The Hispanic Experience in Colorado

Over the course of two workshops in February and June of 2011, the TPS Western Region, in collaboration with  The Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library, History Colorado, and the Denver Public Library, offered a unique professional development opportunity that focused on Colorado’s rich Hispanic history. The workshops focused on the following topics:
  • Hispanic Politics in Colorado
  • Hispanic Labor in Colorado
  • Hispanic Industry in Colorado
  • Hispanic Civil Rights in Colorado
  • Hispanic Culture and Tradition in Colorado

During the February workshop, participants were first given a historical context to the workshop by Bill Convery, State Historian for the Colorado Historical Society. He talked about the Spanish involvement in the area of the United States before it was a country, up to the present day.

The workshop then moved onto Michelle Pearson and Cindy Stout’s presentation on Annotated Resource Sets, and their importance in creating lesson plans for use in the classroom.  Click here to view some of the resources from the Denver Public Library which the pair used. Some of the possible topics were:

  • Spanish Exploration and First Settlers
  • Fur Trade
  • Cowboys
  • Ranching, Farming, Homesteading
  • Mining
  • Boom and Bust
  • Railroads

A neat part of the workshop was when History Colorado introduced artifacts from their collection in the form of a “Hispanic Grandmother’s Trunk.” These were artifacts from the turn of the century collected by History Colorado.  The artifacts and trunks are intended to be used as classroom teaching materials.  View an example here. You can also view some of the objects presented at our workshop here.  These were some very cool resources!

For the June workshop, an emphasis was placed on learning to search the Library of Congress’ webpage, inquiry, and technology.  We also debuted our now ubiquitous QR code activity. It was our inaugural attempt, where we used two different maps featuring an Hispanic-influence. One, a map of the Sante Fe Route, one of the first maps depicting a surveyed map of a trail to the West. The second map, from 1888, shows the southwestern part of the United States around that time period, and the Sante Fe Route. It’s fascinating to see the difference between the two, and what locations and other things that were deemed important enough to include on the map. From the Library of Congress’ description:

“(A) map of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico showing relief by hachures, drainage, cities and towns, stations, Indian reservations, state boundaries, and the railroad network emphasizing the main line. Includes railroad names.”

We also had two special guests for this workshop. Gregorio Alcaro and Trini H. Gonzalez, the co-founders of Auraria Casa Mayan Heritage. They talked about what their organization, and how their vision

…aspires to increase community awareness of Auraria’s rich cultural heritage and the contributions that were made by the area’s early Latino population, as well as, other ethnic groups that resided and contributed to this community.

The Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library commissioned four videos in conjunction with these two workshops. These videos were produced by students from the Department of Technical Communication & Media Production at Metropolitan State College of Denver, and was directed by Professor Bob Amend. Using resources from the Library of Congress, these videos explore the topics of Hispanic contributions to the history of Colorado. They can be viewed at The Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library’s webpage.

We, along with all the participants, were very pleased with the success of these two workshops. We look forward to working with all of our collaborators again in the future to explore other important topics in Colorado history.

Additional Information:


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