February 10, 2012
100 years of mexican-american influence
By Ben Grc
ombre, Takaa, Man.These words inSpanish, Yaqui andEnglish are examplesof the three languages spoken inthe Town of Guadalupe, a com-munity in which two distinctcultures, Yaquis and Mexicanare living together under simi-lar shades of brown and next toeach other in houses built by oneanother.If one didn't know any bet-ter, visitors could easily mistakethe residents of Guadalupe forbeing all Mexican or all Yaqui.In fact, outsiders pass-ing by on I-10, which walls inGuadalupe on its west side,probably would not know thata distinct community – a townwith its own government andunique history and customsand language - exists just yardsaway from their vehicle. Tempesqueezes up against Guadalupeon its east side, reducing it to akind of enclave inside the vastPhoenix metropolitan area.While the different cultureshave their own story to tell,there is one thing the people ofGuadalupe all share. It is whatmakes the town so special and isby far the most important thingshared by its 6,000 residents (inwhich the population split ofYaquis and Mexicans is believedto be just about 50/50 accordingto the Guadalupe Town ManagerBill Hernandez): a sense of com-munity and togetherness.Gabriel Alvarez, Town Mayorfrom 1981-83 described it bestwhen he said that Guadalupe islike a Mayberry. He was refer-ring to the small fictional townthat was the setting for theAndy Griffith television show,and to the likelihood that if onehouse burnt down, there’d befive neighbors in line ready tolend a hand in the rebuilding ofthe house.Examples of this include awhole “Self Help” subdivision.This subdivision, locatedin the southeastern part ofGuadalupe, was built by thefamilies that occupy the housesnow. Everyone would chip in anddo their part in the constructionof one house for a family andwhen that house was finishedthey would move on to the next.Families helping families is aquality communities all aroundArizona are losing due to thepopularity of suburban housingdevelopments in which fami-lies come and soon leave, whichmeans that families never estab-lish roots.Just like everything else,change has affected Guadalupebut the one thing that remains aconstant after all these years isthe people working together forthe better of their cultures andfuture generations.
Comng o amerc
Yaquis originally comefrom the area around the YaquiRiver in Sonora, Mexico.Leah Glaser, an ArizonaState University graduate stu-dent who in 1996 wrote her the-sis on the town of Guadalupe,describes why Yaquis left theirhomeland in Sonora for what isnow Guadalupe. The Mexicangovernment wanted the irri-gated and fertile land belong-ing to the Yaquis.The Yaquis had fought fortheir land in that area sincethe 17th century when theyfirst encountered Europeans.By the 18th century, the resis-tance had turned into all outwarfare with the Mexican gov-ernment.Alvarez, in about as seri-ous manner possible, said thatMexican dictator Porfirio Diazwas, for Yaquis, equivalentto Libya's oppressive leaderMuammar Gaddafi and Egypt'sHosni Mubarak.Yaquis fought Diaz butnever won the battle. Aftermuch blood was shed, Diaz“instituted an indiscriminatepersecution and deportationprogram against all Yaquis.Hundreds were deported tothe Yucatan region of southernMexico to be used for slavelabor, while others escaped tothe United States.”Those who fled to the UnitedStates did so as refugees, whichWebsters Dictionary defined as“someone who flees a foreigncountry or power to escapedanger or persecution.”While in the United States,the Yaquis began workingalongside Mexicans as cheaplabor, and helped with thebuilding of new railroads andin the dangerous mines.Unlike many other Indiantribes, Yaquis had the repu-tation of being good workerswhich helped them to findjobs.The original settlementof the Yaquis, in the metroPhoenix area, which is locat-ed just a few miles north ofGuadalupe, was named OurLady of Guadalupe. Due to itssmall size and economic value,the Yaquis relocated to what isknown as La Cuarenta or mod-ern day Guadalupe.Glaser reported that in May,1910, a widow named MarianHiggins offered to donate the40 acres of land which is nowpresent day Guadalupe.This land, located betweenTempe and Phoenix, has beenthe place were both Yaquisand Mexicans have lived inter-twined since 1910.
For the Yaquis, life hasalways been a struggle to keeptheir ways and culture fromchanging. Some of them feltthat if Guadalupe - which bynow had had a strong founda-tion of Yaquis occupying theterritory for 50 plus years -was to incorporate and becomea town, they would lose manyof their traditions.They also didn’t feel com-fortable with change andthe old school or traditional-ist mentality saw any type ofchange as bad for the peopleand bad for traditions.Alvarez, who was not oneof these people, said “we sawwhat was happening to otherbarrios in Phoenix: for exam-ple the barrios on 16th streetand Buckeye were uprootedbecause of the airport.” Alongwith many others, he felt thatin order to protect their cul-ture and traditions, an incorpo-ration was necessary.Alvarez credits an “out-sider” by the name of LardoGarcia for setting up meetingsin Guadalupe to inform thepeople of what was coming.Garcia who was head of theGuadalupe Organization (G.O.was a social agency organi-zation that along with manyother great things helped peo-ple get the first G.E.D for aGuadalupe resident) put thethought of incorporation in
Guadalupe, a town like noother in Arizona
The Guadalupe municipal building.
CouRTESy oF GuADALuPE CITy HALL.