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El Museo Cultural


A museum, cultural center, performance space and gallery located in a former liquor warehouse on the Santa Fe Railyard. El Museo is entering their 26th year of working to preserve, protect, and promote Northern New Mexican generational culture and traditions.


From the executive director Maria G. Martinez:


El Museo was founded on the premise of a need to lend Voice to the Local Generational Peoples, those whose ancestral line is that of Aboriginal, ab origine, from the Beginning, First Peoples and Iberian, present day Portuguese, Spanish, Catalán, French and North African, Moroccan reference into the Mediterranean fringe.


In the 1800s when the United States Army took possession of these lands via el Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, claiming more than half of the territory of the previous México, imposing on the Peoples from building material (I.E. no adobe use, merely factory brick from the East), to language, name change, cuisine, attire, politic, religion, etc., the Local Generational way was interrupted. Even with the State Proclamation of 1912 acceptance of a dual language application, Spanish and English, the law would be omitted, ignored then neglected that, the People in an endeavor to survive alongside the dictates of the group that overtook this eventual termed state, would begin to lose their Story.


We are invited to consider that the Spanish here in that interim was a combination of what was highlighted in the period of El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha, by Miguel de Cerbantes, (written as Cervantes by his editor) 1605 and 1615 and Aboriginal words, yet applicable to this day. As we were forgotten by el Padre España, the world for centuries, began and ended here. With the adaptation of Peoples and structure, there was no need of any other participation. Willingly or not, there was a becoming of a new People, from the ab origine to the Genízaro, el Español to the direct result of that history parenthesis which we are today. Our Language, too, became otro Español más, one more Spanish.


The application of Hispanic for Hispano, is a word from antiquity that is said to have been coined by the Romans when speaking to the Iberian Peninsula as variations of Hispania. The origin of the term is said to be unknown although disciplines from research each have demonstrated alleged roots, from Hebrew to Greek, Latin to the eventual Roman, etc., many with geographic translation of distance and topography.


It has not been simple to compartmentalize us as our ethnic history is not known or understood by those foreign to our Story and is too, a matter of discussion, limited by colonization, hierarchy and an urged ignorance. Indio, the term used by those expecting the Indies in this area and applying the word to Aboriginal Peoples here was not a category sanctioned for us as we had been divided from ourselves. The Indio was one group and the Spanish lineage person was another. Those applying the box for each have not realized that many of us are one and the same.


The first steps, haciendo pinino of our El Museo history as the Voice of a Peoples would include every aspect of expression from Language comprised of poetry, song, music, traditional, contemporary and religious, biography, theater, dance, sculpture, painting and drawing, etc. agriculture comprehending yerbas, milpa, acequia, etc., the Voice of our Story in our both interior and exterior ambience.


Northern New Mexico and Albuquerque South would be 2 states with the division determined both by geography and occupation. The North remained in syllable “Españoles”, and the South with its proximity to México affiliated to a higher measure as “Mexicano”. In the 1960s and 70s the People, speaking within the ethnic parameter, continued to state “Semos Mexicanos”. To the outsider, “Semos Españoles”. The hierarchy ever present, decided the membresí­a. From Indio and Español to Genízaro then Chicano and Raza to the present Hispanic, some of the identifiers are self selected and others are simply applied by those out of the ethnic context.


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