VFest: Borderlands/Fronteras
TRADITIONAL ARTS/
ARTE TRADICIONAL


PICTURE STUDY

Judging from the photographs here, where might you look for murals along the border? What other examples of art do you see in the Photo Gallery? Where are these found?

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Traditional art comes in different forms. Some are visual: murals, lowrider cars, shrines to La Virgin de Guadalupe. Some are verbal: songs and stories.

Corridos are songs which singer Carmen Moreno describes as "living history lessons."
Whenever anything really unusual happens people write songs about them. Horse races, people getting struck by lightning, all the strange and unusual events. When you are way out there in South Texas, you write a ballad about it. --Enrique Lamadrid, Albuquerque, NM
? Do you know any corridos, or "living history lessons"? Can you think of other songs that describe events that have happened in your lifetime? Could a corrido be written about some of the historical events described in the poster?

Benito Peralta comes from the Pai Pai Indian community in Baja California. At the Festival of American Folklife, he told the following story about his community:
Many years ago there was a monster that we called Jakultat. He ate the Native Americans and the animals who lived in Santa Catarina. There was a young Indian who wanted to kill the monster. Neighbors warned him that the monster was dangerous, but the Indian was stubborn and thought he was a good marksman. He found the monster lying on the top of a rock. He pulled out his arrows. He heated the head of an arrow until it became bright red. He put the arrow head in the arrow and got ready to pull it. He aimed directly at the monster. He got him right in the ribs, and the animal fell. Then the little boy ran away. He ran very fast. As he ran, he turned and saw a flame. The flame went north, then west, then east and south. We call that flame the tongue of the animal.

The young boy had a hat made out of reed palm and some sandals made of rope or yucca. He threw these into the fire. The flame wrapped itself around his hat and shoes, but the boy kept running. He wanted to tell his neighbors that he had wounded the animal, but he left before he found out whether Jakultat had died. We don't know if the animal died or whether he just left, but this is where the town of Santa Catarina is located

At the Festival, Everardo Garduņo, a scholar who has worked with Benito for many years, explained that many think this story refers to the first colonizers who almost killed all native peoples of the region with the use of firearms. In 1884, indigenous peoples rebelled against the colonizers, and the colonizers were expelled. The Indians continued living as Indians, but without their traditional hat, sandals, and quiver, just as the boy threw his to Jakultat's hungry fire.
? Do you consider Benito's story to be a "living history lesson"? What lessons do you learn from the story? Think of a time when you confronted a force more powerful than yourself. What happened? Did the experience change you, and/or your beliefs? Did you retain certain parts of yourself?


RELATED "LIVING HISTORY LESSONS" ON VFEST
Hawaiian mele chant
Ewi poem for African naming ceremony

OTHER TRADITIONAL ART ON VFEST
Hawaiian music and lei making and hula


ARTE TRADICIONAL


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13 March 1996