yesterday. "To the degree that this university can open its arms and hearts and wisdom to these people, it will give them an opportunity to improve their lives."

To reach more Dominican immigrants this year, the university created a satellite site in Washington Heights, with nondegree programs and credit-bearing college courses. About 650 students are taking college courses there now.

The university also plans to open an admissions and counseling center on West 181st Street. And next month, CUNY-TV will start "Nueva York," a Spanish-language program (with English captions) about the Hispanic communities of New York.

But Jay Hershenson, a university vice chancellor, said that because of the fast growth of the Mexican community and its enormous educational needs, it made sense to single out the group specifically.

Other states, like California and Texas, have much larger Mexican immigrant populations, but until recently, they were a small presence in New York. The City Planning report, "The Newest New Yorkers 2000," said that Mexicans were now the fifth-largest immigrant group in New York, up from 17th in 1990. And their growth is expected to continue.
Some CUNY colleges are also paying more attention to Mexican immigrant issues. Lehman College in the Bronx, where nearly half the students are Hispanic, recently hired an expert in Mexican-American literature, and Ricardo R. Fernandez, Lehman's president, said he hoped to recruit other experts in Mexican-American topics.

Mr. Sarukhan said that access to education was a "huge challenge" for his community and especially for illegal immigrants. He said that primary and secondary education were also crucial, but that with limited resources, it made sense to start with higher education.

The scholarship program, which he said would start next fall, will be financed by the Mexican government, which will create similar programs in other American cities. The details are not yet set. But Mr. Sarukhan said he expected 50 to 80 scholarships, each worth at least $1,000 a year.

He said that he was working with City University because it had demonstrated an understanding of the problems of Mexican students.

"CUNY is the only institution in New York that said, 'We want to do this,' " he said. "The doors have not opened at other education institutions the way they have at CUNY. If they did, that would be stupendous."

Sent by Carlos Munoz, Jr. Ph.D.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brownsville Schools Win Prestigious Award

The Broad Foundation will give the Texas district $1 million in scholarships for graduating seniors

By Eddy Ramírez Posted October 14, 2008

The fifth graders at Morningside Elementary School in Brownsville, Texas, are working through math problems in room 309, when muffled cries momentarily disrupt the class. A boy is telling the teacher, Lourdes Medrano, how his home in Port Arthur was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. "Mom went back to see what she could salvage, but everything got destroyed," he cries. Medrano does her best to console the boy, telling him, "But you know what? Now, you're going to get a prettier house." Despite the boy's troubles, he has thrived in Medrano's class since relocating to Brownsville. Whether they are children chased from their homes by disaster or children of migrant workers from Mexico, the students who enter Brownsville's public schools are all welcomed with the same challenge from the school system. "There is no pobrecito concept here," says the school's principal, Dolores Emerson, citing the Spanish term that loosely translates as "poor, unfortunate soul." "We don't allow students to fail."  

Indeed, looking at the numbers, it might seem easier to give up than to try. Located on the southern tip of Texas along the Rio Grande, Brownsville has the highest child poverty rate in the United States. Nearly all of the 48,000 students attending the city's 52 public schools receive free breakfast and lunch. Nearly half of them are learning English as a second language.

In other school districts, these children would most likely be casualties of low expectations. But in Brownsville, where the bar is set high, they are soaring. Last school year, the district's Hispanic and low-income students outscored their statewide counterparts at all grade levels in math, and in reading in the elementary grades. Because of these promising results, the Brownsville Independent School District was presented today with the Broad Prize for Urban Education, an award that comes with $1 million in college scholarships for graduating seniors. The annual prize is given by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a Los Angeles-based philanthropy group, to large urban school districts that have made significant gains in academic achievement, particularly among disadvantaged students. Four other finalists—Long Beach, Calif.; Aldine, Texas; Miami-Dade County; and Broward County, Fla.—will each receive $250,000 for scholarships.

This was the first year that Brownsville made the list of finalists. For Hector Gonzales, the district's superintendent of schools, winning the Broad Prize offers some vindication. Two years ago, four middle schools in Brownsville were accused of cheating on state tests after posting large single-year academic gains. The schools were eventually cleared in the controversy, but the sting of the allegations never completely went away. A week ago, Gonzales sat in his modest office and explained his district's credo: "Success is not an accident." "We believe that every child can learn," he says. "It's not that every child can learn except Juanito."

Defying the odds Nationwide, Latino students who come from low-income, immigrant families face steep academic challenges. Fewer than 4 in 10 Hispanic children participate in early-childhood education programs, and the high school dropout rate is highest among recent Hispanic immigrants. Latinos, like other minority groups, are also underrepresented in advanced math and science high school courses and in gifted-and-talented education programs.

It is against these statistical odds that Brownsville students are succeeding. Every year, new students arrive from Mexico, some with nothing but the clothes on their back. Most can't read or write fluently in either English or Spanish. Yet, 80 percent of Brownsville's students become proficient in English by the end of third grade. In fourth grade, most of them are taught primarily in English. At the district's five regular high schools, participation and scores on the SAT and Advanced Placement tests have risen steadily. (Two high schools made the U.S. News America's Best High Schools lists.) The number of graduating seniors who say they will attend a four-year college is growing; several recently have enrolled at highly selective schools including Harvard and MIT. Over the next five years, the district plans to give at least $637,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors who want to study science and math.

At Rivera High School, Tim Snyder has put to work strategies that he used as a successful elementary school principal: among them, a longer school day and a bigger emphasis on student and teacher relationships. "Sometimes teachers underestimate the power and influence they have on older students," he says. "Our teachers here take the attitude that they are second parents for these students." His colleague Teri Alarcon, principal of Hanna High School, says introducing more students to college-level work has also made a difference. "We're giving kids a jump-start on college," she says. "Some of them graduate with enough college credits to have an associate's degree." Thanks to partnerships with the Brownsville and Austin campuses of the University of Texas, the district's high school teachers receive training to teach college classes, and students can receive credit for high school classes they completed in Mexico. Besides offering a challenging academic program, Brownsville schools also have made a name for themselves on the national stage for their strong music and chess programs.

Getting results A. S. Putegnat Elementary School, only a few blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border, is the first stop for many immigrants and children from families that cannot afford the rents in the city's north side, "where the rich people live" (the median annual household income is $26,000). Most principals in comparable districts would worry about these students hurting the school's academic standing, but the students at Putegnat score high on tests. Like their counterparts at other schools, administrators and teachers at Putegnat are relentless about reviewing test data and remedying any of the students' academic deficiencies.

Because Texas allows recent immigrant students and bilingual students to test in their native language, teachers in Brownsville give their students frequent assessments in English and Spanish in preparation for the state tests in March. Students who need to brush up on math or reading can attend after-school, hourlong tutorials three times a week, and many students do take advantage of the longer school day. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel," says Rachel Ayala, an assistant superintendent who oversees the downtown area schools. "But we are consistent with our approach."

Like many educators in the district, Ayala was born and raised in Brownsville. She was only 19 years old when she started teaching at a school in the district and now has been with the district for 42 years. Unlike other school systems with high turnover, Brownsville teachers tend to stick around; the average teacher has 11 years of classroom experience in the district. Competitive teacher salaries and free health insurance go a long way to attract and retain teachers. Starting teachers in Brownsville make $39,000 annually, which is effectively worth more given the region's cost of living. State and federal dollars are crucial to the district. Local revenues cover only 14 percent of its annual expenses; the district has a $476 million budget.

But it's the connection with students and the community that seems to have the most value for Brownsville's teachers. During a tour of the school, Ayala spots an old college roommate in a fourth-grade classroom. Irma Garcia, 61, is giving a lesson on creative writing. Although she retired from the district in 2006 after 38 years teaching there, she comes by Putegnat every day to fill in for absent teachers. "She's fantastic," Ayala says. "Her students' writing scores are always in the 100th (percentile)."

In a separate wing of the school, Robert Rivera achieves similar results with his fifth-grade math students. A native of Brownsville, Rivera has taught for 11 years. In 2006, Rivera won the prestigious Milken Educator Award. "I always tell my kids about my dad," says Rivera, whose father worked as a custodian at the school. "I want them to have a choice just like I did." Principal Ernestina Treviño takes this idea further when she talks with students and staff members. "One day one of you will be standing in my position," she tells them. "You'll be taking over for me."

Parent support. When Maria Rosa Navarro's daughter, Nora, arrived at Morningside Elementary, the girl didn't speak any English. Now, in the fifth grade, Nora moves seamlessly between the two languages. Teachers say the transition for kids like Nora would be more difficult without the encouragement of parents.

Having a strong parent outreach program has been central to the district's success. Teachers and staff members go beyond making home visits and calling parents every time their child is absent. They're also educating adults. Every week, schools offer parenting classes on everything from how to prepare a healthful salad to how to help a child read. Threatening weather on a recent morning didn't dissuade some 300 parents from showing up for a morning rally called by the district to get families to exercise. After running laps around the track in the district's only football stadium, the parents, mostly stay-at-home moms, moved to a gymnasium, where they danced to salsa music and worked out with medicine balls and jump ropes. District staff members stressed the importance of regular physical activity so they can lower their risk of diabetes.

But like the parent classes and school meetings, the rally was about building trust and empowering parents. "The parents are very eager," says Nicolas Serrata, a veteran kindergarten teacher. "They're always asking, 'How's my kid doing? Does he have any homework?'" Those questions seem to be leading Brownsville schools to all the right answers.

Copyright © 2008 U.S. News & World Report, L.P. All rights reserved.
Sent by Juan Marinez
and Gus Chavez





Teach Mendez: Magical History Tour
100 Consejos Para Los Padres
Finding Place for Mayan Kids in Florida
Latina Authors Panel and Book Signing held Signal Hill, Calif.



Drives Teacher Support for Assembly Bill 531

A Sept. 20th  event was held in in September at  Chapman University in Orange, California to rally support for Assembly Bill (AB) 531 (Salas [D] Chula Vista). AB 531 would require the  study of Mendez v. Westminster in public education; specifically 4th grade and 11th grade.  

Mendez Filmmaker and longtime Mendez proponent Sandra Robbie says, "Teachers from across California and the country are asking for Mendez teaching materials for their classrooms. AB 531 will provide every teacher and student in California with the tools to study this historic case that changed not only our state but the nation. Our children deserve to know about the mighty civil rights contribution that was made right here in Orange County by people from diverse communities working together - just like today. Mendez should be studied and celebrated in our classrooms." 

The event included a ride in a vintage VW bus with Sylvia and Gonzalo Mendez, children of Felicita and Gonzalo and Felicita Mendez who lead the 1945 lawsuit against the Westminster School District to desegregate the  schools.  

Teachers and future teachers from OC and LA were given free tours of historic Old Towne Orange  as it relates to the landmark OC school desegregation case Mendez v. Westminster.  Teachers will see the last standing Mexican School building in OC, a formerly segregated  movie theater, and swimming pool. 

Among the prizes were tee shirt sporting the  message: "Thank You Thurgood (Marshall)" or "His Name was Earl (Warren) - both Marshall  and Warren were involved with the Mendez case.  In addition four schools won a school visit from Sylvia Mendez.

Letters of support may be faxed directly to Governor Schwarzenegger at: 916-327-1009
Contact : Sandra Robbie,, C714.222.0449


100 Consejos Para Los Padres 
Centros de Información y Recursos para Padres, 
Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos
Sea Responsable, Participe en la Educación de sus Hijos
Ayude a que su Hijo se Mantenga Alejado del Alcohol, Tabaco y Drogas
Haciendo las Tareas
Los Derechos de los Padres
Preguntas adecuadas para una Conferencia de Padres y Maestros
Aprendiendo a leer
La Violencia en Su Escuela
La Educación Especial
La Televisión
Las Pruebas
Las Computadoras  



Finding Place for Mayan Kids in Florida

Friday, February 16, 2007  
By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ, Associated Press Writer
Lake Worth, Florida  


It's early Saturday and the cafes, surf shops and antique stores of this beach town, like most of its residents, have yet to show signs of life. But inside the cramped, borrowed offices of the Guatemalan-Maya Center, nearly a dozen kids buzz about. They swap video games, peruse National Geographics, tease one another mostly in English, occasionally in the Mayan language of their parents.

Juan Mendez and Polly Gaspar settle them down, and the kids quickly offer the latest news: Eleven-year-old Omar Andres' math scores are soaring. Maria Andres, a shy 15-year-old held back in elementary school, has improved so much she will skip into eighth grade mid year. Her sister Monica and Leticia Vargas are earning nearly straight A's in seventh grade. Mendez and Gaspar beam. "Congratulations," Gaspar says. "A miracle." And so it is.

These kids aren't supposed to make it. The children of Guatemalan Indian refugees who fled their country's brutal civil war, they come to school with little if any academic background. Their teachers often take them for Hispanic _ assuming their native tongue is Spanish, though at home many speak one of Guatemala's 23 indigenous languages.

Anecdotal evidence suggests they fare even worse in school than Hispanics overall _ and the number of Hispanic teens attending high school locally drops by half between ninth and 12th grades.

Meanwhile, their parents work two and sometimes three jobs in the towns surrounding the swank resort city of Palm Beach, leaving them to navigate American culture on their own.Until Gaspar, Mendez and their Saturday program came along. 

Mendez himself was among the first Mayans to arrive in South Florida, part of a group that fled Guatemala in the 1980s as the Central American government systematically destroyed the highland indigenous villages in its attempt to root out the guerrillas. Like others, he settled in Florida because of the agricultural jobs, cheap cost of living and warm climate.

Today, some 58,000 Guatemalans live in Florida, many of them Mayan and most of them in Palm Beach County _ only California has more. But when Mendez arrived, there were few families. He boarded with older men, many who drank and offered little help to the struggling 16-year-old.

He grew up fast, and as an adult, he hated watching young Mayan-Americans drift toward gangs, drop out of school or simply fall behind.

"Many Mayan parents, they grew up without a childhood, so they don't know how to raise children," says Mendez, 39. "I wanted to help, but more than that, I wanted to preserve the culture."

So three years ago, Mendez and Gaspar, husband and wife, started a mentoring program to keep Mayan youths in school. They mixed together field trips, lectures, tutoring and photography classes. What they lacked in professional training, they made up for by simply showing up.

The task wasn't easy. Many parents in the closed Mayan community were hesitant to farm out their children for the day, and few kids wanted to wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

Mendez, an electrician, and his wife, then a translator in the schools, kept pushing. They recruited kids recommended by the county child services, made home visits to parents and picked up the children each week in the family van.

Omar Andres was one such child, born in the Mexican refugee camps where his parents lived after they fled their mountain village of Huehuetenango. He was moved from the English-as-a -second-language classes to special education classes before teachers figured out he didn't speak Spanish or English well only because he didn't speak much of either at home. In fact, Omar was one of their most gifted students.

These days, Omar _ a cherubic-faced boy, thoughtful and reserved at moments, playful with an impish grin at others _ inhales books. After school, he loses himself in ghost stories on the wooden deck outside his family's cramped, second-floor apartment, oblivious to the small-time crack dealers riding bicycles below.

Since he joined the Saturday program, his grades, like those of the others, have shot up. He wants to be a teacher, already tutors other Mayan students and last year was tapped to enter a $1,000 scholarship contest.

But even the Saturday program can't erase all the obstacles. Last spring, it took Omar's teacher less than a minute to tell his mother, Angelina Andres, about the scholarship.

It took the translator another 10 minutes to explain in the Mayan Kanjobal language to Angelina Andres _ who had never finished elementary school _ exactly what a scholarship was, why it was needed and what it could do for her son. Even then, Angelina, sitting erect in the embroidered wrapped skirt of her homeland, allowed only a hint of a smile.

It's not that she didn't support her sons' academic achievements. She was the one who made her sons explain their lessons to her each night and who scoured yard sales for children's books on her days off from work in the fields.

"The main thing is to keep them occupied," she said through a translator, "that they don't stay outside and play, that they finish their homework."

Still, there were more basic needs. The family planned to pull the children out from school early so they could make their annual journey to New England, were she and her husband would pick tobacco. It was the best gig the couple had found since they arrived in the United States more than a decade ago and the money was much needed.

If the contest wouldn't affect the work, then it was OK. Andres could tell the teachers didn't understand, even when she explained she would enroll her children in summer school. So she remained quiet and nodded stiffly when they begged her to reconsider. Throughout, Omar sat tucked into a chair nearby, his head buried in a book, "Scary Stories."

Mendez chose the middle-school years because he saw it as a last-stop opportunity for intervention before high school. He believed the kids needed more than tutoring. They also needed to find pride in their heritage.

As the Mayans settled in Florida, they sought to rebuild the communities that had helped them preserve their culture for hundreds of years back home.

The adults associated little with other Hispanics and even less with the Anglos. They revived cultural celebrations based on the ancient Mayan calendar and created Kanjobal and other language programs for young children. But kids like Omar and Maria Andres are immersed in mainstream American culture, and little exists to tie them to their community.

So while Mendez and Gaspar are happy that Monica Andres was invited to the junior honors society, that Omar was tapped for a magnet school and his older brother Daniel, 15, stopped mouthing off to teachers, they are equally pleased to hear the kids talk with pride about being the descendants of the ancient Mayans who built the massive pyramids in the Peten jungle.

And they are relieved when Daniel Mendez returns from a trip to Guatemala and excitedly recounts how fresh the food was and how clean the air was in the mountain village of his family.

"Before he would have just talked about how boring it was with no TV," notes the program's photography teacher, photojournalist Cindy Karp.

Instilling that pride is no small feat. In Guatemala, the Ladinos _ most of whom trace their ancestors back to Spain _ have long discriminated against the Mayans.

Even the Saturday kids can quickly rattle off stereotypes of Mayans: "short, dumb, slow, fat 'weird because of our languages.'"

"The Spanish people look down on the Mayans, and now we want to be like them. I know most kids, they're not proud of speaking Kanjobal. They want to speak Spanish or English," explains Juan Mendez's 17-year-old son Glenn, who like Omar was initially placed in a slow track and is now enrolled in a high school honors program.

Parents often prefer to speak to their children in broken Spanish or English, rather than pass on the indigenous language, says Sonia Cabrera, one of two Mayan community liaisons hired by the Palm Beach County school district.

The shadow of war makes it even harder to pass on cultural pride.

With more than 200,000 deaths, the number of those killed in Guatemala's civil war dwarfs similar conflicts in El Salvador, Argentina and Chile. For Maria and Monica Andres' parents, talking about their history means remembering how military and paramilitary groups doused neighbors with gasoline and set them on fire, and how soldiers sometimes kidnapped girls as young as their daughters.

"Those are not things we want our children to have to think about," says Micaela Andres.

At the Saturday program, there is also little discussion of the past, but the reasons are more complicated.

"People chose different sides during the war, but now they are all living near each other," Mendez said. He does not want to open old wounds. It is easier to focus on the children's future and the community in which they live today.

Through photography classes co-sponsored by the nonprofit Palm Beach Photographic Centre, the kids have learned to take a closer look at that community and the world beyond.

On a typical Saturday, they walk through the heart of Lake Worth with their cameras, strolling across streets usually occupied only by the mostly white tourists and wealthy locals. In a vintage clothing store, Leticia and Monica shriek with glee as they photograph themselves in red sable boas, fur hats and disco-era sequin berets.

"Photography makes you see things you didn't see before," Omar muses _ like the man he captured talking on his cell phone, one of thousands of Guatemalan immigrants who continue to flock to Lake Worth, seeking work.

Mendez and the Guatemalan-Maya Center know they are only reaching a fraction of students in need. They would like to expand the program and stay with their current charges through high school. But money and staff are limited.

And the challenges are unending: When Omar's family returned last fall from the trip to New England, Omar had missed so much school he no longer qualified for the scholarship. The prospect of the next year's trip means moving to a magnet school will be difficult. Monica decided not to join the honors society. Another boy decided he'd prefer to sleep in on Saturdays.

Still Mendez and Gaspar remain determined to show the Saturday kids they can succeed here, without forsaking family or culture.

Years after their civil marriage, the couple recently wed in a trilingual Catholic ceremony, radiant in hand-embroidered finery sent from Guatemala. They danced to the traditional marimba punctuated by modern trumpet riffs and shared a rare public kiss.

Omar and his brothers rolled their eyes. And yet, they seemed to relish the mix of Mayan and American _ the old and new. It was possible, it seemed, to be cool and Kanjobal.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.,4675,CoolandKanjobal,00.html



Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature
Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories. By Sarah Rafael García
The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes
Crazy Loco Love by Victor Villasenor
A Perfect Season for Dreaming/Un tiempo perfecto para soñar



Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature edited by Daniel A. Olivas 

Book Review by Sergio Troncoso:
Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press), edited by Daniel A. Olivas, is a wonderful anthology that samples contemporary Chicano literature from Southern California. What will surprise and delight its readers is the great variety of work from Chicano and Chicana writers. The panoply of characters includes pachucos, people of paper, lonely strangers, small-time journalists solving mysteries, and concrete finishers proving themselves with guts and guile in the world of work.

Three stories typify the excellent literary work of this anthology. “Gina and Max,” a story by Michael Jaime-Becerra, chronicles the Christmas eve of two misfits. The hopeful Gina and the hapless Max belong together, even as she allows herself to be in the company of vaguely dangerous characters Max befriends and tattoos. In “Drift,” an excerpt from a novel by Manuel Luis Martínez, ‘Sizzler Boy’ leaves home, ends up at a goth party with vampirelike fast friends, but what matters in this story is the ebb and flow of the narrative, itself reflective of Sizzler Boy’s self-abandonment.

Finally, in “Miss East L.A.,” Luis J. Rodríguez transports readers into the politics of the newsroom and a detective story, as Benny transforms himself from a dockworker to a wannbe reporter to a writer who solves a murder, with ganas, intelligence, and perseverance. Other standouts in this anthology include Manuel Muñoz’s “The Comeuppance of Lupe Rivera,” Richard Vázquez’s “Chicano,” Reyna Grande’s “Adriana,” and Salvador Plascencia’s novel excerpt, “The People of Paper.”

Olivas, who regularly reviews books for the El Paso Times, opens readers’ eyes to a new world of Chicano literature, beyond traditional characters and stories, to Chicanos redefining themselves today. In California, the setting is more urban, often suffused with the world of Hollywood and movies, while the protagonists of these stories run the gamut from dirt-poor to those straddling two worlds, the world of their fathers and mothers, and their own unique place in the sun. Latinos in Lotusland creates new possibilities to consider and explore for the community of readers and writers, and beyond.
This book review appeared in the Sunday book section of the El Paso Times on April 27, 2008.  For another review of the anthology, go to:

Sent by Daniel A. Olivas


Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories 
By Sarah Rafael García 

Las Niñas is a collection of autobiographical childhood memories of three Mexican-American sisters. It recounts their struggles while being raised as the first generation born in America of their Mexican family. Las Niñas portrays common situations that immigrant families can relate to through their own process of cultural assimilation. Each chapter is a different childhood memory celebrating culture, life and change through humor and self-reflection. Its creative style and unique display of a child's perception will entice many genres of readers and provide insight on the possible challenges that many recent immigrants face with their family's new generation in America. The childhood memories lightly touch on issues of immigration, learning English as a second language and assimilating into the American culture. Las Niñas reveals the most humorous, intimate and traumatic events that occurred as Sarita, Chuchen and Nini grew up in their family's new country, ultimately providing the foundation for surviving their father's death at such a young age. The bond among the three sisters allows the reader to feel their family's pride and growth in a dual culture. Nevertheless, the reader's own entertainment and personal relevance will be the greatest contributor to Las Niñas' popularity and triumph. Las Niñas represent an honest and heart-felt account of first generation Latinas, American-born girls, who grew up in a Mexican cultural cocoon, to open it and converge in to their outgoing personalities into middleclass ethnic America. The authoress provides a most candid and enlightening perspective of growing up in America in the Latino barrio. Andrea Alessandra, Northwestern University.
ISBN: 978-1-888205-09-1 



The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes 
Volume edited by Mimi R. Gladstein and Daniel Chacón

Mural can be viewed Stanford U. Casa Zapata Dorms
New volume collects works of Chicano writer, artist and Renaissance man
 Article Launched: 09/28/2008 

Editor's note: José Antonio Burciaga grew up in El Paso. Mimi Gladstein and Daniel Chacón, the editors of 'The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes,' teach at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

'Culture is not a spectator sport that can be bought. It has to be lived,' writes José Antonio Burciaga in one of many moments of luminosity and insight present in 'The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes' (University of Arizona Press, $16.95 paperback). He continues: 'It is the strongest, most unifying aspect of Indo-Hispanic life. It is the sum of our attainments and learned behavior patterns expressing a traditional way of life. It can be modified by succeeding generations. Thus we have Chicanos.' 

Burciaga's respect for his community and the unmistakable articulate phrasing of that respect are celebrated in this long-overdue volume edited by Mimi R. Gladstein and Daniel Chacón. Published 12 years after his untimely death, this project gathers a modest but no less powerful selection from Burciaga's body of influential critical essays, poems, fictions and portfolios of artistic work.

A pioneer of Chicano literature and activism, Burciaga was one of the founding members of Culture Clash, the comedic performance troupe known for its biting political satire. That humor is certainly highlighted here with the inclusion of such well-known pieces as 'E.T. and Me' and 'Pendejismo,' and the never-before-published 'For Whites Only,' in which Burciaga profiles the Southern man who has a paralyzing 'fear of working with blacks.' Burciaga commiserates: Having been subjected to a series of all-white spaces, he himself has been suffering from 'an acute case of Angolophobia' lately. 

A strong proponent of rejoicing in the endless possibilities of intra-lingual wordplay, he points out the fallacy of 'English-only' in a country with so much Spanish, especially in the names of streets and towns. But no argument illustrates better than his own 'Bilingual Love Poem':

Your sonrisa is a sunrise 
that was reaped from your smile 
sowed from a semilla 
into the sol of your soul 
with an ardent pasión, 
passion ardiente, 
sizzling in a mar de amar 
where more is amor, 
in a sea of sí 
filled with the sal of salt 
in the saliva of the saliva 
that gives sed but is never sad.

Readers are reminded of Burciaga's progressive pro-feminist stance. In his study of dichos, he refused to engage those with sexist sensibilities. (The editors note: 'He would not have that kind of energy in his work.') And true to his ideals, he made sure that in the famous mural honoring Chicano icons (which gives this book its name) women such as Dolores Huerta and Sor Juana hold prominent positions at the table. Other history lessons include a closer look at the culturally misunderstood figures El Pachuco and Quetzalcoatl. 

In this must-have volume, Gladstein and Chacón have shaped a solid introduction to Burciaga's artistic versatility, thematic range and array of tones -- he's witty, critical, poignant and always inspiring. 

'We can still learn from him. We do still learn from him,' they assert, and that proves correct, as Burciaga's wise observations about the Chicano people ring timeless and unequivocally true: 

'We become chameleons, we are chameleon. As we move from one world to the other we exchange colors, ideas, symbols and words in order to fit, to relate, and to survive. The result is a prismatic iridescence when the differences of colors play on each other, like a rainbow after a rainstorm in the desert. We are chameleons.'

Rigoberto González is an award-winning writer living in New York City. His Web site is, and he may be reached at

Meet the editors
Who:'Mimi Gladstein and Daniel Chacón, editors of the recently published collection 'The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes,' will discuss and sign copies of the book.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where:'West Side Barnes & Noble, 705 Sunland Park.Information: 581-5353.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno



Crazy Loco Love

The latest novel by Victor Vaillasenor, a coming of age story.

If you are not familiar with Victor's work you may want to go to his website: 

Sent by
Kirk Whisler

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / 
Un tiempo perfecto para soñar by Ben Sáenz

Illustrated bilingual book for children 

Seventy-eight-year-old Octavio Rivera is a beautiful dreamer. And lately he has been visited by some very interesting dreams—dreams about piñatas that spill their treasures before him, revealing kissing turtles, winged pigs, hitchhiking armadillos and many more fantastic things! Octavio doesn’t tell anyone about his dreams except his young granddaughter Regina because she alone understands beautiful and fantastic dreams. On the ninth afternoon Octavio prepares for his siesta hoping to be blessed with one last lovely dream. That afternoon he dreams of a sky full of sweet and perfect hummingbirds calling his name over and over again…

701 Texas Ave.
El Paso, Texas 79901
Phone: (915) 838-1625
Fax: (915) 838-1635
Latina Authors Panel and Book Signing was held October 20th at the Signal Hill Park Community Center, 1780 E. Hill St. Signal Hill, CA 90755  The featured authors were:
Margo Candela, Mary Castillo, Reyna Grande and Jamie Martinez Wood discuss their books, backgrounds and inspirations for their writings.

Reyna Grande: Across a Hundred Mountains
Reyna Grande is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Across A Hundred Mountains (Atria), for which she has received an American Book Award and El Premio Aztlan Literary Award. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing and Film and Video from UC Santa Cruz. She was born in Mexico and was raised by her grandparents after her parents left her behind while they worked in the U.S. She came to the U.S. at the age of ten as an undocumented immigrant. She lives in L.A. with her husband and two children. She is a speaker and lecturer at middle/high schools, colleges and universities across the nation. She is currently finishing her second novel. more... BOOK: fictional accounts of the Latina experience from three different perspectives.

Margo Candela: More Than This 
Margo Candela has made a name for herself with her debut novel, Underneath It All, followed by Life Over Easy. Margo was born and raised in East LA and studied journalism in San Francisco. She lives in Culver City, California.  BOOK: a unique falling-in-love story; 

Mary Castillo: Switchcraft
A lifelong professional writer, including a stint as a reporter for the LA Times Community News, Mary is now the very proud author of three novels (Swithcraft, In Between Men and Hot Tamara) and two novellas featured in the anthologies, Names I Call My Sister and Friday Night Chicas. She also pays the bills by writing features for Tu Ciudad and Rise Up magazines, as well as for Animation World Network. Celebrities like Ingrid Hoffman of Simply Delicioso and Chef Daisy Martinez of Everyday with Rachael Ray and authors such as Marta Acosta, Jenny Gardiner and Caridad Ferrer have appeared on Mary's popular blog, Chica Lit. more...    BOOK: Switchcraft, is a spirited romantic comedy about two best friends who share a life-changing trading places experience. 

Jamie Martinez Wood: Rogelia's House of Magic
Jamie Martinez Wood's writing career began in Ms. Kneedler's second grade class in Glen L. Martin Elementary School in Santa Ana, California. At the age of eleven she started the lifelong habit of keeping a diary. Reading her teen journal entries when she felt disempowered and victimized, motivated Jamie to create visualizations and affirmations to move into a place of power. These new perspectives comprise the "spells" of The Teen Spell Book. Building on the success of her books and teachings at workshops and retreats, she wrote The Wicca Herbal, The Enchanted Diary, Latino Writers and Journalists, and her debut novel, Rogelia's House of Magic. more...   BOOK: Jamie Martinez Wood's debut novel, Rogelia's House of Magic, is about three different 15-year old girls who find friendship and special powers as they are trained by a wise old woman. 

For more information, please go to

Libreria Martinez - Lynwood | (Plaza Mexico) | 11221 Long Beach Blvd., Suite 102 | Lynwood | CA | 90262 


Mary J. Andrade, Day of the Dead, A Passion for Life
Lingo Lore: Gringo
Luis Valdez Honored
Luisana Loreley Lopilato
La Bloga
Dia de la Raza, Creating a Future and Honoring Our Past 
A Jewish Immigrant and Spanish Proverbs of South Texas


Author and Hispanic newspaper publisher Mary J. Andrade was recently chosen among many candidates to be portrayed on San Francisco Bay Area's CBS Channel 5 Portrait of Success Segment to air during Hispanic Heritage month. 

Mary J. Andrade was chosen for her expertise and vast knowledge as a researcher and writer of Day of the Dead celebration. After 21 years of traveling throughout Mexico, Mary Andrade has chronicled thousands of photographs and written seven books on the subject. Her most recently published book "Day of the Dead A Passion for Life" received two awards, from the Latino International Book Awards during the 2008 Book Expo America in Los Angeles. She has lived the celebration in an array of regions, cities, small towns and settings. Through her books, websites and blog she has been able to pass on to her readers those unique experiences illustrated through her camera lens and strokes of her pen. 

Mary J. Andrade has presented over 155 photographic exhibits on Day of the Dead in the United States, Ecuador, Spain, France, Mexico, Egypt and Chile and has published seven other books on the subject. She has been the recipient of many international awards, such as the OHTLI, two Silver Quills and a Silver Lens presented by former presidents of Mexico, Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedillo.

This year her photographs are part of The Oakland Museum exhibit "Evolution of a Sacred Space: Dias de los Muertos 2008," featuring a tribute to the Mexican/Central American tradition and conveying how this spiritual tradition has changed since its pre-Columbian roots. Guest curator and Hayward artist/educator Fernando Hernandez dedicated part of Evolution of a Sacred Place to the work of photographer and journalist Mary J. Andrade. "Mary's photographs give a sense of what you will actually see in Day of the Dead in different regions of Mexico," he said.

Thirty six photographs showing the celebration of Day of the Dead in several states of Mexico are also in a traveling exhibit in Ecuador. Rodolfo Quilantan Arenas, Cónsul General of Mexico in Guayaquil received the collection that she donated to his consulate, last May. He has scheduled the exhibition to be presented in several cities of Ecuador.

To view the CBS 5 interview please go to and follow the links that are posted on the bottom part of the opening page of this website/blog (note that it starts with a short commercial). The link is:

Information on the celebration visit: and 
Source: Kirk Whisler,  Hispanic Marketing 101, Vol 6, #37  10/17/08 

Day of the Dead: A Passion for Life
Mary J. Andrade
La Oferta Publishing Company
1376 N. Fourth St., San Jose, CA 95112
0979162408, $29.95



By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Scholar in Residence, Western New Mexico University

To those who know its origin, every word is a picture.


GRINGO: This word has raised a lore of etymologies, a number of them persuasive. One source explains that the word derives from a song American soldiers sang during the U.S. War Against Mexico (1846-1848) that had the line “Green grows the grass.” Ergo “Green grows” became “Gringo.” Along the same line, another font attributes origin of the word to the “green coats” worn by the American troops during the U.S. War Against Mexico. Thus, “Here come the green coats” became “Here come the gringos.” One historical explanation for the word is that it came into Mexican Spanish parlance during the French occupation of Mexico . In the medieval tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain’s horse is called “Gringolet,” a word of Dutch origin, meaning “hard back” or “durable spine.” In other words, Gringolet was a horse of endurance. In French, the word appears as “gringalet,” the suffix “let” referring to size—diminutive. Over time, the word “gringo” was teased out of the word “gringolet” characterizing someone of diminutive size but persistent. It’s unknown how the word ultimately morphed into the eponym “Gringo” for “stranger.” Hearing the French of the Mexican occupation referring to strangers as “Gringos,” the Mexicans incorporated the word into their lexicon applying it also to “strangers.” In Mexico, the word generally identifies a white person, mainly from the United States. [This last source is orphaned.]



Event honoring Luis Valdez, Playwright, Film Director held in Scottsdale, AZ 


Luis Valdez, writer and director of La Bamba, founder of Teatro Campesino, and the author of numerous plays, including Zoot Suit and We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges. 
Mr. Valdez delivered a public reading and book signing at ASU Tempe, Galvin Playhouse. 

Hosted by the Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (, the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU, and the ASU Center for Community Development and Civil Rights, and Advocates for Latino Arts and Culture (

Information: James Garcia, president of NALIP Phoenix, 480-990-9844
Biographical Information about Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez
Born 1940

Legitimately called the father of Chicano theater, playwright and director Luis Valdez has given this movement a voice since 1963, when his first play was staged by the drama department at San Jose State College. From there he went on to found El Teatro Campesino in 1965, a touring farm workers ' theater troupe. El Teatro Campesino produced one-act plays, often without stage, script, or props, that dramatized the circumstances of migrant workers and ignited a national Chicano theater movement, or teatro chicano. Valdez has written, co-written, and directed many plays depicting the
Hispanic experience, including La Carpa de los Rasquachis (1973), El Fin del Mundo (1976), Zoot Suit (1978), and Tibercio Vasquez (1980). He also directed the box-office smash movie La Bamba in 1987.

Valdez has received numerous honors and awards for his work. These include an Obie in 1968, as well as Los Angeles Drama Critics awards in 1969, 1972, and 1978, and an Emmy in 1973. In 1983 the San Francisco Bay Critics Circle awarded him Best Musical. He was also honored that same year by President Reagan's Committee on Arts and Humanities. He has received honorary doctorates from Columbia College, San Jose State University, and the California Institute of the Arts.

Theater Career Begins in College: Luis Valdez was born June 26, 1940, in Delano, California, to Francisco and Armeda Valdez. He was the second of ten children in a migrant worker family that moved from harvest to harvest in the central valleys of California. Due to this peripatetic existence, he attended many different schools before the family finally settled in San Jose. Graduating from high school there, he then entered San Jose State College (now University) on a scholarship in 1960.

Valdez did more than just earn a bachelor's degree in English at San Jose State. In 1961 his one-act play The Theft won a writing contest, and his first full-length play, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, was produced in 1963 by the school's drama department. After graduating in 1964, Valdez spent the next few months with the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Its lessons in agitprop (agitation and propaganda) theater were valuable, for they laid the groundwork for his next venture.

In 1965 Valdez went to Delano, where he joined César Chávez in his effort to educate and organize migrants into a viable farm workers' union. It was in support of Chávez's movement that he put his theatrical talents to work to form El Teatro Campesino, a farm workers' theater troupe. The theater was used to educate and inform not only the farm workers, but the public as well. El Teatro Campesino toured the migrant camps with their actos, or (one-act plays) that explored political and cultural issues of concern to the movement. In 1967 Valdez left the union movement in an effort to broaden his theater's reach and to amplify its messages. The troupe toured the United States in 1967 and 1968, winning the Obie in 1968. The theater moved beyond agitprop and migrant concerns, delving into traditional Mexican theatrical forms. They staged musical corridas, or dramatized ballads, religious pageants, and peladitos, or vaudeville-type dramas featuring an underdog.

Valdez had established a Chicano cultural center in Del Ray, California, in 1967. In 1969 he moved both theater and cultural center to Fresno, where they remained for two years. While in Fresno, Valdez taught at Fresno State College, produced the film I Am Joaquin, and created TENAZ, the national Chicano theater organization with groups throughout the Southwest. Valdez moved the theater a final time in 1971, to San Juan Bautista, south of San Francisco. Combined now with the cultural center, it was called El Centro Campesino Cultural, and it became a fully professional production company. The company toured Mexico and Europe and staged productions in New York City.

Theater Movement Expands Nationally: The 1970s saw Chicano theater in full flower, thanks to Valdez and El Teatro Campesino. What began as a farm workers' theater in the migrant camps of Delano now exploded into a national Chicano theater movement. Theater groups sprang up with surprising speed on college campuses and in communities
throughout the United States. Stressing ethnic pride and the preservation of cultural traditions, the groups adhered to Valdez's dictate that the theaters remain true to la raza - the grassroots Mexican. In so doing, they were wildly successful, and the theater's popularity grew and built upon itself. The theater movement reached its zenith in 1976. In the summer of that year the national Bicentennial was celebrated with five different
Mexican theater festivals.

By the 1980s many theater groups had disbanded. Other, more successful groups, such as Denver's Su Teatro and San Antonio's Guadalupe Theater, took root as local repertory companies. Although the Chicano theater movement largely dispersed during this decade, its artists and directors did not disappear. The popular surge of Chicano theater created opportunities where few had existed before. Actors and theater directors were absorbed into the mainstream of professional theater in the various communities and universities as well as in television and film.

In 1977 both Valdez and his brother Daniel had parts in the Richard Pryor film Which Way Is Up?. The following year, however, marked a more important milestone in Valdez's career. In 1978 he wrote, directed, and produced a play that would eventually serve as his springboard to film directing. The play was Zoot Suit, based on the 1942 Los Angeles Sleepy Lagoon case. Its production at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles marked Valdez's breakthrough to mainstream theater. Zoot Suit ran successfully for two years in Los Angeles theaters, and it was produced at New York City's Winter Garden in 1979 - the first play written and produced by a Mexican American ever to play on Broadway. It was made into a film in 1982, which Valdez also directed. This version, however, was not as successful as the play.

In 1980 Valdez directed his play Tibercio Vasquez.Corridos followed, with successful theater and television productions. In 1984 Valdez wrote and produced the play I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges, which ran successfully at the Los Angeles Theater Center in 1986. His greatest success came in 1987, when he directed the hit film La Bamba. The film depicted the brief life of Chicano singer Richie Valens, who helped pioneer early rock and roll.

Challenges Hollywood Stereotypes: In the wake of the tremendous success of La Bamba, Valdez has continued to direct productions illustrating the Hispanic condition. The New York Times observed in 1991 that "Valdez has a reputation as a cultural provocateur,
thanks to his activism on behalf of the United Farm Workers of America, his authorship of works that challenge stereotypes of Hispanic Americans, and his fondness for bringing together performers of widely varying cultural backgrounds."

Two recent projects have demonstrated that cultural commitment. In 1991Valdez directed a made-for-public-television version of the traditional folk tale La Pastorela The Shepherd's Play. A version of the Nativity story, La Pastorela changes the focus from the Three Wise Men to a group of shepherds making their way to Bethlehem. "La Pastorela is part of a tradition that is at least 1,000 years old," Valdez told the New York Times in 1991. He has adapted the play in order to appeal to a wider television audience. The
result, with actors like Paul Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, and Linda Ronstadt, is a very modern version. John Leonard, writing in New York, described it with good humor as "the Nativity ... tricked up to look like a road-show amalgam of The Wizard of Oz and Cats. "

In 1994 Valdez directed a remake of the 1950s television series The Cisco Kid. Again Valdez modernized an old story, transforming Cisco (played by actor Jimmy Smits ) from a bandit into a respectable Chicano adventurer. The New York Times stated, "The Cisco Kid is part of a larger effort to counter 90 years of omissions and distortions in the way Latino characters have been depicted in westerns." The article continued, "Film makers like ... Valdez ... say they are trying to provide a humanized alternative to the hot-blooded lovers, Frito banditos, drug dealers, gang leaders, and other two-dimensional characters that [have] traditionally represented Mexican Americans on television and films."

Although the 1980s and 1990s have produced several films with a Latino focus, including La Bamba (1987), Stand and Deliver (1988), and Like Water for Chocolate (1993), the New York Times noted in 1994 that Hispanics "remain underrepresented in the film and television industry." The paper quoted John Trevino, chairman of the Directors Guild Latino committee, as saying, "In any given year, less than one percent of the directors with films in production are Latinos."

In spite of these disappointing numbers, they would probably be even smaller if not for Luis Valdez. Many Hispanic actors and theater directors owed their careers, directly or indirectly, to the pioneering efforts of Luis Valdez's El Teatro Campesino. Actor-comedian Paul Rodriguez acknowledged his debt in an interview with the New York Times in 1991: "The first time I ever saw the Teatro Campesino, I was just a chavalito hanging on to my mamma's hand, with my daddy saying, "This is important; you've got to watch this.' As a matter of fact, I'll credit the Teatro Campesino with first allowing myself to even dream of being in this business."

Hispanic-American Almanac, edited by Nicolás Kanellos, Detroit, Gale, 1993.
Mexican-American Biographies, edited by Matt S. Meier, New York, Greenwood
Press, 1988.
Who's Who in the Theater, 17th edition, edited by Ian Herbert, Detroit,
Gale, 1981.
New York, February 7, 1994, pp. 6-61.
New York Times, July 28, 1991, pp. H25, H32; January 30,1994, pp. H32, H40.
Source: Dictionary of Hispanic Biography
<> , Gale,
1995. Biography Resources Center
<> , Gale,

Sent by Dorinda Moreno



Luisana Loreley Lopilato 
Antonio Santiago Jr. introduces the beautiful Argentina actress/model  
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


La Bloga


Editor:  I am not too knowledgeable about Blogs, but I would like to share this one sent to me by Dan Olivas.  Daniel A. Olivas is a deputy attorney general in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books and editor of Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature (Bilingual Press, 2008) samples from current Chicano authors and their literature.  
Friday, October 3, Excerpt: 
The following chapter from Manuel Ramos unpublished novel, King of the Chicanos.

1943 - Stockton, CA

“Órale, Chato. ¿Qué hubo? ¿Qué pasa?”

He nodded his head at the other boy, who pointed his chin at him in response.

“Aquí nomás, Tino. ¿Ya sabes, no?”

They eyed one another at the street corner where they had inconveniently met. They had to act out the established routines, the accepted norm for what passed as civility between two young migrant workers on an early Saturday evening in a small, inconspicuous town. Their loitering was tolerated only because they were needed to gather the asparagus from the farms that surrounded the town, and there was no one else for that work.

The tall, dark boy with Hollywood Latin Lover good looks stood with his hands in his pockets, a slouch in his posture. He shuffled rather than took steps, swayed rather than walked. The web of his left hand framed a homemade tattoo of a small cross with radiating lines.

The rugged-looking second boy had a broad, flat nose. No one would think of him as handsome but he carried himself with respect and strength.

They wore crisply ironed, pleated slacks tied to their bony hips by thin white belts. The pointed collars of bright colored shirts caressed their scrawny necks. The slender, vicious weapons of their youth, switchblades, rested in their pockets. Each boy waited for any sign from the other that this would be the day for the reckoning, for balancing the score, for the righting of wrongs that never existed.

Their wariness did not come from fear. How they acted reflected much more than their individual situations, yet they were unaware of their roles in a drama created by forces that moved around them like the dust devils that stirred the rich farmland dirt. If they strutted and talked cheaply, swaggered and dared anyone to knock the chips off their shoulders, they also remembered the nights they whimpered in dirty bunks, exhausted from the sun, hands and feet blistered and bleeding, looking forward only to the next camp, the next crop, the next long highway.

They craved to be part of the group they defined by their insolent greetings, the hybrid slang, the swing music, the dangerous attitudes and the smooth smiles. They were young Mexican Americans, adrift on the streets of a North American farm town. They lived in a time that had no space for them, that neglected their existence and denied their spirit, and instead courted them for failure.

One of them ventured a gesture. He took a chance on the soothing coolness of the night after the swelter of the day, gambled that the beautiful sky with the glow of the dying sun would not allow itself to frame an ugly event, not that night.

“How’s your primo, Freddy?” Tino asked in the soft voice that always surprised his listeners. “Heard anything from him?”

Several of the cousins were in the military, soldiers and sailors in the various theaters of war that had sprung up around the world in places that they had not known existed, with names they could not pronounce, with other men whose only connection was their mutual terror of indiscriminate death at the hands of the strange, unknown enemy.

“Freddy’s missing, just like Juan.” Chato answered with some hesitation, a bit of resistance to having a conversation with another who could be a threat. “At least he’s not dead yet, not like Tomás, not yet anyway. That we know of, that we’ve been told about.”

Tino nodded. “Must be real tough on your aunt.” His concern sounded genuine. “So many kids and so many in the war.” He paused and the bravado came back. “I can’t wait until I can go. Stick me some Japs. They won’t know what hit them, not when this crazy Chicano hits the beach.”

Chato had never heard the word Chicano before that minute, but he knew exactly what Tino meant as soon as he said it. Like so many other words that floated between Spanish and English, that tried to convey the dimension of living in two different worlds, the slang term for Mexicans in the United States made immediate sense to him. In Colorado, down around Pueblo, the word was skaj. In Southern California, he was just a pocho. Up in Michigan, an old Indian from Albuquerque who worked with them in the fields said that they were Spanish Americans, and that kind of made sense to Chato. In Crystal City, children at the migrant school he had attended for a few weeks had chided him about being a pachuco. Everywhere he went, la raza stood for all of them together, the people, the race, the Mexicans.

Chicano. He wondered where that one had come from.

“Hey, greasers!”


“Dirty Mexicans!”

“Go back to Mexico!”

Hard-boned white boys in overalls, flannel shirts and floppy cowboy hats packed the bed of a pre-war Chevy pickup. From the truck’s cab, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys loudly sang about a woman named Rose from old San Antone, on the moonlit path beside the Alamo.

Chato and Tino flinched, tensed their muscles, and drew closer together. They kept the circling truck in their eyesight, watched it cruise up the street, stop at the corner, turn around and come back at them. The curses flung from the bed of the truck reached the boys before the dusty pickup stopped.

Tino drew the knife from his pocket and said a few words to Chato. His soft voice had grown even softer, the words almost lost in the gear-grinding jumble of the old truck loaded down with the alcohol-fueled farm boys. “These gabachos want to rumble. You ready, Chato?”

When Ramón Hidalgo remembered that fight, when he looked back at the outburst of violence that forever marked the type of man he had to be, he did not necessarily recall the angry epithets, nor did he always imagine the dull thump of the blows from the blistered, rock-hard fists or the clod-hopper-covered feet. He pointedly ignored the red, gushing line that creased Tino’s jaw where a fishing knife slashed open the skin. He never spoke about the boot heel that smashed his already flat nose and left him a thin ridge of scabbed, lighter skin that horizontally split his nose in two. More often than not, his mind first saw the background of cloud layers tinged orange and pink by the setting sun. There was silence just before the first punch landed, and as he would later tell the story, the country boys moved as though they trudged in a quagmire of fields flooded by the overflowing ditches of a wet spring. Against the postcard image of the sunset, young men’s hatred filled the silence, washed out the watercolor hues of the fading sky, and blotted away the calm evening that briefly had existed for Chato Hidalgo and Tino García.

Copyright Manuel Ramos.  All rights reserved.
Sent by Daniel A. Olivas





Presented by Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. 
Event Activities 10-12-08

11:00 AM - people arrive at park and sign in
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM, DJ will play continuous music
11:30 AM - people will gather at starting point (amphitheater area) 
11:30 - 11:35 AM - speech on importance of good health (Blue Cross & Blue Shield)
11:35 - 11:50 AM - run around the park (with CPLC staff & health advocates)
11:50 - 12:00 PM give prizes to winners (X-BOX)
12:00 PM - Azteca dancers (Yolincuatli) start with blessing of event 
12:15 - Introduction of Speakers
" Edmundo Hidalgo, President & CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
" Tony Collins, Salt River Pima Tribe, Council Member
" Michael Nowakowski, City Councilman
" Alberto Rios, Keynote Speaker, Author/Writer

12:45 PM - Mariachi Viva
1:00 PM - Dr Velez Ibanez-Author/Anthropologist 
1:10 PM - Yaqui Dear Dancers
1:30 PM - Carmen Cornejo- CADENA, the DREAM Act Advocacy Organization.
1:40 PM - Ballet folklorico
2:00 PM - Stella Pope Duarte-Author & Writer
2:10 PM - Break dancers
2:30 PM - Raul Monreal-Author/Writer
2:40 PM - DJ music
3:00 PM - Frank Barrios-Author/Researcher
3:15 PM - Break dancers
3:30 PM - Olivia Garcia-The new Selena
3:45 PM - DJ - Shining Soul
4:00 PM - Present art & essay winners
4:30 PM - New Carpa Theater (Los Repatriados/The Repatriated)
5:00 PM - End 

For information about the CPLC's Dia de La Raza events at Barrios Unidos Park, contact Jose Cortez . Community/Media Specialist , Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. , Tel: 602-257-0700 E-mail:


Nov. 7-16, 2008
Mr. Ambassador: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro by James E. Garcia
" Nov. 7-16, 2008, Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave. "Mr. Ambassador: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro" by James E. Garcia. Based on the life of Raul H. Castro, Arizona's only Latino governor and former U.S. ambassador. Tickets available immediately at or by calling 602-254-2151, press 4. 

Dec. 12-20
American Pastorela: The Road to the White House by James E. Garcia
" Dec. 12-20, Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave. American Pastorela is a satirical take on the nativity story. When the Hernandez family in Sonora hears news of the baby Jesus, and set off to Phoenix to catch the light rail to Bethlehem. Guided by Bartolo, a curandero who speaks to God through his I-Pod, the Hernandez family encounters an array of characters along the way, including the Minutemen, twin brothers Monty and Harry Dystal, El Diablo, and more than a few failed presidential candidates. Tickets available now at or by calling 602-254-2151, press 4. 


A Jewish Immigrant and Spanish Proverbs of South Texas

Norman Rozeff


A Russian Jewish immigrant to South Texas and Spanish language proverbs do not seem to have much in common. Yet, that does not prove the case. It was in the year 1906, two years after the coming of the railroad to South Texas changed the face of the area forever, that Morris Edelstein, a 16-year old immigrant from Kalvar'y'a, Lithuania, came to the Lower Rio Grande Valley. After initially peddling his home furnishing and photographic service items from door-to-door, he was able to rent a space to sell clothing in Brownsville, Texas. He continued with the furniture sales too, and soon Edelstein's Better Furniture was established. His business would thrive and grow over the years and would eventually have 14 outlets across the Valley.

Morris became fluent in Spanish. This, of course, stood him in good stead with the large Mexican ethnic population of the community. He, in fact, donated to the city a parcel of his land that had become surrounded by residences for a children's park. He did so in gratitude for the Mexicans that had helped him achieve success.

His family recounts another story regarding his Spanish language skills that proved very valuable. From the year 1910 to 1920 the area was adversely affected by the Mexican Revolution and banditry on both sides of the river. One very serious incident involved bandits who derailed the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway train near Olmito as it was traveling south to Brownsville. Three innocent people were killed. The narrative Morris' son relates is as follows:

"In the train wreck of October 7, 1915, as the bandits approached my Dad, he told them in fluent Spanish to please leave his suitcase alone. Taking him for a Mexican, they did nothing to him. His knowledge of Spanish saved his life. There was another passenger, a traveling salesman, whom the bandits seized and were ready to kill, when my father shouted in Spanish, "Don't kill him; he is a German!" (which he was not). In those days the people in Mexico had a high respect for Germans. Some of the generals in the Mexican army were of German descent. The Germans were also friendly to the bandits. They furnished the bandits with guns, ammunition, and other necessities, hoping that the bandits would drive all of the Texas settlers out of the state. The bandits stole the black porter's shoes forcing him to run some three miles barefoot before he could spread the news of the train robbery.

The traveling salesman profusely thanked Dad for having saved his life but swore that he would never return to Texas. For as long as he lived, every Christmas time the traveling salesman mailed Dad a Christmas card.

There was an elderly Mexican couple on the wrecked train. When the rangers came to examine the wreck, they came across the elderly couple, thinking they may have assisted the bandits. Dad told the rangers that these people had boarded the train in Houston, that they were only passengers, and had no connection with the bandits. The Rangers proceeded down the aisle."  (One can only imagine what was on their minds.)

Perhaps because there are so many proverbs in the Yiddish language used by Eastern European Jews (one collection of them is titled "1001 Yiddish Proverbs"), Morris Edelstein would pointedly express his thoughts by using not only Yiddish proverbs but Spanish ones too. His family put together a list of Old Spanish proverbs that Morris loved. Here are some of them with their English translation or equivalent as kindly furnished by my daughter-in-law, Norma Cortez Rozeff:

Cuando una rama se seca, dos o tres están floriando. Cuando unos brazos se cierran, dos mil les están abrasando. 
[When one branch withers, two or three will flourish.]

Comiendo buena cena y durmiendo en cama buena, aunque sea noche mala para mi es noche buena.
[Eating a good dinner and sleeping in a good bed, for me, makes a good night.]

Aqui en paz descansa mi queridisima suega y también en mi casa nosotros descansamos.
[Here in peace is where my beloved mother-in-law rests and in my home we also rest.]

Para cambio, aunque sean guaraches.
[For a change, even sandals would make a difference.]

El hambre es la major salsa.
[Hunger is the best sauce.]

El que nada no se ahoga, y el que ahoga, sigue nadando.
[The one who swims will never drown, and the one that drowns will follow floating.]

Ya mero, nada más falta el mero.
[Already pure, nothing more does the pure lack.]

Al cabo nada más estamos hablando.
[To the end we are nothing more than talk.]

Apuntamelo en el hielo.
[Write it on ice.]

No lloro, solo me acuerdo.
[I don't cry, I just remember.]

De grano en grano llena la gallina el buche.
[Grain by grain the chicken will fill up its gizzard.]

Dichoso el calvo, que ni el peina se la atora.
[Lucky are the bald for the comb does not get stuck.]

l que no habla, Dios no lo oye.
[If you don't speak out God will not hear you.]

Aldgo, es algo dijo el diablo cuando se llevo a Miguel.
["Something is better than nothing", said the Devil as he bore himself to (the angel) Michael.] 

Cuando un coyote canta y acaba con 'qua, es que el tiempo va a cambiar o que sigue como esta.
[When a coyote sings and ends with a "waa", it's because the weather will change or stay as is.]

Cuando el tecolote canta, el indio muere.
[When the owl sings, the Indian dies.]

Panza llena, corazon contento.
[Full belly, contented heart.]

En boca cerrado no entran moscas.
[In a closed mouth flies do not enter.]

El que no llora, no mama.
[One who does not cry does not suckle.]

Poca gente buena pero el diablo es mucho.
[There are few good people, but the devilish are many.]

Poco veneno no mata.
[A little poison will not kill.]

Lo del agua al agua.
[What belongs to the water goes to the water.]

El trabajor mas lento-- El Relámpago.
[The slowest worker—lightning.]

Más vale tarde que nunca.
[Better late than never.]

Al ojo del amo engorda el caballo.
[Under the care of the master, the horse will thrive.]

El que madruga, Dios le ayuda.
[God will help the one who rises early.]

No por mucho madruga amanece mas temprano.
[It is not because one awakes early that there is an earlier sunrise.]

Más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando.
[A bird in the hand is worth one hundred flying.]

Todo el que a su hijo consiente, va engordando una serpiente.
[One who spoils the child is fattening a serpent.]

Camarōn que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente, y mismo pasa entre la gente.
[[A sleepy shrimp is taken by the current, and the same happens to people.]

Perro que ladra no muerde.
[A dog that barks doesn't bite.]

Cuando el río suena, agua lleva.
[When the river makes noise, water is flowing.]

El que tiene hambre le atiza a la olla.
[He who is hungry stirs the pot.]

Árbol que crece torcido, nunca su tronco endereza.
[The tree that grows crooked will never straighten.]

No hay borracho que coma lumbre.
[There is no drunk who will eat fire.]

El borracho y el muchacho siempre dicen la verdad.
[The drunk and the young always tell the truth.]

Limosnero y con garrote.
[A beggar with a club.]

Tanto peca el que mata la vaca como el que le agarra la pata.
[As much as he who kills the cow sins so does the one who holds the cow's leg.]

En el pais de los ciegos, el tuerto es rey.
[In the country of the blind, the one-eyed one is king.]

El que persevera alcanza.
[The one who perseveres will overcome.]

El sordo no oye pero compone.
[The deaf one can't hear but will make things up or an ignoramus will add to the conversation regardless of his knowledge.]

El que con coyotes se junta, a aullar se ensena.
[The individual who associates with coyotes will learn to howl.]

Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.
[The Devil knows more for being old rather than for being the Devil.]

Si oyes cosejos llegaras a viejo.
If you take advice you will grow old.]

La rueda que rechina recibe el aceite.
[The wheel that squeaks gets the grease.]

Ya veremos dijo el ciego, pero nunca vio.
["We'll see", said the blind but never saw.]

Poco a poco ando lejos.
[Little by little I get far.]

Let's hope that these proverbs that have distilled so much wisdom and experience over the ages remain part of our culture and continue to be passed down from generation to generation.



Anti-Spanish Legends



By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, 
Scholar in Residence, Western New Mexico University ; Professor Emeritus, Texas State University System—Sul Ross

The Bad Seed--Number 4 in a series on La Leyenda Negra  



y the 19th century there was no getting around it—thanks to the Black Legend, the global image of Spain (but especially in the Americas) was as “the bad seed.” Sherwood Anderson’s dramatization of William March’s novel The Bad Seed finds root in the 19th century imagination of Anglo-America about the Spaniards and their progeny in the Americas—especially in the United States—due to the persistent defamation of the Spanish character by Anglo American animosity. Spanish seed was bad, bad, bad! Unredeemingly bad.

      Historian David J. Weber has it right when he assesses the persistence of the Black Legend as furthering Anglo-American aspirations in North America which saw Spain and its progeny as “obstacles to their ambitions” of manifest destiny (The Spanish Frontier in North America, 1994). While this Hispanophobia has deep religious roots in Europe , its wellspring in the United States was fed by economic competition with Spain and its American colonies. Instead of greeting Mexican independence from Spain in 1821 with jubilation, Anglo Americans like the Historian and Unitarian minister Jared Sparks (later president of Harvard) opined instead that Mexican independence would not succeed because the Mexicans lacked “the materials and elements of a good national character” which the Spaniards never planted in them.

      The Black Legend fostered anti-Hispanic jingoism and the aspirations of manifest destiny in the United States of the early 19th century. This wave of Hispanophobia made it easier for Anglo Americans to provoke unrest in Mexican Texas, despite adjurations to the contrary by Anglo colonists in Texas who were granted land settlements by Mexico in the 1820s. In the space of a dozen years, those Anglo colonists, abetted by notable Mexicans who saw more favorable fortunes in an American Texas than a Mexican Texas, were successful in establishing the Republic of Texas as an independent nation for a decade until annexed by the United States in 1845, the act that precipitated the U.S. War against Mexico 1846-1848. From 1819 to 1848, the United States increased its area by a third at Spanish and Mexican expense, justified by the Black Legend.

      Disparaging images of Mexicans in the period between 1819 ant 1848 were reinforced by such American writers as Richard Henry Dana who in Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, described the Mexicans of San Francisco as “an idle, thriftless people who could make nothing for themselves” (1959, 59).

      In 1852, Colonel John Monroe, commander of the Ninth Military Department of the United States (which included New Mexico ), reported to Washington that “the New Mexicans are thoroughly debased and totally incapable of self-government, and there is no latent quality about them that can ever make then respectable. They have more Indian blood than Spanish, and in some respects are below the Pueblo Indians, for they are not as honest or as industrious” (Congressional Globe, 32nd Congress, 2nd Session, January 10, 1853, Appendix, p. 104).

      Four years later, W.W.H. Davis, United States Attorney for the Territory of New Mexico , wrote a propos of his experiences with Mexican Americans that “they possess the cunning and deceit of the Indian, the politeness and the spirit of revenge of the Spaniard, and the imaginative temperament and fiery impulses of the Moor.” He describes them as smart and quick but lacking the “stability and character and soundness of intellect that give such vast superiority to the Anglo-Saxon race over every other people.” He ascribed to them the “cruelty, bigotry, and superstition” of the Spaniard, a marked characteristic from earliest times. Moreover, he saw these traits as “constitutional and innate in the race.” In a moment of kindness, Davis suggested that the fault lay no doubt on their “spiritual teachers,” the Spaniards, who never taught them “that beautiful doctrine which teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves” (New Mexico and her People, 1857, 85-86).

      These were the images of American Hispanics that 19th century Anglo Americans left for their progeny of the 20th and 21st centuries, images which continue to fuel anti-Hispanic sentiments in the United States as part of the legacy of the Black Legend.                                                                                           

 Copyright © 2008 by the author. All rights reserved.


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Japan aboard the USS Cowpens
First Company of native Puerto Ricans enlisted in the American Colonial Army, 
National Postal Museum In Collaboration with the United States Postal Service


Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Japan aboard the USS Cowpens

From left to right: Valentine Elizondo, Marta Gordon, Joel Ramirez, Andrea gonzales, Ramon Gil, Dixon Rivera, Silvio Leon, Rene Jimenez, Elbert Moreno, and Robert Gonzalez who sent the photos.

The Celebration on the Mighty Warship USS Cowpens went well.  Due to our continuing mission.  We were able squeeze a small presentation and cake cutting celebration. The Event was put together by Chief Valentine Elizondo and Petty Officer Dixon Rivera.  Focus was on the Diversity of the Military.
Captain Holly Graf started the Celebration. Chief Elizondo was the master of Ceremony and presented the guest speakers.  Each speaker presented themselves and a bit of their Hispanic Heritage.  Short and sweet.  We had Tejano music playing,  which made any Tejano homesick.  I photographed the event.  Sharing little stories of each speaker,  showed
a little different side of everyone.  It made for good entertainment. We now know a little more history of each of our Family in arms. Which helps the Navy be stronger than ever, through Diversity.  The cake cutting was by Petty Officer Dixon Rivera.

Sent by Robert Gonzalez..Del valle




David Garcia puts the finishing touches on their Congressional Medal of Honor display at the August Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.  Mr. Garcia is a WW II Veteran and is serving as the American GI Forum Washington State Commander.


First Company of native Puerto Ricans enlisted in the American Colonial Army, 
1899 Puerto Rico.


Last updated Monday 15 September 2008
Sent by Rafael Ojeda who recommends saving for next year.



Hispanic Contributions to the Americas
Created by MJ Meredith, Museum Specialist

National Postal Museum In Collaboration with the United States Postal Service

Since the first Spanish explorers and settlers landed in the Americas, Hispanic people have shaped the history and culture of the United States and Latin America. Today, Hispanic people continue to demonstrate excellence in many areas including politics, public service, music, film, sports, business, science, and the military. The significant contributions of Hispanic people and events have been honored on numerous United States postage stamps. This featured collection showcases these contributions through the lens of the American postage stamp. 

The National Postal Museum would like to thank the United States Postal Service for its contributions to this featured collection including narrative text from their Publication 295, "Hispanic People and Events on U.S. Postage Stamps."

Rafael Ojeda writes: Somos Primos readers, if you have any of these stamps or know of someone that may have the complete set of 64, please write to me.  I would like to be in contact with any Hispanic Stamp collectors.  I will be trying to set up a national Hispanic committee for two other projects. 

I would like to find US themed Hispanic Stamps to see if we can collect them and donate them to Archives Depositories such as Maggie Rivas at U of TX, the new proposed Hispanic Military Veteran Museum in TX, or the Smithsonian Hispanic Museum.  Perhaps some of our parents or children have collected stamps as a hobby, and  may have some of these stamps in their stamps collector books.

If anyone has them on envelope with the post stamp, I hope that they can donate them complete with the envelopes so our professional can process them for archives. 
I found a copy of the 2003 Pub 295 booklet on ebay with the stamps photos and the words in English and Spanish. I only wished that my good friends in the USPS had told me about many of these stamps and of of this booklets like they told me of Chavez and some of the other stamps. Now that I know how to subscribe to these links, I will share them with all our friends each year.

I have found so many great ideas from our African Americans that I want to emulate them and try to catch up with them with our future Hispanic Stamps. 

God Bless, Rafael Ojeda



Military and Law Enforcement Heroes

Women in the Military
East Austin Lions Club to Honor Viet Nam Veterans
Assistance for Military Spouses looking for Career Advancement
Ruben A. Curbeo <   Title
Latino Pilots


El Monte, CA -  Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (CA-32) will join the United States Postal Service and elected officials from the City of El Monte to dedicate the El Monte Post Office, located at 11151 Valley Blvd, on Saturday, October 11 at 10:00 a.m. after U.S. Army Specialist Marisol Heredia, the first servicewoman from the San Gabriel Valley to die in the Iraq war. 

U.S. Army Specialist Marisol Heredia was born and raised in El Monte, California.  She attended Mountain View High School, where she was a dedicated student interested in French culture and was vice president of the school’s French club.  She graduated half a year earlier than her class.  Out of admiration for her older sister who served in the U.S. Army and the opportunities the armed forces could offer for traveling, she enlisted on July, 2005.  She was a member of the U.S. Army’s 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Calvary Division, which was deployed from Fort Hood, Texas.

On July 18, 2007 a vehicle Specialist Heredia was fueling caught on fire in Baghdad, Iraq.  She was evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, for treatment, but passed away on September 7, 2007 as a result of her injuries.   

Legislation introduced by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis to dedicate the El Monte post office in honor of Specialist Heredia was signed into law on July 15, 2008 (Public Law No: 110-267).

WHAT: Marisol Heredia Post Office Building Dedication Ceremony 
WHEN: Saturday, October 11, at 10 A.M.
WHERE: El Monte Post Office, 11151 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91731
WHO:  Hon. Hilda L. Solis, Family and Friends of U.S. Army Specialist Marisol Heredia, El Monte City Council Members



October 12, 2008
Los Angeles Times: In El Monte, a memorial to a fallen daughter 

Valley Boulevard post office is being renamed in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Marisol Heredia, the first female casualty of the Iraq war from the San Gabriel Valley.
By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

For Immediate Release 
October 12, 2008 Contact: Roberto Soberanis 
(202) 225-5464; (202) 593-1669 

As people waited in line at the El Monte Post Office Saturday morning to mail letters and packages before the Columbus Day holiday, more than 200 others gathered outside the building for a special dedication ceremony. 

The Valley Boulevard post office was being renamed in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Marisol Heredia, the first female casualty of the Iraq war from the San Gabriel Valley.

Under a swaying arch of green and pink balloons -- Heredia's favorite colors -- Rep. Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) and El Monte city officials spoke about Heredia's love of traveling, the French language and her country before unveiling a plaque bearing her name as her family looked on. 

"Today we're remembering a brave member of our community," Solis said. "This is a symbol of gratitude we keep for the heroes and heroines."

Born and raised in El Monte, Heredia followed her sister, Claudia, into the Army after high school in summer 2005. She was assigned to the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.

Marisol Heredia, who held the rank of Specialist 4, was badly burned in an accident in Baghdad on July 18, 2007, after a generator she was fueling caught fire. She was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where she died on Sept. 7. She was 19.

"She was not only my sister, she was my best friend," said Claudia Heredia, 23, her voice quivering as she addressed the crowd. "Now she's my hero."

Rosa Heredia, Marisol's mother, said after Saturday's ceremony that she could feel her daughter looking down at the family with a big smile.

But that's because "she was a shy girl," Claudia said. "She would be a little embarrassed by all this."

Solis spearheaded the legislation to dedicate the El Monte Post Office in the 11000 block of Valley Boulevard in honor of Marisol Heredia because she is "a symbol to young Latina girls who aspire to lead a better life." The bill was signed into law July 15. It's the third post office dedication for a fallen soldier in the 32nd District, which includes portions of East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

"We've had well over 124 deaths in our district; she was the first young woman and she was a Latina," Solis said. "It's tragic and, of course, we want to be supportive of the family and be helpful to them. She was one of us. She's from the neighborhood."

Inside the post office was an oil painting depicting Heredia with the Mountain View High School mascot (a Viking), a section of a map of France and the Eiffel Tower. The painting will be on display in the lobby along with a short biography to be written by Claudia Heredia. 

"It's very special to see her being honored by her community," said Danielle Alejo, 23, who met Marisol Heredia in basic training at Ft. Jackson, S.C., in 2005. "She was such a good person. . . . She could always make me laugh when I was down."

Though the ceremony was brief, the plaque will serve as a constant reminder to those who knew of Heredia's legacy.

"I always pictured us meeting sometime in the future in Paris at some cafe," said Kris Hanna, Heredia's former French teacher at Mountain View High School. "Now I can think of her every time I come through this post office."

The U.S. Postal Service has also issued a special pictorial postmark to commemorate the ceremony. It will be applied free of charge to any card, envelope or ceremony program that has first-class postage; it is available upon request up to 30 days after the ceremony at the El Monte Post Office.

Kimberly Castillo, 21, Heredia's best friend since the sixth grade, patiently waited for a postmark after the ceremony. She said she still writes letters to Heredia. 

"There's a lot of things that have happened in my life that I could only tell her," Castillo said. "So, I do. I write in my journals and address each entry to her. I don't ever want to forget her."  yvonne.villarreal@

 Sent by Dr. Granville Hough and Mercy Bautista Olvera



Latinos/Latinas – Ultimate – Sacrifice

Part X

By Mercy Bautista-Olvera  



In the coming months this series “Latinos/Latinas Ultimate Sacrifice” will continue to present the stories and contributions of heroes who have sacrificed their lives for United States . The reason for me to be interested in writing about Hispanics, who lost their lives in Wars, I want to be one of their voices. We do appreciate their sacrifice. It is my sincere belief and commitment, that these heroes are never forgotten. Take time to look at their faces, read their histories, and keep their spirit alive…  

Army Cpl. Joseph A. Blanco 25, of Bloomington , Calif. , died April 11, 2006 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle and he subsequently came under small arms fire during combat operations in Taji , Iraq .    Assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood , Texas

Joseph Anthony Blanco was born in Los Angeles California , when he was a young child the family moved to Bloomington in San Bernardino County . He graduated from Bloomington High School in 1998. He was preparing himself for what he really wanted several years in the military followed by a career in law enforcement. In 2000 he took training in Hapkido, (a Korean discipline of Martial Arts,) earning a black belt. “He just showed up one day and watched and liked what he saw and fell in love with it,” said his instructor Jada Sanchez. Joseph joined in the Army to help paying for college tuition; he wanted to study either art of computers, in case a career in law enforcement did not work out. Army Corp. Joseph A. Blanco wanted to help the community, he wanted to keep everyone safe, and to use his martial arts training to stop criminals instead of having to use a gun, said his father Jose.  


Army Cpl. Luis D. Santos 20, of Rialto , Calif. , died on June 8, 2006 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Buritz , Iraq . Assigned to 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson , Colorado .

Luis D. Santos attended Fontana High School . He was on the track-and-field team and was engaged to his high school sweetheart Vanessa. His parents Carlos and Irma, who emigrated from Guatemala , were hoping their son would choose college instead. “We were not that thrilled at [his enlistment,] at the same time we were proud.”  At his funeral, childhood friends and army comrades talked about Santos leadership instincts. People looked up to him at Fontana High, Santos was his role model on the track-and-field team, said his classmate Diego. Ray Corona, who taught Luis Santos boxing when the fallen soldier was a teen, told the crowd at St. Catherine Church “Luis Santos was tough kid with a big heart,”  “I can remember he busted a kid up with a great combination and stopped to apologize in the middle of the fight,” Corona recalled. "When asked why he joined the Army, he didn't say for the college money or I needed a job or I wanted to see the world,” said Spc. Anthony Chicoine, "he said, 'because it's something I believe in' and that is what makes a hero." "He wanted to experience something more and serve his country and become more mature as a person,” said his mother Irma. 

Army Spc. Manuel Joaquin Holguin Jr., 21, of Woodlake , Calif. , died July 15, 2006 of injuries sustained when his dismounted patrol encountered enemy small-arms fire and an improvised explosive device in Baghdad .  Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder , Germany .

Manuel Joaquin Holguin Jr., enjoyed playing soccer and baseball in Woodlake High School . He enlisted shortly after graduating. He finished boot camp in March 2003; Manuel unit arrived in Iraq and spent the first 12 months in Baghdad before heading to the southern part of the country. Manuel J. Holguin wanted to follow his family tradition of serving in the military. His grandfather was a World War II veteran and his two uncles fought in Vietnam . He heard their stories while growing up in the small Central Valley town of Woodlake , CA.  “He set a challenge for himself,” and if it happened to be that he would go to war, then he would conduct himself honorably and serve proudly,” said his father Manuel Sr. His father said that his son was supposed to leave the Army in November, but his duty was extended and was ordered back to Iraq. Army Spc. Manuel Joaquin was looking forward to getting out of the service and becoming a police officer, “It was his nature to do things with a lot of action.” Holguin ’s family told The Associated Press that the young man was a selfless soldier, proud of his duty in Iraq . “He had no qualms about why he was in the military and what his job was,” his father told the Fresno Bee newspaper. His son waived at least two chances to come home to come home on leave, one time allowing a married comrade to go in his place, the second time, his father said, his son declined leave and said he did not want his comrades fighting a man short while he was gone.

Sgt. David J. AlmazanArmy Sgt. David Jimenez Almazan 27, of Van Nuys , Calif. , died Aug. 27, 2006 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations, in Hit , Iraq . Assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg , Germany .

David Jimenez Almazan was born in Guadalajara , Mexico . He came to United States with his mother and two sisters when he was 11 years old, joining their father David Jimenez Sr. who was already living in California, growing up in the San Fernando Valley, he was known as David Jimenez, David a graduate of Van Nuys High School in 1997 was a role model. The day when Army Sgt. Almazan died, his  platoon was on patrol to clear the city’s streets of improvised explosive devices, deadly roadside bombs used by insurgents to target Coalition and Iraqi forces, the battalion is part of Regimental Combat Team 7, the U.S. military unit that provides security and mentors Iraqi Security Forces in Iraq’s western Al Anbar Province. “He was my squad leader, and a leader he was,” said Spc. Justin Teplitz, “He lived by the NCO creed, and all Army values, and always acted as a professional who cared about the soldiers.” Teplitz recalled speaking with Almazan shortly before, they both deployed for Iraq : “He asked me and a few others, optimistically, if we were ready to go to Iraq , earlier this month,” said Teplitz. Almazan frequently took time to ensure the men who were “fighting the fight” were healthy, and taken care of. His presence added comfort to fellow soldiers. “He made the soldiers feel that much more at ease,” said 1st Lt. Joshua Zeldin, Almazan’s medical platoon leader. “I’m not just talking about the soldiers he served with on the ground, but also the medics he took the time to train.” “The younger soldiers in his platoon would look up to him for courage as they prepared to face battle for the first time,” said Capt. Sean B. Coulter, Almazan’s company commander. “He did not balk at his duties. Saving the lives of his fellow soldiers in battle was his calling.” “(He was) a combat crewman veteran who would have proudly been a “lifer” in the United States Army, and husband to  wife Salina he cared so much about,” added Teplitz. “He was a Spartan through and through,” said Lt. Col. Thomas C. Graves, 1-36’s commanding officer. “He served his country with distinction, willing to go anywhere, and do anything for his family soldiers and for his nation.”

Note: In the Army David J. Almazan used his mother’s maiden name.

Army Cpl. Cesar A. Granados 21, of Le Grand , Calif. , died on Sept 15, 2006 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad . Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood , Texas .

Cesar Granados played football at Le Grand High School in  Merced County , everyone called the defensive tackle “Big C,” because he stood 6 feet 5 and 270 pounds. People in the community knew Granados was polite and gentle giant who spent time in Mexicali when he was younger. He loved rap music in English and Spanish, his mother and two younger sisters, who looked up to him as a role model and father figure. However, he hoped someday to join the California Highway Patrol or the U.S. Border Patrol. When Army recruiters came to campus and told him that he could play some football in the military and that the training could help prepare him for a career in law enforcement, he turned to his football coach for advice. He asked if [joining] was a good idea,” said Coach Rick Martinez. I said, ‘It’s wartime although he had the grades to go to college, the clincher for Granados was that he could earn money in the Army to help his family.” He knew what he was risking and felt the sacrifice was worth it,” said an aunt. He enjoyed receiving mail; the coach’s wife had her second grade class write him. Relatives say Granados was moved by the violence he saw and the plight of hungry Iraqi children. He asked his mother to send Mexican candy for them. Coach Martinez said. A fellow soldier would later tell his mother that, when the blast hit him, Granados was talking about visiting his family later that month. Granados was the first former Le Grand High School student to die in Iraq , Martinez said, and people at the school were devastated. During a recent football game, Granados was honored with a color guard salute, and taps played in a final farewell to “Big C.

Luis  G.  AyalaArmy Spc. Luis G. Ayala 21, of South Gate , Calif. , died on December 28, 2006 in Taji , Iraq , of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit while on combat patrol. Assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood , Texas .

 Luis Ayala graduated from South Gate High School in 2003 he was of one of three sons raised by a single mother, an immigrant from Michoacán, Mexico The most important thing in Spc. Luis G. Ayala's life was his family, said Spc. Mathew Caines. No matter how stressful a day of work was, the 21-year-old always left with a smile on his face because he was going home to his wife, Deniz and son, Miguel Luis. He joined the Army and after serving a year in Iraq in 2004, he was sent back to Iraq . The Army seemed like a path to a better life, a way to pay for college. After basic training in Georgia , Ayala was sent to Germany . On his free time, he and another soldier frequented a park near the base. In that park is where he met a German girl name Deniz, in time, Luis and Deniz fell in love, Deniz spoke little English and no Spanish. Luis spoke no German. Nevertheless, he took German lessons. and married Deniz. Despite Ayala's 2004 tour in Iraq , the couple's romance endured the distance and the war. In May, the couple had a son, Miguel Luis Ayala. The couple lived for a while at Ft. Hood , and then Army Pfc. Ayala transferred back to Germany , Ayala again prepared to go to war. "He was very happy," his mother Livier said. "He didn't want to go back to Iraq ." She has spoken to his son’s wife, the woman who was briefly married to her son. Spc. Luis Ayala’s mother knows that somewhere far away in Germany she has a grandson.  

Army Spc. Agustin Gutierrez 19, of San Jacinto , Calif. , died March 29, 2007 in North Kabul , Afghanistan , of injuries suffered during a non-combat-related vehicle accident March 28 in North Kabul .  Assigned to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, Headquartered at Fort Bragg , North Carolina , and had volunteered to be a gunner in a convoy that day.

Agustin Gutierrez attended San Jacinto High School , earning good grades. He had a twin brother Jose. Their nephew Elvis two-years-younger became close to his uncles, the extended family called the boys the Three Musketeers, and the boys were inseparable. His sister Cecilia did not want her brother to go to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , but her brother told her that the army offered him help with school and a chance to see new places. Gutierrez had planed to come home in June to join his twin for their 20th birthday and to reunite the Three Musketeers. At Army Spc. Agustin Gutierrez, funeral more than a dozen members of the division's honor guard accompanied the hearse from Ontario International Airport to the mortuary. The paratroopers were clad in the crisp green uniforms and maroon berets of their unit, their black leather jump boots shining. Half-dozen troopers stood at attention, rifles at present arms, as the American flag, fluttering outside the mortuary, was lowered to half-staff. Another group carried the casket inside. He was proud of serving his country and had decided to make the Army a career. "He was one of a kind," said Spc. Zeeshan Mithani, who served with Gutierrez at Fort Bragg . Spc. Agustin Gutierrez was always one of the first to volunteer for extra duty his sergeant told the family.    


Army Pfc. Gabriel J. Figueroa 20, of Baldwin Park , Calif. , died April 3, 2007 in Baghdad when his unit was attack with enemy forces using small-arms fire.  Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood , Texas , as a Medic. 

Army Pfc. Gabriel Figueroa one of five children, grew up in Baldwin Park, attended Sierra Vista High School, while in high school Gabriel Figueroa  was a Police Explorer with the Baldwin Park Police Department and volunteered at  a local hospital, visiting the sick and helping nurses with their duties. After high school, Figueroa worked briefly for United Parcel Service before deciding to enlist in the Army. His parents urged him to reconsider, telling him that duty in Iraq was too dangerous. Nevertheless, he was resolute, and his parents relented. Once he joined, he had our full support,” Army Medic Gabriel Figueroa had borrowed the phone from a friend, to call his father, the father and son spoke for only a few minutes. Gabriel told his dad that he was preparing to go out on patrol. “Be very careful, son,” his father said. “Don’t forget to say your prayers,” hours later, Gabriel J. Figueroa, 20, was shot and killed. His parents said military officials later told them that their son had been handing out candy and toys to Iraqi children when a sniper shot him.

Army Cpl. Michael M. Rojas 21, of Fresno , Calif. , died April 18, 2007 in Taji , Iraq , when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis , Washington .

Michael M. Rojas grew up in Fresno and attended Reyburn Intermediate School and Clovis East High School . He was active in sports throughout his school years and loved being around his large family, "His biological father and grandfather both served," As a young man, Rojas made it clear that he planned to join the Army as well; the Army was in his blood. "He started talking about joining the Army when he was in seventh grade," said his sister Michelle Cordova. "He said that he respected the service of the men and women who had gone before him, and he felt he wanted to serve as well. He enlisted while he was still in high school and left after he graduated." Rojas, who turned 21 in March and married his girlfriend Katrina, who resided in Washington State in September while home on leave from Iraq , Army Cpl. Michael M. Rojas had several brothers and sisters. Rojas also made no distinction between his biological, step or half-siblings, David Cordova said. "He never saw my sons as his stepbrothers, even though he had no biological connection with them," David Cordova said. "They were his brothers.”  


Felix  G.  Gonzalez-IrahetaArmy Sgt. Felix G. Gonzalez-Iraheta 25, of Sun Valley , Calif. , died on May 3, 2007 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his unit encountered enemy forces using small-arms fire. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

Felix Gonzalez=Iraheta was born in El Salvador ; His family moved to the San Fernando Valley in California when Felix was one year old. The family saw him as a hero at a very early age. Felix was 11 years old when he saved his younger brother from a powerful river current. Felix Gonzalez-Iraheta attended San Fernando High School . As a teenager, he help his parents make ends meet after his father’s stroke. Gonzalez-Iraheta joined the Army after graduating from high school. His brother Cesar, now 21 and an Air Force mechanic stationed in New Mexico , recalled the day that his brother took him sneaker shopping at Footlocker, not the discount store they usually patronized. Gonzalez-Iraheta found some fancy sneakers to buy for himself, until he saw Cesar checking out a pair with flashing lights that were all the rage at the time. With no questions asked, he picked them up and brought them to the counter,” Cesar said. It was a simple act. Nevertheless, he was always like that. He was never looking for praise for everything he did for us. He would say, ‘I’m your older brother, and it’s my responsibility.’ ” Army Sgt. Felix Gonzalez-Iraheta was stationed in Germany when he found the love of his life and started a family of his own. He met his wife, Janet, through a fellow soldier. He called her “Schatz,” which is German for “my darling.” Gonzalez-Iraheta’s father, still incapacitated from his stroke, was not told of his eldest son’s death. Nine days later, however, he too died. We have a saying in Germany : The soul leaves the body after nine days,” Janet Gonzalez-Iraheta said. “That’s exactly the amount of time between their deaths. That’s why we think that Felix took his dad with him.” ”In fulfillment of his last wish, Gonzalez-Iraheta was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia .”

Special thanks to Alan Lessig, Director of Photography, for the website, “Military   Times, Honor the Fallen” ( for granting permission to reproduce photos for this article.



Brigadier General Ruben A. Cubero

               By: Tony (The Marine) Santiago  


 I know what it is like to be from a broken family and to be raised in a crime ridden community. I was raised in the South Bronx, one of the toughest places in the United States and to top it off, I lived in Simpson St. The most drug infested street with the highest crime rate in the Bronx. It was so tough that a movie, “Fort Apache, the Bronx” was made about it. However, just because I was raised under tough conditions didn’t mean that I had to end up dead in an alley from a drug overdose or in jail for the rest of my life. I wasn’t a saint, I did a lot things that were wrong and I knew what I was doing. I am responsible for my actions and I  have never blamed anybody for my misgivings.  I had a choice, I could have continued in gangs or I could try to help others to understand that they too have a choice and that they could do great things for our society by writing about positive role models and their contributions.  

This is the story of Ruben A. Cubero, who like myself came from a poor family and was raised in the South Bronx.  Cubero, who attended New York City’s public school system,  also had a choice, he could taken the easy way out and become a gangster, instead he sought a higher level of education for a better life and became the first Hispanic graduate of the United States Air Force Academy to be named Dean of the Faculty of the academy.    
Early years

During the 1930s, Puerto Rico's economic situation suffered because of the Great Depression and many of the islanders moved to the northeastern coast of the United States in search of jobs. Cubero's parents, who were from the towns of Isabela and Camuy, were among the many Puerto Ricans who moved to New York City seeking a better way of life. Cubero's parents settled down in the Bronx borough of the city where on December 17, 1939, he was born. Cubero went to school in the city's public school system receiving his primary education at P.S. (public school) 76. His family moved to Queens, New York when he was a teenager and he continued his education at Catholic school. Cubero graduated from high school in 1957.

                                  Military career

 Cubero entered the United States Air Force in 1957 and was accepted into the Air Force Academy. On June 7, 1961, Cubero graduated from the third graduating class of the Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant.

From August 1961 to February 1963, he served as a pilot trainee in both the 3526th Student Squadron, Williams Air Force Base in Arizona and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant on December 7, 1962. After he earned his pilot wings, Cubero was assigned to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey on February 1963. There he flew the C-118 and the C-135. On December 7, 1965, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and on June 1966 he was reassigned to the 76th Military Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, where he piloted a C-141.


                               Vietnam War


                            OV-10 - Type of aircraft flown by Cubero

Cubero was sent to the Republic of Vietnam on May 1969 and was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Tay Ninh West where he flew a OV-10 and served as a forward air controller. On November 1969, he was reassigned to the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron, at Bien Hoa Air Base.


                                        Post Vietnam

 In 1970, after serving in Vietnam, Cubero returned to the States and attended the University of New Mexico. He was promoted to Major on November 1, 1971 and in 1972, he earned his Master's degree in Latin American studies. After he graduated, he was named Chairman of Spanish, Department of Foreign Languages of the U.S. Air Force Academy, a position in which he served until January 1975.  

From December 1975 to February 1978, Cubero served as instructor, Director of Joint Operations at the School of the Americas and later as senior Air Force representative at Fort Gulick in Panama. During his stay in Panama, Cubero took the Army Command and General Staff Course. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on August 1, 1977. Cubero was named faculty instructor at Air University in Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama in 1978. After four months, he returned to the Air Force Academy as acting department head, Department of Foreign Languages. On January 1980, he became a Professor and the acting department head of the Department of Foreign Languages.  

On June 1981, Cubero pursued his doctoral degree in higher education and administration at the University of Denver in Colorado. On January 1, 1982, Cubero was promoted to the rank of Colonel and in 1983 he obtained his doctorate.  

From December 1982 to July 1991, Cubero served in various positions at the Air Force Academy. Among these were Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty, Professor and Head, Department of Foreign Languages and permanent Professor and Head, Department of Foreign Languages.  

On July 1991, Cubero was named Dean of the Faculty, becoming the first person of Hispanic heritage in that position. As Dean of the Faculty, Cubero commanded the 865-member dean of the faculty mission element and oversaw the annual design and instruction of more than 500 undergraduate courses to 4,000 cadets in 19 academic departments. He led and supervised four support staff agencies and directed the operation of faculty resources involving more than $250 million. Cubero established the Air Force Academy's first Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. On August 3, 1991, Cubero was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. Cubero retired from the Air Force on July 1, 1998. He had more than 6,000 flight hours.  


Cubero is the President of the Falcon Foundation, an organization which awards scholarships to minority members to the Air Force Academy. Cubero currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his wife of 45 years, Janet Cubero. The Cuberos participate in and make donations to many charities. Among them, The Casa of the Pikes Peak Region whose goal is to ensure safety and permanency for children whose lives are in turmoil.  

Awards and Recognitions

Among Brigadier General Ruben A. Cubero's decorations and medals were the following:
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross,

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters,
Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters,
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster,
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster,
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star,
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with bronze service star,
Vietnam Service Medal with bronze service star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer

Command pilot
Air Force Academy Professor Badge

Hasta la proxima, que Dios los bendiga - Tony Santiago


Assistance for Military Spouses looking for Career Advancement


The Military Spouse CAA program is designed to help military spouses obtain certification and credentials in high demand, high-growth, portable careers.

Touted by many as the first step toward a full fledged Military Spouse tuition assistance program, the Career Advancement Accounts program provides assistance to military spouses seeking to gain the skills and credentials necessary to begin or advance their career. Career Advancement Accounts (CAA) cover the costs of training and education, enabling participants to earn a degree or credential in in-demand, portable fields in almost any community across the country.

CAA can be used to pay up to $3,000 in fees for one year, and may be renewed for one additional year, for a total two-year account amount of up to $6,000 per spouse. 

Eligibility: You are eligible for a Career Advancement Account if you: 
1. Have a high school diploma or GED 
2. Are not currently receiving training assistance funded by the U.S. Depart. of Labor and 
3. Are married to any active-duty servicemember/sponsor who: 
Is assigned to one of the installations participating in the pilot site or is deployed or on an
unaccompanied military tour from the participating installation and  
Has a minimum of one year remaining at the current installation duty assignment (unless affected by a BRAC closure) 

The CAA program eligibility was expanded recently to include a greater number of military spouses. Read about the recent changes to CAA

Eligible or potentially eligible spouses are encouraged to contact the local Family Support Centers, Voluntary Education Centers, or One-Stop Career Centers nearest to their installation for more information. 

Like most new benefit programs CAA will be available at a limited number of military installations. Participating "pilot" military installations include: 
* Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, Calif. 
* Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. 
* Fort Benning Army Installation, Ga.
* Fort Bragg Army Installation, N.C. 
* Fort Carson Army Installation, Colo. 
* Fort Lewis Army Installation, Wash. 
* Hickham Air Force Base, Hawaii 
* Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, Fla. 
* Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii 
* McChord Air Force Base, Wash. 
* Naval Air Station Brunswick, Maine 
* Naval Air Station Jacksonville , Fla. 
* Naval Station Kitsap, Wash. 
* Naval Station Pearl Harbor , Hawaii 
* Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. 
* Pope Air Force Base, N.C. 
* San Diego Naval Station, Calif. 
* Schofield Barracks Army Installation, Hawaii 

If you are not located at one of the above installations, visit to learn about other employment, education and training opportunities. 

Applicable High-demand, High-Growth Career Fields: You may use Career Advancement Accounts to receive training or education in one of these fields:

* Health Care (including jobs such as nurses, radiologic technicians, dental hygienists, pharmacy technicians, and more) 
* Education (teachers, child care workers, teacher's assistants, and more) 
* Financial Services (claims adjusters, real estate sales agents, credit analysts, bookkeeping clerks, bank tellers, and more) 
* Information Technology (computer support specialists, network analysts, database administrators, and more) 
* Skilled Trades (carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and more) 
* Human resources 
* Business management 
* Hospitality management 
* Homeland security 

Next Step: Make an appointment with the Family Support Center or Voluntary Education
Center. Find locations and contact information at:,,cf_CAA_contact,00.html

They can assist with career counseling, finding education and training resources, and
starting the application process, including determining whether or not you are eligible for a Career Advancement Account 

Sent by Willis Papillion


Patriots of the American Revolution

Question answered by Friends of Somos Primos
Early America, New England, Spain, and France
A Somewhat Overlooked Hispanic Hero
Resources for Bernardo de Galvez Research
Patriots of Peru During American Revolution, O-, # 13, by Granville Hough, Ph.D.



Question answered by Friends of Somos Primos 

In a message dated 9/25/2008 5:33:59 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

Good Morning:  Pardon my intrusion but our company is conducting a contest of Hispanic Heritage History and there is a question that I am unable to answer. My efforts have brought me to your magazine and I was hoping you can help me. 

The question is: "In addition to defeating the British Navy at the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781 during the Revolutionary War, Rear-Admiral the Comte de Grasse’s squadron carried desperately-needed hard currency that had been raised by the citizens of this city for support of the American army. What city was it?"

Any assistance you can provide me with would be greatly appreciated. 
Thank you for your time and attention to this inquiry. 

Saludos, Mary Anne J. Santana
Legal Administrative Assistant
Day Pitney LLP
7 Times Square | New York NY 10036-7311| t (212) 297 2490 | f (212) 916 2940

In a message dated 09/25/08 10:36:01 Central Daylight Time, MIMILOZANO writes:

Hi . . . I am forwarding your question to Dr. Granville Hough, Dr. Lila Guzman, and Jack Cowan, president of the Texas Connection to the American Revolution. They are experts in the history of the American Revolution. Hopefully, your question will be answered.

Regards, Mimi Lozano

Dear Mary Santana:

The city in question is Havana, Cuba and the information details can be found in Thomas E. Chavez's book, Spain And The Independence Of The United States - An Intrinsic Gift. I have attached "Appendix 4" form that book which list all the names of those who supplied that Yorktown money. I have often wondered why some sort of plaque showing these names has not been places at Yorktown or in Washington, D.C. to honor these saviors of American Independence. 

It should also be noted that those French ships were under the control of the Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez for the pending invasion of British Jamaica and were diverted instead by Galvez to support Washington at Yorktown, along with that money. The biggest story is, of course, that if it had not been for the 12,000 Texas longhorn cattle, trail driven from the Province of Texas to Louisiana from 1779 to 1781, (The Texas Connection With The American Revolution, by Robert Thonhoff)Galvez would not have been able to send the money or the ships to Yorktown, there would not have been American Independence and you and I would be driving on the wrong side of the road today.

I hope this information is what you were looking for and not more than you wanted to know. 

At Your Service, Jack Cowan
Texas Connection to the American Revolution

Thank you all, really, however, I got the answer by just reading the wonderful work of Mr. Hough himself. I even went insofar to print out the whole genealogical research so that I can read it on the way home evenings since I have such a long commute from NYC to PA every day. 

Again, you all are really great! 

Mary Anne J. Santana
Legal Administrative Assistant 
Day Pitney LLP 
7 Times Square | New York NY 10036-7311| t (212) 297 2490 | f (212) 916 2940


Early America, New England, Spain, and France

Sent by Rafael Ojeda



David Farragut 

By Richard G. Santos

James was a son of Jorge, a native of Minorca, Spain. Jorge in turn was a son of Antonio who migrated in 1776 to North America in time to serve in the War of Independence. Jorge and his wife Elizabeth Shine settled in Tennessee where James was born. After Jorge’s death, the widow married navy Captain David Porter who adopted and changed James’ name to David. The child kept his father’s Hispanic last name. At ten years of age and with his step father’s assistance, on December 17, 1810 David (James) Farragut joined the U. S. Navy. Two years later, at the outbreak of the War of 1812, the USS Essex on which he served as a midshipman captured a British boat. Twelve year old David was placed in command of the captured ship and ordered to sail the boat to port. He continued to serve aboard the USS Essex and was among the captured seamen at Valparaiso Bay, Chile, on March 28, 1814. He was exchanged the following year and continued to serve in the Navy.

Hispanic David Farragut served in the U. S. Navy during the Civil War. In charge of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Farragut served with distinction over-coming many naval obstacles in victorious battles on the Mississippi River. In recognition of his abilities, the U. S. Navy created the rank and title of Rear Admiral and promptly awarded it to Farragut. Notwithstanding his many achievements and victories, the best known action of Rear Admiral David Farragut occurred on August 5, 1864. The Confederates had mined Mobile Bay and the USS Tecumseh was the first U. S. ship to strike a mine. It should be noted that mines at that time were called torpedoes. The leading ship sank and the rest of Farragut’s fleet afraid of entering the bay held back. It was at that time that Farragut took a megaphone and after sounding the four bells alarm, shouted to his fleet “Damn the torpedoes… full steam ahead”. The Union. fleet under the command of Farragut defeated the Confederate fleet at the battle at Mobile Bay and his rallying cry became an often quoted part of navy lore and U. S. history.

His continuing Civil War victories and exploits on the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico prompted the U. S. Government to create another new rank. On December 21, 1864 he was promoted and again given a new rank and title. Hispanic David Farragut was thus the first to be awarded the rank and title of Vice Admiral. After the Civil War, Hispanic (James) David Farragut was promoted again with another new rank and title bestowed upon him. In 1866, he became the first Admiral of the U.S. Navy. Two years later he was encouraged to run for President of the United States! His second historical quote recorded his reaction to the honor. “I hasten to assure you that I have never for one moment entertained the idea of political life,” he said.

First Admiral of the U.S. Navy David Farragut passed away on August 14, 1870. His New York City funeral procession was led by President Ulysses S. Grant accompanied by some 10,000 Union sailors and soldiers. It is of the utmost importance to note that Hispanic (James) David Farragut was the first person awarded the ranks and titles of Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral and Admiral of the U. S. Navy. It is too bad most people are unaware of his extraordinary service, contribution and victories during the War of 1812 and U. S. Civil War. That would have changed had he accepted the invitation to become a Presidential candidate and perhaps President. Nonetheless, in the official history of the U. S. Navy, Admiral David Farragut is described as “a most distinguished naval officer of the Civil War”. And, we repeat, he was Hispanic. Both his father Jorge Farragut and his grandparents Antonio Farragut and Juana Mesquida were born in Spain. Once on U.S. soil, not only did they fight for Independence from Great Britain, but served heroically leaving a legacy worthy of note and history. 

It is interesting to note that even though Farragut is a Spanish surname, most people do not recognize it as such. But taking it as it may, other recognized Hispanic heroes who truly did not have Spanish surnames include Medal of Honor recipients David B. Berkley of Laredo, Texas, Lucian Adams, also a Texan, late friend Louis R. Rocco of New Mexico and though he was not awarded the Medal of Honor late friend San Diego, Texas native Carlos McDermott, a Bataan Death March survivor. Many other Hispanics with or without Spanish surname have proven the Hispanics’ commitment to the United States. From the U. S. War of Independence to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, we say muchisimas gracias. 

We cannot conclude this week’s column without noting there are many other minorities and particularly Hispanics and Blacks who have not been properly recognized by the U.S. government and armed forces. Many lost their lives in heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty. Yet for whatever reason, these brave men and women have been denied proper recognition. Still, last week the U. S. government announced it is reviewing the service records of all minorities with the intention of identifying those passed over for one reason or the other. Let us hope the government keeps its word. Many Hispanics without Spanish surnames are liable to be overlooked. Moreover, it should not take a presidential year and political hype to give credit where credit is due. One more thing, the government has also announced it will be evaluating its veteran services to female members of the armed forces. As it stands now, female veterans are being discriminated in regard to facilities and services designed to treat only male veterans. Let us hope both issues are resolved promptly. We owe them all a great deal.

Zavala County Sentinel – 18-19 June 2008


Resources for Galvez Research



(O thru Pa) #13 in the Series

Compiled by Dr. Granville Hough 


Andrés Oblitas. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Chota, 1797. Leg 7287:XIII:17.
Félix Oblitas. Alf, Mil Prov Discip Dragones de Caraveli, 1796. Leg 7287:VIII:25.
Gervasio Oblitas. Capt, Mil Discip Dragones de Acari y Chala, 1796. Leg 7286:I:3.
José Oblitas. Sgt, Mil Prov Dragones de Chota, 1797. Leg 7287:XIII:49.
Vicente Oblitas. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Chota, 1797. Leg 7287:XIII:16.
José María Ocampo. Capt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Andahuaylas, 1799. Leg 7286:XXII:9.
Juan Antonio Ochaita. Ayudante Mayor, Comp sueltas Mil Discip Inf de Trujillo, Perú, 1800. Leg 7288:XXX:4.
Juan Manuel Ochoa. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas Cab de Huánuco, 1797. Leg 7286:VI:14.
Pablo Ochoa. Alf, Mil Prov Discip Cab de Cuzco, 1792. Leg 7284:XVII:21.
Enrique O'Donovan. Capt, Mil Prov Discip Inf San Miguel de Piura, 1800. Leg 7286:XXV:10.
Cayetano Ofidalgo. Alf, Mil Dragones Prov de las fronteras de Tarma, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIX:30.
Andrés Olabarria. Capt, Comp sueltas Inf partido de Calbuco, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:V:2.
Cristóbal Olabarria. Lt, Comp sueltas Inf partido de Calbuco, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:V:4.
Luis Olabarria. Sgt, Comp sueltas Inf partido de Calbuco, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:V:13.
Pedro Olabarria. Lt, Comp sueltas Inf del partido de Carelmapú, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:XIII:4.
José Antonio Olaechea. Capt, Mil Discip Cab de Ica, 1800. Leg 7288:XX:8.
Juan Francisco Olaechea. Lt, Mil Prov Dragones de Caraveli, 1796. Leg 7287:VIII:15.
Pedro Ignacio de Olaechea. Lt Col, Mil Discip Cab de ica, 1800. Leg 7288:XX:4.
Juan Antonio de Olaechea y Arnao. Cadet, Mil Discip Cab de Ica, 1800. Leg 7288:XX:45.
Antonio Olano y Quintanilla. Lt Col, Dos Comp, sueltas Milicias Urbanas inf de Anco, 1797. Leg 7287:I:2.
Fernando de Olarte. Alf, Mil Prov urbanas Dragones de Quispicanchi, Cuzco, 1798. Leg 7286:XX:22.
Francisco Olarte. Alf, Mil Prov Cab de Cuzco, 1797. Leg 7287:X:25.
Pedro Olave. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Urubamba, 1797. Leg 7287:XXXVIII:7.
Manuel de Olaya. Lt, Mil Discip Inf Española de Lima, 1796. Leg 7286:X:4.
Domingo Olazabal. Col, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1792. Leg 7284:III:1.
Felipe de Olazabal. Capt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:9.
José de Olazabal. Capt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:11.
Rafael Olazabal. Alf, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:45.
Francisco Olazabal y Abril. Cadet, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:82.
Agustin Olea. Capt, Mil Discip Pardos y Morenos Inf de Lambayeque, 1797. Leg 7287:XXIII:6.
Juan de Dios Olea. Lt, Mil Discip Pardos y Morenos de Lambayeque, 1797. Leg 7286:XXIII:12.
Alfonso Olias. Sgt de Granaderos, Bn Prov Mil Pardos Libres de Lima, 1796. Leg 7286:XII:45.
Celedonio Oliva. Capt, Mil Discip Pardos y Morenos de Lambayeque, 1797. Leg 7287:XXIII:2.
José de la Oliva. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf San Antonio de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:III:11.
José Antonio de la Oliva. Capt, Mil Prov Discip de Cab del Valle de Chincha, 1797. Leg 7287:XII:5.
José Olivares. Sgt Mayor, Mil Urbanas Inf de Huamanga, 1800. Leg 7288:XV:3.
Manuel de Olivares. Capt, Mil Discip Inf Española de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIII:23.
Juan José Olivera. Sgt, Mil Prov Discip de Cab del Valle de Chincha, 1797. Leg 7287:XII:41.
Vicente Olivert. Capt, Inf Real de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXII:25.
Hilario Olmedo. Sgt, Bn Prov de Mil de Pardos Libres de Lima, 1796. Leg 7286:XII:65.
Francisco Javier de Olleta Redin y Valenzuela. Lt Col, Mil Discip de Inf de Zuzco, 1792. Leg 7284:V:2.
José Miguel O'Phelan. Lt, Mil Discip de Dragones de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIV:36.
Tomás Antonio O'Phelan. Alf, Mil Prov Urbanas Cab de Arequipa, 1797. Leg 7287:II:41.
Raimundo O'Phelan y Ayluardo. Capt, Mil Discip Cab de Arequipa, 1792. Leg 7284:XIII:7.
Juan Manuel O'Phelan y Daroch. SubLt, grad, Inf de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXII:87.
Manuel Orbegoso. Sgt, Mil Urbanas Cab de San Pablo de Chalaquez, 1798. Leg 7287:XI:48.
Manuel Orbeso. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huánuco, 1796. Leg 7286:V:11.
Andrés Ordoñez. Capt, Mil Prov Discip de Vab de Cuzco, 1797. Leg 7287:X:11.
Mariano Ore. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huanta, 1800. Leg 7288:XVIII:58.
José Orejuela. Sgt, Escuadrón Mil Urbanas Cab de los Territorios de Huancabamba y Chalaco, Piura, 1800. Leg 7288:XXVI:6.
Diego Orellana. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Abancay, 1793. Leg 7284:II:71.
Isidro Orellana. Lt Agregado, Mil Priv Discip de Cab de Qrequipa, 1797. Leg 7287:II:26.
Carlos Oresqui. Sgt, Inf Real de Lima, 1788. Leg 7283:II:102.
Carlos Oresqui. Capt, Comp Veteranas de la dotación de Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:XI:1.
Carlos Manuel Oresqui. Cadet, Comp Veteranas de la dotación de Chiloe, 1798. Leg 7286:XV:17.
José Orihuela. Capt, grad Lt Col, Mil Prov Discip Cab de Cuzco, 1797. Leg 7287:X:12.
Pedro Ormachea. Lt, Mil Prov Discip de Cab del Valle de Chincha, 1797. Leg 7287:XII:18.
Tomás Ormeño. Sgt, Mil Discip de Cab de Ica, 1800. Leg 7288:XX:40.
José Orna. SubLt de Bandera, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:IV:25.
José Miguel Orna. Alf, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Celendin, Partido de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:IX:25.
José Oropesa. Sgt, Mil Dragones Prov de las Fronteras de Tarma, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIX:44.
Manuel Casimiro Orozco. Sgt, Mil Prov Discip de Inf de Lambayeque, 1793. Leg 7284:XXVII:21.
Francisco Ortega. Alf, Mil Discip de Cab de Camaná, 1798. Leg 7286:XIV:16.
Francisco Ortega. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas Cab de Huamalies, 1800. Leg 7288:XVII:17.
Inocente Ortega. Sgt, Mil Prov Dragones de las fronteras de Tarma, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIX:37.
Laureano Ortega. Lt de granaderos, grad Capt, Inf Real de Lima, 1788. Leg 7283:II:42.
Pomiano Ortega. Capt, Mil Discip Cab Ferreñafe, 1797. Leg 7287:XIV:17.
Rafael Ortega. Alf, Mil Prov Urbanas de Cab de Huánuco, 1797. Leg 7286:VI:17.
Alfonso Ortiz. Sgt, Mil Discip de Cab de Arnero de Chancay, 1800. Leg 7288:III:26.
Casimiro Ortiz. Capt, Mil de Pardos Libres de Lima, 1796. Leg 7286:XII:58.
Juan Ortiz. Capt de Granaderos, Jil Discip de Inf de Cuzco, 1792. Leg 7284:V:7.
Manuel Ortiz. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de San Antonio de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:III:17.
Manuel Ortiz. Lt, Mil Discip de Inf de Cuzco, 1800. Leg 7286:XXIV:17.
Matías Ortiz. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Dragones de Chota, 1797. Leg 7287:IV:51.
José Ortiz de Cavallos. Capt grad, Mil Discip Inf Española de Lima, 1792. Leg 7284:VIII:11.
José Ortiz de Foronda. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Dragones de Carabayllo, 1797. Leg 7287:VII:10.
Miguel Francisco Ortiz de Rosas. Lt Col, Mil urbanas Inf de Huamanga, 1797. Leg 7286:IV:5.
Isidro José Ortiz de Uriarte. Capt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:12.
Manuel Ortiz de Villate. SubLt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:59.
Ascencio Orue. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de Urubamba, 1797. Leg 7287:XXXVIII:41.
Diego Orrego. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Dragones de Huambos, Partido de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:XVII:16.
Juan de Dios Orrego. Alf, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Huamboa, Partido de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:XVII:25.
Nicolás Antonio de Orrego. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Huambos, Partido de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:XVII:4.
Manuel Ossorio. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huanta, 1800. Leg 7288:XVIII:21.
Martín Otarola. Comandante, Bn Prov Mil de Pardos Libres de Lima, 1796. :eg 7286:XII:16.
Miguel Ovando. Sgt de Granaderos, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Castro, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:101.
Miguel Oyague. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Carabayllo, 1800. Leg 7288:IV:7.
José Antonio Oyarzo. Sgt, Comp Sueltas Inf del partido de Calbuco, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:V:12.
Feliciano Oyarzun. Lt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Castro, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:38.
Ignacio Oyarzun. Capt, Mil Prov Discip inf de Castro, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:19.
Lareano Oyarzun. SubLt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Castro, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:54.
Agustin Oyeregui. Cadet, Inf, Real de Lima, 1794. Leg 7285:IX:129.
Bernadino Ozores. Capt, Mil Prov de Dragones de Chota, 1797. Leg 7287:XIII:11.

Aurelio Pacheco. Sgt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Andahuaylas, 1801. Leg 7286:XXII:26.
Eusebio Pacheco. Lt, Mil Prov Discip de Dragones del Valle de Majes, 1797. Leg 7287:XXV:15.
Gregorio Antonio Pacheco. Lt Col Mil Urbanas Inf de Andahuaylas, 1799.. Leg 7286:XXII:2.
Jacinto Pacheco. SubLt de bandera, Mil Prov Discip de Inf de Castro Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:6.
Julian Pacheco. Lt, Mil Discip Cab de los Valles de Palpa y Nasca, 1797. Leg 7287:XXXI:20.
Matías Rafael Pacheco. Lt, Mil Prov Discip de Dragones de Lalle de Majes, 1797. Leg 7287:XXV:17.
Pablo Pacheco. Sgt, Jil Urbanas Inf de Andahuaylas, 1801, Leg 7286:XXII:21.
Tomás Pacheco. Sgt, Mil Prov Discip de Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:69.
Venancio Pacheco. Capt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Andhuaylas, 1799. Leg 7286:XXII:8.
Ventura Pacheco. Sgt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Huamanga, 1800. Leg 7288:XV:29.
Pedro Pachel. Capt, grad. Estado Mayor de la Plazda de Lima, 1789. Leg 7283:VI:3.
José Julián Padilla. Ayudante, Mil Prov Discip de Dragones de Caraveli, 1797. Leg 7287:VIII:16.
José Padulla y Pimentel. Ayudante Mayor, Mil Prov Urbanas de Cab de Arequipa, 1797. Leg 7287:II:30.
Joaquin Pajares. Lt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de San Antonio de Cajamarca, 1797. Leg 7287:III:15.
José Pascasio Palacio. Alf, Mil Discip de Cab de Trujillo, 1800. Leg 7288:XXXI:18.
Juan Palacio. Capt, Inf del Real Asiento de Paucartambo, 1798. Leg 7286:XIX:6.
Dámaso Palacios. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huánuco, 1796. Leg 7286:lV:34.
Ignacio Palacios. Capt, Mil Discip de Cab de Arnero de Chancay, 1796. Leg 7286:III:12.
José Ignacio Palacios. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Dragones de Carabayllo, 1800. Leg 7288:IV:10.
Agustin Palazuelos. SubLt de Banderas, Comp sueltas Mil Discip Inf de Ica, 1800. Leg 7288:XIX:15.
Felipe Palma. Portaguión, Mil Discip Dragones de Lima, 1788. Leg 7283:III:61.
Eugenio Palomino. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Cab de Arequipa, 1797. Leg 7287:II:52.
Eugenio Palomina. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de Huanta, 1800. Leg 7288:XVIII:64. 
Ignacio Palomino. Sgt, Mil Prov Inf de Andahuaylas, 1801. Leg 7286:XXII:23.
José Manuel Palomino. Cadet, Mil Urbanas de Inf de Huancavélica, 1800. Leg 7288:XVI:29.
Juan de Dios Palomino. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Inf de Andahuaylas, 1801. Leg 7286:XXII:22.
Martín Palomino. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Andahuaylas, 1799. Leg 7286:XXII:4.
Tomás Palomino. SubLt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Huamanga, 1800. Leg 7288:XV:25.
Venancio Palomino de Ore. SubLt, Mil Urbanas Inf de Huamanga, 1800. Leg 7288:XV:19.
Agustín de Pandaburu. Capt, Mil Prov Urbanas Dragones de Carabaillo, 1792. Leg 7284:XVI:13.
José María Pando. Cadet, Mil Discip Dragones de Lima, 1794. Leg 7285:VII:72.
Bernardo María de la O Panero y Pizarro. Alf, Mil Prov Discip de Dragones del Valle de Majes, 1797. Leg 7287:XXV:19.
Francisco Panizo y Foronda. Lt, Mil Discip de Dragones de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIV:39.
Joaquín Pardo. Sgt, Inf Real de Lima, 1788. Leg 7283:II:119.
Antonio Partabe. Sgt, 1st de Fusileros, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huánuco, 1796. Leg 7286:V:30.
Vicente Pardo. Sgt, Mil Prov Urbanas de Cab de Huanta, 1798. Leg 7286:XVII:30.
Juan Manuel Pardo de Figueroa. Lt, Mil Prov Discip de Cab de Cuzco, 1792. Leg 7284:XVII:15.
Melchor Pardo de Figueroa. Capt de Carabineros, Mil Prov Discip de Cab de Cuzco, 1797. Leg 7287:X:7.
Andrés Paredes. Sgt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Castro, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:IX:86.
Eduvigio Paredes. Alf, Escuadrón de Dragones de Pacasmayo, 1800. Leg 7286:XXVIII:4.
Ignacio Paredes. Capt, Comp Sueltas de Inf del Partido de Carelmapu, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:XIII:2.
Isidro Paredes. Lt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1792. Leg 7284:III:26.
Juan Paredes. SubLt, Comp sueltas de Mil Discip de Cab, del partido de Carelmapu, Chiloe, 1800. Leg 7288:XIV:2.
Mariano Gabriel Paredes. SubLt, Mil Prov Discip Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:46.
Francisco Parra. Alf, Mil Discip Dragones de Lima, 1796. Leg 7286:XI:35.
Baltasar de Pascual Erazu. Capt, Mil Discip Dragones de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIV:16.
Tomás Pasquel. Dapt, Bn prov Mil Discip Inf Española de Lima, 1800. Leg 7288:XXIII:17.
Hermenegildo Pastor. Sgt, Mil Discip Cab de Camaná, 179i. Leg 7286:XIV:26.
José Jorge Pastor. Lt, Mil Ldiscip Cab de Camaná, 1798. Leg 7286:XIV:14.
Marcelino Pastor. Sgt, Escuadrón, Cab Mil Urbanas de Moquegua, 1800. Leg 7288:XXVII:13.
Mariano Pastor. Alf, Mil Discip Cab de Camaná, 1798. Leg 7286:XIV:20.
Pedro José Pastor. Portaestandarte, Mil Discip Cab de Camaná, 1798. Leg 7286:XIV:21.
Pablo Patron. Capt, Inf Real de Lima, 1796. Leg 7287:XXIV:27.
Rafael Paulete, Sgt, Mil Prov Inf de Arequipa, 1800. Leg 7288:I:75.
Cornelio de Paz. Sgt, Mil Discip Cab Arnero de Chancay, 1796. Leg 7286:III:23.
Juan de la Paz. SubLt, Mil Prov Discip de Pardos de la 8th Comp de San Miguel de Piura, 1797. Leg 7287:XXXIII:3.
Miguel Paz. Capt, Inf del Real Asiento de Paucartambo, 1798. Leg 7286:XIX:17.
Pedro Paz. Cadet, inf del Real Asiento de Paucartambo, 1798. Leg 7286:XIX:39.
Jerónimo Paz y Molina. Sgt 1st de Granaderos, Mil Prov Urbanas Inf de Huanta, 1800. Leg 7288:XVIII:53.
(to be continued.)




A true San Fernando “Valley Girl”
About Anyone Can Marry - Tha
t is the Easy Part by Rudy Padilla
Movie Theatres, Drive Ins and the Way We Were by Richard G. Santos



A true San Fernando “Valley Girl”

Hola! WOW!  I ran into your site quite by accident. How exciting. Briefly, my name is Annette Rodriguez Valenzuela, 44, from Apple Valley , CA . I was trying to find some pictures online of Asencion , Mexico . I am second generation American. I was looking for my Grandmothers family roots. Her name was Rayo Saenz she married Ernesto Rodriguez and moved El Norte during the revolution. Anyways I was so taken with your site I read a whole archive!

So much to say, about how I was raised. A true ( San Fernando ) “Valley Girl”. My parents didn’t teach us Spanish because of the intolerance (racism) they experienced in school. Their parents did not speak English and they felt the wrath of their teachers when a parent was to be contacted for whatever reason. After my Father returned from the Korean War he bought a home in Reseda on the GI Bill. I remember his stories about shopping for a house and how remarkably they were all “sold” when they came shopping. (He would laugh and say, “Even the ones that weren’t built yet were sold!”) When I was in school I can remember the first time I experienced the ignorance of my fellow classmates. I came home confused, crying and upset, telling my parents I couldn’t figure out why my classmates were talking about Mexican and Black classmates like they were, but they viewed me as different (light skinned, no accent). Did they secretly talk about me like that or did I just pass. It was probably my attitude and personality, I shrugged it off eventually, but it left a lasting impression. My parents just told me I had to be better than everyone else to make it. I remember my Mother getting so upset at those Frito Bandito commercials! It must have been just as confusing for them as well, trying to keep everything in check and give us more than they had ever dreamed of. I love them so much for their courage and for not letting us believe we were different (in a bad way) from anybody else. I remember introducing my (white) boyfriend to menudo – he liked it – somewhat. Well, he liked me enough to try it anyway!

I could go on and on reminiscing, but I would like to add one more thing on the political front “we” are going to be the difference in this Presidential race and that is coming along way baby!  

Lots of Love, Annette



About Anyone Can Marry - That is the Easy Part
by Rudy Padilla

Columnist for the Kansan and can be contacted at


When living on our farm, west of Bonner Springs, I was outside on that summer day and noticed a young man riding a paint colored horse on the gravel road toward our home. What really caught my attention was that he was holding onto the reins of another horse that had no rider.  

I was approximately 10 years of age then and a true lover of horses, especially at that time when the movies with the cowboys and their flashy horses were highly popular.  

As they moved closer, I noticed the horse without the rider did not like to be led.  He was pulled away as far as possible and trying to be the leader.  The magnificent-looking bay horse had a white star on his forehead.  He also had some white on his muzzle (nose) to go along with his black mane and tail.  His dark red color was beautiful, but what caught my attention even more – was his spirited movement.  

About then, my father came out of the house and he greeted the young man.  The man on the horse returned his greeting enthusiastically and said “here he is – all yours!”  He handed the reins of the bay horse to my father.  At the moment I was shocked to hear that we were actually going to own a horse…a family riding horse…a great looking quarter horse…  Mi padre had a smile which touched all of us.  He then smiled at me – extended the reins of the bay toward me and said “es para ti!”  For the next 5 minutes, I probably thanked mi padre 100 times.  

The 4 years that we lived on that farm were made even more memorable by the love and respect we had for mi padre.  He was interesting, dignified, kind and generous. Financially we were not well-off, but he showed us how to grow our own food and the value of hard work.  During those years we grew vegetables for the summer and canned them for the winter.  My father always made sure to grow plenty of vegetables for our family and anyone who visited us was sure to drive away with a carload of fresh or canned vegetables.  I assisted in the butchering of chickens and the processing of a slaughtered hog.  Mi padre also knew the art of curing ham and bacon.  We had a small smoke house on the property.  Producing butter was no problem and we always had hand-made tortillas to help sustain us.  In the fall and winter I was shown how to trap for wild rabbits.  

I have many personal memories of those years.  Mi padre to me was Superman.  When he worked the day shift, I could hardly wait to ask him the questions that I wanted answered when he came home. On more than one occasion I was told to let him finish his supper in peace, but he was always happy to share his view on a subject.  I had many questions about growing crops and the barn that we were building. The first 2 years we grew corn on the property. The Indians of Central Mexico around the time of the Aztecs, through experimentation gave the world the commodity today known as “CORN.”  Corn is grown in more countries in the world than any other crop.  It is grown more than all of the other crops (wheat, soybeans etc.) combined in North America . Corn has allowed many modern industries to gain unheard of wealth.  I remember how gold the corn we grew looked then as it was piled into large trucks and taken to market.  Mi padre then determined that the soil was rich enough to grow a good wheat harvest.  He was rewarded with a wheat harvest that lifted his spirits even higher. The wheat which we harvested that year was also a magnificent yellow-gold.  All of those experiences of farm-life made me want to know more, and what better person to ask than mi padre…  

Rosalio Padilla was born in San Juan De Los Lagos in the state of Jalisco , Mexico .  He came to the U.S. at the age of 5 in 1905.  He spent many years working as a laborer in the fields, railroad tracks and salt mines.  He never called in sick at work.  One hot day on the farm, I was close by when he passed out momentarily from the heat.  But he did not let a minor heat stroke stop him from reporting for work at the night shift.  He was employed by the Lone Star Cement plant for many years.  I recall the time he asked his compadre Jose Porras to help him clear a field which had a dozen trees, using axes.  I was amazed at the quick work they made of that project.  The sturdy arms which felled the trees had grown strong from driving steel spikes into railroad ties.  I stood in amazement holding the water bucket as wood chips started flying, seemingly everywhere.  

I will always love my father.  He passed away in 1985.  We never had an argument or cross word between us.  I recall how proud he was to see me graduate from Bishop Ward High School and the next morning he saw me off as I started working full-time in an office setting.  Later, he would proudly tell relatives that I actually went to work with a white shirt and a tie.  

I do remember telling him 23 months later that I had been accepted in a job at the Post Office and – now I would be working an evening shift.  This was not a “white collar” job but the job paid more than my previous clerk job.  I was making good money and I was depositing money in my bank account.  Mi padre took the news well and showed his faith in me by simply telling me that I knew what was best.  Seven months later, I asked him if he would drive me to the Olathe Naval Air Station the next day (on a Saturday).  I had to report there by 7 a.m. and I would be leaving for basic training.  I am certain that to him this was a sudden turn of events.  He did not question me.  I told him that I was now over 20 years of age and I felt the urgent need to volunteer for the military.  I was proud that my older brothers were Korean War veterans and I wanted to have the experience of serving my country before any more years elapsed.  

In Mid-November in 1960, mi padre left me off at the gate of the Naval Air Station.  We said good-by.  I was told to be there at 7 a.m. for further transportation.  I thought that I would go by bus, but a military person drove me to the train depot close-by and I was told to wait outside the small depot close to the tracks.  That was a strange feeling being the only one there, but soon a roaring train pulled up and came to a stop.  I did not have much time to prepare for the trip, but I was off to a new chapter in my life.  The train stopped in Kansas City for a few minutes for more passengers.  Then, we were headed for Chicago .  

There were not many other passengers.  Maybe passenger service was slow on Saturday’s.  A few hours later the temperature seemed to cool in the train as we crossed Northern Missouri into the state of Iowa .  I was the only person on the train going to Great Lakes Naval Station. During those shortened days of November, the sun soon started going down.  One young couple was also making the trip with what appeared to be a 3 year-old child.  It was during this time as it was almost dark and noticing that the couple looked about my age, I felt pleased then that I was not married at that age.  Mi padre met and married mi madre when he was 26 years of age.  I thought that since this was good enough for mi padre that is what I would do.  He definitely was my role-model.  One of his best qualities was that he was always at home, if he was not working.  To him, loyalty was very important.  There was plenty of time to think that night, as the long dark train rumbled along.  I briefly thought of the words of a co-worker at the post office, that “you could be making a big mistake – you should wait to be drafted…” Occasionally a light would twinkle out in the darkness. A light snow was falling.  I would miss my family and secure life in Kansas City , but mi padre understood my need to work on the priorities in my life.  

A few years later, at age of almost 25 I told mi padre that I was going to marry (Virginia Castillo).  In Spanish he did not simply congratulate me, but he also told me that he thought I was prepared, and he added that “about anyone can get married, but the most difficult part is ensuring that you stay married.”  He wanted to make sure that I understood that marriage was for the committed and not for the unfaithful.  He was a smart man.  




Movie Theatres, Drive Ins and the Way We Were

Richard G. Santos


Last week’s column on the Spanish Language theatres of 50 plus years ago has brought some interesting email, phone calls and comments. I seemed to have hit the memory bone with a number of people. As usual, they do not recall the segregation and discrimination as much as they recall their follies, mischievous behavior and above all, their childhood and youth. For example, an adult male whose father owned and operated a Spanish Language theatre recalls one interesting incident. First allow me to remind you that the theatre owners frequently had to pick up performing artists and movie stars at Laredo, Eagle Pass or San Antonio. On other occasions they picked them at the theatre where they last performed and brought them to the theatre where they were to perform. They also had to provide food and accommodations. 

Well, it seems as if my source’s father went to Laredo to pick up a beautiful, talented young starlet. He chuckled when he said his father went gaga with the beauty he was hosting and escorting. Not only did he attend to her every need and whim, when the stint was over he took her to her next performance and the one thereafter and the one thereafter. He finally came home and his wife (my source’s mother) was hotter than chile del monte (also called chilipiquin). The theatre owner knew he was in trouble so he picked up a male friend to accompany him when confronting his wife. The lady was waiting with sarten en mano (frying pan in hand) and the male escort-bodyguard was the first to disappear in a flash. 

My source says he, his brother and sister had never seen their mother so angry, yell so loud and say the things she said (especially the vocabulary). The children were shooed out of the house by both parents as no explanation or excuse was acceptable to the super irate wife. There was no physical violence. No one got physically hurt, but that starlet’s movies were never again shown at that theatre. The theatre owner never again went to pick up any feature artist without a male escort. Although he did not say it, I got the impression the eldest son became his father’s “bodyguard” for years thereafter. 

Several years later the same theatre owner talked the non-Hispanic drive in owner into renting him the drive in one night a week to show Spanish Language (mainly Mexican) movies. He was given Wednesday nights which was the dead night of any drive in or theatre. The man got on the local Spanish Language radio and announced Mexican Wednesday night movies at a dollar a carload. The reaction was unbelievable as people from all surrounding small towns in the Winter Garden Area showed up in mass. Although many packed cars, soon there were pickup truck loads with young people sitting like sardines on the bed of the truck. 

They parked backwards with the front of the pickup truck facing away from the screen. As luck would have it, some drivers began to show up in large trucks with 40 to 50 people packed on the bed of the truck! The theatre owner and drive in operator got on the radio and made it clear no trucks bigger than a pickup truck would be allowed. He compensated, however, by offering a prize to the car containing the most passengers. He saw more sardine young people. Rick, Neto, Beto and Melody who were listening to the story and laughing along with the source started recalling their own stories. Melody remembered his hometown drive in not having speakers to place on the window. Instead, patrons were directed to a certain radio frequency where they could hear the sound track. However, this meant some cars drained their batteries unless if they kept the car running. Another chipped in to say that their hometown drive in also relied on a radio frequency because “they guys either drove off with the speaker still attached to the window, or they stole them”.

Pepe Treviño says a city employee gave him a drive in theatre speaker that had been taken from his father’s drive in. He also noted Pearsall has an integrated theatre. Hispanics sat in the right side of the ground floor and non-Hispanics sat on the left side. The small balcony was for Blacks and there was lots of ice, gum balls, popcorn and rocks hurled about from side to side. He says he usually sat slouched so far down on the seat that you could barely see the top of his head and therefore he was not an easy target. Pepe says he and others always carried homemade slingshots and a pocket or two full of marbles. So, when things got out of hand, they would cross the street and wait for the perpetrators. They would then unleash a barrage of marbles at the “others” as well as their cars and pickups and run as fast as possible across the tracks. The non-Hispanic victims would chase them but never crossed the tracks that were a mere block and a half away from the theatre.  Those who did get caught before reaching sanctuary frequently required stitches and bone mending medical attention. It should be noted those former rivals of 50 plus years ago are now good friends and neither side brings out what they used to do to each other. Due to the intermarriage of their children and grandchildren it is wise not to recall certain aspects of the gold ole bad days.

Rudy Arredondo of Ohio recalls his father buying the Rex Theatre in Morenci, Michigan in 1982 and selling it 13 years later. Spanish Language movies were personally selected by Mr. Arredondo from the Chicago-based distributor. The theatre was opened only Saturdays and Sundays and Mrs. Arredondo sold the popcorn, candies, drinks and of special interest to the police officers and firemen from across the street, the home-made tamales at three for a dollar! Mr. Arredondo, meanwhile, sold audio cassettes of Tejano music also being distributed out of Chicago. Although Rudy did not mention it, we are sure he was also selling cassettes of Mexican music.

Laura from Livonia, Michigan says the article brought back memories of what her father used to tell her about the good ole bad days. Armando Ayala who grew up in Laredo, Texas remembers El Azteca, El Mejico, Royal, Tivoli and Realto theatres. In closing, it is interesting to note that I personally cannot locate a single Spanish Language theatre in South Texas today! All I have seen and photographed are rapidly deteriorating empty buildings, most being roofless shells, office buildings with a façade of an old theatre and plenty of memories. In my ancestral hometown San Quilmas (better known as San Antonio, Texas), there are only memories, office buildings and one museum of the once proud Zaragoza, Nacional, Guadalupe, Alameda and Progreso that we used to call el pobre hueso (poor/meatless bone). I am sure there were other Spanish Language theatres in the south and east side of San Antonio, but forgive me for not being aware of them as I lived in Barrio de la Tripa and territorial domain was important in a multi-barrio city not too long ago. Nuf Zed.

Zavala County Sentinel – 10-11 September 2008





Series of writings by Vicente Riva Palacio
translation and commentary by Ted Vincent


Francisco Goya painting "3rd of May, 1808"


Series of writings by Vicente Riva Palacio
translation and commentary by Ted Vincent

Vicente Riva Palacio wrote extensively of the Mexican spirit of rebellion against foreign rule in his native land. He knew from personal experience the role of the individual who convinced others to take up arms in defense of the nation even when the odds of success appeared slim. Riva Palacio was credited in 1862 with recruiting from the streets of Mexico City a sizable number of the Mexican fighters who fought at Pueblo on "Cinco de Mayo." There, they defeated an army organized by Emperor of France, Napoleon III who attempted a conquest of Mexico through his surrogate Arch-Duke Maximilian.

Earlier, Napoleon Bonaparte, France’s Emperor I, tried to conquer Spain and had control of nearly all of it when a broad rebellion broke out in1808. The details of the subsequent six traumatic years before French withdrawal were no doubt heard often by Riva Palacio during his 1886-1896 assignment in Madrid as Ambassador from Mexico. His volume of short stories, "Cuentos del General," includes one set in a rural Spanish village where an elderly woman seeks a way to inspire the youth to join in the struggle against the French. A visualization of the danger in such a stand is depicted in the famous painting by Francisco Goya, "The 3rd of May, 1808." in which a French firing squad is shown executing Spanish peasants.


Por Vicente Riva Palacio translation by Ted Vincent

They were dark days for Spain. The wagons of 
the invaders gathered around in the shadow of the palaces of Carlos V and Felipe II, and the troops passing along the roads were ominous foreign soldiers who created clouds of dust that hovered over them heavily, until they stood at attention, packing themselves tightly, as if they were 
a grave stone guarding the tomb of the cadaver 
of a hero.

The strangers dominated in all areas, and they celebrated as if their triumph was secure. The people slept with fitful dreams, but one day the 
lion roared and shaking his long hair began the glorious struggle. Spain marched bloodily 
forward, its banner shredded by French fire, but they persisted with the painful via crucis that they needed to end in the triumph of the drum roll and 
not the agony of Calvary.

The guerrillas carried out wonders of trickery and valor, and they tabulated the days by both combats with victory and sacrifices with pains.

However, the tumult of the war had not reached the poor village where Aunt Jacoba lived with her three strapping and robust sons, Juan, Antonio 
and Salvador, honorable laborers.

Aunt Jacoba had had another son who died, leaving a widow with three little young 
ones without protection or items of value.

Jacoba gathered the children around her and provided them a quiet life, their grandmother having had enough that she didn’t have to rely upon the labor of her sons or their women.

Aunt Jacoba was a woman of big heart and great intelligence, and although not having attended school, nor having cultivated friendships with learned people, she knew how to read and write and managed to closely follow the news of the events of the war, and of the spread of public notices that were then so important.

She held back from showing that the news made her profoundly sad, not wanting to disturb the tranquility of those around her, understanding that at times ignorance was bliss.

* * *

One day the little ones seized a nest of song birds, and with indescribable pleasure, overheated and sweating, they brought them toward the house, cuddling the little birds as would a mother her young. As the children carried the nest along the road the parents of the birds flew beside them chirping pitifully as they flew toward the house branch to branch. Approaching the house the children were so excited and out of breath they could scarcely relate the details of the event to grandmother, who took in the sun at the door as she was told of the unexpected events and adventure of discovering the nest.

Then one of the children said eagerly, "Look, grandmother," and pointed to a nearby bush stem on which perched the song birds.

"These birds," said the grandmother, "they love their children very much and have not abandoned them. Put the chicks in a cage where their mother can come near, and you will see her come every day to bring them food."
The children were pleased and followed the suggestion, and thinking of the mother, they prudently retired, so as not to frighten her. Each day they would see her hover above 
the cage to bring food to her chicks.


* * *

Thus passed more than fifteen days. The chicks became perfectly feathered and began to shake their wings, showing they wanted to fly, and they pranced here and there looking for a way to escape their prison.

Their mother did not abandon them, and each day the first thing the children saw was the mother coming to visit the cage, and they commented on the progress of the little ones and the 
determination of the mother.

One morning aunt Jacoba heard the children 
calling in dismayed voices so loud that not only 
her but the entire family rushed quickly to the youths, who stood weeping at the cage in which the three little chicks were dead.

"Grandmother," said one of the children, sobbing, "we did something to kill them."

"No children," she replied, "Juan can explain what caused these deaths."

Juan, proud to have been selected to be the teacher, stood straight as the children and women looked at him as if awaiting the discovery of a great secret, and he, after a pause to scratch his head by the side of his ear, said solemnly.

"Well, you probably noticed that the mother brought them food until they were grown to the point that they could take themselves away, but as they can not escape because 
they are in the cage, even though they 
already know how to fly, and as she sees 
that they can not escape, although they can 
fly, she brings them a poison in their food 
that she knew will kill them, believing it better that they die than remain captives, 
and for this - "

The children turned their astonished looks 
to aunt Jacoba.

"It is true," Jacoba said, looking 
intentionally at her three sons, "It is the truth: Such mothers prefer to see their children dead rather than see them slaves, and if all the mothers in Spain thought as such, and if the children would understand that, today we would already have driven the French from our land, or at least we would have many fewer cowards."

The three young men lowered their eyes, 
their faces glowing with shame.

* * *

Not long afterward the people began to 
speak of a new cadre that had broken the quiet rest in the invaders war.

This cadre was gathered by the sons of aunt Jacoba.

Eran días negros para España. .Los carros de la invasión se guarecían a la sombra de los palacios de Carlos V y Felipe II, y cruzaban por las carreteras tropas sombrías de soldados extranjeros, levantando nubes de polvo que se cernían pesadamente, y se alzaban, condensándose, como para formar la lápida de un sepulcro sobre el cadáver de un héroe.

El extranjero iba dominando por todas partes; su triunfo se celebraba como seguro. El pueblo dormía el sueño de la enfermedad; pero un día el león rugió, sacudiendo la melena, y comenzó la lucha gloriosa. España caminaba sangrando, con su bandera hecha jirones por la metralla de los franceses, por ese doloroso vía crucis que debía terminar en el Tabor y no en el Calvario.

Prodigios de astucia y de valor hacían los guerrilleros, y los días se contaban por los combates y por los triunfos, por los sacrificios y los dolores.

El ruido de la guerra no había penetrado, sin embargo, hasta la pobre aldea en donde vivía la tía Jacoba con sus tres hijos,=2 0Juan, Antonio y Salvador, robustos mocetones y honrados trabajadores.

La tía Jacoba había tenido otro hijo también, que murió, dejando a la viuda con tres pequeñuelos, sin amparo y sin bienes de fortuna.

Recogiólos la tía Jacoba, y todos juntos vivían tranquilos, porque la abuela tenía lo suficiente para no necesitar del trabajo personal de las mujeres ni de los niños.

Pero la tía Jacoba era una mujer de gran corazón y de gran inteligencia, y sin haber concurrido a la escuela, ni haber cultivado el trato de personas instruidas, sabía leer, y leía y procuraba siempre adquirir noticias de los acontecimientos de la guerra y de la marcha que llevaban los negocios públicos, entonces de tanta importancia.

Y no por dejar de manifestarlo dejaba de estar profundamente triste; pero no quería turbar la tranquilidad de los que la rodeaban, comprendiendo que muchas veces la ignorancia es un elemento de felicidad.


Un día los niños cogieron un nido de jilgueros, y con una alegría indescriptible llegaron a la casa, encendidos y sudorosos, cuidando a los pajaritos como una madre puede cuidar a sus hijos; y arrebatándose la palabra y pudiendo apenas seguir el hilo de la relación, contaron a la abuelita, que tomaba el sol a la puerta de la casa, cómo había sido el hallazgo, y las peripecias de la aventura para alcanzar el nido, y con gran admiración agregaban que, por todo el camino, los padres de los pajaritos habían llegado tras ellos hasta la casa, volando de rama en rama y piando lastimosamente.

"Míralos, abuelita," dijo uno de los chicos mostrando un bardal cercano, sobre el que se habían posado los jilgueros.

"Estos pajaritos," dijo la abuela quieren mucho a sus hijos y no los abandonan; ponedlos en una jaula, en un lugar en dónde la madre pueda acercarse, y veréis cómo todos los días vienen a darles de comer.

Contentísimos los chicos, siguieron el consejo, y ya conocían a la madre, y se retiraban prudentemente, para no espantarla, cada vez que la veían revolotear encima de la casa para traer el alimento a sus polluelos.


Se pasaron así más de quince días; los pajaritos estaban perfectamente emplumados, comenzaban a sacudir las alas, como queriendo volar, y ya buscaban con afán un lugar por donde escaparse de la prisión.

La madre no les abandonaba, y todos los días también lo primero que hacían los niños era ir a visitar la jaula, comentando a su modo los progresos de los pequeños y la constancia de la madre.

Una mañana la tía Jacoba oyó que los niños la llamaban con voces tan lastimeras, que no sólo ella, sino toda la familia, acudió precipitadamente adonde estaban los chicos, que llorosos rodeaban la jaula dentro de la cual estaban muertos los tres pajaritos.

"Abuela," dijo uno de los chicos, sollozand, esto es que nos los han matado.

"No, hijos, que os explique Juan cómo han sido estas muertes."

Juan, orgulloso de aparecer como maestro, se irguió: los niños y las mujeres clavaron su mirada en él como esperando que les descubriera un gran secreto; y él, después de rascarse la cabeza por detrás de la oreja, dijo solemnemente:

"Pus vosotros no sabéis que la madre les trae de comer hasta que crecen y que puedan escaparse; pero como que no pueden escaparse porque están en la jaula, aunque ya puedan volar; como ella ve que no pueden escaparse aunque pueden volar, les trae entre la comida un veneno que ella conoce para que se mueran, mejor que no que se queden cautivos; y por eso."

Los niños volv ían con asombro sus miradas a la tía Jacoba.

"Es verdad hijo ella, mirando intencionalmente a sus tres hijo, "es verdad: esas madres prefieren ver muertos a sus hijos antes de verlos esclavos; y si todas las madres en España pensaran así, y si los hijos lo hubieran comprendido, hoy ya no estarían los franceses en nuestra tierra, o hubiera muchos cobardes de menos."

Los tres jóvenes bajaron los ojos con los rostros encendidos de vergüenza.


Poco tiempo después comenzó a hablar la gente de una nueva partida que hacía sin descanso la guerra al invasor.

Aquella partida la habían levantado los hijos de la tía Jacoba


Francisco Goya intended his "3rd of May 1808" painting to represent both the bravery of his countrymen against an invader and the vicious insanity of war. In 1958 the British peace activist Gerald Holtom saw the latter in the painting. He was an organizer in the soon to be born British anti-nuclear weapons movement, and Holtom had a flash of insight from Goya’s proudly erect peasant about to be shot. Holtom knew the British semaphore signal for N was two flags pointing down at the same angle that the Spaniard’s arms were up, and the signal for D was a straight line, i.e. semaphore for N and D when combined said Nuclear Disarmament. Holtom put a circle around the two signals creating the ubiquitous symbol. (Historian of the peace symbol, Arnold Passman, provided the details on Holtom).

Riva Palacio’s capitalization of the words in the Spanish original "Tabor" and "Calvario" refer indirectly to his novel "Calvario y Tabor" that describes Mexico’s fight against Maximilian.





Volviendo a Nuestras Racies, 
# 3 in the series of republishing articles previously published in:

Conozca El Origen Del Apellido
Wednesday, December 30,1992  
Excelsior, Santa Ana, CA

Garcia is the third most frequent Spanish surname in the United States, carried by over 660,000 individuals.  In Spain, it is the most popular and widespread surname, found extensively also in every Latin American country.

The original spelling of the name was GARCES, from an Argonese name for the ancient kings of Sobarbe and Navarre.  Used as a first name, Garces was the Spanish form of Gerald which means "speak and firm."  The name in Basque signifies "fox" and "prince of gracious appearance" in Spanish.  Early history in Spain finds Sancho Garcia, the Count of Castille.  he was more commonly known as Sancho III, who lived from 965-1035.  He acquired the surname Garcias as a tribute to his abilities and appearance. 

There were fifteen Garcias who served with Cortes during the 1519 conquest.  By the 1680, there were at least 25 Garcia families living in Mexico City.

VINCENT (TONY) GARCIA, a resident of Thousand Oaks traces his direct line back to ANTONIO GARCIA who married Beatrice del Rio on the 29th October 1714 in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco.  Lagos de Moreno was founded in 1563 by 63 families.  The town was given the title of Villa, identifying it as a Spanish settlement.

Mr. Garcia's Great Grandfather Pedro Garcia was the Great Great Grandson of his original ancestor.  His Grandfather, also named Pedro, Pedro Garcia de Anda married Maria Reynoso Franco on the 15th of February 1890 in a town to the north of Lagos de Moreno, the town of Teocaltiche.  Grandfather Pedro major occupation was as a tailor who specialized in the fancy men's style of 'Charro'.  To this day the popularized western cowboy shirts, tight pants, and large hats are borrowed versions form the 'Charro' look which originated in the Jalisco area.  Mr. Garcia said, "I can remember visiting my Grandfather in Mexico and watching him do the fine detail, thread designs and silver work."

In 1917, Mr. Garcia's father, Juan Garcia, then 17 traveled to Globe, Arizona.  Fleeing to the United States was expedient.  In trying to protect the chastity of their wives and daughters some Garcia men had shot and killed revolutionary soldiers.  Juan Garcia found a job working in the mines.  However, because he was the only one that could read and write, he was quickly elevated to time keeper.  In 1919 he moved to San Bernardino.  Juan Garcia worked in the Santa Fe round house as a boiler maker for the Santa Fe company, welding and riveting as needed.  While still working as a boiler maker, Juan again used his writing and math skills.  He started a grocery store, first part time and then full time.  Two hears later he married Mr. Garcia's mother, Esperanza Gonzales on the 31st of October, 1921 in San Bernardino.  The family remained.

Mr. Vincent (Tony) Garcia is married to Mary Marquez.  "The funny thing," Mr. Garcia said, "is that Mary's mother is also from Teocaltiche.  We didn't know that.  The same little, small town in Mexico.  One of the things that surprised me in doing my research, was that I thought I just came from an unknown INSIGNIFICANT little town.  I found out instead, that my ancestors were among the original conquerors and colonizers.  Kind of makes me feel good."  He and his wife Mary have two sons.  Both young men have graduated from a University of California campus.  Mr. Garcia's interest in reflected in their educational pursuits.  the older son graduated in History and the younger one in Anthropology. 

Like the bus driver that Mr. Garcias has been for 18 years, he said he started researching out of curiosity when he found his father's birth certificate listed both father and grandfather.  Then, he laughed, "I just decided to keep on going."  And he has, all the way back to 1714.

Compiled by Mimi Lozano, member of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research.


Editor:  Below is a link to a wonderful website prepared by 3 Garcia cousins. Included are many links to Garcia families, plus additional resources for further study.  Please scroll down.
I am pleased that my ancestors were placed as a link on the Jose Alejandro Garcia's Lineage website.  I share with Alejandro 5 generations of ancestors and I have 7 Iineages to the same ancestors, Lorenzo GARCIA and Leonor GUTIERREZ,   
Eladio (Eddie) Garcia. 





Orange County Mexican American history 2009 Calendar
Nov 7: Celebrando el Arte
Nov 8th: Special message from Latino Advocates for Education, Inc.
The Orange County Register Hispanic Heritage Month Series
2009 SHHAR calendar of monthly meetings

2009 Images of Orange County Calendar

2009 O.C.M.A.H.S. Calendars Now Available!
Great Holiday Gifts For All Time

Cover Image:  One of the oldest neighborhoods in California – Los Rios Historic District, San Juan Capistrano.  Families represented in this circa 1906 photo are Sais, Silva and Pluneda.  Several of these families trace ancestry to members of the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition that settled in the area and married into the Juaneno Indians of the Acjachemen Nation.  Photo courtesy of Sylvia Luna Oseguera, whose grandmother is pictured here.  Her mother, Lizzy Miranda married Pedro Luna, a Mexican from Durango, Mexico. Typical of many  Juanenos families of those times, the family moved to a Mexican barrio in Santa Ana, CA.

Calendar consists of 13 historical images from the pages of the Orange County Mexican American history, all collectors images.  You can order your calendar by accessing the website: or by contacting
Harvey Reyes,
OCMAHS President,

P. O. Box 4127
Orange CA 92863-4127 

PHONE: (714) 697-4544

Sent by Mary Rose Garcia



Please join the Anaheim Cultural and Heritage Commission for a reception of 

"Celebrando el Arte" 
Friday, November 7, 2008 5:30 pm 

Artworks by Emigdio Vasquez, Abram Moya, Jr. and Henry Godines

From serene landscapes to the depiction of a street life in Southern California, these Latino artists explore their world through realistic and super-realistic styles of oil painting and charcoal sketches.

The Downtown Community Center 
250 E. Center Street, Anaheim, CA 92805 

For more information and reservations, 
please call Stacy Michalak at (714) 765-5297
Sent by Henry Godines


Special message from Latino Advocates for Education, Inc.


Dear Veterans,

On Saturday, November 8, 2008 our organization and California State University at Fullerton will host the 12th Annual Veterans Day Celebration: A Tribute to Mexican American Veterans.  Colors will be posted at 10:00 a.m.  It will be held inside the Pavilion of the Titan Student Union on the Fullerton campus. You and your family are cordially invited to attend.  Admission and parking is free and the public is also invited to attend. 

This year we will honor all of our veterans. A bagpiper will escort our Color Guard teams   and our national anthem will be sung by firefighter Humberto Agurcia. Our guest of honor will be Staff Sgt. Christopher Miranda Braman, a hero of 9-11 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.  Staff Sgt. Braman, a U.S. Army Ranger, is an Orange County native. His grandfather, Tony Miranda served with the 1st Cavalry Division in World War II and his grandmother, Sara Aguirre Miranda was a rosie the riveter.  A power point presentation will also honor our veterans. You are invited to display your military memorabilia.  Please contact us to reserve a table.

We will also present our three books which we recently published:  Undaunted Courage- Mexican American Patriots of World War II,a full color book profiling over 500 veterans and Rosie the Riveters; Freedom is not Free-Mexican Americans in the Korean War,a full color book profiling 225 Korean War and 62 World War II veterans; and Strength and Honor-Mexican Americans in the Vietnam War, a full color book profiling 139 veterans.  Lt. Col. Henry Cervantes, USAF (Ret.) author of Piloto-Migrant Worker to Jet Pilot, PFC Guy Gabaldon, author of Saipan: Suicide Island and other authors will also present their books.

We look forward to honoring you at our Veterans Day celebration.


Frederick P. Aguirre President

P.O. Box 5846 Orange, CA 92863

(714) 225-2499

Sent by Ruben Alvarez



 Orange County Register Hispanic Heritage Month Family Stories 

They were stories of faith – in family, in community, in perseverance, in values.

The Register and this month and last published 16 reader-submitted stories of the Latino experience in Orange County, a commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Writers told stories of OC's Latino history. Their accounts chronicled the contributions of family members to community life.  They were stories of faith – in family, in community, in perseverance, in values.  You'll find the stories online in the Latino Life section of

Ron Gonzales organized this effort and sent along a thank you:

Folks: A collective thank you to all of you for your contributions the past month. I've written this for publication at, with links to all your stories. It's online at this URL:

A special thanks to the contributors:

Stephanie Abraham of Tustin wrote of her mother, Magui, an immigrant and single mother from Bolivia who raised three daughters.

Judge Frederick Aguirre chronicled the civic contributions of his grandfather Jose Aguirre in Placentia.

Dolores Contreras Austin told the stories of the Daniel Contreras and Francisco Fierro families, early farmers in the Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach area.

Ruben Barron wrote about the values he learned from his parents, Felix and Maria Barron, who came to this country from Mexico in the mid-1950s and settled in Santa Ana.

Elaine Cali, with niece Jamie Wood and sister Cathi Martinez Budd, told the story of Joe Martinez, who grew up on Cypress Street in Orange and flew 30 missions over Europe in World War II.

Theresa Cisneros, a Register editor, wrote of the inspiration she received from her forebears who settled in Santa Ana's Santa Anita barrio in the early 20th century.

Mary Garcia wrote about her grandfather Pedro Rodriguez, who came from Mexico when he was about 14, and settled in Santa Ana's Logan barrio with wife Maria.

Sarah Rafael Garcia wrote of the legacy of her father Rafael Castillo García, who died at 36, leaving behind his wife and three daughters, who were then raised in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Ralph G. Morones and Christa Morones told the story of Anaheim's Ralph C. Morones, who went from the copper mines of Arizona to a career in the law.

Brett Murphy told the story of his grandmother Esther Mejia, 94, a lifelong resident of Los Alamitos.

Pascual Rivas Jr. told staff writer Erika Chavez the story of his father's flight from the Mexican Revolution to a new life in Tustin.

Thomas Michael Saenz told the story of his father, Tom Saenz, who came from a migrant family and became a school administrator and elected official.

Ricardo Juan Valverde wrote about grandparents Juan and Trinidad Mendoza of Westminster, and their surprising role in landmark Mendez desegregation effort.

Rosemary Vasquez-Tuthill told the story of her grandparents, Santiago and Guadalupe Chavez, and their journey from Mexico, to Arizona, and then to Cypress Street in Orange.

Online, Eva Booher, told the story of her aunt Phoebe Scott, a descendant of the Yorba family. And Eddie Grijalva contributed a scholarly history of ancestor Don Juan Pablo Grijalva, one of the early Spanish settlers in Orange County.

And thanks to Ruben Alvarez of Stay Connected and Mimi Lozano of  the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research for helping get the word out about this project.

Ron Gonzales
Orange County Register
(949) 454-7334


Drop-in Support, Quarterly meetings, annual conference
All meetings are held at the Orange Family History Center
674 S. Yorba
Orange, CA 

Please go to and 
click for schedule information about the Board members who will be assisting or presenting, 
plus special speakers scheduled.

January 3rd : Gloria Oliver and Tom Saenz
February 7th : Mimi Lozano  
March 7th Quarterly
Crispin Rendon “Hack Your Hispanic Family Tree using GOOGLE”
April 4th. . FHC CLOSED                
April 18th Orange Multi-Regional Family History Fair
SHHAR to participate as presenters, plus hold first Biannual Board Meeting          
May 2nd
Viola Sadler “ Bring Old Documents to Read and Share”  
June 6th : John Schmal  
July 4th : FHC CLOSED 
August 1st
Dahlia Rose Guajardo “History and Genealogy of the Slaves from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico” September 5th : Pat Lozano  
October 3rd : FHC CLOSED: SHHAR 2nd Biannual Board Meeting
November 7th
John Schmal “Indigenous Groups in Mexico”  
December 5th : Mimi Lozano



Cine Sin Fin: 14th Annual Chicago Film Festival
El Dia de los Muertos
East L.A seeks to become a city of its own

November 14th, 
Cine Sin Fin: 14th Annual Chicago Film Festival
East L.A. Native Guy Gabaldon is the subject of true World War II account

Location: Echo Park Film Center 
1200 N. Alvarado, Los Angeles



(Los Angeles October 24, 2008) The story of East L.A. native son Guy Gabaldon, a true hero of World War II in the Pacific, as told in the new documentary feature EAST L.A. MARINE, will screen at 8:00 pm. on Friday November 14th, as part of Cine Sin Fin, the 14th Annual Chicago Film Festival. Location: Echo Park Film Center (1200 N. Alvarado). 
As an 18-year-old U.S. Marine, the late Guy Gabaldon of Boyle Heights, was officially credited with capturing, single-handedly, over 1500 Japanese on the island of Saipan in June and July 1944. Gabaldon's feat is unprecedented in U.S. military history. An American, of Hispanic descent, Gabaldon spent his formative years in East Los Angeles where he numbered many friends in the Japanese-American community. It was his respect for the Japanese, his knowledge of Japanese street slang and his sheeer courage that accounts for his extraordinary combat record on Saipan, site of one of the bloodiest campaigns in U.S. Marine history. Gabaldon was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor by his commanding officer, but he never received the medal. Efforts continue to secure the medal for the robust Marine veteran who died of heart disease on August 31, 2006, shortly after being honored by Mayor Antonio Villagairosa and the Los Angeles City Council. 

Documentary filmmaker Steven Jay Rubin met Gabaldon in 2003 and the two partnered on the documentary feature that includes interviews with Gabaldon, himself, his commanding officer, his friends and family and military historians. The 77 minute documentary also includes plenty of archival World War II combat footage, in both black and white and color, clips from Gabaldon's 1957 appearance on the This is Your Life television series and the 1960 biographical film Hell to Eternity, which starred Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) as Gabaldon, and footage of the way Saipan looks today. It is currently in DVD release from Arts Alliance America ( 
Echo Park Film Center 



Heriberto Luna: 
Ontario Museum of History and Art : ASU Museum of Anthropology

OCTOBER 2 through NOVEMBER 23 2008
225 S.EUCLID, AVE CA 91765
ONTARIO , CA 91765 
(909) 983-3198

Sent by Heriberto Luna





East L.A seeks to become a city of its own

By CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press Writer  Sep 30, 2008

East L.A. — birthplace of the lowrider, Los Lobos and Oscar de la Hoya — is to Mexican-Americans what Harlem is to the black community. Now it wants to become its own city. Commonly mistaken for a part of Los Angeles, East L.A. is actually an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County, with more than 130,000 people — 96 percent of them Latino — packed into 7.4 square miles.

Cityhood proponents complain that East L.A. is treated as an afterthought by the county Board of Supervisors, and they want the community to take charge of its own destiny.

"We're a nationally branded area," said Diana Tarango, vice president of the East Los Angeles Residents Association, the prime backer of the effort. "We should be making our own decisions about planting trees on the street or putting up light poles."

While outsiders often see the area as gang-plagued and poverty-ridden, East L.A. possesses cultural and political symbolism for Mexican-Americans.

Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University, pronounced East L.A. "the epicenter of Latino culture."

For decades, East L.A. has been a first stop for immigrants just over the border, though these days there are nearly as many Salvadoran pupuserias selling filled tortilla patties as Mexican taquerias selling tacos.

Neighborhoods seem plucked straight from Latin American villages: a backyard rooster can be heard crowing, or a man peddles the rice-based drink horchata from a shopping cart. Brilliantly colored murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Aztec chieftains decorate walls of housing projects and corner grocery stores.

In the 1960s and '70s, the community was the focus of the burgeoning Chicano civil-rights movement.

In 1970, police and thousands of Chicano anti-Vietnam war protesters battled in the street, and Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar was killed in the melee. A park in East L.A. is named for him. A boulevard nearby carries the name of Cesar Chavez, the migrant farmworker leader.

East L.A. is a fusion of cultures north and south of the border. Spanish is the predominant language, but it is a hybrid version, Spanglish, punctuated with Hispanicized English words: "breka" for break, "marqueta" for market, "cora" for quarter.

While nortena music booms from downtown stores, East L.A. has also produced artists such as Los Lobos, who have combined Mexican oompah sounds with American rock rhythms. Lowriders, often with customized Chicano-theme paint jobs, cruise the streets.

Among the community's famous sons are boxer De La Hoya and actor Edward James Olmos. Olmos came full circle when he starred in the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" as the real-life East L.A. teacher Jaime Escalante, who turned barrio kids into calculus champs.

Proponents of cityhood hope to draw on that cultural pride. The bid marks East L.A.'s fourth attempt at incorporation since 1961; the last one was in 1974. Tarango and others say the movement failed because of political infighting.

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., who supports cityhood, said she is encouraged this time because residents are well-organized and informed.

"It has a great chance of passing," said the congresswoman, whose district includes East L.A. "But they will need to allay fears that incorporation will mean an increase in property taxes."

Voters probably won't get their say on cityhood for two years while the issue wends its way through the bureaucratic and political process.

The residents association must first submit a petition by December asking a county commission to conduct a study on whether a city of East L.A. would have an adequate tax base. So far, organizers have collected about half the 10,000 signatures needed, said Oscar Gonzales Jr., association president.

Gonzales said he expects the study will be favorable — a similar report ordered up by the residents association found the city would generate $51 million in revenue, well above an expected budget of $45 million.

If the bid for cityhood passes muster with the study commission and the county supervisors, the question will be put to the voters of East L.A. The supervisors are not taking a position until they see the study.

Some East L.A. residents fear cityhood will cost them more. They worry, for example, that mom-and-pop stores that now manage to operate without business licenses might be forced to obtain them.

"I think it's good as it is," said Jacob Salazar, owner of a sporting good store. "I don't see any reason to change it." But supporters say a city council would be more responsive than the county supervisors.

Auto dealer Louis Herrera said local officials would be more motivated to attract businesses like the Starbucks that opened last year. That would boost the downtown shopping district, which is dotted with 99-cent stores, dusty windowfronts filled with gowns for first communions and "quinceaneras," or Latin sweet-16 parties, and signs advertising Western Union money transfers to Mexico.

"The county is huge. Each supervisor has 2.1 million people," said Herrera, who also heads the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. "We're sort of like a lost child."

On the Net:  


Sent by Howard Shorr
and Mercy Bautista Olvera


Nov 15: La Pena Andaluza Member's Day Dinner and Dance 
Briones House Update 10-20-08
Nov 29th: San Jose’s 231st Birthday at the Peralta Adobe
Original Settlers of the Pueblo of San Jose,  29 November 1777
History of San Jose
In Memory of Anabella Rafaela Alvarado


TAPAS 3:00 TO 4:30PM.




Tlf. /Phone: (619) 234-7897
E-mail: andalus@


(619) 234-7897

Briones House Update 10-20-08

Alviso Adobe Community Park Grand Opening on October 25. The City of Pleasanton invites the public to visit the oldest building in town, where a $4.5 million restoration has opened a site “where school children and visitors can learn about the history of the Amador Valley…” according the city's newsletter. They have discovered artifacts that date to 3420 B.C. I am confident that the oldest building in Palo Alto contains treasures of similar age. When I read that other cities and counties can accomplish such things, I wonder why ours can't. 

The lives of Juana Briones, her children and grandchildren, and the Indians who owned the ranch before her tell a great deal of the story of Santa Clara County, a place that historians have been slow to discover but are now including in their lists of interesting places. 

The Juana Briones website has come up for renewal. Sally Wiatrolik managed it for the Juana Briones Heritage Foundation, which disbanded a few years ago when the City of Palo Alto issued a demolition permit for the house. Various suggestions have been to let Wickipedia substitute for the website, get cheaper web overhead than the $150 one now due. To my knowledge, nothing definite has occurred. 

Los Californianos, an organization of descendants of founding Californians and historians of that period, has put the Briones House on its list of sites for its Historic Preservation Committee to watch and promote as possible. 

All has been quiet on the legal front since the Judge determined that California law mandates that an Environmental Impact Report must be done on the Briones property, and no responses have been received about Tom Hunt's wish to transfer to a nonprofit organization the life interest that was willed to him in the cottage and water tower and about 1/3 of the Briones land. That property, historic in its own right, could be used for exhibits, offices, archives, research headquarters, meetings, with a reasonably small investment. 

For California Archaeology Month, Dr. Barbara Voss, who headed the archaeological dig at the Presidio of San Francisco that uncovered uniquely fine foundations at the site of the home of Marcos Briones at Polin Spring, did a book reading at the Presidio Officers Club, October 23. Her book is The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis: Race and Sexuality in Colonial San Francisco, published this year by UC Press. Refreshments and social gathering to follow at the Presidio Bowling Center. 

Jeanne McDonnell 
Sent by Lorraine Frain



San Jose’s 231st Birthday at the Peralta Adobe
Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Hi Mimi, We will be celebrating San Jose's 231st Birthday at the Peralta Adobe on Saturday, November 29th, 2008, beginning at one o'clock in the afternoon. Information below: program for the event, history of San Jose, and a list of the original founders of El Pueblo.   Sent by and or more information: Lorri Ruiz Frain

1:00 Information tables & Music
Los Californianos – Descendants please sign in.
Los Fundadores
Castro Adobe (Watsonville) 

2:00 Welcome by History San Jose 
Flag raising & Lighting of Perpetual Candle
“How They Came” by Greg Smestad, author:
A Guide to the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail 
Floral memorial: Evalyn Martinez, Los Fundadores
Reading of Founders list: Maria Reiger, Los Californianos

2:30 Descendants recognized
“Birthday” cake cut by Mary Baumann
Provided by Bijan Bakery in downtown San Jose
170 S. Market St, (408) 971-8000

Special Awards – 
Youngest descendant present    Eldest descendant present   “Friend of the Californios” 

3:00 Announcements; Thank committee!
(In the event of inclement weather, 2:30 reception will be held across the street.)


Original Settlers of the Pueblo of San Jose 
By Rudecinda Lo Buglio
Source: AGI, Audiencia de Guadalajara, 275 (103-4-17) Chapman guide #3792
Dated: 15 April 1778 (Census of founding of Pueblo de San Joseph, listing the people in the Pueblo at the founding on 29 November 1777.)

1. Corporal, s/c, Balerio de Mesa, wife Maria Leonar Borboa, 7 children: Joseph Joaquin, Joseph Ignacio, Ygnacio Dolores, Joseph Antonio, Nicolas Maria, Juan, Maria Manuela.

2. Juan Ramirez de Arrellano, s/c, wife Maria Agueda Lopez Dearo (Dearo is de Haro), son Juan Mariano, 4 years old. 

3. Xavier Beltran, s/c, wife Maria Gertrudis Lugo, 2 adopted orphan girls, Maria Gertrudis Valencia, Huerfana (orphan) 8-years old, Maria de la Luz Valencia, one-year old, Loreto Lugo Indio sirviente. The girls’ parents were Manuel Valencia and Maria de la Luz Munos.

4. Joaquin de Castro, s/c, wife Maria Martina Botiller; 5 children: Josef Mariano, Josef Joaquin, Francisco Maria, Carlos Antonio, Maria de la Encarnacion, and Francisco Maria, Yndio agregado.

5. Josef Manuel Yguera (Higuera), s/c, wife Maria Ignacia Antonia Limon Redondo, 4 children: Juan Joseph, Juan Faustino, Maria Bictoria, Maria Gertrudis, Joseph Yndio 16-year old sirviente.

6. Serefino Lugo, s/c, wife Gertrudis Pacheco.

7. Gabriel Antonio Peralta, s/c, wife Francisca Xaviera Balenzuela, 3-children: Luis Maria, Pedro Regaldo, Maria Gertrudis.

8. Felipe Santiago Tapia, s/c, wife, Juana Cardenas, 8 children from 1st wife, Maria Juana Filomena Hernandez: Joseph Bartolome, Juan Jose, Juan Cristobal, Joseph Francisco, Joseph Bictor, Maria Rosa, Maria Manuel (sic), Maria Ygnacia.

9. Juan Manuel Villela, s/c, soltero.

10. Manuel Amesquita, son Joaquin Gavriel, one year old. Wife, Maria Rosalia Zamora, was buried in San Francisco 16 March 1777. Second wife, Maria Barbara Graciana Hernandez.

11. Ygnacio Archuleta, wife Maria Ygnacia Gertrudis Pacheco.

12. Joseph Manuel Gonzales, wife Maria Micaela Ruis, 5 children: Juan, Ramon, Faustino, Maria Gregoria, Ana Maria.

13. Joseph Antonio Romero, wife Maria Petra Aceves.

14. Joseph Tiburcio Basquez (Vasquez), wife Maria Antonia Bojorquez, one child, Maria Ygnacia. 

15. Joseph Francisco Sinova, wife Maria Gertrudis Bojorquez

The list totaling sixty-eight includes a herdsman and his wife. Of the sixty-six Pobladores / families, there were only fifteen men (nine soldiers, five Pobladores, and the herdsman).
s/c = Soldado de Cuera
Sources: Article by Rudecinda Lo Buglio, Los Californianos Noticias.
Los Fundadores Newsletter, December, 2005
Retyped: October 24, 2008, minor editing to list.

History of San José, California

Over 230 years ago, near what is today the airport, a gathering of 15 men and 51 women and children started a settlement that they called El Pueblo San José de Guadalupe, the first purely civilian non- American Indian settlement in California. San José was thus founded on Nov. 29, 1777. The settlers, with their families, set out from the Presidio of San Francisco on the seventh day of November, 1777, accompanied by the lieutenant of the 1775-1776 Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition, Josef Joaquin Moraga. In the Spring of 1776, Anza, Padre Pedro Font, Lt. Moraga, and a small group of Spanish soldiers had explored the area north of Monterey, including Santa Clara county, on their way to choose the sites for the Mission and Presidio in San Francisco. Lt. Moraga came through Santa Clara County again in June of 1776 with settlers (called pobladores) on their way from Monterey to San Francisco to found the Presidio. 

In November of 1777, he and some of those same settlers founded the Pueblo of San José near the Guadalupe River. They were all citizens of the Spanish empire, but most were of mixed American Indian, African, and Hispanic ancestry. They later came to call themselves Californios. Arriving in San José in early November, Moraga gave the pobladores possession in the name of his Majesty King Carlos III of Spain, marking out for them the plaza for the houses and distributing the house-lots among them. He measured off for each one a piece of land for planting a Fanega (7 acres for 1.6 bushels) of corn, and for beans and other vegetables. They immediately set to work to build the houses of palisades covered with clay, with flat roofs, and, when these were finished, each began to clear and plough his piece of ground for the planting of corn and beans. They also proceeded to build a dam to take the water from the Guadalupe River. It is thus that San José began in an area already occupied for thousands of years by the native Ohlone peoples. 

Their village in the area was called Tamien, and the coming of the Spanish, and the founding of the Mission Santa Clara in January of 1777, marked the beginning of the end of their way of life. Ohlone and Californio descendants are still around today. Each year, there is a commemoration in San José that allows people today to come together to look back on those days gone by.For more details, contact Greg Bernal-Mendoza Smestad at Los Californianos (415) 979-8730 and email: Greg is a descendant of Peralta and the grandson of Velma Bernal.

Sent by Lorri Ruiz Frain


In Memory of Anabella Rafaela Alvarado

Arabella Rafaela Alvarado, was born on October 24, 1914, in San Diego, California, the
daughter of Francisco Alvarado and Loretta Beltran of Alta California. She married Richard
Regalado Senior in Los Angeles and in this marriage, they had three children, with Richard
Regalado Jr., Maria Guadalupe (Lupe Regalado) Benitez and Joseph Anthony Regalado (Sr).

She is survived by 12 Grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three Great-Great-
Grandchildren. She passed away on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at the Rose Hill Hospice, in Whittier, Los Angeles County, California.

Arabella Rafaela Alvarado was a saleslady with Bullocks, and a housewife. Was a
member of the Los Pobladores 200, the Los Descendientes de Santa Barbara, of San Diego, and the Los Californianos, a descendant of Alvarado, Yorba, Amador, Machado, Lopez, Osuna, Grijava, Valdez, Quintero and Rubio of Early Spanish California, who had arrived in Alta California in the 1769 Gaspar de Portola Expedition, and in the 1776 and 1781 Anza-Rivera Expeditions. 

She was a descendant of Luis Manuel Quintero and Maria Petra Rubio of Sonora,
New Spain, their daughter, Maria Fabiana Sebastiana Quintero, who married Eugenio Valdez, the son of Ygnacio Roque Valdez and Maria Manuela Fernandez. Eugenio Valdez was a Catalonian Soldier of Spain, who arrived from Sonora, New Spain to the Mission San Gabriel Archangel, along with some of the founding families of El Pueblo de Los Angeles on September 4, 1781.

Her other ancestors included, Juan Ignacio Alvarado who married (Maria) Velezarda
Machado, the daughter of Jose de Jesus Machado and Lugarda Dionisia Osuna, and the grand
daughter of Jose Manuel Machado and Maria Serafina de la Luz Valdez, the son of Jose Manuel Machado and Maria del Carmen Valenzuela of Alamos, Sonora, New Spain (later known as Mexico after September 15, 1821). The parents of Lugarda Dionisia Osuna were Juan Maria Osuna and Maria Juliana Josefa Lopez.

Services were at held at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery. 

Information as provided by Maria Guadalupe (Alvarado) Benitez, the books written by
Marie Northrop on the Spanish-Mexican Families of Early Spanish California, from the family charts maintained by Robert E. Lopez of the Los Pobladores 200 and other sources. Iformation was published in the Los Angeles Times, Sunday Edition, September 28, 2008. 
Sent by Bob Smith of the Los Pobladores 200.


Her forbears trekked from Mexico to Santa Ana 
She tells stories from Los Alamitos' past
Joe Martinez: Their father and their hero
Grandfather; barber, leader known as 'El Maestro' in Placentia
Life took him from copper mines to the law
NM State Historian's Digital History Project

Editor: The following articles are a series of family stories that were published in the Orange County, California Register in celebration of Hispanic Heritage. The Register asked readers to tell their family stories of the Latino experience in Orange County. 

In the October issue of Somos Primos we published the very moving story of Ricardo Valverde's family.  Ricardo has been sending me the articles as they appeared.   

I share this information to promote the concept that each of you might want to pursue:  Contact your local newspapers now and suggest that your community consider the same kind of Hispanic/Latino involvement.  Surely an appropriate season to share with their neighbors an understanding of the Hispanic historical presence.

Her forbears trekked from Mexico to Santa Ana

And along the way, created new opportunities for themselves,
 and for generations to come.


The Orange County Register  
Friday, September 12, 2008


Graduating from college was probably the most difficult task I've ever tackled.

At the time, I was balancing two jobs, a full course load and editing duties at my college newspaper.

But I knew I had to persevere. If not for myself, for a handful of Mexican farmers and homemakers who fled their homeland after the revolution to give me a better life.  

My great-grandparents Elvira and Benito Medrano hailed from La Villa Jimenez in Michoacan, Mexico, pictured here.

About 80 years ago, my ancestors left their towns in the central Mexican states of Guanajuato and Michoacan seeking better economic and educational opportunities in the United States.  

They loaded their belongings and extended families onto trains and headed toward the Texan border, leaving behind schoolmates,
compadres and family homesteads. For some, the journey was difficult. My maternal great-grandmother, Maria Guillen, lost her mother and grandparents to illness during the trek.

They traveled on, arriving at government check points in El Paso and Eagle Pass, where they paid minimal fees and received immigration documents. But the road north had its potholes. My maternal great-grandparents Elvira and Benito Medrano were homeless until a Texan restaurateur took them in. He hired Benito to work in his eatery, and Elvira to care for his children.  


Despite the setbacks, the pioneers journeyed forth. Some ended up in eastern Texas. Most continued on to Orange County, where they connected with friends and loved ones already living in the county's growing Mexican American enclaves.

Three out of four branches of my family tree settled within two blocks of each other in Santa Ana's Santa Anita barrio – about 4 ½ miles from where I'm raising my own family. Side by side, the Medranos of Jackson Street, and the Salinas and Ramirez clans of Laurel Street weathered segregation, the Depression and World War II. They grew up together, often mingling at schools, weddings and parish carnivals.

My paternal grandmother, Rita Salinas, once told me she used to admire my maternal grandmother, Alice Guillen, from afar.

"I used to think she was so pretty with all that curly hair," she said. "And now we share the same grandchildren."  


In this class photo, my grandfather Augustine Guillen holds the right side of a sign that reads
  "Irvine Mexican Room 1932."

My maternal grandfather, Augustine "Chuck" Guillen, was the odd man out. He was born and raised on the Irvine Ranch. He often reminisced about climbing orange trees and chasing freight trains as a child. He was also apparently in a segregated elementary school class. In a class photo, he's holding a sign that reads "Irvine Mexican Room 1932." But he rarely spoke about it.  

In fact, none of my grandparents seemed to mind much that, as teenagers, they had to sit in the "Mexican" section at local movie theaters.  "We had a better view from the balcony anyway," Augustine once told me, chuckling.  

My grandmother, Alice Guillen, far right, with Garden Grove High School classmates. 
She graduated in 1942.

  My great-grandparents Benito and Elvira Medrano and their son Lee are pictured in the left half of the photo.  

My great-grandfather, Juan Guillen, is the second from the left. Circa 1923

Years passed and my grandfathers joined the Army. My paternal grandfather, Ramon Salinas, built bridges for the Allied forces in Italy. He once told me that he spent a week hanging out in Mussolini's vacated palace. I still don't know whether he was joking.

My grandparents went on to raise families, buy homes and work in local industries. Augustine painted cars for decades in what's now the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in downtown Santa Ana. Ramon became a brick mason. His handiwork can still be seen outside Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. And Rita was a nurse's assistant at St. Joseph Hospital, where my dad, my daughters and I were born.


My paternal grandparents Ray and Rita Salinas on their wedding day in 1952  

Though my grandparents and great-grandparents have long since passed, I carry their stories, legacies and struggles in my heart. Reflecting on their feats inspires me.

After many sleepless nights, I finished my college coursework. And as I walked back to my seat during the commencement ceremony, I turned my eyes to the heavens, silently thanking those who sacrificed their lives for me some 80 years ago.

Contact the writer:  
Photos courtesy of Theresa Cisnero

She tells stories from Los Alamitos' past  
Esther Mejia, 94, lives in the house where she grew up.

Submitted by Brett Murphy
For The Orange County Register

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Her name is Esther Mejia. She is the one who taught me how to cook, how to be find good chiles in the garden, how to be a good husband, and hopefully one day, to be a great father. 

Residence: Los Alamitos
Family: Daughters, Verna, Eva, Madeline and Esther; eight grandchildren, 15 great-grand children and two great-great grandchildren.

She is my Grandma, and this year she turned 94 years old. She still lives in the house she grew up in, next door to where she was born 94 years ago in Los Alamitos, surrounded by large buildings that she says once used to be beet fields that her family and friends worked in. She was recently inducted into the Los Alamitos museum as a historical figure for the city, having the mayor explain the link that our elders have to the past. 

After she was born into that small house off Katella Avenue, her Mexican immigrant parents began to take in and board Mexican workers who came across the border looking for work in the area. Knowing how many workers were coming from Mexico looking for work, it was not uncommon for an immigrant to stay at the house for days on end, even weeks. This is how my grandmother met and fell in love with a strapping young Mexican worker from Jalisco named Jose Refugio.

They married soon after and had four daughters who still visit their mother everyday in the very house that they were raised in. And each visit brings another story from Esther — about the time when Howard Hughes crashed his experimental plane in the beat fields outside of town, to the story of the early missionaries who served menudo from St.Isidore's Church just down the street that she was baptized, confirmed, and married in some years later. 

Every time she tells these stories you can see the black and white still photos on the walls and desks start to move and come alive with the history that is held in their stone faces and motionless scenes. 

The portraits of cousins long past dressed in bandito clothing in Jalisco, to the wedding photos of young Mexican workers that are older than the city itself. The stories of how Mexicans just like her came to this country knowing that it could turn the simplest of workers into something great. That a simple job here could feed more mouths in one week of work than maybe a month back in Mexico. 

But along with her 94 years of love and triumph stories, there are the inevitable stories of struggle and hardship. Stories of prejudice and disdain for this new immigrant worker that indigenous Americans had learned to hate. Even though it was these very workers who made life easy for commoners, while still trying to be unseen and unheard.

But once I saw the article on The OC Register about sending in stories of Mexican Americans that deserve to be in print, I could think of no one else than my Grandma. She has had so many stories and tales in her 94 years that sometimes I think God has kept her on this earth as long as he has so she can give us as much of a look into the past as possible.

And in a world where nothing is sacred any more, where a historic building will be leveled so we can make room for another Starbucks or strip mall, there is Esther. Sitting in her living room, a crochet needle in each hand making another quilt or blanket for her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

She has never driven a car, never had a computer, and never had any regrets. Her husband Jose has long since passed away, but her stories remain. 

Out of that frail and cracked face comes historical and family information that is sharp and precise, not leaving any detail out despite how small. I still sit in amazement every time I visit her, being transported from this metropolitan city back to a time when Mexican workers walked the beet fields, bartered for goods, and families grew from the very soil that I walk on every day. 

I know that one day my Grandma will leave this world, and her stories will go with her. I just hope that we can somehow capture a little bit of that magic, and keep it here with us for a while. 

I am not only a grandchild any more, but a successful businessman, a loving husband, and God willing, a grandfather one day. And I know that one day I will be the one with the stories to tell. I just hope that when that day comes I can strive to be as filled with history as my grandma. That when I open my mouth people actually listen, not just wait for their turn to talk. 

I am proud of my Latino heritage, I am proud of my family, and I am proud of where I came from. And I am proud to know that I came from my Grandma, and that story is one that I will never let die.


Joe Martinez: 
Their father and their hero

Submitted by Elaine Martinez Cali
The Orange County Register,
September 29, 2008                    

HE'S TOPS: Joe Martinez wearing a 
"Number One Dad" pin during a birthday 
celebration around the mid-1980s.


My father Joe Martinez was born in 1924 in Orange.  He was a first-generation Mexican 

American and the youngest of nine children.  His parents immigrated to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution seeking a better life.  Growing up poor in the humble barrio area on Cypress Street, he never enjoyed the luxury of being spoiled, but rather took his place in the family and helped out where he could.

He was a happy child living amongst the sights and sounds of laughing children, the tempting aroma of Mexican dishes, and dusty roads filling the air of this close-knit neighborhood.   

In the 1920's and 30's segregation was a part of life in America, and in Orange it took the form of a separate (but not equal) elementary school for Mexican children only, and special days for them to swim in the Orange plunge at Hart Park (the day before the pool was cleaned). 

A sense of honor seemed to carry him through his life, as he volunteered for the Army Air Corp upon graduating from Orange High School when he was just 18 years old and World War II was raging.

He wanted to contribute to the war effort and his dream was to become a pilot. His dream came true and he became a B-17 pilot (one of very few Mexican American pilots) and rose through the ranks captain of his squadron. During his military career he flew more than 30 successful missions over enemy territory in Europe. 

After the war he wanted to become a commercial pilot, and applied to many major air carriers but was denied. One can only speculate as to why someone with his tremendous credentials and stellar war record was passed over. 

Only Mexicana Airlines accepted him — on the condition that he relinquish his U.S. citizenship. He told them, "I didn't spend the last three years of his life fighting for America to give up my citizenship." and turned them down.

He went to work instead at the Sunkist Packing House down the street from where he grew up. It was there that he met Della Ruiz, a beautiful young woman and sixth-generation descendant of the Yorba clan. They quickly fell in love and married. She had a son from a previous marriage, David, that my dad raised and loved as his own son.

He eventually left the packing house for a janitorial job at Knox Hardware in Santa Ana. It was a long way from the highflying life of a pilot. Yet he was a bright man and a hard worker, and this dedication paid off over the years, as he was promoted to salesman, purchasing agent and eventually vice president of Knox Industrial Supplies. He spent 44 years of his life at this job.

I remember going into work with him on the weekends. I would just roam the aisles looking at hardware and asking him endless questions about how all the tools and gadgets worked. He was always very patient with me and seemed happy to satisfy my curiosity. To this day, walking into a hardware store seems sort of familiar and comforting to me. 

Joe and Della settled in Santa Ana and had two other children, Cathi, in 1948 and Elaine in 1954. He was a devoted family man and a very kind and loving father. 

As a child, I eagerly waited for him to come home from work, I'd run down the driveway to greet him and he'd pick me up (sometimes putting me on his shoulders) and carry me into the house. I loved his strong arms, laughter and comforting smile. He was the "rock" of our family and seemed to never falter. 

I only remember seeing him vulnerable once, when my mother died in 1967. She had suffered a long illness for three years prior to her death, and when she died he was devastated. But in true "Joe Martinez fashion" he rallied to be both mother and father to our family for many years to come.  

He soon became a grandfather and relished that role as well. He loved babies and would enjoy a "dance" with them, holding out his hand until their small fingers joined his for a spin around the room.

He met and married a long-time friend and golf partner Chris in 1981 and they moved to Orange Park Acres. This large house with a lot of land became the focal point of fun family gatherings and a place they could "raise" horses and dogs and enjoy their life and retirement together.

I will remember my dad, Joe Martinez in many ways…

By his example he instilled in his family the importance of hard work, honesty, dedication and loyalty. He didn't have the easiest life, but he learned to work through it. 

He was a religious man and committed to Mass every Sunday and daily prayers. Although he certainly liked to have fun, have an "Early Times" now and again and enjoy his friends.

He didn't gossip, but rather lead by example and hoped you would follow his lead. 

If he disapproved of your action, he would sort of "growl" and either reprimand or give his advice calmly. 

He always told us how much he loved us and still checked in with family members weekly to make sure we were OK…or just leave a phone message saying that he loved us very much. He was generous with his unconditional love and wanted our lives to be a bit easier than his had been.

He gave us both roots and wings, and that is the best you can ask for in your life. He had a special song, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You." That to us embodied his loving spirit.

We decided that this was so much a part of him that we had this song title etched into his headstone. He passed away on Dec. 6, 2007, however, we will never forget him, his love for us, and our Orange County story.

Contact the writer: Elaine Cali's niece Jamie Wood and sister Cathi Martinez Budd contributed to this story.


TIME OF PEACH: Joe Martinez, left, with (l-r) wife Della Ruiz Martinez, 
and friends Annie Islas and Vera Placentia, around the mid-1940s.

TIME OF WAR: Joe Martinez with his plane and squadron during World War II. He shipped off to England for service as a bomber pilot in WWII.





SERVING HIS COUNTRY: Joe Martinez during 
service in the Army Air Corp in World War II.

CHILDHOOD: Joe Martinez is wearing a white dress, sitting on his mother Maria's lap. His father Ricardo is sitting next to her. From the left, and clockwise, are his siblings Ismael, Ricardo, Amelia (standing with hand on her father's shoulder), Jesus (wearing tie), Paul, Salvador (far right), Helen (in front of her father) Henry (sailor outfit). Circa mid-1920s. Amelia, of Orange, is the last remaining sibling



Grandfather, barber, leader known as 'El Maestro' 
in Placentia

A tribute to Jose Aguirre during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Submitted by the Hon. Frederick Aguirre

For the Orange County Register, Oct 2, 2008


In 1908, Jose Aguirre, my grandfather, traveled from Michoacan, Mexico to Southern California. He came to visit his brother Dario Aguirre and his family. In 1895 Dario settled in Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. Jose worked in the area for three years, then returned to Mexico. He was a carpenter, barber and farmer. 

The elders in the small town of Tres Mesquites selected Jose to be a justice of the peace. He presided over minor civil disputes and criminal matters. He married Martina Vargas and they had three children. But Mexico was engaged in a great civil war, the Mexican Revolution. The resulting turmoil forced my grandfather and his family to move to the United States.

In 1918 my grandparents and their children crossed at Laredo, Texas and paid the Alien Head-Tax of $8 for each adult. We still have the receipts. The immigration laws were not passed until 1922. Up to that date, Mexicans crossed back and forth at will. 

They did not even have to register. My grandparents could have crossed at the river and would not have to pay the tax ($8 was a lot of money in 1918). But my grandfather was a stickler for obeying the laws. He insisted on crossing at the Laredo Bridge and registering his family's entrance into this country. That year they settled in Placentia where they would be close to their siblings. In 1902 my grandmother's older sister Florencia Mejia (later Cortez) and her family settled in Corona.  

In 1920 my father, Alfred was born. In that same year, my grandfather opened his barbershop on Santa Fe Street in downtown Placentia. 

Customers and friends respectfully referred to my grandfather as "El Maestro" which means a Master Teacher or a Man Eminently Skillful in his Profession. Jose could read and write both English and Spanish. From his barbershop, where most of the Mexican American men gathered, Jose presided over community affairs. 

In 1927, my grandfather and several business partners formed the "Compania Comercial Mexicana" (Mexican Commercial Company), a California corporation. They opened "El Sol de Mayo" (The May Sunlight), a grocery store in downtown Placentia. They also leased land to cultivate crops. In 1930 Jose bought out his business partners. 

The store was operated by our family until World War II. The Citrus Strike of 1936 adversely affected the store as several families moved out of little Placentia to find work and others ran up sizeable credit accounts with our family store. We still have the original press for the corporate seal.  

In the 1920's Jose was a representative of the Mexican Consulate of Los Angeles. Through the local organization entitled "La Comision Honorifica" (The Honorary Commission), he would assist Mexican immigrants in settling in Placentia. 

He was also the Treasurer of "El Comite de Festejos Patrios" (The Patriotic Festival Committee), which hosted the annual Independence Day celebration on Sept. 16. For several weeks men would meet at Jose's barbershop to plan the festival. They would construct the stage and set up the booths and electrical wiring for the outdoor event. 

On the afternoon of Sept. 15, the queen and her court would be driven to the Fullerton train depot, board the train and travel the three miles to the Placentia train depot. There they would be greeted by hundreds of persons who would line the streets for the four-block walk/ride to the festival grounds. All of my uncles, aunts and cousins would walk or ride in the parade. At the festival the crowd would all enjoy the music, dancing and food and the patriotic speeches that would end with the "Grito" the fervent cry for independence that would be rendered at midnight. 

Being a fervent Catholic, Jose was one of the organizers and participants in the annual "Los Pastores" ( The Shepherds) performance. The allegorical 16th century Christmas play featured shepherds journeying to Bethlehem to honor the newborn savior. During their quest the shepherds would be tricked and enticed by devils while guided and protected by angels. 

For several weeks 19 men and two young boys, who played the female parts a la Shakespeare, practiced and memorized their lines at Jose's barbershop. Bedecked in colorful gowns, grotesque, brightly painted, hand-carved wooden masks, swords and staffs, the entourage would perform at a predetermined home, then remain to enjoy a Christmas feast. They would perform several nights a week for two weeks — sometimes even in Los Angeles County. My father remembers performing in a home in the Simons brickyard neighborhood in Montebello in 1934 when he played the part of Gila, a female angel.

In 1934 my grandfather died at age 44 of chronic asthma. He had suffered from the incurable disease all of his adult life. My grandmother lived until 1994, dying six months shy of 100.

The legacy of community service instilled in our family by my grandfather manifested itself quickly. During World War II, my father, his brothers Richard and Joe, plus 23 cousins proudly served our country. 

After the war my father organized "Veterans and Citizens of Placentia", a group of Mexican American veterans that successfully lobbied the local school board to integrate the public grammar schools in Placentia. 

In 1958, my father was elected to the Placentia City Council and in 1960, Sal Zavala, his cousin, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Placentia Unified School District. I am a Superior Court Judge in my home county. 

Frederick Aguirre, of Villa Park, is an Orange County Superior Court judge.



Artwork portrays war memories

WWII service of Henry Romo Martinez comes to life through painting, memorabilia.

The Orange County Register, Sunday, September 23, 2007


Artwork portrays war memories
Raquel Lomeli rests a palm on a portrait of her father, Henry Romo Martinez,
 that hangs on his memorial wall in her Orange home.


Medals in a wooden frame. Paper money and coins from Burma, now Myanmar. A picture – depicting a surgical scene in a field hospital – colored in orange, brown and greens painted with iodine and disinfectants on surgical cloth.

These are some of the many World War II memorabilia that Lomeli, 48, displays. They belonged to her father, Henry Romo Martinez, who died at 75, 10 years ago. Over the years, the shrine has had its signature wall in three homes, becoming a must-see at dinner parties, fundraisers and family gatherings.  Raquel Lomeli calls it her shrine.

"I want everyone to see what my dad has done," Lomeli says with tears in her eyes. "He was so proud of his country and that he served. When we have fundraisers, (lawmakers) Lou Correa, Loretta Sanchez and Jose Solorio – they always made it a point to see Dad's stuff on the wall."

Martinez, who grew up in the La Rambla neighborhood of San Pedro, enlisted in the U.S. Army on Dec. 8, 1942, following his brother Joe Martinez, a paratrooper. Henry served in the China Theater – doing tours in Burma, China and India – an area where Americans suffered heavy casualties. He was a member of 43 Portable Surgical Hospital, serving until Nov. 15, 1945.

Martinez was one of about 500,000 American Hispanics serving in World War II.

In the Lomeli home in Orange Park Acres, Martinez's memory of service lives on. Most of what Lomeli discovered after her father's death was new to her, her mother and three sisters and brother.

"He would always tell me about his buddies, said Amparo Martinez, 81, of Santa Ana, Martinez's widow, who grew up on Lemon Street in Orange. "He would talk about the bombs falling and the shrapnel hitting him in the foxholes. He'd get on his hands and knees and drag his body across the ground to get the wounded. The only light he had was from the bomb explosions that were going off around him. They'd bring 100 (casualties) a night and often times many had died. Sometimes he would cry when he talked about his buddies. He'd say he had a painting – but when I asked to see it, he'd say, 'Never mind.' "

Martinez talked about traveling through Asia and of the people there. He went to the Great Wall of China, smuggled food for hungry children and posed for a picture next to a pregnant woman from China who washed clothes for him and his buddies.

"As far away as he was from Mexican people, he found a woman in India who made tortillas," Amparo said laughing. "He was so happy to have a tortilla."

Over the years, Martinez would keep in touch with his buddies. He kept a photo with all their names and where they came from written on its back. Amparo sent Christmas cards to each.

A highlight came was when his best friend from the war came to see him 10 years after the conflict ended. "They embraced for a long while and both cried," Amparo remembers.

But Martinez never discussed the horror of war with his children. Daughter Lionor Solorio, 52, remembers a brown leather box hidden in the top shelf of a hallway linen closet. At least several times a month she snuck it down from its hiding spot when her father was at work for the city of Anaheim.

"There was this little bag full of rubies," she said, her eyes sparkling. "I'd look at them – some were shiny and some were dull. The box had letters, documents, coins and paper money – it was like a treasure. I knew I could never go to those places he had been."

Over the years, some of the little rubies were lost, and the brown box became a favorite of Lomeli's 23-year-old daughter Mary Elizabeth.

The family knew military service had turned Martinez – born in Santa Maria de Enmedio, Jalisco state, Mexico – into a man of patriotism. He took his oath as a U.S. citizen on board the ship carrying him to war.

"When we took family trips to Mexico and came back, he'd tell us to get on our knees and kiss the ground," said Lomeli. "He'd say there is no country like the U.S. and that we were fortunate to be here."

An altar covered in brightly-painted skulls and coffins made from sugar, photos of Martinez with his grandkids and friends and vases filled with orange and gold marigolds stands at the door of the Lomeli home. It is a tribute to the Day of the Dead – a Mexican holiday where the living invite their dead to return home again for a few hours. On Nov. 2 marigolds are strewn from the altar to the front of the house so souls can find their way back home.

Lomeli has made it a point to teach her children to learn about their Mexican culture as a way to remember their grandfather.

"This is how we celebrate death," she said. "This is my tribute to him. This is our heritage that comes from him."

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. This is the second in a series of stories during the celebration focusing on the contributions and experiences of Latino veterans of World War II.

Contact the writer: 949-454-7307 or


Life took him from copper mines to the law

GI bill marked a turning point in the life of Ralph C.  Morones 
Submitted by Ralph G. Morones, 
For the Orange County Register, October 6, 2008 

LAWYER: Ralph C. Morones of Anaheim went from the copper mines of Arizona to a career in the law.

Ralph C. Morones was a man of humble  beginnings who went on to have a  successful career and to live a long and prosperous life. From his roots, you can draw an analogy  to his fruitful life.

Take the earth from the copper mine of  Morenci and Clifton, Arizona along the  San Francisco River where life began for Ralph. Ralph and his life journey can in some ways be compared to the raw material that was blasted from the ground, hauled, conveyed, concentrated, smelted, refined and made ready for market in the precious metal — copper. 

His life can be compared to the copper mining process whereby he started life in a remote part of the Southwest, moved west, concentrated his knowledge and skills, refined his work ethic and made himself into a productive man surrounded by a large loving family.

The son of Rafael and Francisca Morones, immigrants from Santa Maria de Enmedio, Jalisco state, Mexico, he was born on April 7, 1921 in the town of Clifton, still a small town of about 2,600, where copper mining dates back to the 1870s.

He went to grade school and high school in Clifton where he graduated with honors. He enjoyed life there as a child and teenager and created countless memories with his 13 brothers and sisters.

During his early years in Clifton, Ralph worked at several jobs. He worked for Phelps-Dodge as a delivery driver and later in the mine, he worked in his parent's tiendita (their store)and dairy and, he always tried to improve himself. 

As a young man in Clifton, he also would meet, Aurora "Dora" Hurtado, and they would become husband and wife before he was called to serve in the Army during World War II. Upon his return, he and Dora would start a family. 

It was shortly thereafter, that Ralph decided to use his GI Bill and go to school. He and Dora moved their young family to Tucson where he entered the University of Arizona and, while working full-time at the post office, he completed his studies and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in business and a law degree. Dora worked many jobs to help support the family.

We contacted a friend who used to be president of the alumni association. We wanted to find out how many people of Mexican descent had graduated from the college at that time, and how many from law school. Our friend said he would guess that Ralph may have been one of a few Mexican-Americans to have graduated from college — also using the G.I. bill — and probably the only one to have graduated from U of A law school at that time.

Later, Ralph moved the family to Los Angeles where he was able to use his education to improve the way of life for his family. The family moved to Anaheim in 1978. He was an executive for Allstate and other insurance companies. His proudest career achievement though, was becoming a tax attorney for the IRS from which he retired after 25 years of service. 

Working for a government agency that had a reputation of taking money from people, Ralph was always quick to say of his employment with the IRS that "he was one of the good guys". He also used his talents to give back to the less fortunate by donating his time to the VITA program which helps those in need with tax preparation.

Hard work was life for Ralph. At an early age, he learned the value of hard work from his parents and he tried to pass this along to his children.

Ralph took great joy in his family, he was proud of his upbringing and Clifton.

The family often came together for gatherings in Clifton. One year he asked all the kids in the family if they wanted to climb the mountain that was directly behind his parents' house. That made them all members of the "Mountain Climbers Association of Clifton, Arizona." It became a tradition, along with the ice cream he bought afterwards. 

Just as copper touches our daily lives in almost everything we do, Ralph also touched the lives of the many people he met and who came to know him.

Ralph is gone from our lives and there is a void where there used to be his voice, his smile, his embrace, his laugh and his "kissitos".   Ralph G. Morones is a resident of La Canada. Christa Morones contributed to this story. 

"I met Ralph Morones shortly after he started with the IRS back in 1979. He was teaching a class on income tax preparation at Santa Ana College. He was recruiting individuals to work with the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program). He stated he needed bodies to work in the predominantly Hispanic community to assist with free tax preparation at local community centers. My wife and I took the course, completed the training and went on to volunteer at VITA sites in the community.
As a county social worker of 31 years I took his message and training with me and assisted clients in the County of Orange Adolescent Family Life Program. His training touched many a needy family. His legacy I'm sure continues with the individuals he touched along the way. God bless Ralph and his family. "  

Ricardo Valverde

Ralph C. Morones

Born: April 7, 1921

Died: Feb. 10, 2008


Children Elizabeth Cummings, Whittier, Christa Morones, La Canada, Michael Morones, Whittier, Annette Lucas, Fullerton. Preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Aurora Hurtado Morones, and daughter Mary Margaret.

Bachelor's degree and law degree, University of Arizona.

Lawyer. Tax attorney for the IRS, Gift and Estate Tax Division, in Santa Ana, for more than 25 years.



New Mexico State Historian's Digital History Project 
Recognized as Best in Public History in the American West

Santa Fe, NM-October 23, 2008. The Office of the State Historian (OSH), a division within the State Records Center and Archives, will receive the Autry Public History Prize for excellence in public history from the Western History Association, October 24, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Office of the State Historian will be recognized for its contribution to a broader public reflection and appreciation of the past and as a model of professional public history practice in the history of the North American West.

Each year, the Western History Association convenes scholars, writers and a wide range of history enthusiasts and presents awards for excellence in research, writing, scholarship, education and outreach. The Office of the State Historian and its Digital History Project- was nominated by University of Wisconsin Professors Dr. Camille Guerin-Gonzales and Dr. Susan Johnson. Professor Doris Meyer, author of Speaking for Themselves: Neomexicano Cultural Identity and the Spanish Language Press, also submitted a letter of support in the nomination, noting that this project "has opened doors to previously inaccessible areas of historical knowledge through the medium of the worldwide web, today's most powerful educational tool." 

The prize is made possible by the generous support of the Autry National Center based in Los Angeles, California. According to Professor Virginia Scharff, President of the Western History Association and University of New Mexico Professor, "this is a terrific honor for New Mexico, and the WHA is thrilled to be giving the Autry Public History Award to the Office of the State Historian for its far-reaching and innovative work." Dr. Stanley Hordes, Chairman of the Commission of Public Records commented "The Commission of Public Records is extremely proud of what our Office of the State Historian has produced, and thrilled with the very prestigious award that it has so deservedly been granted." 

In their nomination, Professors Johnson and Guerin-Gonzales write that the Office of the State Historian Digital History Project "represents the very best of western public history offerings in its innovative design, its intellectual integrity, its conceptual underpinnings, its inclusive content, and its sheer beauty and complexity." Their accompanying nomination notes that the "over the past several years OSH has reinvented itself, expanding its mission and creating projects that are as deeply meaningful to academics are they are to the general public. The brainchild of the State Historian, this project did not come as a mandate and considering its scant funding, its breadth, depth and beauty is amazing. Its work has been accomplished because of the dedication of the team assembled to work on it and sustained by the commitment to make history accessible and meaningful."

Creating equilibrium between an inviting-aesthetic-interface and a deeply thoughtful navigation has been paramount for the Digital History Project. From its inception, the goal of the project has been to create a virtual engagement with New Mexico's living history, by establishing a premier web portal, whereby visitors are able to navigate through themes that explore the wisdom of places, the significance of events, the complexity of the human condition and the transformative power of storytelling."This project is a window to the past and it reflects a people's history, woven from official accounts and the contest of stories that are the legacy of New Mexico, the nation and the world as a whole. As such, the Office of the State Historian is deeply honored to receive this award on behalf of the people of New Mexico," said Dr. Rael-Galvez.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Estevan Rael-Galvez, Ph.D
New Mexico Office of the State Historian 
Sent by Henry J. Casso, Ph.D.


Boricuas vs. Nuyoricans?Indeed! : A Look at Afro-Latinos

By Miriam Jiménez Román


Photographs in a controversial video feature smiling fair-skinned  beauty contest winners and  fashion models contrasted with images of  scantily dressed, full-bodied, dark-skinned women in public spaces  ---"evidence" of the cultural and aesthetic differences between "real"  Puerto Ricans and those who make illegitimate claims on that identity.

These are the verbal and visual claims of a controversial  video  making recent rounds on the Internet, explaining the alleged  differences between Puerto Ricans on the Island and those in the  United States. The two-minute video, which has repeatedly been yanked  from YouTube, informs the viewer that Puerto Ricans come from the  island, are overwhelmingly blancos or mestizos of Taíno and  European ancestry, and typically VERY classy and/or preppy or as we  say in Puerto Rico fino . .Island Puerto Ricans are also highly  educated, the video asserts. In contrast, Nuyoricans are 3rd or 4th  generation Puerto Ricans that are usually mixed  with African  Americans, CAN NOT speak Spanish or speak it very badly!!!  They act  very, very trashy and ghetto or as we say in Puerto Rico cafre!!!?  Nuyoricans are Afrocentric and one is more likely to find them in  prison than in college. Indeed, Nuyoricans a misnomer since it encompasses the entire Puerto Rican diaspora often seem to be a target in this video and beyond for anti-Afro-Latino sentiment. Nuyoricans
come under fire for their apparent obsession with race and racism and, most particularly, their identification with African-Americans and blackness.

I first encountered this view of Nuyoricans decades ago when I  followed my parents' dream and took the guagua aérea back to the land of my birth.  I quickly learned that to be from the States was to  suffer from a social disability, a condition that the island-bred
believed I had best overcome for the good of the Puerto Rican nation,  if not my own accommodation.  That was in the 1970s, when Puerto Rico was being invaded by a seeming
horde of return migrants.  The children of the diaspora were already perceived as a problem, one that taxed the island's already scarce resources and presented perspectives that seemed antithetical to long-cherished ideas about Puerto Rican identity. Throughout my many years living and working in Puerto Rico there was rarely a reference to los de afuera that wasn't, on some level, derogatory, so that even compliments (¡Ay, pero tu no pareces ser de allá! ) only reinforced this sense of undesirable otherness.

The image of Nuyoricans as immoral, violent, dirty, lazy,  welfare-dependent, drug-addicted felons was not restricted to the  United States; to this day, both countries produce media images that  depict stateside Puerto Ricans as overwhelmingly engaged in some type  of objectionable behavior. Even by the most sympathetic of accounts,  it's assumed that living in what José Martí referred to as the entrails of the monster ruins Puerto Ricans, robs them of language  and culture, and leaves them susceptible to destructive foreign  influences.

One aspect of this alleged foreign influence is the Nuyorican attitude  toward race. Yet many foreign ideas have found fertile ground in  Puerto Rico. For instance, despite initial skepticism about the  feminist movement, by the late 1970s, the Island boasted a number of
feminist organizations, as well as the official endorsement of the  Commonwealth government. At the Comisión Para los Asuntos de la Mujer,  for example, programs and literature developed in the United States barely underwent any alteration in their transfer to Puerto Rico; most  were merely translated into Spanish. Not only were these "foreign  ideas" acceptable but so too was the format, neither message  (middle-class feminism) nor messenger (in the main, white women) met  with the easy dismissal affected against Nuyoricans who talked about  race and racism. Nor were those islanders who espoused the new ideas  about women's place in society any more receptive to the new ideas  about race than was the general population. Thus, when I described my  own research on racism in Puerto Rico to the then- director of the Comisión, I was assured that "we don't have such problems here.

Little wonder, then, that more than twenty-five years after Isabelo  Zenón Cruz published his biting exposé on racism in Puerto Rico, Narciso descubre su trasero, there is still no official acknowledgment of its existence on the island.  Newspapers, magazines and the
broadcast media continue to ask if racism exists, rather than acknowledging that it does, a tactic followed by the island's Civil Rights Commission in its rare publications on the subject. Nor is it surprising that Black Puerto Rican women, so long ignored as women and
 as Blacks, found themselves compelled to establish their own organization, La Unión de Mujeres Puertorriqueñas Negras, as a vehicle for fighting the silence, invisibility and abuse that marks their  participation in la gran familia puertorriqueña.

This reluctance to engage racism as anything other than an imported  "gringo" problem is consistent with the exceptionalist posture typical throughout Latin America, where the myth of racial democracy has  continued to dominate national discourse despite well- documented evidence to the contrary. Puerto Rico, identifying as culturally "Hispanic," has looked for its models to an increasingly Europeanized  Spain and to other Spanish-speaking countries. The prevalent tendency is to ignore the neighboring Caribbean islands, full of "negros de verdad," and instead to focus on a Hispanoamérica ostensibly full of mestizos, indios and blancos?all bound by the same reluctance to acknowledge its strong African roots.

Puerto Rico as a "Latin" country exempts itself from racism even as it distances itself from its Blackness, identifying "real" Blackness as  somehow inconsistent with Hispanic history and culture or with history and culture, more generally. This perspective has become the official line, made real by repetition rather than concrete experience or the  historical record. The contradictions have provided space for and encouraged the creation of a Taino revival movement overwhelmingly  composed of second and third generation stateside Puerto Ricans who, by laying claim to indigeneity and thus the most "original" roots,
propose to out-authenticate the islanders.  It is a view that leaves unexplained why a people ostensibly so proud of their racial mixture overwhelmingly reject mixed race classifications.  Revealingly, and to the consternation of many, more than 80% of islanders self-identified as white in the 2000 census.

It is to this white identity that our amateur video-maker pays homage,  citing census figures and the mitochondrial-DNA studies of University  of Puerto Rico biologist Juan Carlos Cruz Martínez to buttress his  argument that ?real? Puerto Ricans owe their genetic and cultural  mestizaje to European and indigenous peoples.  And it is this  understanding of a de-Africanized mestizaje that many Puerto Ricans cling to when they first arrive in the United States.

It permits a scenario in which Puerto Ricans, defined as neither  Black nor white, arrive in the United States devoid of racial prejudice only to be accosted by it in their new home. Puerto Ricans are presumably taught racism in the U.S. and forced to choose between
 Black or white identity, to the detriment of their "true" cultural selves. This perspective, prevalent in the scholarship produced since  the 1930s, is also expressed in the autobiographical novel Down These  Mean Streets, the dark-skinned Piri Thomas anguishes over being ?caught up between two sticks.? Yet, it would be more accurate to say that Thomas and the others are actually stuck between the myth of racial democracy with its implicit preference for a bleached mestizaje, and the reality of African descent as a liability. The choice, if choice there were, is not between Black and white but  between the myth of race-free color blindness and the reality of anti-Black racism. It is this fundamental contradiction that provided fertile ground for new ways to understand race.  

The generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s saw what earlier migrants have seen from the beginning of the Latino presence  in the United States. Since the turn of the century people such as  bibliophile and historian Arturo Alfonso Schomburg have confronted overt racism. However, the open acknowledgment of its existence, also provided the political space to fight against racism. The shared experiences of racial discrimination and the concrete conditions flowing from it: deficient educational, health, and employment opportunities, confronted the more subtly phrased, but no less destructive ideology of racial democracy, learned from our parents and our community, and it became clear that something was off kilter. The very language of racism: "pelo bueno," "pelo malo," "Negro pero inteligente," which we heard in Spanish and English, left little doubt
 that the similarities between us were actually greater than the differences. The anti-racist, egalitarian ideas that flowed from the Civil Rights movement affected all those in the United States who were racially subordinated: African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans,  Native Americans, Asians, in the United States and throughout the  world. Nuyoricans were particularly receptive to the ideas and values  that arose from these struggles because, located at the very bottom of  the social and economic hierarchy of the City, they realized that it is of crucial importance to give due attention to the role of race in
our lives.

The effect of the US antiracist movement on Puerto Ricans in the island has received less attention but there is ample evidence of  those influences. It extends far beyond the short lived trendiness of  the African-inspired dress and hairdos or the continuing fascination
with the musical innovations that we know as "salsa" and reggaetón, or  even the growing intellectual interest in identifying the African  influences or, at another level, foundations of Puerto Rican culture.

 Less obvious, or at least less commented upon, is the effect on the educational life of Puerto Rico, where the astounding growth of post-secondary educational institutions on the island can be directly attributed to programs implemented under federally-mandated
Affirmative Action guidelines. Inter-American University, Sagrado Corazón, and the countless technical colleges that opened their doors in the 1970s were able to develop precisely because all Puerto Rican  students whether on the island or in the States qualified for federal  assistance programs. Yet even as Puerto Ricans, especially on the  island, rejected the stigma of racialization, they still  accepted. indeed, actively sought out the benefits of this racialization. That so many of the beneficiaries have often been the
 children of the more economically privileged sectors of our various  communities does not diminish the significance of those race-based reforms. At the same time we would be remiss if we ignore the ways in  which ideas about race and class continue to influence the actions taken by university admissions officers, corporate boards and disgruntled video-makers.

But of even greater importance for those concerned with social justice  has been the steadily growing chorus of voices raised against the Latino myth of racial harmony.  For decades, stateside Puerto Ricans have been among the most active supporters of the Afro-Latino movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. In recent years the transnational dimension has gained momentum as Black Latinos, and those who simply affirm their African ancestry, have organized in cities across the U.S. and across national borders. In addition to university-based organizations and cultural institutes, grass-roots
groups such as The Afro Latino Institute of Chicago (ALIC), ENCUENTRO  in Philadelphia and ENCUENTRO: Voices of AfroLatinos in Boston are  working to bring visibility to issues affecting African-descendant Latinos. Such efforts are also taking place on the island; in defiance of the silencing ideological and psychological controls of the
rainbow/mixed race nation construct a group of people in the towns of Aguadilla and Hormigüeros (Testimonios afropuertorriqueños: un proyecto de historia oral en el oeste de Puerto Rico), have joined forces to pursue a collective agenda so that Afro-Puerto Ricans no longer remain at the bottom of the barrel. Black Puerto Ricans are demonstrating that when it comes to class and race matters it's definitely not a question of Boricuas versus Nuyoricans.

Miriam Jiménez Román is director of afrolatin@ forum, a research and resource center focusing on Black Latinos and Latinas in the U.S. She was the Managing Editor and Editor of Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. For over a decade, she researched and  curated exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where she also served as the Assistant Director of the Scholars-in-Residence Program.  Currently, she is a visiting scholar in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University.


Death Whistle ~ Mictlantecutli "Ancient Instrument of the Aztecs"
Bio of Xavier Quijas Yxayotl
Yanni Voices and Special Guests, Acapulco, Mexico, November 13-16, 2008
 Sitting Bull descendant tells of battle
State eyes historical treasure from Little Big Horn
Local Heroes Awards Ceremony and Reception
Indigenous Nations of the North American Continent
Indigenous counted in 1757 census



Death Whistle ~ Mictlantecutli
"Ancient Instrument of the Aztecs"


From Tenochtitlan in the State of Mexico, Mictlantecutli in native Nahuatl language represents the "Death God" or Lord of the Darkness.

Found only in Mexico the Aztecs used it in their death ceremony when some important hierarchy died. They took the body through the streets with 100 or more Dead Whistles screaming and drumming, then continued to the burial tomb site or pyramid. 

Also the Aztecs used them when they went to war. They practically frightened the enemy to death by their drumming, dancing, and lots of screaming Dead Whistles. Now in modern times this sacred instrument has transformed for the "Day of the Dead Ceremony" whistle.

Xavier Quijas Yxayotl makes his look like skulls, which alone look very scary and intimidating. Being the finest clay craftsman, his clay flutes and ocarinas produce a superior sound quality. It takes a real knowledge and skill to work with clay, but to get the correct sound is even harder. Maybe only one or two out of five will survive Xavier's high standards, because if the correct sound isn't there he smashes them as his reputation is on the line.

The Aztecs were one of the most powerful and wise civilizations in America. They were great sculptors who made grand art of stone and instruments of clay. Once again for the first time, this clay flute creation made from earthly materials allows for Your Spirit to flow through as it sings. 

Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Editor: I am happy to announce that Xavier will be sharing a series of articles on the indigenous and ancient history of Mexico.  

Xavier sent a Death Whistle to Dr. Kathleen Joyce-Grendahl the Executive director of INAFA (International Native American Flute Association) for their archives at Kent State. She said her husband never plays with her flutes, but opened the package when it was delivered and was in the front yard playing it. She was in the back of her house in the shower and kept hearing this scream that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Her husband didn't know if he was playing it right. We told her that if the hair was standing up on the back of her neck, then he was playing it right!



Xavier Quijas Yxayotl - Bio 

My indigenous name is "Yxayotl", which in Nahuatl means tears. In 1977 during a peyote ceremony, an old Shaman from the Huichol tribe, Don Jose Matsuwa, gave me that name.

I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on December 28, 1952. I am proud to be a descendent of the Huicholes. During the 1970's, I decided to follow my dreams and to investigate and play the pre-Columbian music; that same music that was prohibited for 300 years due to its intensity and deep spiritual impact it had on the people of those times. My passion took me to the mountains of Jalisco and Nayarit, Mexico where I lived with the Huicholes and Tepehuanes for long periods of time.

I participated in indigenous ceremonies and rituals, sharing their knowledge. My passion for the handmade instruments, i.e.; Mayan and Aztec drums and flutes, Tarahumara drums, turtle shells, rain sticks, Teponaxtli log drums, Mayan ocean drums, rattles, gourds, and many others, grew without limits. With the experience and knowledge I acquired, and through the studies I did, I have become one of a few Mexican artists who are able to construct with my own hands instruments identical to the instruments used by the prehispanic peoples. They are replicas of the instruments used by the Aztecs, Mayas, and other indigenous nations from Mexico, and based on ancient manuscripts. The magic of my instruments is a faithful reproduction of the autochthonous musical instruments and the music is authentic and natural.

After researching the museums and private collections for these instruments, I have been able to reproduce these beautiful instruments. I brought the clay Mayan and Aztec double and triple flutes here to this country expressly to share this knowledge of the ancestors. The road traveled has not always been easy, but this music and my art "is my reason to live".

Most of my life has been spent constructing and playing these instruments. In looking at my cultural roots and musical roots, I realized music crosses all barriers! It was at this time in 1985 that I decided to form a group in Los Angeles and I named it America Indigena. The group is composed of people who share my musical sentiments. During our travels of concerts and ceremonies, we interpret the authentic music of the Mayans, Aztecs, Tarahumaras, Yaquis, Tepehuanes and Huicholes. I also sing in Tarahumara and my native Huichol and Nahuatl languages.

Besides musical performances and always creating new and different flutes, I am an artist. At the young age of eleven, I was placed into the the University of Fine Arts studying and working hard amongst the adults and other artists to become great at refining and fine tuning different art techniques. As a result, today I can create all styles of art. My preference is to paint very large paintings, and currently my focus has taken me to places of interest with California landscapes. Although, I am most known for my favorite art style of "Surreal-Mystic of Sacred Spirit".

To listen to some selections, go to:


Yanni Voices and Special Guests, Acapulco, Mexico, November 13-16, 2008

Xavier's musical art and performance has attracted the attention of  the internationally well known, Yanni.  Quoting PRnewswire: "Yanni is considered one of the most influential musicians and composers of our time. He is a musical phenomenon who has transcended racial and social barriers to become a global ambassador of peace. His latest production, Yanni Voices, debuts after two years of intense work."

"Yanni Voices and Special Guests" will debut at the Mundo Imperial Forum in Acapulco, Mexico, November 13-16, 2008. Xavier Quijas Yxayotl and his group Ancient Americas will perform the opening act with ancient music of Mexico.

The four shows will be recorded for a special edition DVD and will air on TV in spring 2009 on PBS in the United States and Televisa in Mexico. Yanni will be accompanied on stage by Nathan Pacheco, Chloe, Ender Thomas and Leslie Mills. The Acapulco shows will feature special guest appearances by Latin superstars including Jose Jose, Jose Feliciano, Cristian Castro, Lucero and Olga Tanon. 

Candace & Xavier Quijas Yxayotl



Sitting Bull descendant tells of battle

Chief's great-grandson relates stories of 'Custer's Last Stand' 
in General's hometown of Monroe, By George Hunter, October 6, 2008

Ernie LaPointe, left, Chief Sitting Bull's great-grandson, joins Steve Alexander, who lives in Gen. George Custer's former home in Monroe.  Ernie LaPointe, the great-grandson of legendary Chief Sitting Bull, shared history about the 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn at the Monroe County Historical Museum in Michigan.

LaPointe said Lakota warriors didn't know they defeated General George Armstrong Custer until they found him dead at the battle scene in what is now Montana. He also said the attack was not an ambush on the Seventh Calvary. "They weren't waiting for Custer to show up; they were celebrating the sun dance and enjoying a feast of antelope meat," LaPointe said, The Detroit News reported. LaPointe said the attack began after a scout saw Custer's forces coming towards the tribal encampment.

The museum is located in Monroe, Custer's home. 

MONROE — Chief Sitting Bull defeated General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle 
of the Little Big Horn, and on Sunday, the legendary chief's great-grandson ventured into Custer's hometown to talk about it.

Ernie LaPointe revealed Sunday for the first time stories that were passed down from his great-grandfather about the Battle of the Little Big Horn — also known as "Custer's Last Stand."

LaPointe spoke in front of a packed house at the Monroe County Historical Museum, which is celebrating its 10th annual "Custer Week," a celebration of U.S. General George Armstrong Custer, a Monroe native who was killed by Sitting Bull's warriors in a two-day battle near the Little Big Horn River in Montana on June 25 and 26, 1876.

"My uncles would sit in the shade of a tree and tell these stories in sign language; one of my uncles was a deaf-mute," said LaPointe, 60. "I didn't understand them, but my mother would relay the stories to me later. As a kid, I didn't really care, but the stories stuck in my head."
"For a long time, I was told I shouldn't tell these stories out of fear of retaliation of the U.S. government," said LaPointe, 60. "But I think it's important to show people that we were not savages, as is often portrayed. We were human beings."

Historical accounts have said Sitting Bull and fellow Chief Crazy Horse ambushed Custer's Seventh Cavalry at the battle. But LaPointe said Sunday that wasn't the case.
"They weren't waiting for Custer to show up; they were celebrating the sun dance and enjoying a feast of antelope meat," LaPointe said. He said a scout looking for a better campsite spotted Custer's troops approaching and rode back to inform the gathered tribes.
The battle started quickly, LaPointe said.

"They didn't know it was Custer," LaPointe said. "They just started shooting at (the soldiers). After the battle was over they found Custer with a bullet in his chest.
"When the battle was over, my great-grandfather rode through the dead. He went to the top of a hill and had a vision. His vision said, 'Don't take the soldiers' clothes; don't scalp them. Leave them as they lay.' "

Steve Alexander, a history buff who lives in Custer's childhood home in Monroe, was at Sunday's event dressed as Custer. He said he has known LaPointe for many years.
"This is a milestone because it's the first time he's talked about it in public," Alexander said. "When some of the people back in South Dakota (where LaPointe lives) heard he was coming to Custer's hometown to talk about Little Big Horn, they said, 'It was nice knowing you,' because they felt there would be problems."

More than 100 people crammed into a small room at the Monroe County Historical Museum to hear LaPointe's discussion, which lasted about two hours. Among them was Fr. Vincent Heier, a Catholic priest and history buff who made the trip from St. Louis, Mo.
"It was good to hear his side of the story," Heier said. "He's a fascinating person."

Sent by Dorinda Moreno



Archived Story 
State eyes historical treasure from Little Big Horn 
By Michael Moore of the Missoulian 

This 1939 photo is of David Humphreys Miller and interview subjects. 
Photo by David H. Miller Collection 

An absolute treasure is within Montana's grasp. Like most treasures, it won't come cheap, but even at a price of $1.4 million, this treasure is a bargain. 

“The whole collection has been appraised for $3.5 million, so it's cheap at this price,” said Brad Hamlett, a Montana rancher and art dealer. “It's also priceless.” 

It is a collection of art, Indian artifacts and interviews involving the Battle of Little Big Horn and the history of the Plains Indians. 

“This is really a living history,” said Randy Gray, a former Great Falls mayor who has joined Hamlett in an effort to raise the money necessary to buy the David Humphreys Miller Collection. “It's an incredible part of our history, all in one place.” 
The hitch is that while the woman who now owns the collection wants to see it in public hands, she can't afford to simply give it away. If it can't be sold to some public aspect of Montana government, it will likely be sold on the private market. 

“The tragedy would be to sell it to a private owner and never have it available to our state again,” said Hamlett. “The fact is, it's going to be sold. The question is to whom.” 
First, a bit of history. 

David Humphreys Miller was the son of artists, a teenager in 1930s Ohio when he became obsessed with the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn. 

The battle still had an air of mystery to it, and that mystery baffled Miller. If participants of the battle were still alive, why hadn't they spoken? 

Those participants were the Indians, of course, who had not been the focus of those who chronicled Custer's demise. 

Incredibly, the 16-year-old Miller convinced his parents to let him go west in search of history. They gave him a Plymouth coupe and $100, and extracted a promise from him to return home in time for school. 

Miller headed for Pine Ridge, S.D., beginning a journey that would consume him for the next 60 years. By the time the last survivor, Iron Hail, died in 1955, Miller had interviewed all Indian survivors of the battle, and published the book, “Custer's Fall.” 
That book chronicled the battle from the Indian perspective, but it was the research that endeared Miller to his subjects. 

Over the years, Miller interviewed 70 warriors, drew dozens of sketches and painted oil portraits of Indians from numerous tribes. 

“They came to trust him because he listened,” Hamlett said.  “He learned 12 native languages so he could talk with all of them without a translator,” said Gray.  Miller became so accepted by the Indians of the plains that he was adopted as a son by Black Elk, the renowned Oglala Sioux medicine man who had been present at Little Big Horn and the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee. 

Part of Miller's collection is Black Elk's walking stick, adorned by 10 eagle feathers. 

“The thing is, Miller wasn't a collector,” Hamlett said. “He was given these things by his friends. They were given to him out of fondness and trust.”  In all, there are more than 2,100 items in the Miller collection, including photographs, sketches, paintings, notes, interviews and artifacts. One of those artifacts is the war bonnet of White Bull, the warrior who may have killed George Armstrong Custer himself. 

Miller died in San Diego in 1992, and the collection passed to a family friend, Sandy Solomon, who lives in San Francisco. It was there that Doug Johns, a sometimes art-dealing partner of Hamlett, learned of the collection. 

Solomon, Johns told Hamlett, wanted to see the collection in public hands, but she couldn't afford to give it away because of costs she incurred dealing with Miller's estate. 

Hamlett and Johns then set to work negotiating with the Montana Historical Society, a yearlong effort that fell through this spring. 

Once that possibility lapsed, Johns and Hamlett began looking elsewhere. Part of the search led to a June show at the Pacific Galleries in Great Falls, where Randy Gray saw the collection for the first time. 

“I was awestruck, and realized that I needed to do what I could to help,” said Gray. 
A retired attorney and managing director of the American Prairie Foundation, Gray reached out to the presidents of the University of Montana and Montana State University. 

“What we got from them was a willingness to accept and house the collections, and make them available for research,” said Gray. “But the condition is that they need to be paid for before they take them.”  And that means Gray and Hamlett need to find $1.4 million and find it quickly. 

“Basically, we lost a lot of time with the historical society, so there's a time element to this thing now,” said Hamlett.  What's needed first is $75,000, a non-refundable down payment that will secure the collection, provided two future payments are made in December and next April. 

Hamlett said he feels a responsibility to both Miller's work and Montana's Indian population to try to keep the collection in-state. 

“We've shown some of these drawings and had Native people come up and say, ‘This is my relative,' ” he said. “I would hate for us to lose all the possibilities that this collection offers.” 

You can help 

If you're interested in helping with the purchase of the David Humphreys Miller Collection, send your donation to the University of Montana Foundation at P.O. Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807-7159. Be sure to note the donation is intended for the Miller Collection. If you'd rather, make your gift to the Montana State University Foundation, at P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno 


Local Heroes Awards Ceremony and Reception

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
5:30pm – 7:30pm
San Francisco City Hall Rotunda

BART/MUNI: Civic Center Station, San Francisco
More information available at
KQED, The San Francisco Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, Friendship House Association of American Indians, Native American AIDS Project and Native American Health Center are proud to celebrate the rich culture of the American Indian community.

Join us for dancing, drumming and a special awards ceremony where we will celebrate five outstanding local heroes for their work in the American Indian community:

John Ammon Native Doors Networking Center
Veda Gamez Native American Health Center
LaVerne Roberts American Indian Alliance
Patricia Shirley Friendship House Association of American Indians
Kim Shuck Insights 2008

More information: 
Alfredo Pedroza 
Liaison to Districts 9, 11 and the Latino Community
Representante para los Distritos 9, 11, y la Comunidad Latina
Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services
City and County of San Francisco
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 160
San Francisco, CA 94102-4639
415-554-6556 Direct   415-554-6474 Fax   415-554-7111 Main

Sent by Dorinda Moreno


Indigenous Nations of the North American Continent


The Indigenous Nations of present-day Canada, United States, and Mexico, have been traveling across their ancestral lands without any borders for thousands of years. 

Mexico, United States, and Canada, are in the present-day North American Continent, the Indigenous Nations from North America have the right to freely pass and repass over the International borders separating North America. 

The Jay Treaty of November 19, 1794, between the United States and Canada, in Article 3, of this treaty, it states " It is agreed that it shall at all Times be free to His Majesty's Subjects, and to the Citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the said Boundary line freely to pass and repass"; also in Article 28 of this treaty, it states "It is agreed that the first Ten Articles of this treaty shall be permanent." (Jay's treaty is named after the first United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay.) 

"The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Feb. 2, 1848, Guaranteed United States citizenship to Mexican citizens in California and recognition of their land titles. Indigenous Californians were citizens in Mexican and Spanish Law. Their absolute title to the State of California was clear... and acknowledged by the United States. In this statement..." (Source: Treaty Material prepared by Russ Imrie, Costanoan-Ohlone Website) 

On March 10, 1848, the U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and at that time, the Senate deleted Article X guaranteeing the protection of Indigenous Mexican land grants. 

"Article X, All grants of land made by the Mexican government or by the competent authorities, in territories previously appertaining to Mexico, and remaining for the future within the limits of the United States, shall be respected as valid." (Source: Center For Land Grant Studies) 

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848, between the United States and Indigenous Mexico, a copy of the 1847 Disturnell Map, was added to this treaty; by signing this treaty based on this historical map, the United State recognized the present-day State of Utah, as the original homeland of the Aztecs, and are bound by International Law to acknowledge that the Aztecs are the original inhabitants of Utah. (Source: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, The Avalon Project at Yale Law School) (Source: 1847 Disturnell Map, David Rumsey Map Collection, Cartography Associates) 

The "Texas Band of Kickapoo Act," approved on January 8, 1983, Public Law 97-429 [H.R. 4496] entitled the Kickapoo Nation, to freely pass and repass over the International border separating North America (Mexico and the United States). 

The "California Assembly Joint Resolution Bill Number 60" of September 16, 2002, allowed the Baja Kumeyaay Indigenous Nation to freely pass and repass over the International border separating North America (Mexico and the United States). 

For many years, the Indigenous Nations from North America Mexico crossed easily between Mexico and the United States, because the Indigenous peoples were known to U. S. border agents and secured inexpensive border crossing cards. 

Today, there are over 62 Indigenous Nations in Native Mexico, and the Ancient Homeland of the Aztecs is the present-day Great Salt Lake, Utah. 

As we are aware, the Indigenous Nations from Canada are allowed to freely pass and repass over the International border separating North America (Canada and the United States). 

Today, it is a great injustice not to allow the Indigenous Nations from Mexico to freely pass and repass over the International border separating North America (Mexico and the United States). 

By: Henry Guzman Villalobos (Aztec Native American) President and CEO, Aztecs of North America, Inc., A California Non-Profit Corporation, P. O. Box 325, Hayward, California 94543-0325 U.S.A., Voice: (510) 582-3880,

Sent by Juan Marinez



Indigenous counted in 1757 census in Nuevo Santander

By Odie Arambula
Laredo Morning Times, October 7, 2008 

When the Spanish Crown's auditing inspector, Jose Tienda de Cuervo, set out to monitor the 23 settlements of Nuevo Santander, he and his aides recognized the problem the settlers were facing with indigenous tribes. Tienda de Cuervo already had heard accounts from higher authorities about grievances reported by the Spanish military and the clergy.

The downriver situation was a contrast to what the inspectors would find at one of their last stops on the Rio Grande frontier, the Villa de San Agustin de Laredo. He had some advance information attributed to the township's founder, Tomas Sanchez.

The visiting inspector, dispatched to the task by the Viceroy Marques de las Amarillas, arrived at the Villa with his escribando aides, or scribes, armed with an entry tablet and writing tools. The archived material in the Archivo de la Nacion suggested the auditor wanted to clarify the early reports with answers to a series of questions. A retired Laredoan and collector of border history material pulled several pages out of a publication that quoted a segment from the Archivo de la Nacion on Tienda de Cuervo's interview with Tomas Sanchez.

According to the archived material, that Tienda de Cuervo interview consisted of 14 questions posed to the founder of Villa de San Agustin de Laredo. One of these questions tried to get from Sanchez information about the indigenous population in the region. The English translation from Spanish documents went like this: "Which Indian nations and how many are represented among the Indian population; and from what distance are they coming to the Villa to cause problems?"

More than 250 years later, a Laredo native, spending years researching his family's roots in the Zapata-Guerrero region, found that the Rio Grande frontier of pre-Santander environs was inhabited by more than 50 indigenous tribes.

Jose Maria "Chema" Peña, retired from government foreign service and now living in Austin, identified 58 indigenous tribes in the Nuevo Santander region that stretched from Revilla, or Guerrero Viejo, to the upper middle Rio Grande at Presidio of San Juan Bautista in the area of modern-day Eagle Pass and Del Rio.

In his book, "Inherit the Dust from the Four Winds of Revilla," Peña detailed the presence of the different indigenous tribes that comprised what he identified as the region's Indian Nations. Peña pointed out that the Native Americans' presence on the South Texas border and in northern Mexico sectors had been delegated by history principally to the different groups within the Apache family of Native Americans such as the Lipan and Mescaleros. In the immediacy of Villa de Laredo de San Agustin, settlers on both sides of the border tended to identify the indigenous as the marauding Comanche. This was a tribe associated with much of the violence that produced havoc in the villages, on the roads and ranching areas.

History tells us that Tienda de Cuervo found hundreds of natives at the other villas in Nuevo Santander, particularly in the downriver locations of Revilla on the Mexican side of modern-day Zapata. When Tienda de Cuervo came to Villa de San Agustin de Laredo on July 22, 1757, for a look-see and to get a report from Tomas Sanchez, among others things, the inspector wanted to know what had become of the indigenous.

The inspector suspected that the only explanation for the jacales, or huts, in the village was that the original settlers had to have some help to build the shacks from mud, grass and brush. Tienda de Cuervo had learned something about dealing with the natives from the successes of his boss, Col. Jose de Escandon, in the interior lands of Sierra Gorda in Guanajuato.

Escandon and his Spanish military had fought and won several skirmishes with the natives in the regions of the Sierra Gorda, taking hundreds of the indigenous as prisoners. His success with the problems in Sierra Gorda earned him promotion after promotion until he had full command of the region and its frontier.

Tienda de Cuervo learned soon enough that help to the settlers would have been provided by the native tribes. It was a sharp contrast to a report of the Marques de Altamira, in which the Spanish record described the indigenous of the Tamaulipas sierra as a bunch of "barbarous and unconverted, and capable of all kinds of inhuman atrocities."

Tienda de Cuervo discovered that the indigenous along the Rio Grande were a different breed - they built huts, they hunted and fished for food, and raised crops. These natives were Coahuiltecan, and they were not aggressive. They were nothing like the nomadic Karankawas and the warlike Lipan Apaches and Comanches who made life miserable for the settlers on both sides of the Rio Grande frontier.

Odie Arambula is at 728-2561 and by e-mail at
Sent by Jose Maria "Chema" Peña


Major Pre-Columbian Site Found
Pre-Incan female Wari mummy unearthed in Peru 
World Archaeological Congress
Portal to Mythical Mayan Underworld Found
Archeologists uncover evident of pre-Hispanic iron mining in Andes


Major Pre-Columbian Site Found

By Laura N. Perez Sanchez, Associated Press,
29 October 2007


Puerto Rican archaeologist Hernan Bustelo sits next stones etched with ancient petroglyphs and graves that reveal unusual burial methods in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. The archaeological find, one of the best-preserved pre-Columbian sites found in the Caribbean, form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet (40 meters by 50 meters) that could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, officials said. Credit: AP Photo/Andres Leighton

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — U.S. and Puerto Rican archaeologists say they have found the best-preserved pre-Columbian site in the Caribbean, which could shed light on virtually every aspect of Indian life in the region, from sacred rituals to eating habits.

The archaeologists believe the site in southern Puerto Rico may have belonged to the Taino or pre-Taino people that inhabited the island before European colonization, although other tribes are a possibility. It contains stones etched with ancient petroglyphs that form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet, which could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, said Aida Belen Rivera, director of the Puerto Rican Historic Conservation office.

The petroglyphs include the carving of a human figure with masculine features and frog legs.

Archaeologists also uncovered several graves with bodies buried face-down with the legs bent at the knees — a style never seen before in the region.

The plaza may contain other artifacts dating from 600 A.D. to 1500 A.D., including piles of refuse from daily life, Rivera said.

"I have visited many sites and have never seen a plaza of that magnitude and of those dimensions and with such elaborate petroglyphs,'' said Miguel Rodriguez, member of the government's archaeological council and director of a graduate school in Puerto Rico that specializes in history and humanities. He is not involved in the excavation project.

Archeologists have known since 1985 that the area contained indigenous artifacts. But their extent and significance only became clear this month when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on removing them so the land could be used for a dam project.

Experts called for a halt to the excavation, saying the use of heavy machinery exposed the stones to the elements and may have destroyed important artifacts. The Corps of Engineers has said the site will be preserved.

The Tainos were a subgroup of the Arawak Indians, who migrated to the Caribbean from Mexico's Yucatan centuries before European colonizers arrived.

Jose Oliver, a Latin American archaeology lecturer at University College London, said that archeologists make discoveries of this significance every 50 or 100 years — if they are lucky.

"I'm convinced that a competent investigation of that site will offer us a rare perspective on our pre-Columbian and pre-colonial history,'' Oliver, who has overseen several high-profile digs in Puerto Rico, said by e-mail.

But he warned that the contractor in charge of the excavation is not equipped to handle such a massive and complex job.

The lead investigator for Georgia-based New South Associates, the archaeological and historical consulting firm leading the excavation, said a back hoe that scrapes inches at a time did break some centuries-old bones, but that the same thing would have occurred during a manual excavation.

The company switched to slower and more detailed excavation methods after the site's significance became clear, investigator Chris Espenshade said.

Sent by John Inclan


Pre-Incan female Wari mummy unearthed in Peru

By Dana Ford, Aug 26, 2008


Archeologists working at Peru's Huaca Pucllana ruins pulled a mummy from a tomb on Tuesday, thought to be from the ancient Wari culture that flourished before the Incas.

Besides the female mummy, the tomb contained the remains of two other adults and a child. It is the first intact Wari burial site discovered at Huaca Pucllana in the capital Lima, and researchers believe it dates from about 700 AD.

"We'd discovered other tombs before," said Isabel Flores, director of the ruins. "But they always had holes, or were damaged. Never had we found a whole tomb like this one -- intact," she said, standing on the ancient plaza, a huge partially excavated mound of rocks, bricks and dirt.

Workers wrapped the female mummy in tissue paper before lifting it onto a flat wood board. They exposed her face, revealing two big, bright blue orbs in her eye sockets. They extracted the other adult mummies, which were also whole, earlier in the week.

"Her face startled me at first," said Miguel Angel, 19, a worker at Huaca Pucllana who helped unearth the tomb.

"I wasn't expecting to find anything like that," he said. It was not clear what the fake eyes were made of.

The Wari people lived and ruled in what is now Peru for some 500 years, between 600 AD and 1100 AD. Their capital was near modern-day Ayacucho, in the Andes, but they traveled widely and are known for their extensive network of roads.

Flores said about 30 tombs have been found at Huaca Pucllana, surrounded by Lima's busy streets.

When in good condition, Wari tombs can be identified by the ceramic and textile offerings placed around the dead.

Small children were often sacrificed and it is common to find their bodies alongside adult ones. The child discovered with the adult mummies at Huaca Pucllana was likely sacrificed.

The discovery at Huaca Pucllana confirms the Wari people buried their dead in what is now Lima and offers a more complete picture of how burials were done. "This enriches Lima's story," Flores said.

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Kieran Murray)

Sent by John Inclan



World Archaeological Congress


The World Archaeological Congress is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only archaeological organisation with elected global representation. Its programs are run by members who give their time in a voluntary capacity. Membership is open to archaeologists, heritage managers, students and members of the public.

WAC seeks to promote interest in the past in all countries, to encourage the development of regionally-based histories and to foster international academic interaction. It is committed to the scientific investigation of the past, ethical archaeological practice and the protection of cultural heritage worldwide. It supports the empirical investigation and appreciation of the political contexts within which research is conducted and interpreted, and promotes dialogue and debate among advocates of different views of the past. WAC is committed to diversity and to redressing global inequities in archaeology through conferences, publications and scholarly programs. It has a special interest in protecting the cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples, minorities and economically disadvantaged countries, and encourages the participation of Indigenous peoples, researchers from economically disadvantaged countries and members of the public.

Call for nomination to the Council of the World Archaeological Congress

Portal to Mythical Mayan Underworld Found

Archaeologists discovered maze of stone temples in underground caves

Large Maya vision serpent - 
Yaxchilan, Mexico. 755 A.D.

"The maya vision serpent symbolizes the passage of ancestral spirits and the gods of Xibalba (the maya underworld) into our world. In states of ecstasy and usually following penis or tongue bloodletting, particularly as graphically depicted at Yaxchilan, maya mobility invoke the vision serpent. During special ceremonies, bloody papers were burnt in a sacred bowl and from it, this great undulating serpent rises and from its mouth emerges an ancestor or, occasionally, a deity. The serpent itself then, is probably what one sees in the clouds of smoke rising from the burning sacrifice, and cloud symbols may flank the vision serpent’s body. The vision serpent can be the vehicle by which ancestors or deities make themselves manifest to humanity.

 MEXICO CITY (By Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Reuters) August 15, 2008 — Mexican archeologists have discovered a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones, which ancient Mayans believed was a portal where dead souls entered the underworld.

Clad in scuba gear and edging through narrow tunnels, researchers discovered the stone ruins of eleven sacred temples and what could be the remains of human sacrifices at the site in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Archeologists say Mayans believed the underground complex of water-filled caves leading into dry chambers — including an underground road stretching some 330 feet — was the path to a mythical underworld, known as Xibalba.

According to an ancient Mayan scripture, the Popol Vuh, the route was filled with obstacles, including rivers filled with scorpions, blood and pus and houses shrouded in darkness or swarming with shrieking bats, Guillermo de Anda, one of the lead investigators at the site, said on Thursday.

The souls of the dead followed a mythical dog who could see at night, de Anda said. Excavations over the past five months in the Yucatan caves revealed stone carvings and pottery left for the dead.

"They believed that this place was the entrance to Xibalba. That is why we have found the offerings there," de Anda said.

The Mayans built soaring pyramids and elaborate palaces in Central America and southern Mexico before mysteriously abandoning their cities around 900 A.D.

They described the torturous journey to Xibalba in the Popul Vuh sacred text, originally written in hieroglyphic script on long scrolls and later transcribed by Spanish conquerors.

"It is very likely this area was protected as a sacred depository for the dead or for the passage of their souls," said de Anda, whose team has found ceramic offerings along with bones in some temples.

Different Mayan groups who inhabited southern Mexico and northern Guatemala and Belize had their own entrances to the underworld which archeologists have discovered at other sites, almost always in cave systems buried deep in the jungle.

In the Yucatan site they have found one 1,900-year-old ceramic vase, but most of the artifacts date back to between 700 and 850 A.D.

"These sacred tunnels and caves were natural temples and annexes to temples on the surface," said de Anda.

Sent by Nancy Perez
Source: The Jon Garrido website,
  <  Editor: This is a great site for Hispanic news 



Archeologists uncover evident of pre-Hispanic iron mining in Andes
Source: Andian Airmail and Peruvian Times: Archaeology, Mining, posted Feb 2, 08


A team of Peruvian and American archeologists has uncovered a 2,000-year-old mine in the foothills of Peru’s Andes in the southern department of Ica. The leader of the expedition and assistant professor at Purdue University, Dr. Kevin Vaughn, says the Mina Primavera is the only pre-Hispanic hematite mine registered in South America and the first evidence of iron ore mining in the Andes.

According to a report by the archeologists, the mine was used by at least two pre-Inca civilizations, the Nazca and Wari, in order to extract hematite, the mineral form of iron oxide which was likely used as a pigment for painting pottery. The study finds some 3,710 tonnes of hematite was excavated from the mine, “suggesting regular and extensive mining prior to Spanish conquest.”

Inside the 500-square-meter mine, archeologists found pottery fragments, stone and shell beads, botanical remains, cotton textiles suitable for storing and transporting ground pigment and fragments of spondylus shells, suggesting the site was also used to make offerings linked to agricultural fertility and water.

Vaughn told BBC Mundo, “metallurgy in the Americas was very different from metallurgy in the Old World, where it was used to make arms and tools.” “In the New World, the metallurgy was mainly developed in order to produce prestigious articles for the elite.”

For the Nasca culture, painted pottery was an important part of their rituals, daily life, and death, according to the archeological report.

“It continued to play an important role in the emergence and dominance of the Wari empire, although patterns for the consumption of the finest polychrome pottery became increasingly restricted to elite contexts and political events such as state-sponsored feasts.”

“Understanding the ways in which the raw materials used for this pottery were extracted, processed, and transported to eventually be used as a paint remains an important question in understanding the ancient Andes and one of its most important artisan crafts.”

Sent by John Inclan



With Jewish Roots Now Prized, Spain Starts Digging
The 'Secret Jews' of San Luis Valley, Colorado



With Jewish Roots Now Prized, Spain Starts Digging
 by Renwick McLean
Published: New York Times November 5, 2006  

TOLEDO, Spain — Spain has sometimes been slow to recognize its own treasures. Miguel de Cervantes was slipping into obscurity after his death until he was rescued by foreign critics. El Greco’s paintings were pulled from oblivion by the French. The Muslim palace of Alhambra had fallen into neglect before the American author Washington Irving and others wrote about it in the 1800s.  Photo: Denis Doyle for The New York Times,  November 5, 2006  

Spain is trying to showcase its Jewish heritage and icons like the 14th-century Tránsito Synagogue in Toledo.  

Now, 500 years after expelling its Jews and moving to hide if not eradicate all traces of their existence, Spain has begun rediscovering the Jewish culture that thrived here for centuries and that scholars say functioned as a second Jerusalem during the Middle Ages.

“We’ve gone from a period of pillaging the Jews and then suppressing and ignoring their patrimony to a period of rising curiosity and fascination,” said Ana María López, the director of the Sephardic Museum in Toledo, a hub of Jewish life before the Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1492 during the Inquisition.  

Cities and towns across Spain are searching for the remains of their medieval synagogues, excavating old Jewish neighborhoods and trying to identify Jewish cemeteries. Scholars say they are overwhelmed with requests from local governments to study archaeological findings and ancient documents that may validate a region’s Jewish heritage.  

Other people are joining in, delving into family histories to hunt for signs of Jewish ancestry. “I don’t go a week without someone calling and asking me if their last name has Jewish roots,” said Javier Castaño, an expert in Spain’s Jewish history at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Madrid.

“It’s the opposite of 300 years ago when people changed their last names to Spanish names and looked for ancestors of pure Spanish blood,” he said. “Now it’s trendy to say you have Jewish roots.”

But Mr. Castaño and other scholars say the revival has in some ways gone too far. They contend that some local governments, eager to attract well-heeled tourists from the United States and Israel, are making claims about their Jewish heritage that are not supported by historical evidence.

“This whole revival is a very important and positive contribution,” Mr. Castaño said. “The problem is that in some cases people are falsifying the past by creating a Jewish patrimony that never existed.”

He and other critics say cities are promoting old Jewish quarters with no original structures, cemeteries whose real location is still a mystery and medieval synagogues that are hardly medieval if they ever functioned as synagogues at all.

“History is being exploited,” Mr. Castaño said, citing Oviedo near the northern coast and Jaén in the south as particularly egregious examples. “People are trying to reproduce what has occurred in Toledo. Everyone wants their medieval synagogue.”

Toledo, with two intact medieval synagogues, including the Tránsito Synagogue from the 14th century, is something of an exception in Spain, where the expulsion of the Jews was followed by a campaign to destroy, disassemble or obscure obvious reminders of their presence.

The Network of Jewish Quarters in Spain, which works to revive and promote medieval Jewish neighborhoods, concedes that some cities have oversold their possessions. “But it’s not that they don’t have the history, it’s that the history is not so visible,” said Assumpció Hosta, the network’s secretary general. “We have to give these cities time to invest in the recovery of their patrimony.”

Spain had the most vibrant Jewish population in Europe before the expulsion of 1492, and it produced one of the most influential cultural legacies in Jewish history.

It was here that Hebrew was reborn as a language suitable not just for prayer and liturgy but for poetry and other secular pursuits, contributing to the advent in Spain of what has been called a golden age of Jewish literature, philosophy and science in the 10th and 11th centuries.

“In the minds of her sons and daughters, Sepharad was a second Jerusalem,” Jane S. Gerber wrote in her book “The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience.”

“Expulsion from Spain, therefore, was as keenly lamented as exile from the Holy Land,” she said.

Scholarly interest in this chapter of Jewish history has been intensifying in Spain for decades, but only recently has it extended to the public.

Besides the revival of Jewish neighborhoods, there has been an explosion of books on Jewish themes, with 200 to 250 published every year, and new museums, cultural centers, restaurants and musical groups devoted to Sephardic traditions.

Medieval festivals that have typically included only Muslims and Christians are now seeking to add Jewish participants.

Jewish leaders say the trend has received an added push from Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who has made encouraging a more open and tolerant society a primary objective of his administration.

Still, despite the new enthusiasm for Spain’s Jewish heritage, intolerance toward Jews here is far from a thing of the past, the leaders say.

“A contradictory element in all this is that a new anti-Semitism is also developing in Spain,” said Jacobo Israel Garzón, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain. “It uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as its source, but it passes very quickly from anti-Israelism to anti-Semitism.”

Mr. Israel said the number of Jews in Spain today was still small, 40,000 to 50,000. But he said the population was growing steadily thanks to immigration, particularly from North Africa, where so many Jews fled after the expulsion 500 years ago.

Many of these returnees still speak a form of the Judeo-Spanish language of their ancestors and have maintained their traditions. “There is tremendous nostalgia for Sephardic Spain in the Jewish world, particularly in the ancestors of the expelled Jews,” Mr. Israel said. “But even in the souls of the Jews who were not expelled there is the sense that with the end of Jewish Spain something very important was lost.”

“Spain is now opening the way for the study of that lost footprint,” he said.  


The 'Secret Jews' 
of San Luis Valley

By Jeff Wheelwright 
Photographs by Scott S. Warren 
Smithsonian magazine, October 2008 

In Colorado, the gene linked to a virulent form of breast cancer found mainly in Jewish women is discovered in Hispanic Catholics 

One September day in 2001, Teresa Castellano, Lisa Mullineaux, Jeffrey Shaw and Lisen Axell were having lunch in Denver. Genetic counselors from nearby hospitals and specialists in inherited cancers, the four would get together periodically to talk shop. That day they surprised one another: they'd each documented a case or two of Hispanic women with aggressive breast cancer linked to a particular genetic mutation. The women had roots in southern Colorado, near the New Mexico border. "I said, 'I have a patient with the mutation, and she's only in her 40s,'" Castellano recalls. "Then Lisa said that she had seen a couple of cases like that. And Jeff and Lisen had one or two also. We realized that this could be something really interesting."

Curiously, the genetic mutation that caused the virulent breast cancer had previously been found primarily in Jewish people whose ancestral home was Central or Eastern Europe. Yet all of these new patients were Hispanic Catholics.

Mullineaux contacted Ruth Oratz, a New York City-based oncologist then working in Denver. "Those people are Jewish," Oratz told her. "I'm sure of it."

Pooling their information, the counselors published a report in a medical journal about finding the gene mutation in six "non-Jewish Americans of Spanish ancestry." The researchers were cautious about some of the implications because the breast cancer patients themselves, as the paper put it, "denied Jewish ancestry."

The finding raised some awkward questions. What did the presence of the genetic mutation say about the Catholics who carried it? How did they happen to inherit it? Would they have to rethink who they were—their very identity—because of a tiny change in the three billion "letters" of their DNA? More important, how would it affect their health, and their children's health, in the future?

Some people in the valley were reluctant to confront such questions, at least initially, and a handful even rejected the overtures of physicians, scientists and historians who were suddenly interested in their family histories. But rumors of secret Spanish Jewry had floated around northern New Mexico and the San Luis Valley for years, and now the cold hard facts of DNA appeared to support them. As a result, families in this remote high-desert community have had to come to grips with a kind of knowledge that more and more of us are likely to face. For the story of this wayward gene is the story of modern genetics, a science that increasingly has the power both to predict the future and to illuminate the past in unsettling ways.

Expanding the DNA analysis, Sharon Graw, a University of Denver geneticist, confirmed that the mutation in the Hispanic patients from San Luis Valley exactly matched one previously found in Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. The mutation, 185delAG, is a variant of a gene called BRCA1. When normal and healthy, BRCA1 helps to protect breast and ovarian cells from cancer. An extremely long gene, it has thousands of DNA letters, each corresponding to one of four chemical compounds that make up the genetic code and run down either strand of the DNA double helix; a "misspelling"—a mutation—can occur at virtually any letter. Some are of no consequence, but the deletion of the chemicals adenine (A) and guanine (G) at a site 185 rungs into the DNA ladder—hence the name 185delAG—will prevent the gene from functioning. Then the cell becomes vulnerable to a malignancy. To be sure, most breast and ovarian cancers do not run in families. The cases owing to BRCA1 and a similar gene, BRCA2, make up less than 10 percent of cases overall.

By comparing DNA samples from Jews around the world, scientists have pieced together the origins of the 185delAG mutation. It is ancient. More than 2,000 years ago, among the Hebrew tribes of Palestine, someone's DNA dropped the AG letters at the 185 site. The glitch spread and multiplied in succeeding generations, even as Jews migrated from Palestine to Europe. Ethnic groups tend to have their own distinctive genetic disorders, such as harmful variations of the BRCA1 gene, but because Jews throughout history have often married within their religion, the 185delAG mutation gained a strong foothold in that population. Today, roughly one in 100 Jews carries the harmful form of the gene variant. 

Meanwhile, some of the Colorado patients began to look into their own heritage. With the zeal of an investigative reporter, Beatrice Wright searched for both cancer and Jewish ancestry in her family tree. Her maiden name is Martinez. She lives in a town north of Denver and has dozens of Martinez relatives in the San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico. In fact, her mother's maiden name was Martinez also. Wright had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, when she was 45. Her right breast was removed and she was treated with chemotherapy. Later, her left breast, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries were removed as a precaution. She had vaguely known that the women on her father's side were susceptible to the disease. "With so much cancer on Dad's side of the family," she said, "my cancer doctor thought it might be hereditary." Advised by Lisa Mullineaux about BRCA testing, she provided a blood sample that came back positive for 185delAG.

When Wright was told that the mutation was characteristic of Jewish people, she recalled a magazine article about the secret Jews of New Mexico. It was well known that during the late Middle Ages the Jews of Spain were forced to convert to Catholicism. According to a considerable body of scholarship, some of the conversos maintained their faith in secret. After Judaism was outlawed in Spain in 1492 and Jews were expelled, some of those who stayed took their beliefs further underground. The exiles went as far as the New World. 

For the first time Wright connected this history to memories of conceivably Jewish customs, such as sweeping dust into the center of a room and covering mirrors while mourning a loved one's death. She read up on the Spanish "crypto-Jews" in the library and on the Internet. In 2001, she and her husband made an extended visit to the valley and northern New Mexico. Tracking down as many of her paternal relatives as she could find, she alerted them to their dangerous genetic legacy and their ethno-religious heritage. "I have 60 first cousins, some I never knew I had," she says. "So I went fact-finding. I made the trek because I needed to know where I was from. 'Did you know about our Jewish heritage?' I said. It wasn't a big deal to some of them, but others kind of raised an eyebrow like I didn't know what I was talking about."

Part of New Mexico Territory until the U.S. government delineated the Colorado Territory in 1861, the San Luis Valley lies between two chains of mountains, the San Juans to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. The Rio Grande begins here. The town of San Luis—the oldest in Colorado—is the Spanish heart of the valley. With an old church on the central plaza and a modern shrine on a mesa overlooking the town, San Luis bristles with Catholic symbols. It seems a short step back in time to the founding of the New Mexico colony, when picaresque gold-hungry conquistadors, Franciscan friars and Pueblo Indians came together, often violently, in a spare and sunburnt land. As Willa Cather put it in Death Comes for the Archbishop, perhaps the best novel about the region, the sunsets reflected on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are "not the colour of living blood" but "the colour of the dried blood of saints and martyrs."

The discovery of the 185delAG mutation in the valley and subsequently in New Mexico hints at a different story, with its own trail of blood and persecution. The significance of the genetic work was immediately recognized by Stanley M. Hordes, a professor at the University of New Mexico. During the early 1980s, Hordes had been New Mexico's official state historian, and part of his job was assisting people with their genealogies. Hordes, who is 59, recalls that he received "some very unusual visits in my office. People would drop by and tell me, in whispers, that so-and-so doesn't eat pork, or that so-and-so circumcises his children." Informants took him to backcountry cemeteries and showed him gravestones that he says bore six-pointed stars; they brought out devotional objects from their closets that looked vaguely Jewish. As Hordes began speaking and writing about his findings, other New Mexicans came forward with memories of rituals and practices followed by their ostensibly Christian parents or grandparents having to do with the lighting of candles on Friday evenings or the slaughtering of animals. 

Hordes laid out his research in a 2005 book, To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico. Following the Jews' expulsion from Spain, crypto-Jews were among the early settlers of Mexico. The Spanish in Mexico periodically tried to root out the "Judaizers," but it is clear from the records of trials that Jewish practices endured, even in the face of executions. According to Hordes' research, settlers who were crypto-Jews or descended from Jews ventured up the Rio Grande to frontier outposts in New Mexico. For 300 years, as the territory passed from Spanish to Mexican to United States hands, there was almost nothing in the historical record about crypto-Jews. Then, because of probing by younger relatives, the stories trickled out. "It was only when their suspicions were aroused decades later," Hordes writes, "that they asked their elders, who reluctantly answered, 'Eramos judíos' ('We were Jews')."*

But were they? Judith Neulander, an ethnographer and co-director of the Judaic Studies Program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, was at first a believer of Hordes' theory that crypto-Judaism had survived in New Mexico. But after interviewing people in the region herself, she concluded it was an "imagined community." Among other things, Neulander has accused Hordes of asking leading questions and planting suggestions of Jewish identity. She says there are better explanations for the "memories" of unusual rites—vestiges of Seventh-Day Adventism, for example, which missionaries brought to the region in the early 20th century. She also suggested that perhaps some dark-skinned Hispanics were trying to elevate their ethnic status by associating themselves with lighter-skinned Jews, writing that "claims of Judaeo-Spanish ancestry are used to assert an overvalued line of white ancestral descent in the American Southwest." 

Hordes disagrees. "Just because there are some people who are wannabes doesn't mean everybody is a wannabe," he says. But he acknowledges that Neulander's criticisms have made him and other researchers more cautious.

Hordes, pursuing another line of evidence, also pointed out that some of the New Mexicans he was studying were afflicted by a rare skin condition, pemphigus vulgaris, that is more common among Jews than other ethnic groups. Neulander countered that the same type of pemphigus vulgaris occurs in other peoples of European and Mediterranean background.

Then the 185delAG mutation surfaced. It was just the sort of objective data Hordes had been looking for. The findings didn't prove the carriers' Jewish ancestry, but the evidence smoothly fit his historical theme. Or, as he put it with a certain clinical detachment, it's a "significant development in the identification of a Jewish origin for certain Hispano families."

"Why do I do it?" Hordes was addressing the 2007 meeting, in Albuquerque, of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, a scholarly group he co-founded. "Because the fabric of Jewish heritage is richer in New Mexico than we thought." His research and that of others, he said at the gathering, "rip the veneer off" the accounts of Spanish-Indian settlement and culture by adding a new element to the conventional mix.

One conference attendee was a Catholic New Mexican who heartily embraces his crypto-Jewish heritage, the Rev. Bill Sanchez, a local priest. He says he has upset some local Catholics by saying openly that he is "genetically Jewish." Sanchez bases his claim on another genetic test, Y chromosome analysis. The Y chromosome, handed down from father to son, provides a narrow glimpse of a male's paternal lineage. The test, which is promoted on the Internet and requires only a cheek swab, is one of the more popular genealogy probes. Sanchez noted that the test suggested he was descended from the esteemed Cohanim lineage of Jews. Still, a "Semitic" finding on this test isn't definitive; it could also apply to non-Jews. 

Geneticists warn that biology is not destiny. A person's family tree contains thousands of ancestors, and DNA evidence that one may have been Hebrew (or Armenian or Bolivian or Nigerian) means very little unless the person decides to embrace the implication, as Sanchez has done. He sees no conflict between his disparate religious traditions. "Some of us believe we can practice rituals of crypto-Judaism and still be good Catholics," he says. He keeps a menorah in a prominent place in his parish church and says he adheres to a Pueblo belief or two for good measure.

At the Albuquerque meeting, the new evidence about 185delAG prompted discussion not only among academics but also among some of the subjects. Robert Martinez, no immediate relation to Beatrice Wright, teaches history at a high school near Albuquerque. During his summer vacations he helps Hordes sift through municipal and church records in Latin America and Europe, studying family histories and looking for references to Judaism. He traces his roots to members of the first expedition to New Mexico, led by Juan de Oñate, in 1598. The Spanish explorer himself had converso relatives, Hordes has found, and included conversos in the expedition.

When he went to work as Hordes' assistant ten years ago, Martinez, who is 45, was well aware of the disease in his family: several relatives have had breast or ovarian cancer. "Of course, I'd always heard about the cancer in our family on our mom's side," he says. "And then two of my sisters were diagnosed within months of each other." Both women tested positive for 185delAG and have since died. "I carry the mutation too," he says.

The Jewish connection caused no stir in his family, he says. "Me, I'm open. I want to know, Who am I? Where am I? We're a strange lot, New Mexicans. We refer to ourselves as Spanish, but we have Portuguese blood, Native American, some black too. We descend from a small genetic pool, and we're all connected if you go back far enough."

Teresa Castellano, the genetic counselor, has spent time in the San Luis Valley explaining BRCA to community leaders, patients and others. BRCA carriers, she tells them, have up to an 80 percent risk of developing breast cancer, as well as a significant risk of ovarian cancer. If a woman tests positive, her children would have a 50-50 chance of acquiring the flawed gene. BRCA mutations are passed down by men and women alike. If a family has mainly sons, the threat to the next generation may be masked. 

A year and a half ago, Castellano got a call from a laboratory technician advising her of another patient with a connection to the 185delAG mutation. The patient's family had roots in the San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico. Their name was Valdez. At the top of the pedigree were eight siblings, two of whom, sisters, were still living. In the next generation were 29 adult children, including 15 females. Five of the 15 women had developed breast or ovarian cancer. Then came an expanding number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were as yet too young for the disease but who might have the mutation. Only one or two members of the disparate clan still lived in the valley.

Ironically, Castellano's initial patient, Therese Valdez Martinez, did not carry the mutation herself. Her breast cancer was a "sporadic" case, not associated with a known mutation. But Therese's sister Josephine and her first cousin Victoria had died of ovarian cancer. Their DNA, retrieved from stored blood samples, tested positive for 185delAG. "Something's going on with our family," Therese said. "We need to wake up." 

Castellano offered to hold counseling sessions with members of the Valdez extended family in April 2007. With Therese's backing, she sent out 50 invitations. A total of 67 people, including children, attended the session in a hospital conference room in Denver. Therese said, "One cousin—he won't come. He doesn't want to know. To each his own."

The tables were arranged in a U-shape, rather like the mountains around the valley. Castellano stood at the open end. She pointed out that in addition to breast and ovarian cancer the Valdez family had several cases of colon cancer. "There's some risk, it appears," Castellano said, "and therefore everyone in the family should have a colonoscopy at age 45." That caused grumbling among her listeners.

"This family has a lot of ovarian cancer," she went on, "but appears not to have a breast cancer case under age 35. So we think the age for women for starting their annual mammograms should be 30 to 35. We recommend that our '185' families do it by MRI every year. And if you do have 185," she added bluntly, "get your ovaries out at age 35." 

A silence, then a question from a young woman in her 20s: "Can't a healthy lifestyle help? Do you have to have your ovaries out at 35?"

"Taking them out will decrease your risk but not eliminate it," Castellano said. Looking for support for this harsh measure, she smiled down the table at Angelita Valdez Armenta. Angelita had undergone the operation, called an oophorectomy. "Angie is a great example of how someone here is going to get old!" Months after the meeting, Angelita had her DNA tested and learned she was indeed a carrier of 185delAG.

The point of the meeting, which Castellano came to quickly enough, was to encourage family members to sign up for the DNA test. "Do you have to be tested?" she said. "No. But then you have to pretend you're positive and be more proactive about your health and your screening." Noting that the men were also at some risk of breast cancer, Castellano urged them to check themselves by inverting the nipple and feeling for a pea-sized lump. 

Shalee Valdez, a teenager videotaping the session, put down her camera. "If you have the mutation," she wanted to know, "can you donate blood?" Yes. "Can it get into other people?" No, you had to inherit it. Shalee looked pleased. Castellano looked satisfied. As of this writing 15 additional Valdezes have undergone testing for the 185delAG mutation, with six of them testing positive.

Even Stanley Hordes, whose two decades of historical research has been bolstered by the 185delAG findings, says that the greatest value of the genetic information in New Mexico and Colorado is that it "identified a population at risk for contracting potentially fatal diseases, thus providing the opportunity for early detection and treatment." In other words, genes are rich in information, but the information that matters most is about life and death.

As she prepared for the Valdez family meeting, Castellano recalled, she wondered how the group would respond to what she had to tell them about their medical history. Then she plunged into her account of how 185delAG originated in the Middle East and traveled to New Mexico. The revelation that the Valdezes were related to Spanish Jews prompted quizzical looks. But, later, Elsie Valdez Vigil, at 68 the oldest family member there, said she wasn't bothered by the information. "Jesus was Jewish," she said.

Jeff Wheelwright, who lives in Morro Bay, California, is working on a book about the 185delAG breast cancer mutation. 

*Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly translated 'We were Jews' as 'Erasmos judios.' Smithsonian apologizes for the error.
Sent by John Inclan, 


The Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas Updates
Nov 2nd: Memorial High Veterans Ceremony
Nov 7th:  Pvt. Eusebio Reyes, Survivor of the Bataan Death Honored
Nov 8th: Basilio Perez, Survivor of the USS Indianapolis to be Honored
Long-Suffering Border Colonia Powers Up With Renewable Energy
Portal to Texas History Website
World War II Honor List of Dead/Missing Army & Army Air Forces Personnel 
Oct. 2008  Ceremony Juan Nepomucena Corina: May 16, 1824- Oct 30, 1894
To the inhabitants of the State of Texas, especially Brownsville,  
Sept 30, 1859 
To the Mexican inhabitants of the State of Texas
Proclamation by Juan N. Cortina, November 23, 1859


The Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas Updates



(San Antonio, Texas) September 30, 2008 – As one of her first duties in office, Texas Secretary of State Esperanza “Hope” Andrade officially signed into formation The Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas on September 3, 2008!

“We continue to make history in our steps to bring the Center from a concept into a reality,” explains Chairman Rudi R. Rodriguez. “This is a great honor accorded us by our good friend and supporter, Secretary of State Hope Andrade. The Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas is no longer a vision or an idea, it is now a real and official organization.”  

            Since its creation in April of 2008, the Board of Directors has been actively meeting with key individuals across the state have expressed interest in the Center and are important to its future. Several of these individuals have come forward and have been elected to the Board.

With that in mind, the Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas is proud to announce its newest Board Members: Mr. Antonio Gonzalez, Jr. (The Boeing Company), Ms. Rosemary Kowalski (The RK Group) and Ms. Mary Vera Ramirez (San Antonio Community Advocate).

            “We are very proud and excited to welcome aboard our newest members,” says Rodriguez. “There is a lot of work to be done and collectively, this Board brings together a unique dynamic of experience and energy that will ensure that there will only be success for us all from here on out.”

            The next meeting of the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Heritage Center of Texas will be Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 6:00pm at the AT&T Community Center at San Fernando (231 W. Commerce St., San Antonio, Texas) on the 2nd Floor in the Espada Room.

            At this time, we will be filling slots in several of the key committees that will lead the project into 2009 and beyond, including Capitol Campaign & Fundraising, Architecture & Construction, Programming and the Tejano Living Heritage Village Committees.

            Those who are interested in serving at this time on one or more of these committees should be in attendance or contact Mr. Eric Moreno, Secretary of the Board (, prior to the meeting to have their name placed in consideration.   For more information, call (210) 673-3584



Lion's Club
Special Memorial on Sunday November 2nd 2008

 Memorial High Veterans Ceremony

The East Austin Lions Club, the Greater Southwest Optimist Club, The City of Austin, The Tejano Music Coalition, the Tejano Genealogy Society of Austin, The Tejanos in Action, and the Catholic War Veterans invite you to attend a solemn ceremony, honoring the Johnston High 16, now known as Eastside Memorial High School Viet Nam Veterans, for sacrificing their lives while in service to our country.  

Join us for a special memorial on Sunday November 2nd 2008, 2 P.M. at the Mexican American Culture Center , 600 River Street Austin , Texas as Viet Nam Veterans that survived will be honoring those who valiantly gave up their lives for our freedom.    

Dan Arellano, Chairman, 512-826-7569

Pete “log” Aguilar  
Gene Beltran 
Joe Raymond Cano 
Wiley Guerrero
Matt Hernandez 
Rudy Lopez
Booker T. Lofton
Joe Montez
Walter Moore
Joe B. Moreno
Joe “Karate Joe” Rodriguez 
Toby Rodriguez  
Johnny Roland  
Henry Terrazas 
Alex Quiroz
Sam “Sernia” Ybarra   


Nov 7th:  Pvt. Eusebio Reyes, Survivor of the Bataan Death Honored

In a message dated 9/23/2008 1:27:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:




Nov 7th: Survivors of USS Indianapolis to be Honored

11 AM SATURDAY 8 NOVEMBER (following 10 AM parade)


Date: Saturday, 8 Nov. For Additional Information Contact
Pearsall, Texas José G. Treviño, City Manager
(830) 334- 3676 or email at



Seaman Basilio Perez, a Pearsall native who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II, will be honored posthumously on Saturday November 8. Perez was among the 880 plus sailors who survived the Japanese submarine attack on July 30, 1945 only to be decimated by sharks. The ship had just delivered to Tinian Island the crucial mechanism for arming the atomic bombs. Perez was among the sailors who spent five days waiting to be rescued. Only 361 survived the sharks that attacked the men. 

Also honored is Pearsall’s first WW I casualty Pvt. George Moreno. He died when his troop transport ship the Tuscania was sunk February 8, 1918. A German U-Boat struck the ship within sight of the coast of Ireland. Approximately 260 U.S. servicemen perished. A symbolic flag draped coffin on a horse drawn caisson will be escorted by Congressman Henry Cuellar and State Rep. Tracy King.
The Veterans’ Day Parade will start at 10AM at the Pearsall High School on Oak Street and end at the Veterans Memorial at East Medina and S. Pecan streets where the ceremony will be held. Keynote speakers will be Congressman Henry Cuellar and State Representative Tracy. Congressman Cuellar will present U.S. flags flown at the nation’s capitol to the families of George Moreno and Basilio Perez. State Representative Tracy King will present the families with a Texas flag flown over the State Capitol. 

Also participating will be dignitaries of the Veterans’ Administration and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Frio County Judge Carlos Garcia and Pearsall Mayor George Cabasos. Organizer and emcee City Manager José G. Treviño will give a brief account of the sinking of the Indianapolis in the shark infested waters in the WW II Pacific Theater of Operations. He will also speak of Pearsall’s first WW I casualty Pvt. George Moreno.
NOTE: Pearsall; Saturday Nov 8, 10AM parade (Oak St. from High School to Medina St)
11AM ceremony at Veterans’ Monument (corner of E. Medina and S. Pecan) 
1PM lunch at VFW Post

1. OPENING PRAYER ……………………………. Dever Edwards, American Legion 
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. ……………………… Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops
4. NATIONAL ANTHEM ……………………………….. Ms. Mary Moore
5. WELCOME TO FRIO COUNTY …………………………. Judge Carlos Garcia
6. WELCOME TO PEARSALL ………………………Mayor George Cabasos
11. VFW REPRESENTATIVE …Mike Mendoza, Supervisor, Texas Veterans Commission

GEORGE MORENO and BASILIO PEREZ………….……. José G. Treviño 
PRESENTATION OF U.S. FLAGS …………………..Hon. Henry Cuellar
CLOSING REMARKS ……………………………..……….. José G. Treviño


Let There Be Light
A Long-Suffering Border Colonia Powers Up With Renewable Energy.

Forrest Wilder, Texas Observer, August 08, 2008

For a decade, the onset of the stifling summer heat in South Texas meant it was time for Patricia Gonzalez and her three children to drag their mattresses out of their cramped home to sleep outside. Like their neighbors, the Gonzalezes didn't have electricity. No fans or air conditioning broke the heat. An ice chest kept the food and medication for her kids' respiratory ailments cool. When daylight faded, she and her three children did
schoolwork by candlelight (Gonzalez was studying for a GED). In the summer, they would sweat; in the winter, they would shiver.

For 36 years, the people of La Presa, a dusty neighborhood set among prickly pear cactus and squat huisache trees 10 miles south of Laredo, have lived without potable water, sewer connections, drainage, and properly maintained roads. Water for drinking and
cooking is hauled in by truck and stored in large, plastic barrels. Septic systems often consist of little more than a cesspool behind the house. Most of the 350 residents in this colonia-shorthand for a substandard development built in an unincorporated area without
basic services-aren't connected to the electric grid. Instead, they get by with portable gas generators, electricity shared among neighbors via a daisy chain of extension cords, power poached from the grid, or nothing at all.

Now an innovative experiment has brought power to a dozen lucky residents of La Presa, including Gonzalez. By the end of the year, all 100 homes in the colonia will be hooked up to a "microgrid" provided by a partnership between a for-profit power company and the state. If the project works, it could be applied to other colonias in Texas, which has more of these substandard communities than any other state. According to the Texas Secretary of State, there are 2,300 colonias in Texas that more than 400,000 people call

Texas has proved fertile ground for colonias because of its historically lax regulations on development, a scarcity of affordable housing, and appalling poverty. In pursuit of a fast dollar, developers built without regard to industry norms. Legislative fixes to stem colonia development have paradoxically made the situation worse by making it impossible for substandard communities to join the power grid before other improvements are put in place. The rules have forced residents and those who want to aid them to be creative about providing pressing needs. Thus was born the La Presa power project.

"I think this is something that-at least on a temporary basis-we can look at using as a model for those hard- core cases where [colonias] lack basic utilities," said Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, whose district includes La Presa.

The story of why La Presa has gone so long without essential services begins with the community's founding father, Cecil McDonald,"a notorious developer responsible for a number of struggling neighborhoods in Webb County, including El Cenizo and Rio Bravo.

In the early 1970s, McDonald crudely carved La Presa out of cheap, hardscrabble land, skirting accepted building standards along the way. He marketed the five-acre tracts- called ranchitos-to poor families looking to lock up their piece of the American dream. Promises were made that services would arrive, but they never did. McDonald died in June, but his legacy remains largely intact.

"Even now, after his death, I would say his handiwork is still there," Cuellar said.

Citizens of La Presa and government authorities have spent decades trying to clean up the problems that McDonald left behind. Part of McDonald's handiwork is a plat that is an utter mess. Property boundaries are ill- defined or even overlap, creating huge hurdles for the residents and authorities trying to straighten things out. Hilario Martinez

McDonald liked to brag. "By the time there is an official local action or state legislation is enacted, the colonia will likely be completely sold," he wrote in a 10-step "recipe" for colonia creation published in a 1998 book, Colonias and Public Policy in Texas and
Mexico: Urbanization by Stealth, by Peter Ward The developer's avarice was such that he tried to put a tollbooth on the small road leading to La Presa.

His brazenness eventually caught up with him. In the 1990s, then-Attorney General Dan Morales made McDonald a primary target in an aggressive campaign to prosecute
colonia developers. "[McDonald] became the poster child or the villain," Ward said. "They nailed him really."

Under the legal onslaught, McDonald sought protection for his real estate firm in bankruptcy court. In 1995, a bankruptcy judge approved a settlement plan that used
McDonald's assets to refinance mortgages, pave streets, and build water and wastewater infrastructure in El Cenizo and Rio Bravo.

Although the court decreed that McDonald make a proper plat of La Presa, he never got around to it. With the help of legal aid attorneys, the community managed to squeeze $106,000 out of the settlement to help fund the re-platting process, but it wasn't enough.

The toppling of McDonald prevented him from developing new colonias. But it did little to change La Presa's fortunes. Then, in an absurd twist, the state actually added to the community's hardship.

Hilario Martinez is prosperous by La Presa standards. He works as a transportation consultant and heads the La Presa community organization. His bright, clean, two- story house would not be out of place in a typical working-class neighborhood in Laredo. He lays out the community's needs with polished precision, broken only by a flash of anger when he recalls his discovery five years ago that he was barred from having electricity.
When Martinez moved to La Presa, he installed, at his own expense, the utility poles, wires, and transformer necessary to connect his home to nearby electric lines. For a few days he enjoyed power. Then an employee of the utility company came and shut him off.

"When they cut the wires, they clipped my wings," Martinez said.

Martinez's experience illustrates one of the catch-22s of state law. In the 1990s, the Texas Legislature passed a series of reforms aimed at stopping the proliferation of colonias. The laws prohibited colonia residents from obtaining electric service until they had water and
wastewater. But water and wastewater cannot be installed until the community is properly platted, a long, tedious, and expensive process that can drag on for years or even decades. Residents with electric service at the time of the law's passage were "grandfathered"-
they could keep their electricity. But if the property changed hands, the right to power was lost. Lawmakers hoped to make colonia life unattractive to potential newcomers, but people came anyway. As a result, the state has banned thousands of people from obtaining
essential services.

"There are places out there that have meter loops- they're empty-there are transformers within 15 feet of the house, but they can't connect," said Dean Schneider, an engineer with Texas A&M University's Experimental Engineering Station.

To residents of La Presa, the policy is absurd. "The longest it takes in Mexico for them to get basic services in new colonias is two years, even on properties that the people have appropriated without paying for them," said Martinez with a rueful laugh. "Here, where everything is done legally, so much time passes."

Cuellar, who as a state senator was instrumental in passing the reform laws, said, "The intent was to stop the growth of the colonias, and we tried to come up with, quote-unquote, a compromise. The problem is, you still have some people-I don't want to say in limbo-but who are still caught in a difficult situation."

The state doesn't have an exact count of colonias in limbo, but the Texas Water Development Board estimates that 442-with a population of almost 63,000-in the six
most-populous border counties, including Webb, still lack water and wastewater. Statewide, the water board estimates that an additional $885 million will be required to fill the water and wastewater needs of colonias. There is no estimate of those without
electricity, but in Webb County hundreds of families still lack power in colonias spread all over the county.

The unenviable task of denying colonia residents utilities in Webb County falls to Rhonda Tiffin, the county planning director. "It's not an easy job to be the Wicked Witch of Webb County," she said. "We deal with the victims. We impose the rules on the victims."

Last year, Tiffin took her case to the Legislature. She and border lawmakers sought a simple legislative fix: Rescind the ban on utilities for existing colonias. The bill, authored by Rio Grande City Democratic Rep. Ryan Guillen, who represents dozens of colonias, including La Presa, sailed through the Legislature. But on the last day of the session, Republicans torpedoed the legislation, complaining it was an affront to private property rights. In particular, they were unhappy with a provision that gave border counties zoning authority, a tool the counties have long sought to regulate development. "How long is it going take before we don't have any freedom to use our land as we choose?" asked
Sugar Land Republican Rep. Charlie Howard.

The La Presa power project cleverly cuts through this knot. Because the project is technically temporary and the "microgrid" terminates at a RV-style outlet outside
each home-rather than connecting directly-the system skirts the connection prohibition.

In the scorching hot summer of 2005, frustrated with the lack of government action, about 40 La Presa residents descended on the office of then-Webb County Judge Louis Bruni. They demanded that the county do something to speed the arrival of basic services, especially electricity. "This is a matter of life and death; these children don't even have a fan," Patricia Gonzalez said at a press conference at the time. "What's it going to take-a child dying of heat stroke?"

The county officials complained that the developers and the state were to blame. The commissioners passed a resolution calling on state authorities to declare a "local state of emergency" and asked for a change in state laws prohibiting services. Neither happened, but the outcry did reach Cuellar's ears. The congressman secured about $300,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restart the platting process, which had petered out. And he promised to look at ways to bring electricity to La Presa in the interim. A renewable
energy source

The basic idea for the power project struck him on a trip to Iraq when he saw the portable generators troops rely on, Cuellar said. The inspiration led to collaboration among the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, the
Secretary of State, and Xtreme Power Inc., a small energy outfit headquartered near Austin that specializes in efficient power storage. The group decided to put a novel idea into practice: providing temporary electricity to colonias using renewable power
distributed over a "microgrid." The conservation office has invested $600,000 so far.

In this decidedly low-tech environment of makeshift homes and jerry-rigged amenities, the power system stands out. The power plant, if it can be called that, consists of a trailer parked on the corner of someone's property, loaded with super-efficient batteries and a
generator that runs on biodiesel or ethanol. Inside the trailer, a computer monitors the power as it flows to each home, sending the data in real-time to Xtreme's headquarters in Kyle. Perched on top of the trailer is a panel of photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy. A 30-foot-tall wind turbine whirs nearby. Biofuel, wind, and solar work like three legs of a stool, providing a continuous supply of energy, about 2 kilowatts to each
home. Each setup costs between $50,000 and $100,000.

"When you have sun, you sometimes don't have wind, and vice versa," said Carlos Coe, CEO of Xtreme Power. "They're pretty good renewable counterparts. The generator that's running on biofuels is really there to address whatever the shortfall is" from the wind and

Some residents are just glad to have electricity; others like the idea that it's renewable. "For me, really, green energy would be much better than established types of energy for a simple reason," Martinez said. "Green energy is something that can be obtained naturally from natural resources."

Each trailer can serve 10 to 15 homes; by the end of this year, enough trailers will be spread around La Presa to generate electricity for all 100 homes. This is the first project of its kind, Coe said. The World Bank, he added, has expressed interest in deploying the system in developing nations. Cuellar is trying to secure congressional earmarks to expand the program.

The power project in La Presa perhaps points to fresh- and green-thinking about how to resolve problems in colonias. "The U.S. government-federal and state-still see the colonias as a residual problem, a dysfunctional problem, rather than a development that requires much more positive thinking and creative thinking," said author Ward. One solution, he said, is the "greening" of housing policies for colonias. By Ward's estimation, the state is still $500 million short on funds to retrofit colonias with water and wastewater infrastructure. Renewable technology and energy-efficient approaches
could fill the gap at much lower cost. He suggested the government encourage the use of low-tech, green technologies such as water harvesting, septic systems  that recycle gray water, and solar-powered devices.

On a small scale, the conservation office has already been experimenting with these ideas. For example, the agency funded a solar-powered water-purification system in the Colorado Acres colonia in Webb County. Using a reverse-osmosis process, the system can produce 14,000 gallons of exceptionally clean water each hour, enough for 280 people.

At the La Presa project, questions remain as to its viability. So far, the electricity has been free. Soon it will move to a prepaid scheme in which families purchase blocks of power at a retail outlet, such as Western Union. The rates-set by Xtreme-are expected to
be between 20 and 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, or 25 percent to 150 percent more expensive than regular rates in Laredo.

In the end, the power project is an experiment that could succeed or fail on the basis of raw economics.

"Can we reach economies of scale?" asks Schneider, the engineer. "That is, can we make electricity efficient enough to be worth it for the residents down in the Valley and at the same time provide a return on investment for someone who chooses to invest in these
machines?" He adds: "Where it goes from here is up to private investment."

For communities like La Presa, which have languished on the margins for years, such academic questions are bound to provoke skepticism.

"If we count all the promises of all the people who have come through here, there would be more promises than God has made to all humanity," Martinez said.


Portal to Texas History


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) honored the Portal to Texas History this summer by selecting us for inclusion on their website EDSITEment as one of the best online resources for education in the humanities. Michael Hall with NEH said, "The Portal to Texas History was nominated for inclusion in the EDSITEment project in response to an open call for nominations posted on our website and on several humanities listservs. Your site was then reviewed by a Peer Review panel composed of teachers and leaders in education and non-profit organizations. Panelists determined that your site met the EDSITEment criteria for intellectual quality, content, design, and most importantly, classroom impact."

The panelists who reviewed the Portal website had great things to say:
"The digital reproductions of photos and primary documents on this site provide visitors of all levels with a rich experience." "It does provide students with access to authentic and significant materials with precise references and clear content."
"This site is user-friendly and attractive graphically." We're really proud to be honored by NEH by their inclusion in EDSITEment, and look forward to making an impact in classrooms for years to come.

A talk with historian Stuart Reid: Stuart Reid spoke with us recently about the role the Portal to Texas History played for him while he was writing his award winning book, The Secret War for Texas. Stewart Reid is a historical consultant to the National Trust for Scotland for the Culloden Moor Memorial Project. He has been a librarian, a boatman, a professional soldier, a cartographer, and a surveyor, among other things. He has written twelve entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and is the author of fourteen previous books. He lives in the United Kingdom.

What was your inspiration for writing The Secret War for Texas? It was simple curiosity. I am primarily a military historian specializing in the 18th century, but quite by chance I discovered a cryptic reference to my 3 x great grandfather, Dr James Grant, having been killed or murdered in Mexico. Rather to my surprise I then very soon found that he had been a pivotal figure in the Texas Revolution, and was blamed for all the disasters arising out of the Matamoros expedition, from the collapse of the provisional government to the fall of the Alamo. Yet astonishingly little had been written about him - and most of that was wildly inaccurate - despite what turned out to be some very rich source material.

What are the challenges in writing a Texas history book while living in Scotland? Well actually it had its advantages, first because I had access to family information on Dr. Grant not available in Texas, and secondly because I had access to documents in the India Office, relating to his service with the East India Company, and to the (British) National Archives at Kew, where I was able to work through confidential papers relating to Mexico - and Texas as part of Mexico. The challenges, obviously, were at the Texas end. 


Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas
Legacies is a biannual publication devoted to the rich history of Dallas and North Central Texas as a way to examine the many local historical legacies-social , ethnic, cultural, political-which have shaped the modern city of Dallas and the region around it. Currently, Legacies is a joint publication of Dallas Heritage Village, the Dallas Historical Society, the Old Red Museum, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. This new collection to the Portal gives our visitors access to 38 issues of this brilliant history journal featuring the spring 1989 through fall 2007 issues.

Each issue, comprised of 40 - 70 pages, has its own "focus". Examples of these include: Architecture in Dallas, Newspapers and Radio in Dallas, Theater in Dallas, George Bannerman Dealey, Dallas in the 1960s, Women Who Made a Difference, Dallas Lost & Found: Hidden Treasures and Forgotten Stories , Dallas Pioneers, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Inside each issue the reader will find historic photos and maps, remarkable stories and book reviews. The Portal includes each issue in its entirety, which can be viewed with our page-turning feature.

Shown are two issues' covers; One from fall 2006 focusing on the assassination of JFK, and the other with the iconic Dallas Pegasus, from fall 1999 focusing on triumph over adversity.

José L. Castillo Photograph Collection
The Portal to Texas History and the UNT Archives have added 1104 photographic images by José L. Castillo, a Katie award-winning correspondent for the international EFE News Service. This archive of photographs, taken between July 2004 and July 2006, was donated to the UNT Archives in March 2007. It is the first entirely digital photo collection in the UNT Archives.

These splendid, colorful images depict events in the Latino community, including: the 350,000-strong march against immigration reform in Dallas in April 2006, Hispanic community and political leaders, festivals, Latino soccer leagues and other gatherings in the North Texas area. Featured subjects include: Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and former LULAC President Hector Flores.

The Images in this article show Hector Flores, the Dallas Farmers Market, and the Mega March on April 9, 2006 in Dallas. When the project is completed, over 3,000 images from Castillo will be online at the Portal.

City of Clarendon Records
Clarendon, a small town in the Texas panhandle, recently received a big historical boost. The Portal team recently uploaded thirteen historical ledgers that document the development and history of the town from 1901 to 2003. The ledgers contain pages with handwritten text, typewritten text, newspaper clippings and pages printed from electronic documents. The types of information contained in them cover:

minutes from Clarendon Town Council meetings
minutes from Clarendon City Commissioners meetings
minutes from Clarendon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meetings
ordinances proposed and passed by the City of Clarendon
papers for the incorporation of the Town of Clarendon
documentation filed in the Office of the County Court for Donley County
Some interesting tidbits found in these ledgers include an application to open a telephone exchange and electric power plant in Clarendon in 1902; a citizen asking the Chamber of Commerce to help the city's baseball team hire a "pitcher who is able to deliver the goods…and pay him real money… to get a crowd out to the games" in July 1920; City of Clarendon meetings about telephone rates, carnivals located within 200 feet of residences, the establishment of a "Permanent Fireman",  and improvements for the band in the summer of 1938; in 1941 the city decided to stop furnishing free water to the school and began to charge them the regular domestic rate of $1.00 for the first 2000 gallons;  the creation of the city dog pound in 1964; in 1984 there were proclamations for things such as Child Support Month, Social Security Week, Alzheimer's  Awareness Month, etc.; a trash truck was approved for purchase in 1998 for $61,463,00. Recycling was discussed at length during the 1990's and a Recycling Center was opened in Nov 2001.

Sent by Roberto Calderon,


World War II Honor List  
of Dead/Missing Army & Army Air Forces Personnel from Texas

Listed by County, includes all casualties and Killed in Action




Juan Nepomucena Cortina - "Cheno"

May 16, 1824-Oct. 30, 1894  



114 years after his death-PRESENTE!

October 30, 2008/10:30 AM  
Brownsville , Texas


Juan Cortina that was born on May 16, in Camargo, Tamaulipas, the son of the son of Estéfana and Trinidad Cortina, wealthy cattle-ranching family and 1824 it was three years since the independence of Mexico from Spain.  (For family lineage, go to Jose Manuel de Goseascochea and Dona Maria Francisca Xaviera de la Garza y de la Garza, John Inclan research,

Following the Texas War of Independence (Slave Republic of Texas) in 1836 The Cortina family used their ranches as frontier strongholds to resist Texas exercising its sovereignty in accordance with the Treaty of Velasco. Cortina never recognized Texas independence, remained a citizen of Mexico and a patriot of his homeland.  As a young man, Cortina was at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma in Mariano Arista's army fighting Z. Taylor’s military invasion of Mexico .  In 1846, at age 22, he joined the Mexican Army under the orders of Gen. Mariano Arista, who had arrived at Matamoros in an attempt to stop the advancing forces of Gen. Zachary Taylor. Arista asked Cortina to form a force from the local Vaqueros (Mexican version of Cowboys) that worked for him and the nearby ranches. This irregular cavalry regiment (called the "Tamaulipas") was placed under his command, and as the Mexican-American War began, it took part in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.

With the end of the War and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848, the Cortina family estates were divided by the new frontier, leaving a vast portion of their lands inside the United States territory. However, ownership of that land was jeopardized by the legal reasoning of common law which allowed by squatter rights, discouraged vast concentrations of land wealth, and put alien ownership at a disadvantage. Therefore, Cortina became an important political boss for the South Texas Democratic Party, paid off the Mexican government to keep his lands as a US citizens, succeeded in defending his rights in a number of cases and thereby remained a large ranch owner albeit substantially reduced. However, Cortina never forgot his allegiance and love of Mexico , remained bitter about the loss of his land and continually resisted inroads to his caudillo power in South Texas . Since many large landowners last land as well under the new common law system, they and Cortina used their substantial retinues of vaqueros, peons, servants, and allied Mexican small farmers to form a political union which resisted and discriminated against Texans thereby keeping many settlers away. Eventually Cortina came in conflict with an influential group of lawyers and judges of Brownsville , who were united in opposing the political bossism of Cortina. In turn, Cortina agitated the Mexican population when he accused his opponents of expropriating land from Mexican Texans or "Tejanos", who were unfamiliar with the American legal system. Unflappable in his propaganda Cortina spread hate pamphlets against Texans: "Flocks of vampires, in the guise of men, Gringos" he wrote, robbed Mexicans "of their property, incarcerated, chased, murdered, and hunted them like wild beasts". Continuing his pre-annexation partisan warfare, Cortina managed a carefully constructed insurgency of intimidation, assassination, propaganda, agitation, legalism, and political mass action to eliminate Texan ranchers, store owners, and other Tejanos who collaborated with the authorities. Eventually, Cortina's clandestine activities and he was finally indicted twice on charges of cattle theft. However, because of the threat of wide spread insurgency and his own large private army he was not arrested. With the self-appointed purpose of defending the rights of Mexicans and Tejanos Cortina gathered, trained and armed a private army which interfered with the law, evicted or killed Texan ranchers and farmers, and stopped the enforcement of common law rulings against dividing his and other caudillo's large properties. Through his superb political maneuvering and his hatred of Americans, he became a popular leader among the poorer local population, who viewed him as a hero against the Gringos.

With outright flouting of the law, the tension between Cortina and the Brownsville authorities finally broke into violence, and on 13 July 1859, the First Cortina War started. That day, Brownsville Marshall Robert Shears was arresting Cortina's former employee, Tomás Cabrera who was brutalizing a prostitute for disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness. Cortina happened to pass by, and asked the Marshall to let him handle the situation, who is said to have then yelled at him "What is it to you, you damned Mexican?". Cortina pulled his sidearms and shot the marshall wounding him critically. This flouting of the law in broad daylight on the public streets caused consternation among the Texans when the authorities refused to bring Cortina to court out of fear. Realizing the weakness of the opposition to his rule, Cortina on 28 September raided, occupied, and looted the town with 40 to 80 Mexican bandidos. As the stores were pillaged and burned and the Texan men captured and brutalized and the women raped, and the authorities fled, Texans were effectively removed from Brownsville . Cortina then issued a famous proclamation to reveal his intentions to the Mexican population. "(...) There is no need of fear. Orderly people and honest citizens are inviolable to us in their persons and interests. Our object, as you have seen, has been to chastise the villainy of our enemies, which heretofore has gone unpunished. These have connived with each other, and form, so to speak, a perfidious inquisitorial lodge to persecute and rob us, without any cause, and for no other crime on our part than that of being of Mexican origin, considering us, doubtless, destitute of those gifts which they themselves do not possess. (...) Mexicans! Peace be with you! Good inhabitants of the State of Texas , look on them as brothers, and keep in mind that which the Holy Spirit saith: "Thou shalt not be the friend of the passionate man; nor join thyself to the madman, lest thou learn his mode of work and scandalize thy soul."

Cortina retained control over Brownsville until 30 September 1859, when he evacuated the town at the urging of influential residents of Matamoros . The following days, the surviving Texans formed a 20 man group in order to fight Cortina, called "the Brownsville Tigers". In November, the Brownsville Tigers learned that Cortina was at his mother's ranch in the nearby town of Santa Rita , five miles west of Brownsville . Although outnumbered they immediately launched an attack, only to be sent into retreat in disarray by Cortina's forces.

Later the same month, the Brownsville Tigers were joined by a unit of Texas Rangers, and Cortina decided to attack them. The offensive was unsuccessful, and on December, a second group of Rangers led by Capt. John "Rip" Ford arrived, larger and better organized. Because of appeals from Brownsville citizens, the U.S. Army sent troops from San Antonio to the nearby Fort Brown, which had been abandoned due to Cortina's incessant raids a few years previously. The fort's new commander, Maj. Samuel Heintzelman, united and coordinated all armed groups to put an end to the Cortina threat. Cortina retreated up the Rio Grande, until on December 27, 1859 Heintzelman and Ford engaged him in the battle of Rio Grande City. Cortina put up resistance but eventually fled with bodyguards leaving his partisans decisively defeated, with over sixty men killed and their arms confiscated. Cortina and his gang were pursued by Ford who eventually caught up to Cortina. In the ensuring firefight, more of Cortina's men were killed but Cortina managed to escape into the Burgos Mountains . The First Cortina War had finished, Cortina was a declared outlaw, his citizenship stripped, and following increasing pressure from both the United States without support from the Mexican Government. Cortina remained in hiding for the remainder of the year only to emerge with the beginning of the American Civil War.

In May 1861, the much shorter Second Cortina War took place. The Civil War had just began, and Cortina who despised Texas and Texans quickly aligned himself with the Federal Government of the United States . In 1861, during the Civil War he became an agent of the Union and against the Confederacy because he opposed slavery where ever it showed itself. Having used the proceeding year to rebuild his partisans, and newly supplied by the Union government, Cortina invaded Zapata County, pillaging and looting the surrounding communities. However, he was defeated by Confederate Capt. Santos Benavides at the battle of Carrizo and retreated back into Mexico , after losing eighteen men. Although he would no longer conduct large scale military incursions within the territory of the United States , Cortina continued a program of assassinating individual Texan ranchers and farmers, stealing their cattle and burning their farms, for the remainder of the war. In contrast, due to events in Mexico , Cortina focused most of his attentions and resources to the south.

When the French intervention in Mexico began in 1862, Cortina sided with Juárez at first, and took part at the Battle of Puebla on May 5. However, as the French eventually defeated the Mexican forces led by the Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza and succeeded to establish Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg as sovereign of Mexico, Cortina sensed the opportunity to consolidate his power in the Tamaulipas region and switched sides by joining the invaders. However, this move proved costly politically. Always keen to the masses of the Mexican population, Cortina realized that despite his substantial power, a majority of the populace opposed to him would end his power. Consequently, his alliance with the Franco-Mexicans was short-lived, and soon Cortina rose against the Hapsburg ruler. Commanding a large army that he had personally gathered and equipped, he engaged the French forces who arrived to intervene at Tampico and defeated them. His further military actions along Central Mexico helped in the effort against the invasion. Along with other Mexican caudillos who sat in judgement, Cortina ordered the execution of the captured Maximilian in Querétaro. During this time, in keeping with his caudillo sensibilities, he appointed himself Governor of Tamaulipas twice in 1864 and 1865. He resignated the charge in 1866 in favor of Generals José María Carvajal and Santiago Tapia.

The attitude of the Federal government towards Cortina changed completely with his support in attacking the Confederacy and his important role in the defense of the Mexican Government. Additionally, in the wake of Reconstruction and the brief occupation of Texas , substantial numbers of wealth Americans from the northern states arrived in South Texas and bought property in the area. Thus, after returning to his estates in Matamoros in 1870, the Union forces formally him invited on several occasions as guest of honor of the city of Brownsville . His support to the Union motivated many former northerners who were now notable residents of the Rio Grande Valley (including a former mayor of Brownsville) to endorse a petition to the Texas Legislature, asking for a formal pardon for his crimes during the Cortina Troubles. However, the majority of native Texans, particularly those who were present during the Cortina Troubles and those who supported the Confederacy still viewed Cortina with hostility. Consequently, this motion didn't prosper and was eventually rejected. Nonetheless, Cortina still had the lasting sympathy of the Mexican-Texan population who viewed Cortina as the hammer of the Gringos. Indeed, the Mexican authorities in Mexico also honored him: he was appointed Brigadier General, and the largest battalion of the state of Tamaulipas was renamed "el Batallón Cortina" (the "Cortina Battalion").

Also, with diplomatic pressure coming from the United States Government, which was concerned about Cortina's ambitions in Cameron County and his behavior in the past, the President decreed the arrest and execution of his former ally.

Gen. José Canales, a long time enemy of Cortina who was sent to carry out the order, decided to bring him to Mexico City instead, fearing the popular reprisals from the people of Tamaulipas. He was kept at the military prison of Santiago Tlaltelolco, without being tried or sentenced. He remained there until 1890, when he was pensioned to a big hacienda below Mexico City . Cortina never again regained power in Mexico . He died in Azcapotzalco, Mexico City on October 30, 1894. He died of pneumonia in 1894.



Juan Nepomuceno Cortina to the inhabitants of the State of Texas ,
and especially to those of the city of Brownsville .

An event of grave importance, in which it has fallen to my lot to figure as the principal actor since the morning of the 28th instant; doubtless keeps you in suspense with regard to the progress of its consequences. There is no need of fear. Orderly people and honest citizens are inviolable to us in their persons and interests. Our object, as you have seen, has been to chastise the villainy of our enemies, which heretofore has gone unpunished. These have connived with each other, and form, so to speak, a perfidious inquisitorial lodge to persecute and rob us, without any cause, and for no other crime on our part than that of being of Mexican origin, considering us, doubtless, destitute of those gifts which they themselves do not possess.

To defend ourselves, and making use of the sacred right of self-preservation, we have assembled in a popular meeting with a view of discussing a means by which to put an end to our misfortunes.

Our identity of origin, our relationship, and the community of our sufferings, has been, as it appears, the cause of our embracing, directly, the proposed object which led us to enter your beautiful city, clothes with the imposing aspect of our exasperation.

The assembly organized, and headed by your humble servant, (thanks to the confidence which he inspired as one of the most aggrieved,) we have careered over the streets of the city in search of our adversaries, inasmuch as justice, being administered by their own hands, the supremacy of the law has failed to accomplish its object.

Some of them, rashly remiss in complying with our demand, have perished for having sought to carry their animosity beyond the limits allowed by their precarious position. Three of them have died - all criminal, wicked men, notorious among the people for their misdeeds. The others, still more unworthy and wretched, dragged themselves through the mire to escape our anger, and now, perhaps, with their usual bravado, pretend to be the cause of an infinity of evils, which might have been avoided but for their cowardice.

They concealed themselves, and we were loth to attack them within the dwellings of others, fearing that their cause might be confounded with that of respectable persons, as at last, to our sorrow, did happen. On the other hand, it behooves us to maintain that it was unjust to give the affair such a terrible aspect, and to represent it as of a character foreboding evil; some having carried their blindness so far as to implore the aid of Mexico, alleging as a reason that their persons and property were exposed to vandalism. Were any outrages committed by us during the time we had possession of the city, when we had it in our power to become the arbiters of its fate? Will our enemies be so blind, base, or unthinking, as to deny the evidence of facts? Will there be one to say the he was molested, or that is house was robbed or burned down.

The unfortunate Viviano Garcia fell a victim to his generous behavior; and with such a lamentable occurrence before us on our very outset, we abstained from our purpose, horrified at the thought of having to shed innocent blood without even the assurance that the vile men whom we sought would put aside their cowardice to accept our defiance.

These, as we have said, form, with a multitude of lawyers, a secret conclave, with all its ramifications, for the sole purpose of despoiling the Mexicans of the lands and usurp them afterwards. This is clearly proven by the conduct of one Adolph Glavecke, who, invested with the character of deputy sheriff, and in collusion with the said lawyers, has spread terror among the unwary, making them believe that he will hang the Mexicans and burn their ranches, &c., that by this means he might compel them to abandon the country, and thus accomplish their object. This is not a supposition - it is a reality; and notwithstanding the want of better proof, if this threat were not publicly known, all would feel persuaded that of this, and even more, are capable such criminal men as the one last mentioned, the marshal, the jailer, Morris, Neal, &c.

The first of these, in his history and behavior, has ever been infamous and traitorous. He is the assassin of the ill-starred Colonel Cross, Captain Woolsey, and Antonia Mireles, murdered by him at the rancho de las Prietas, the theatre of all his assassinations. It is he who instigated some, and aiding others, has been the author of a thousand misdeeds; and to put down the finger of scorn that ever points at him, and do away with the witnesses of his crimes, he has been foremost in persecuting us to death. The others are more or less stamped with ignominy, and we will tolerate them no longer in our midst, because they are obnoxious to tranquillity and to our own welfare.

All truce between them and us is at an end, from the fact alone of our holding upon this soil our interests and property. And how can it be otherwise, when the ills that weigh upon the unfortunate republic of Mexico have obliged us for many heart-touching causes to abandon it and our possessions in it, or else become the victims of our principles or of the indigence to which its intestine disturbances had reduced us since the treaty of Guadalupe? When, every diligent and industrious, and desirous of enjoying the longed-for boon of liberty within the classic country of its origin, we were induced to naturalize ourselves in it and form a part of the confederacy, flattered by the bright and peaceful prospect of living therein and inculcating in the bosoms of our children a feeling of gratitude towards a country beneath whose aegis we would have wrought their felicity and contributed with our conduct to give evidence to the whole world that all the aspirations of the Mexicans are confined to one only, that of being freemen; and that having secured this ourselves, those of the old country, notwithstanding their misfortunes, might have nothing to regret save the loss of a section of territory, but with the sweet satisfaction that their old fellow citizens lived therein, enjoying tranquillity, as if Providence had so ordained to set them an example of the advantages to be derived from public peace and quietude; when, in fine, all has been but the baseless fabric of a dream, and our hopes having been defrauded in the most cruel manner in which disappointment can strike, there can be found no other solution to our problem than to make one effort, and at one blow destroy the obstacles to our prosperity.

It is necessary. The hour has arrived. Our oppressors number but six or eight. Hospitality and other noble sentiments shield them at present from our wrath, and such, as you have seen, are inviolable to us.

Innocent persons shall not suffer - no. But, if necessary, we will lead a wandering life, awaiting our opportunity to purge society of men so base that they degrade it with their opprobrium. Our families have returned as strangers to their old country to beg for an asylum. Our lands, if they are to be sacrificed to the avaricious covetousness of our enemies, will be rather so on account of our own vicissitudes. As to land, Nature will always grant us sufficient to support our frames, and we accept the consequences that may arise. Further, our personal enemies shall not possess our lands until they have fattened it with their own gore.

It remains for me to say that, separated as we are, by accident alone, from the other citizens of the city, and not having renounced our rights as North American citizens, we disapprove and energetically protest against the act of having caused a force of the national guards from Mexico to cross unto this side to ingraft themselves in a question so foreign to their country that there is no excusing such weakness on the part of those who implored their aid.

Rancho Del Carmen, County of Cameron , September 30, 1859


[This text appeared in the Brownsville newspaper, where it was introduced by this letter from the editor:]

To the Mexican inhabitants of the State of Texas :

The arch murderer and robber has been induced by some inflated coxcomb to allow his name to be put to the following collection of balderdash and impudence. We shall not inquire now who wrote it, but is certainly was no one who has the least acquaintance with American laws or character. We invite the attention of the people abroad to his pretension that the Mexicans of this region (we suppose he means from the Nueces to the Rio Grande ) "claim the right to expel all Americans within the same."

He professes to be at the head of a secret society, organized for this object. He claims modestly for his co-villains all the virtues, especially those of gentleness, purity, and liveliness of disposition. This he says of himself and his followers who, after stabbing and shooting into and beating the dead bodies of Mallett and Greer and McCoy, slain in the fight between a portion of his forces and thirty rangers at Palo Alto, on Sunday last, and after having in like cowardly manner treated his prisoner, young Fox, after he had surrendered his arms when surrounded, descended to such depth of degradation as to dismember the bodies of the slain in a manner so disgusting as to be too horrible to tell, and then, as does the world but far more Christian Comanche, ornamented their saddle bows with the beastly trophies of their victory.

And these men are the graduates of the presidios of Mexico and the penitentiaries of Texas , he himself for years under indictment for murder, for cattle stealing, and other crimes, and his whole clan now engaged in wholesale robbery, horse stealing, and murder. A river frontier and the absence of a treaty of extradition renders it an easy thing in a country not closely settled and full if impenetrable chaparral for the outlaw to escape trial at law. So these people have defied justice on either side of the river, and now, banded together in an imposing army, nought but the heavy arm of the Union can put a stop to their villainy. He has heavily recruited from the outlaws of Mexico despite the vigilance of the constitutional authorities, who detest his crimes and fear his complicity with the party of Miramon and Woll.

None of them have any legal title to citizenship. The United States Supreme Court, in the case of McKinney vs. Savriego, decided that the 8th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had no reference to Texas, and this is the only one in that treaty which confers citizenship. They could not have been citizens of Texas when annexed, because they were "adhering to the common enemy," and thus excluded from citizenship by its fundamental laws. None of them have ever been formally naturalized, and so they remain without the pale of American citizenship. A very large proportion, many think a majority, are residents of Mexico , if anywhere, having in this country neither properties nor homes, nor anything but their own crimes to entitle them to any recognition under our laws. All the complaints insinuated in this production are utterly with foundation. These men live usually by horse stealing -- by industry never. They have never been robbed of any property, but many times have imposed on honest men with stolen animals. They have escaped from the conviction due to their crimes by "false witnesses," of whom he complains as employed against him! His appeal to General Houston to sustain him in jail-breaking, in murder, in mail robbery, and waging war on the authorities of the State, is the most stupendous piece of impudence of all. Yet he has now under him quite an army, entrenched in a well-constructed fort, defended by cannon, with experienced reactionary officers to direct his military operations, while his will is obeyed by his hundreds implicitly and unreservedly. Is this so to remain? He is a foreigner, levying war against the State and Union within their borders, and flying a foreign flag above his fortress of American soil, and yet fifty men are all the solders that within two months have been vouchsafed by our government to put down this rebellion, or repel this invasion - call it by what name you will.


November 23, 1859   PROCLAMATION by Juan N. Cortina
County of Cameron , Camp in the Rancho del Carmen

Compatriots: A sentiment of profound indignation, the love and esteem which I profess for you, the desire which you have for that tranquillity and those guarantees which are denied you, thus violating the most sacred laws, is that which moves me to address you these words, hoping that they may prove some consolation in the midst of your adversity, which heretofore has borne the appearance of predestination.

The history of great human actions teaches us that in certain instances the principal motive which gives them impulse is the natural right to resist and conquer our enemies with a firm spirit and lively will; to persist in and to reach the consummation of this object, opening a path through the obstacles which step by step are encountered, however imposing or terrible they may be.

In the series of such actions, events present themselves which public opinion, influenced by popular sentiment, calls for deliberation upon their effects, to form an exact and just conception of the interests which they promote; and this same public opinion should be considered as the best judge, which, with coolness and impartiality, does not fail to recognize some principle as the cause for the existence of open force and immutable firmness, which impart the noble desire of cooperating with true philanthropy to remedy the state of despair of him who, in his turn, becomes the victim of ambition, satisfied at the cost of justice.

There are, doubtless, persons so overcome by strange prejudices, men without confidence or courage to face danger in an undertaking in sisterhood with the love of liberty, who, examining the merit of acts by a false light, and preferring that of the same opinion contrary to their own, prepare no other reward than that pronounced for the "bandit," for him who, with complete abnegation of self, dedicates himself to constant labor for the happiness of those who suffering under the weight of misfortunes, eat their bread, mingled with tears, on the earth which they rated.

If, my dear compatriots, I am honored with that name, I am ready for the combat.

The Mexicans who inhabit this wide region, some because they were born therein, others because since the treaty Guadalupe Hidalgo, they have been attracted to its soil by the soft influence of wise laws and the advantages of a free government, paying little attention to the reasoning of politics, are honorably and exclusively dedicated to the exercise of industry, guided by that instinct which leads the good man to comprehend, as uncontradictory truth, that only in the reign of peace can he enjoy, without inquietude, the fruit of his labor. These, under an unjust imputation of selfishness and churlishness, which do not exist, are not devoid of those sincere and expressive evidences of such friendliness and tenderness as should gain for them that confidence with which they have inspired those who have met them in social intercourse. This genial affability seems as the foundation of that proverbial prudence which, as an oracle, is consulted in all their actions and undertakings. Their humility, simplicity, and doility, directed with dignity, it may be that with excess of goodness, can, if it be desired, lead them beyond the common class of men, but causes them to excel in an irresistible inclination towards ideas of equality, a proof of their simple manners, so well adapted to that which is styled the classic land of liberty. A man, a family, and a people, possessed of qualities so eminent, with their heart in their hand and purity on their lips, encounter every day renewed reasons to know that they are surrounded by malicious and crafty monsters, who rob them in the tranquil interior of home, or with open hatred and pursuit; it necessarily follows, however great may be their pain, if not abased by humiliation and ignominy, their groans suffocated and hushed by a pain which renders them insensible, they become resigned to suffering before an abyss of misfortunes.

Mexicans! When the State of Texas began to receive the new organization which its sovereignty required as an integrate part of the Union , flocks of vampires, in the guise of men came and scattered themselves in the settlements, without any capital except the corrupt heart and the most perverse intentions. Some, brimful of laws, pledged to us their protection against the attacks of the rest; others assembled in shadowy councils, attempted and excited the robbery and burning of the houses of our relatives on the other side of the river Bravo; while others, to the abusing of our unlimited confidence, when we intrusted them with our titles, which secured the future of our families, refused to return them under false and frivolous pretexts; all, in short, with a smile on their faces, giving the lie to that which their black entrails were meditating. Many of you have been robbed of your property, incarcerated, chased, murdered, and hunted like wild beasts, because your labor was fruitful, and because your industry excited the vile avarice which led them. A voice infernal said, from the bottom of their soul, "kill them; the greater will be our gain!" Ah! This does not finish the sketch of your situation. It would appear that justice had fled from this world, leaving you to the caprice of your oppressors, who become each day more furious towards you; that, through witnesses and false charges, although the grounds may be insufficient, you may be interred in the penitentiaries, if you are not previously deprived of life by some keeper who covers himself from responsibility by the pretense of your flight. There are to be found criminals covered with frightful crimes, but they appear to have impunity until opportunity furnish them a victim; to these monsters indulgence is shown, because they are not of our race, which is unworthy, as they say, to belong to the human species. But this race, which the Anglo-American, so ostentatious of its own qualities, tries so much to blacken depreciate, and load with insults, in a spirit of blindness, which goes to the full extent of such things so common on this frontier, does not fear, placed even in the midst of its very faults, those subtle inquisitions which are so frequently made as to its manners, habits, and sentiments; nor that its deeds should be put to the test of examination in the land of reason, of justice, and of honor. This race has never humbled itself before the conqueror, though the reverse has happened, and can be established; for his is not humbled who uses among his fellow-men those courtesies which humanity prescribes; charity being the root whence springs the rule of his actions. But this race, which you see filled with gentleness and inward sweetness, gives now the cry of alarm throughout the entire extend of the land which it occupies, against all the artifice interposed by those who have become chargeable with their division and discord. This race, adorned with the most lovely disposition towards all that is good and useful in the line of progress, omits no act of diligence which might correct its many imperfections, and lift its grand edifice among the ruins of the past, respecting the ancient traditions and the maxims bequeathed by their ancestors, without being dazzled by brilliant and false appearances, nor crawling to that exaggeration of institution which, like a sublime statue, is offered for their worship and adoration.

Mexicans! Is there no remedy for you? Inviolable laws, yet useless, serve, it is true, certain judges and hypocritical authorities, cemented in evil and injustice, to do whatever suits them, and to satisfy their vile avarice at the cot of your patience and suffering; rising in their frenzy, even to the taking of life, through the treacherous hands of their bailiffs. The wicket way in which many of you have been often-times involved in persecution, accompanied by circumstances making it the more bitter, is now well known; these crimes being hid from society under the shadow of a horrid night, those implacable people, with the haughty spirit which suggests impunity for a life of criminality, have pronounced, doubt ye not, your sentence, which is, with accustomed insensibility, as you have seen, on the point of execution.

Mexicans! My part is taken; the voice of revelation whispers to me that to me is entrusted the work of breaking the chains of your slavery, and that the Lord will enable me, with powerful arm, to fight against our enemies, in compliance with the requirements of that Sovereign Majesty, who, from this day forward, will hold us under His protection. On my part, I am ready to offer myself as a sacrifice for your happiness; and counting upon the means necessary for the discharge of my ministry, you may count upon my cooperation, should no cowardly attempt put an end to my days. This undertaking will be sustained on the following bases:

First. A society is organized in the State of Texas, which devotes itself sleeplessly until the work is crowned with success, to the improvement of the unhappy condition of those Mexicans resident therein; extermination their tyrants, to which end those which compose it are ready to shed their blood and suffer the death of martyrs.

Second. As this society contains within itself the elements necessary to accomplish the great end of its labors, the veil of impenetrable secrecy covers "The Great Book" in which the articles of its constitution are written; while so delicate are the difficulties which must be overcome that no honorable man can have cause for alarm, if imperious exigencies require them to act without reserve.

Third. The Mexicans of Texas repose their lot under the good sentiments of the governor elect of the State, General Houston, and trust that upon his elevation to power he will begin with care to give us legal protection within the limits of his powers.

Mexicans! Peace be with you! Good inhabitants of the State of Texas , look on them as brothers, and keep in mind that which the Holy Spirit saith: "Thou shalt not be the friend of the passionate man; nor join thyself to the madman, lest thou learn his mode of work and scandalize thy soul."

Juan N. Cortina

[TEXT: U. S. Congress, House, Difficulties on the Southwestern Frontier, 36th Congress; 1t Session, 1860, H. Exec. Doc. 52, pp.70-82.]

References, additional readings and external links

  • Juan Nepomuceno Cortina Goceoscochea, by Ing. Manuel Humberto González Ramos, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, 2001.
  • Juan Cortina and the Texas-Mexico frontier (1859-1877), by Jerry D. Thompson, Southwestern Studies, 1994 (ISBN 0-87404-195-3).
  • "Cheno Cortina", the Tamaulipas man who invaded Texas, by Adrián Cerda, Editorial Contenido, 2001.
  • Juan Cortina and the Struggle for Justice in Texas , by Carlos Larralde and Jose R. Jacobo, Kendall Hunt, 2000.
  • Juan N. Cortina Bandit or Patriot? An Address by J.T. Canales to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Historical Association. 22 Oct 1951.
  • U. S. Congress, House, Difficulties on the Southwestern Frontier, 36th Congress, 1st Session, 1860, H. Exec. Doc. 52, pp. 70-82.
  • Texas Politics & the Legends of the Fall, by Robert H. Angell, McGraw Custom Publishing. 2003. pp. 23-36.
  • Juan Nepomuceno Cortina from the Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed on September 7th, 2005.
  • Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, el Chino. Accessed on September 7th, 2205.




History of Latinos in Michigan and Detroit
Artists Needed: Michigan Mexicantown Revitalization
One-time Young Lords say message still relevant, 40 years later
Tulane University Archives
Linkpendium East Baton Rouge Parish

History of Latinos in Michigan and Detroit
Los Repatriados, a Decade of Mexican Repatriation

Since the 20th century, Latinos have had a significant role in America's economy.  When the first Latinos arrived in 1915, Michigan was first entering the industrial revolution and there was a high demand for labor.1 Sugar companies were on the rise, and began recruiting their employees from Mexico and Southern Texas to tend the state's sugar beets.  Those who did not work in the sugar beet fields found work maintaining railways and assembly lines in the automobile plants. 

Family of Mexican Sugar Beet Workers,
Saginaw County, Michigan, 1941
Photo: John Vachon
Library of Congress

Detroit, once populated by nearly all European immigrants was now home to 4,000 Mexican citizens by the end of 1920.2 Many workers came to Michigan to escape the violent racism of Southern Texas or the political unrest in Mexico in search of a better life.  After a law was passed to restrict new immigration from Europe, the sugar beet industry soon became a dominant workforce heavily recruiting more and more laborers from Mexico.  Sugar served first as a product consumed by the working urban class and suddenly became universal.  Following the year 1920, a severe recession left the beet workers stranded in their camps with no work wages.3 As manufacturing jobs continued to move forward with the lay off of about eighty percent of the Mexican auto workers, most converted to construction or maintenance.4 By the end of the decade, 15,000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were living in Detroit, pursuing the “American Dream” the best way they could.5

Unfortunately the pursuit of  the “American Dream” was not as easy as it seemed.  Many people did not like the fact that the Latino population continued to increase.  White supremacy and fear of losing jobs was a common thought among the non-Latino residents as well as the state's political elite.  Racial discrimination in dance halls, barbershops, workplaces, and housing remained an obstacle to Latinos attempting to integrate themselves into American culture.  Dark skinned Mexicans had more problems than the lighter skinned Mexicans because they could usually claim Spanish, Italian, and Native American heritage without problem.

The 1930s, also known as the Great Depression, was a time of great economic pain causing families to go homeless and hungry.6 At the time, Michigan officials felt that they needed to come up with a solution for the lack of jobs reserved for “Americans”, and the solution was to execute a kind of “ethnic cleansing”, with the focus on the Mexican population.7 Instead of providing family assistance to Latino families, the Detroit welfare department, the federal government, and the Mexican Consulate collaborated to financially support the deportation of unemployed workers.8 This was also known as the Mexican Repatriation, where millions of American citizens were unjustly deported to Mexico between 1931 and 1933.9 As a result, the Detroit Mexican population decreased significantly from 15,000 to a mere 1,200.10

In 1933 the Comité Nacional de Repatriatión, an organization based in Mexico, raised money to establish two agriculture-based colonies for repatriates. In December of 1933 the first group of repatriates to occupy the colony in Hacienda El Coloso were from Detroit. The colonies were entirely experimental and the repatriates were sold land with a long-term loan repayment plan. They were also provisioned "tools, farm machinery, soap, and, each week, three cartons of cigarettes and one peso." 11 Unfortunately, the repatriates were not accustomed to the climate and living conditions. The locations chosen for the colonies had many poisonous insects and snakes. Furthermore, the repatriates were exposed to diseases for which they had no immunity. These factors resulted in rampant illness and even death among those in the experimental colonies.

Even though times were tough for the citizens of Detroit, Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, was in the middle of his masterpiece, “Detroit Industry”.12 Commissioned by Edsel Ford to depict Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant, he and his wife, Frida Kalho were enthusiastic supporters of the Detroit repatriation campaigns.  Misinformed like many of the repatriates, he believed that people would have better lives and opportunities waiting for them upon their return to Mexico.  When the repatriates finally arrived to their final destination, the Mexican government did not follow through with their promises, not even providing housing or food to the stranded families residing in the border towns.  Families and individuals who did manage to find their way back to Detroit, had to start all over again and pick up what was left of their lives.

After the depression, America had to find a way to jump start their construction, farms, and industries.  Michigan's sugar industries were brought back into business through Roosevelt's New Deal, which guaranteed prices and new payments to sugar producers.13 The Roosevelt Administration also established minimum wages for all farm workers and child labor restrictions in 1937.14 Unfortunately, nothing was established to reinforce the new policies also the New Deal never guaranteed these rights to farm workers.  As a result, manufacturers began to rely on smuggled laborers from Mexico, called Texicans in addition to white and southern black immigrants.15

By 1957, the population of migrant farm workers increased to 106,000 mostly through government programs, such as the Bracero Program.16 As the population increased, the quality of migrant camps that housed many families, decreased.  There was no access to medical attention and very scarce nutritional resources.  Soon enough, Diphtheria and Tuberculosis outbreaks occurred.17 In fear of further negative effects of immigration, the government launched “Operation Wetback”, where more Mexicans were deported once again back to Mexico.18

Although the presence of racist anti-immigrant hysteria in Michigan was strong, Mexicans chose to stay in Detroit because in the Southern states, like Texas, it was worse.  Through the 60s, more workers joined union programs and began to settle in small or medium sized homes.19


Source: Fronteras Norteñas
Fronteras Norteñas is a Detroit based non-profit community organization dedicated to empowering ourselves and our community by reclaiming our spiritual, cultural, and intellectual history. Elena Herrada is Director of the Oral History project of the Fronteras Norteñas organization.

“There was never an act or a law passed to repatriate the people. These were social workers and city officials knocking on the door… There was no one to defend them. 
So they were completely defenseless.”  -Elena Herrada

Editor: Excellent site . . . lots of photos, footnoted information.
Sent by Juan Marinez




Michigan Mexicantown Revitalization

(WXYZ) M-DOT is looking for artists to help revitalize the area around the new Mexicantown Pedestrian Bridge.

Applicants must submit 10 examples of their past work in either 35 mm slides or digital files, a work sample narrative, an artist's statement about their approach to the project, and a resume with three professional references by December 1.

All applications will be evaluated on their conceptual approach, their work, the durability of their past work, a proven ability to work on a project of this size, the artistic quality of their work, and a demonstrated ability to work with government agencies, engineers, committees and community groups.

You can see illustrations of the bridge, the locations for the artwork, and the dimensions of the bridge at under the "Public Art for the Bagley Pedestrian Bridge" tab.

All applications must be sent to: 
Bagley Pedestrian Bridge Applications
Attn: Regina Flanagan
Bagley Public Art Project Manager
HNTB Corporation
7900 International Drive
Suite 600
Minneapolis, MN 55425-8910 

Original Story:
Sent by Juan Marinez



One-time Young Lords say message still relevant, 40 years later
One-time Young Lords say struggles of 1968 just as relevant today
By Jeff Long, Chicago Tribune reporter, September 22, 2008

Jose "Cha-Cha" Jimenez returned to his Chicago roots on Sunday, speaking to an audience of more than 200 people gathered in a modest Humboldt Park church about the role played by a one-time street gang, the Young Lords, as a force for community and political activism during the turbulent 1960s.

As part of a program remembering the Young Lords, which Jimenez helped form into a community activist group in 1968, speakers said some of the issues the Young Lords dealt with still exist today.

Their brand of community activism is needed now more than ever, speakers said.
Jimenez, who lives in Cleveland, said gang violence is perpetuated in part by a lack of direction. "They don't have any leadership to show them a different way," Jimenez told the group gathered at San Lucas United Church of Christ. "Like when we had the Young Lords and the Black Panthers."

Gentrification changed the Lincoln Park neighborhood where the Young Lords evolved, and Jimenez said he sees that happening now in Humboldt Park.

"When we talk about urban renewal and gentrification, sometimes we forget what we're trying to say," Jimenez said. "Every support network put there by the community is broken apart. It's dislocated."

For years, Puerto Ricans and other minorities had been displaced from gentrifying neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park and Wicker Park. In 1968, the Young Lords took matters into their own hands when they briefly took over a neighborhood church basement and other buildings-installing food programs and other services. It became a rallying call for community building in Chicago, New York and several other cities.

Jimenez and other Young Lords followed the Black Panther Party, becoming militant nationalists who brought services and a spirit of defiance to areas they thought were ignored by city officials. They fought against tenant evictions, created a People's Church in Lincoln Park, and joined groups pushing for Puerto Rican independence.  Their rough style included spurts of violence. In 1969, Jimenez was sentenced to a year in jail for the destruction of a city urban renewal office. But the group also had some victories. Its People's Church on Armitage Avenue became a hub for Latino activism and featured a day nursery for working mothers and a free breakfast program.

"We call it a 40-year