Things That Matter

These 7 Historical Latino Sites Across The U.S. Need To Be Protected Now

Given the amount of traveling Americans do around the country, it’s quite obvious that the U.S. is filled with incredible natural and historical beauty.

From the historic Alamo in Texas to New York’s Ellis Island, the U.S. is blessed with hundreds of interesting sites where one can learn more about the nation’s history. But the country has a rich Latino history that is often left out of the discussion and a new report points to at least seven important Latino historical sites that should be protected immediately.

A new report details at least seven historical Latino sites in the U.S. that should be protected right now.

The National Park System and the Department of the Interior manage hundreds of historical sites across the country. But according to a new report only a fraction of those places represent minorities, including women, Native Americans, and Latinos.

“Less than eight percent of national historic landmarks represent the stories of women, Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other underrepresented groups,” according to Shanna Edberg, director of conservation at the Hispanic Access Foundation.

The group’s report details how places that highlight Latino heritage and history are disproportionately “excluded” in the designation of conversation sites. Many of the sites it picked are threatened because of their deterioration or by gentrification, the group said in their report.

“Even though for generations Latinos have continued to prove they are essential to the United States, sites that commemorate Latino heritage are disproportionately excluded when it comes to officially designated heritage and conservation sites,” Manuel Galaviz, the report’s co-author and an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement.

So which historical sites should get protection according to the report?

Castner Range: El Paso, Texas

The Castner Range is considered part of the ancestral lands of the Comanche and Apache tribes. However, their lands became a testing ground used by the military during several different wars. Latino preservationists say it continues to be considered sacred by Native and Indigenous communities, and includes historical and cultural artifacts and geological and environmental resources.

Gila River: New Mexico & Arizona

The Gila River system stretches 600 miles from New Mexico to Arizona and includes the Gila Wilderness area in New Mexico. The river system was a resource for the Mogollon civilization for more than 1,000 years, as well as for the Chiricahua band of Apaches and later Spanish colonists.

Friendship Park: California-Mexico Border

The binational park sits partly in Southern California and partly in Tijuana, Mexico. Former first lady Patricia Nixon inaugurated the park, saying, “May there never be a fence between these two great nations so that people can extend a hand in friendship.”

Fefa’s Market: Providence, Rhode Island

Fefa’s is the first Dominican-owned bodega on Broad Street in Providence; it was opened in the mid-1960s by Josefina Rosario, known as Doña Fefa. She helped the growing number of families from the Dominican Republic who moved to Rhode Island and made it one of the largest Dominican communities in the United States.

Duranguito: El Paso, TX

The historic neighborhood is the oldest in the city. It’s a binational and multiethnic community.  One of the reasons the traditional neighborhood is at risk is because of the interest of developers who want to build an arena in the area.

Chepa’s Park: Santa Ana, CA

Located in the Logan Barrio, in Santa Ana — California’s oldest Mexican American neighborhood — the park is named for Josephina “Chepa” Andrade, who led the opposition to freeway construction through the neighborhood that is now facing gentrification.

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