The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Living Document
Welcome to an Arizona State Museum podcast. This podcast is one of five recordings from a symposium held in conjunction with the display of the original pages of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the Arizona State Museum during February 2011. The treaty pages were on loan from the National Archives. Arizona State Museum extends thanks to Amistades Inc., the Vice President for Research at the University of Arizona, and the University's American Indian Studies department for support of the exhibition and the symposium. For more Arizona State Museum podcasts, go to www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/podcast, or go to iTunes, keyword: Arizona State Museum.
|Dr. Enrique Lamadrid||
What I'm going do this morning with you is an overview. When we talk about fronteras, fronteras are so artificial in a way. They're so abstract in a way. But they're just as concrete as they are abstract. And people very naturally get into conceptualizing them, and looking at them in even mythical terms, as we've been hearing this morning. What are fronteras? What are the things that would separate us as human beings?
Well, in this case, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, I've always wondered if there was something that went into the choice of the second of February for that day. That's the Feast of the Candelaria. That is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, exactly halfway. It's a huge feast all over the world in all religions. The winter's ending, we're moving forward; for better or for worse we're moving forward. There is no choice on that. Time goes forward.
The western half of the U.S.–Mexico border is la linea—a surveyor's mark scratched across the Sonoran Desert and reinforced with barbed wire and rusting metal landing strips from the war with Iraq.
The eastern half looks a little bit less like a military zone, following the course of a beautiful desert river from the melancholy concrete canyons of Juarez to the palm‑lined banks of the Delta.
La frontera has always been permeable to poetry, ideas, commerce, and people. With the decline of the nation‑state and the rise of the world economy, the border becomes more anachronistic by the day, yet, it is maintained and patrolled as a painful open wound, a cruel reminder of the price that the First World extracts from the Third.
Despite its transience and permeability, the border is a formidable barrier to conscience and consciousness for the vast majority of Mexicans and Americans. Crossing it is no guarantee that the other side will be seen with any clarity.
For most, the border is a shadowy mirror in which the viewer contemplates his own darker side and confuses it with the cultural other, and recoils with disgust. The American sees filth, corruption, poverty, and sexual transgression. The Mexican sees glittering wealth, decadence, alienation, and the disturbing acculturation of the pocho, or Americanized Mexican.
Mercifully, the veil of illusion, stereotype, and loathing is easily rent by the literary expression of border people, whose everyday experience and identity are negotiated between languages and cultures.
In New Mexico, we are border people, not because we crossed the border, but because the border crossed us. That was our slogan before the Tigres discovered it as well, no?
In 1848 it moved and I've corrected it here. When I wrote this I was trying to figure out how far is it from Pueblo to El Paso. From the Arkansas River, the old border, to El Paso del Norte, I figured 500 miles. No, it's 601 miles. It moved from one river to that other river pass.
As in other parts of the Southwest, we have internalized La Frontera. When there's no fence around, when there's nothing like that in many of our border zones, especially in Nuevo Mexico, we have internalized it. Every time we speak or write, the linguistic choice is made, English, Spanish, or a mixture of the two? Nationalism makes us anxious. As Norma Cantú said, "The red, white, and blue and the tricolor make us equally nervous, because they both would deny us."
Like my late friend, the poet Cecilio García Camarillo, we are constantly imagining and creating our own space. Cecilio's not the only one that said that, ¿Verdad?
In our mind's eye, we are stuck on that Sante Fe Bridge between El Paso and Juarez, with another late friend, Jim Sagel, who wrote a really great poem about sitting in your car for a couple of hours, trying to get across that bridge; and watching the Indian women on the bridge that sell crucifixes in one hand and Batman figures in the other hand, wondering, which one will she sell first? ¿Verdad?
So I'm going to look at the border through expressive culture. There are a lot of creative people living in these borderlands, and so it's important to listen to them as we take this trip.
We notice right away the metaphors. La linea, it's of course the barbed wire, and Gloria Anzaldúa, she says, ¿Donde está mi país? Where is my place? It's on that razor-thin edge, that barb on the barbed wire, she tells us in one of her poems. She didn't initiate the metaphor, the border as wound. It's an old metaphor, because it is a wound. It is a wound. She, in her poetry and her essays, has made this, has shared this, into a larger consciousness with us.
So what is the legacy of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo? I would say it’s la gente, first and foremost, these relations that we have mentioned also this morning in this tremendous Turtle Island, which we inhabit in the north, Abya Yala, the whole dual continent of those—the twin continent. But let's start in California.
My background is literatura. You remember those novels that Don Quixote read too many of and it made him sick? When the explorers were going around... If you're exploring for more than one year, you run out of names. And they were… Each day has one main santo and maybe a couple of others to boot. And they got sick of that. They got sick of that because how many places can be named Sacramento? How many places can be named San Juan or whatever, as you go through those 630... What? And San Antonio.
You can tell where the franciscanos are. It's all Antonio and San Francisco, as opposed to the Jesuits. It's all San Ignacio and San Luis and stuff.
But I love this example. Look at this map. This is one of the first really accurate maps of the Rio Grande, Rio Bravo system.
It's one of the first to show it going into the Seno Mexicano, the Gulf of Mexico, rather than the Gulf of California. Yet look at California. The explorers were reading the dime novel of the day, which is called Las sergas de Esplandián, which takes place on a magical island called California, con la reina Califia y sus Amazonas. And so when they got there and they couldn't figure out how to sail up it or around it they figure, well, it's a large island, and maybe the northern part of it is a place that's going to be a very key strategic place to be.
So, as we know from our everyday experience, art does imitate life. I mean, life does imitate art in this case. So let's look at some poetry. The poetry is what's going to allow us to reflect. It's what's going to allow us to really think deeply about all of these facts that we've been presented with, and that we live with every day.
There is Gloria, at that famous beach. That's the border. That's the border going right into the sea. Looks like it’s high tide right there. That's the same park looking inland. What is it called? Border Fence Park or something like that. And there she is. There she is. And of course, of course, the skin of the earth is seamless. Of course, the herons fly wherever they want to, as long as there's water.
Those butterflies, those monarcas, live sin fronteras and are a symbol of our transnationalism as mexicanos and mexico‑americanos.
And boy, as teachers, if you want to… we can go to this creative commons. If you haven't bought any Tigres albums yet, or CDs yet, please check out YouTube. Your students are looking at it every day. There's a kind of creative commons out there. It's a huge thing. It is ephemeral. Things that you really like may go away the next day, as soon as someone complains about them. YouTube takes them off. So you can use RealPlayer to capture them. Like I did with the Guadalupe Hidalgo video that I snuck in the…it's not lunch yet, ¿Verdad? But anyway, there's those famous little George Washington-style pylons or obelisks. Looks like they may have been Masons, Mason surveyors that put them up. From a previous era they would have been cruces, right? They would have been crosses.
This is my favorite graffiti. It's from Juarez. It's been there for at least 20 years. You can see it off the Santa Fe Bridge. It says, El muro de Berlín cayó. ¿Porqué éste no? The Berlin Wall came down. Why is this one still standing? Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama, Mr. Whatever, Mr. Gorby, whatever. What are we doing, dividing ourselves so cruelly. Luis Alberto Urrea: “I have a barbed wire fence neatly bisecting my heart.”
That's why we love these old maps. A bunch of them came home from the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla. We had an amazing exhibition of them in Santa Fe. A lot on the Pimería. Look at that. No hay fronteras en este mapa. Whoops! I recycled one of my pictures here. But again, what's the resource here? Think of the cultural hybridity, the linguistic hybridity that exists in these spaces. It's just amazing. It multiplies itself every day. We need to celebrate these things as well as mourn them. I love the way the compañero did, what every musician does before the song is, Perdonen lo mal trovado de antemano. Please, we're just singing the song; don't shoot the singer. We're just the messenger. Don't shoot the messenger. There may be something that upsets you, but that can start a dialogue. OK. So when we're celebrating, we're a little bit less upset.
Does anybody have the pictures from Naco, from Naco North and Naco South, Naco, Arizona, Naco, Sonora, when they used to play those volleyball games when the fence used to be chain link? I want that picture. Please send it to me. Leave it at the museum.
This is from your collection. Here's Relámpago, winning the race. And here we are in the Treaty of Mesilla, the poor people of Mesilla. First, in 1846, an American colonel gets up and says, OK, if you don't like it, move back to Mexico. So they went across the Rio Grande del Norte, and they founded Mesilla. Then a couple years later, they came again, and another American colonel stands up on the roof and says, guess what, like it or not, you're American citizens. Again, if you don't like it, go back to Mexico. So there were a number of families that went back to Mexico twice. So don't forget the story of Mesilla at the eastern end of this thing that we call the purchase of Mesilla, the purchase of Mr. Gadsden. One of my favorite maps of Nuevo Mexico… mira, sin fronteras, I found this in wife's family bible. They're catolicos, but the presbiterianos came around regalando Biblias, giving Bibles away. And right on the page where it had when everybody was born and died, it said this:
New Mexico, our beloved and beautiful New Mexico, look at your fate. Look at your desconsuelo, look at your sorrow. The americanos are doing quite well in this beautiful and wealthy land. And your children are cast to the ground. No? For a family Bible, that’s pretty—I was amazed when I saw that. And actually everybody knows that copla or a close version of it in Nuevo Mexico.
I like this picture because it's right where the linea, where the fences, and the río, come together, ¿verdad? But again, borders separate, but they also unify. And again the image of the cicatriz, of the wound that tries to heal and then opens up again. And who's going to make this wound heal? That's our job, collectively. Gloria Anzaldúa reminds us again and again, we are the healers. That's our evolutionary role here, to make this better. “Una herida abierta, where the Third World grates against the First and bleeds.”
And again, the popular manifestations of sentiment are great. It's in the graffiti, it's in the little memorials on the fences down here in Arizona, it's the Mujeres de Juarez, the monuments to them are almost on every street corner in Juarez. This one is closer to the—again, the Santa Fe Bridge. But there's little pink crosses painted all over town.
[sings] Paso del norte / Qué lejos te vas quedando…
All of the popular music, ”Paso del Norte,” I'm coming north, I'm leaving everybody at home, my parents and my brothers and sisters are getting further and further away from me. Either they're going further up to El Paso or I'm going up to El Paso, leaving them. It's all—it’s all in the music.
Dura frontera, mire nuestro triste río. It gets all the way down to the flatlands of Gloria’s “magical valley.” I don't know what that is in the Boca Chica. Doesn't look very inviting. I wouldn't swim in the river at that point, but the palm trees are kind of nice. And we’ve got to talk about border zones. Since border theory was first articulated by the tejanos, they have a lot to say. They say this is the birthplace of border consciousness. This is the birthplace of Chicanos. And we know that's not true.
Each part of the border has its own zones. Theirs is 90 miles wide, ¿verdad? In Nuevo Mexico ours is 600 miles wide. The fact that it's only 90 for them gives our brothers and sisters, tejanos, it gives them a kind of clarity that we sometimes get fuzzied up about in New Mexico. When you're carrying around an internal border, y cada momento, pues, les hablan español, o en mexicano, ¿Qué vamos a decir? What's going on, guys? And those are all internal fronteras, and they can get fuzzier. In Tejas, boy, you can still see what the problem is very clearly.
But again, popular culture, going in… Here's Don Cacahuate. We all know about him. Is he around Arizona too? He’s all over. He's a norteado. In Mexico norteado is kind of a funny word; it means someone who's kind of mentally disturbed or confused. And so they blended together a person that's trying to get up north to better themselves. And in Nuevo Mexico, he's just a tonto, you know, Don Cacahuate. Here, maybe he's around Alamogordo, New Mexico.
His wife is Doña Cebolla. We know her well. They spend their last money in Juarez not on food to cross the desert, pero compra un bote, Don Cacahuate, and he tells Cebolla—she's not in this picture— “Llénalo con tierra de la calle de Juarez.” And she says, “Cacahuate, what are you thinking? Fill the bucket with dirt?” And he says, “Yes, yes.” And she says, “Pero tengo hambre. I'm hungry.” “Never mind, we have a use for this bucket.”
And so when the Migra catches up with them, the Migra tells him, “Señor, usted está pisando tierra americana. You're standing on American land.” And he jumps up on his bucket, and he says, “No, no, no, no, señor, estoy pisando tierra mexicana.”
So here's my student, Eric Garcia. So, victimhood versus agency. I think you'll find a lot of agency, a lot of imagination, a lot of resistance, in our populations.
And I'll end with this poem. This is a very new poem. My friend Tony Mares wrote it to be included in Arturo Aldama's new anthology on Arizona. Y perdonen lo mal trovado. You'll see how it includes all of us. There's no good guys and bad guys. There's just an arid zone inside of all of us. I'll read it for you.
And this is the end of my presentation.
Do you have any questions for Dr. Lamadrid?
Who wrote the poem?
My friend, Ernesto Antonio Mares, one of our premier poetas in New Mexico, and that poem I hope will go in the New Arizona Anthology. We’ll make a copy of it available. When I wrote it, it came out in Malpais Review about two weeks ago. It was the first poem in there and it just floored me when I read it. I mean, it's like Original Sin. All of us hate, all of us can hate, all of us have that capacity and he is not saying just black and white, he is also saying we also find the arid zone in our own barrios and nations and whatever. E. A. Mares; E. A. "Tony" Mares. So, again, creative responses to...Yeah.
There’s a couple of references you made to graffiti around the border. Is it more on the Mexico side or more on the United States side, or both?
It gets erased quicker on the United States side, of course. It kind of offends our puritan aesthetic sense a little more. But I'm just amazed the way, the one about—sí, el muro de Berlin, you know, that was put up not long after the wall went down ,and it has been there ever since and no one has had the heart to erase it, because it's so true. In the land of… the most amazing graffiti in Latino America is in Ecuador. And I was in Ecuador in ‘92, and boy, I couldn't help but just write down all of them I saw. And there were hundreds and hundreds, and they’re poetry. They have poetry in the walls in the middle of Abya Yala because the ecuatorianos think that they’re in the middle. They think that they are the umbílico people—we all do. But, they had great graffiti down there too. So, if you see anything north of the border, write it down quick [laughter] and send it to me. ¿Más? Yes.
Where would you direct me for poetry and pop music near the border?
Oh, boy! Let's see where would I direct you? Let me try something out here. You know where I would direct you is maybe right over here. You know, we have all heard Estado de Vergüenza, but those people down in Canelo, there's actually a woman there who is nuevo mexicana. Her mom is from Santa Clara Pueblo. Her husband is a photographer. And this is just right there, and it's beautiful. And again apologies, the singers always start with apologies.
|[Music video begins: Estado de Vergüenza: el corrido de Arizona, performed by Los Cenzontles]||
Este corrido canto yo con mucha pena
Por falta del valor moral y fortaleza
Arizona, estado de vergüenza,
So, download it quick because all it takes is one complaint and it's gone from YouTube. Your students know about YouTube.
[Music video continues]
Ahora gente, ¿como vamos a seguir?
Ya es tiempo de pararse con mucho orgullo
Arizona, estado de vergüenza,
So, thanks for your questions. It's the Canelo Project—Bill Steen, our neighbor down here in Canelo, wonderful photographer. So hopefully that can get some discussions going.
|Colin Deeds (UA Center for Latin American Studies)||
The UA Poetry Center has a large corrido section and lot of poetry on border issues, and they hold a corrido contest every year for high school students.
We could start in San Diego and go all the way to Brownsville, and there's hundreds and hundreds of these ballads that have history, they have popular sentiment, of course. It's the raw edge of people's thinking. You can look at corridos and learn a lot if you listen between the lines. Look up Los Cenzontles, that's the group, The Mockingbirds. It's a beautiful Nahuatl word for mockingbirds. Their website is just a headshot of them standing there, but these people from Canelo have made a wonderful translation. Yes?
Can you spell cenzontles?
Are they based in Tucson or are they from California? Califas, yeah. So, sorry to take up so much time, but, yeah.
The poetry that you recited, Anzaldúa, Gloria Anzaldúa. I'm not saying that right, and Mr. Mares, it's basically very clear how incredibly powerful poetry can be in invoking a spirit that we all want to live by. Are you aware if anybody has tried to use testimony to the legislatures of reciting poetry to try and have a little breakthrough there on the power of legislators?
No. In New Mexico, we use memorials. We have a little legislative tradition of the memorial, and we can... It gives them a break. It takes five minutes on the floor, and you can put anything in a memorial. You can put the recipe for bizcochitos. That turned into a law, actually, and now it's the state cookie. [laughter]
That's the way we do it back home, is with the memorial. But, quite often, what you see is the opposite. My friend, Demetria Martinez, is a journalist and a poet, and she was covering the sanctuary movement back in Arizona, which Arizona was a shining beacon of the sanctuary movement. So she was covering a Salvadorian woman crossing the border. It turned into a novel. It turned into some poems.
There was one of those big show trials in Albuquerque, just like there was a big old show trial/conspiracy trial here, and the people prevailed. You can't fool a jury. So, all the governments trumped up charges to put all those sanctuary people in jail and make them enemy of the state and follow nuns and priests around with little cameras and microphones, you know. It failed.
In Demetria's trial, the prosecution, the U.S. Attorney, stood up and read her poem as part of this indictment and proof against her. This is one of the great, kind of Stalinist moments in our 20th century here. When you can… you know this is art. This is not the reality. She didn't write it to convict herself; she wrote it to talk about our own amazing governor in Nuevo Mexico at the time, that declared New Mexico a sanctuary state, Tony Anaya, a man way ahead of his time. He also got rid of the death penalty and did a lot of other interesting things.
OK, gracias a todos. Let's have lunch.
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