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Old 05-19-2010, 10:43 PM
Location: western Colorado, hoping to move to PA
51 posts, read 133,978 times
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This thread would be applicable for many folks living in the southwest U.S., but we're in the Colorado forum. This is a bit long so please just skip if this topic is not of interest to you.

It's always struck me that Colorado has a very unique Hispanic culture. Now I'm just going off of my own anecdotal experiences here, but the families which I've known intimately who originated in the south/southeast of the state have after several generations assimilated to a "mainstream" chicano-type culture now. But these are things I know from stories I've heard from extended family members. My ex-husband's family is from Pueblo and moved there from the area south of there; his mother graduated from high school in Walsenburg but before that the family had owned a farm in Trinidad (which burned down). His grandparents were from Trinidad and Raton, NM. They spoke English and Spanish and had Spanish names--well, his grandfather had a white last name, Bowman, but a Hispanic first name, Luis. He preferred to go by Louis because of local prejudice, even against one another. There was a lot of suppression of roots and attempts to assimilate to the larger "white American" culture at this point. Children of this generation (1940s-1960s and maybe beyond) were given "white" names. My ex mother-in-law was named Beverly and her siblings were Louise (in honor of her father, but not Luisa), Kenneth, etc. Spanish and English were both spoken in the home--the older members spoke Spanish to one another primarily, but the children were always spoken to in English. Children may have grown up understanding Spanish but not speaking it, or the older children may have been able to pick up enough to speak and understand but by the time the younger children came along the majority of the conversations within the household would be in Spanish.

These families I'm speaking of were not Mexican families. No one had come north from Mexico and therefore these families did not like being labeled as "Mexican." They were descended from settlers, primarily Spanish, who bred with native populations, picking up traditions and cultural practices of both. This is exactly how the Mexican people were "made" as well, but the families I'm speaking of did not like being lumped in with "Mexicans."

It seems now, the more generations have passed between the origination of this "mestizo" group of people, the more they have lost the desire to classify themselves as a unique Hispanic group. The younger members of the family may identify themselves as Chicano although they have no Mexican heritage. Older family members and their stories and unique perspective on who they are as a people are dying, leaving a younger generation who may not have any idea how truly special their culture is.

I really wish some cultural anthropologist would do some work on investigating, studying, and interviewing non-Mexican Hispanics in the southwest United States before it's too late.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:00 PM
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,102 posts, read 20,351,797 times
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I would say that's the same with any culture. I am a 4th generation Puebloan as my great grandparents moved here from Italy. I don't speak Italian nor do I know my family back in Italy and since my grandparents have passed away I would not even know how to contact them.

That being said there are great history books on Pueblo that includes both Mexican and Italian history in it as they are both big here.

This is one example that talks about the Italian Maffia but there are a few books about both cultures.

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Old 05-20-2010, 12:57 AM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,255,168 times
Reputation: 6815
You might find things on this site of interest:

Digital images, Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:35 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,099,702 times
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Umberlee's description is pretty accurate, mirroring my experience with the Hispanic culture of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Not mentioned by Umberlee is that the dialect of Spanish spoken in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico is actually a variation of 16th Century Castilian Spanish. There is a great reference source for this--A Dictionary of New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish ( Cobos revises Southern Colorado Spanish Dictionary ).

Among many of the older Hispanics native to the region, the term "Nuevo Mejicano" is often their preferred description for themselves. While Spanish is still often the common language spoken at home and among themselves, I've yet to meet any native Neuvo Mejicano who does not speak English as well as most Anglo residents of the area. Unlike we Anglos, of which few of us are bi-lingual, many of the Nuevo Mejicanos are fully bi-lingual--comfortable speaking both English and Spanish, often flowing seemlessly between the two languages in a conversation.

As Umberlee noted, many of the native Hispanics in southern Colorado don't have a lot of use for "Mexicans" and are frequently as vehemently anti-illegal immigration as any Anglo, if not more so. Of course, you won't hear the mainstream media report that. In fact, most of the media couldn't even find southern Colorado or northern New Mexico on a map--except maybe for the yuppie ghetto of Santa Fe.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:01 PM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,255,168 times
Reputation: 6815
Originally Posted by Umberlee View Post
I really wish some cultural anthropologist would do some work on investigating, studying, and interviewing non-Mexican Hispanics in the southwest United States before it's too late.
I wouldn't be too worried about that. Cultural anthropologists have worked the Southwest over pretty well. Just make a visit to the library at UNM, the New Mexico State Library or the one at the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe and you'll find all the studies and materials on this topic you can keep down.
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