The community’s cultural identity and survival of its artistic traditions is threatened not only by dominant US culture, where children raised in communities whose dominant languages are Spanish (in day to day life) and English (in the schools and interactions with formal organizations) need ways to access and experience traditional cultural expression and develop fluency in it. At the same time, as diverse researchers and observers have noted, it is important for adults who have little formal education and low earning power, to be recognized and respected for the rich stores of traditional cultural capital they have. For the Triqui, as for other minority cultures in the 21st century, cultural maintenance is not a luxury, it is at the same time, part of a strategy for strengthening civic engagement and intergenerational well-being.
Our distinctive clothing with unique designs, music, and language represent our connection to our ancestors. It is our way of identifying ourselves as a Triqui community and is the most valuable distinction that unites us as an individual group. Each year, our community takes part in a traditional dance festival. For our community—most of whom are farm workers— it is difficult to acquire resources to make traditional clothes and buy or repair musical instruments. However, our weaving, music, and dance come together to express and celebrate our culture and is essential to our traditional celebrations.
We nurture the continuation of the Triqui culture and provide role models for youth by supporting women weavers who know the artistic tradition of making Triqui clothing and men who are traditional musicians. This brings people living in difficult and often isolated lives together. Our experience as Triqui immigrants to California includes a great deal of hostility, suspicion, and misunderstanding. It is important for us to find ways to recognize the beauty of our culture and traditions; to come together within the context of celebration and to share them with our children.
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