One of the great things about living in Southeastern New Mexico is the diversity of its people.
Our region is steeped in both Hispanic and Native American cultures, but through the years we have seen an increase in other culture sets as well. In this regional issue of Focus Magazine we wanted to pay homage to our ancestors and the people who have helped stitch together the fabric of this great state.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the term cultural universals — things like language and music, art and dance and cooking, marriage and gender roles —aspects of life that are present within all cultures known to exist. Experts say that cultural universals aim to organize a human population and provide a stable and secure environment in which the community can flourish. Many of these cultural universals are what have helped immigrants to this country stay connected with their roots while adapting to life in a new country. Helen Mariscal, whose story you can find on page 12, walks us through some interesting aspects of the Hispanic culture as it relates to their food; and Curtis Michaels delves further into the Hispanic culture, and even touches on the Irish immigrants that came seeking Catholic friendly lands in the American Southwest. You can read his piece on page 32.
A tribute to the cultures of our area would not be complete without including the first people to inhabit our lands, the Native Americans. Gunnar Burden takes us inside the Roswell Museum and Art Center to explore the collection of American Indian and Old West clothing, art, taxidermy, and weapons donated by Rogers and Mary Ellen Aston. It is a fascinating look at the several tribes native to New Mexico, such as the Apache, Chiricahua, and Gallina, and the parts of their history that have been preserved thanks to the great efforts taken by the Aston family. Gunnar’s story can be found on page 35. And you won’t want to miss the interesting piece renowned author John LeMay contributed on page 28 about the origins of our state’s name, and a new revolution of sorts that he says is afoot based on the communications history of the Aztlan region via the web-based language learning platform YakYapp: AZTLAN.
Some other cultures you can read about in this issue of include the ranching families that made Lea County what it is today by Jim Harris (story on page 19), and the history of Italian immigrants to the Carlsbad area that went on to lead
successful lives in the farming and retail sectors.
As always, I’d like to thank you for your loyalty to our publication and encourage you to continue supporting us by supporting our advertisers. We would not be able to do what we do without the businesses and organizations that advertise on these pages! And if you haven’t done so yet, please follow us on social media, where you can find links to previous issues of our magazines, follow-up stories, an events calendar, and so much more! Until next time!
(Staci is the Associate Publisher of Focus Magazines and Editorial Director of Focus on Artesia)
Jim Harris is the director of the Lea County Museum in Lovington and the Best Little Museum in the West. He taught literature and writing classes in colleges and universities in Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico for 31 years, has authored several books, has been published in newspapers and magazines, and currently writes two different columns each week for local newspapers.
Curtis Michaels is a freelance writer and a third generation Roswellite. He loves to tell people’s stories.
John LeMay is the author of over a dozen books, many of them on the history of New Mexico and the Southwest. He currently serves as President of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico.
Gunnar Burden is a self made writer from Roswell, New Mexico. In between writing stints he enjoys playing drums and martial arts.
Sherrie Bratcher is a recently retired teacher from Artesia Public Schools. She loves to spend time with her family, as well as write, paint, do crafts, and go to the movies. She is originally from Sulphur Springs, Texas.