Mexican-American cultural center opens in Joshua Tree - Hi-Desert Star: News

Mexican-American cultural center opens in Joshua Tree

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 8:45 pm

JOSHUA TREE — Casa de Culturas, a gallery and archive of photos, videos and historic materials about regional Mexican-American history, opens this weekend with events and festivities today and Sunday.

Casa de Culturas will sponsor cultural events including lectures, sacred site day and weekend retreats, video presentations, cultural craft workshops and live performances.

The archive of materials was compiled by local historian, author and documentary producer Antonio “A.G.” Vasquez. From Redlands originally, Vasquez holds a master’s degree in history from the University of California, Riverside. He used to take his archive of historical material to various events as a mobile historical exhibit, but Vasquez has given up a portion of his home to make a permanent exhibit and provide a working space for his organization’s many projects.

This weekend’s events include a presentation of ‘Visions of Kokopelli,’ at 5 p.m. today. Vasquez, a member of the La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle, will discuss the efforts of indigenous elders to prevent the destruction of an ancient kokopelli figure and hundreds of other giant geoglyphs along the Colorado River. It will be followed around 6 p.m. by a screening of Vasquez’s short video, “Kokopelli Defenders,” part of his decade-long chronicle of the Blythe Giants.

A day of eating and dancing, “Comida Por Vida,” begins at 5 p.m. Sunday at Casa de Culturas. An Aztec dancing troup, Teocalli Tepeyollotl, will dance in traditional costume at 5:30 p.m. at Turtle Island. The meal will follow the dancing back at Casa de Culturas.

People who contribute $20 or more will receive a meal and the opportunity to meet the dancers and learn more about the art of Aztec dance.

Opening festivities will continue the following weekend with the Warriors For Mother Nature event at 5 p.m. The program includes a Joshua Tree petroglyph hike, a screening of the video “Ancient Footprints of the Colorado River” and a guest presentation by members of the La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle. Donations are encouraged and a light meal will be available for a contribution of $13 or more.

The new center is located at 7015 Sunset Road in Joshua Tree and will be open at 5 p.m. Sundays or by appointment. The center’s hours will expand later this year to include some weekday hours.

To ensure the archive’s use for future generations, Vasquez founded an organization called Inland Mexican Heritage and created a Facebook page and an information website at

For informationm call (760) 819-2196.

© 2015 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Dave Peach posted at 7:43 am on Thu, Aug 15, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    The blatantly racist and correspondingly ignorant allegations below naturally neglects historic and recent economic contributions; no less than other knuckleheads who besmirched Irish-American and Chinese-American workers who built our continental transportation systems.

    Lingering and recurring poverty induced and assured by institutional and social racism is no less overlooked by nitwits such as himself. Conversely, major benefactors of the government gravy train are most evident in townhouses and on golf courses, both nationally and regionally.

    Too big to fail and audacious enough to get away with unearned bailouts, subsidies, shelters and loopholes generally doesn't apply to any minority group.
    Most fortunately, those in the majority, particularly in congressional suites and governor mansions will soon be required to compete fairly, hence their last ditch and grave digging attempts at voter disenfranchisement and political gridlock.

    Placing certain members in a headlock while attempting to rub some sense into their numbskulls seems futile but remains enticing and uniquely deserving.

  • tony posted at 5:40 am on Thu, Aug 15, 2013.

    tony Posts: 243

    You can go view it at the WIC office, welfare office , free back pack give aways and at food 4 less too. .[scared]

  • Dave Peach posted at 9:04 am on Sun, Aug 11, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    A.G. Vasquez represents an otherwise locally deficient treasure trove of cultural and environmental information and personal accommodation, both of which were also quite politely and very tastefully assured by Dr. Lombardo's cultural and culinary enlightened brother, Don.

    Joshua Tree and the Morongo Basin has been unusually enriched by Mr. Vasquez's presence and presentations.

    Having researched and provided historical data that's routinely buried beneath piles of historic oversight and commercial opportunism, the unique insights gained by attendance (not regarding Dr. Lombardo such as was more than adequate earlier in the day) was highly educational and reassuring plus widely beneficial.

    As Casas de Culturas grows into a mansion of merit, our community will grow wiser as a direct result of Professor Vasquez's otherwise unavailable wisdom and passions.

    Madre Tierra es mas contento ahora tambien, cual esta' mas importa, gracias.


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