The Southwest was once part of Mexico. Before that, it spent centuries under Spanish colonial rule. And Native groups have lived in the area for thousands of years before that. These roots continue to influence the Southwest’s art, music, stories, architecture, and other aspects of its culture.
To learn more, COBBLESTONE talked with Khristaan Villela. He is executive director at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The museum’s mission is to help visitors see folk art as a form of creative expression and as a way to find common bonds among people from different backgrounds. Villela also is the chair of Arts and Science for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The Department of Cultural Affairs works to preserve the state’s diverse cultural heritage.
What sets the Southwest apart from other parts of the United States when it comes to cultural influences?
The demographics of who lives in the Southwest are distinct from many parts of the United States. There are large populations of Native Americans, as well as Hispanic descendants of the Spanish colonial settlers. Plus there are people of Mexican descent who moved more recently to the Southwest.
How is the way the area sees its culture distinct from citizenship or national boundaries?
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Celebrating Our Southwest Heritage
A talk with Khristaan Villela
Neighbors North And South
Refugees from the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s head for Marfa, Texas.
A New Conflict Threatened The US And Mexico's Relationship
More than 60 years after the United States and Mexico fought their last battle over land, a new conflict threatened the two countries’ relationship.
The Final Piece
The dark green color in the map depicts the land that was the Gadsden Purchase.
Alta California Becomes A State
This 1750 map captures the Spanish belief—based on the Baja Peninsula—that California was an island.
From Tejas To Texas
The republic of Mexico—newly independent from Spain—faced some big problems in the early 1820s.
The Rise of New Spain
Within a couple of years of arriving in Mexico, Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire.
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Columbus Day has been an official U.S. holiday since 1937. But some people question the idea of celebrating Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the “New World.”
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