A group that advocates for environmental issues affecting Latinos is recommending a more inclusive approach in the designation of heritage and conservation sites, including two in Texas.
According to a new report from the Hispanic Access Foundation, sites tied to Latino history and culture are underrepresented on the list of historic places.
Dr. Manuel Galaviz, assistant professor of anthropology at Cal State Fullerton and the report’s co-author, said El Paso’s 7,000-acre Castner Range, known for its annual Poppies Festival, and the historic Duranguito neighborhood have been identified as deserving of more recognition.
“The Duranguito is a neighborhood that is also one of the oldest neighborhoods in the El Paso/Juarez area,” Galaviz explained. “It’s one of those communities that is important to the history of the United States/Mexican border in the Southwest.”
Galaviz noted although the Antiquities Act has been in place for more than 100 years, less than 8% of sites on the National Register are associated with minoritized populations.
The study, called “Place, Story and Culture,” identifies a total of seven sites it said deserve more recognition and protection.
Shanna Edberg, director of conservation programs for the Hispanic Access Foundation, said historic places shouldn’t just be tied to government leaders or celebrities, but should celebrate the struggles and victories of everyday people.
“We want to increase the range of stories that are told,” Edberg urged. “And these are places that are treasured by communities that should be protected for generations to come.”
Edberg added many of the urban sites identified in the report, including Duranguito, face threats from weathering of structures to development and gentrification that jeopardize the long-term future of the location.
In addition to the sites in Texas, there are three identified in California, one in Rhode Island, and the Gila River in New Mexico.
Author: Roz Brown – Public News Service
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