The stakeholders in the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project is the Hidalgo County and the community itself. The project assists the county by collecting data for records that were lost or damaged. We are also being able to make the information collected accessible for the community to obtain.

We need to understand that there have been instances where communities have felt archaeologists have disrespected their history or culture by conducting their research. That is why it is necessary to communicate with the community and hear them out. A bonus is that us students working on the project are from this community, and we care for our community and their concerns. Like what most archaeologists do is excavate, and we are not doing this at all. We are simply collecting data from what we can see on head stones, and so forth. Advanced equipment also assists us by mapping graves. I can understand from an outsiders view who has no idea what we are doing out in the cemetery and assume wrongly. That is why we welcome those to question our project, so we can introduce it and that way the community can help us as well. This semester we were able to identify a few unmarked graves because their family members questioned us and assisted us in that way.

Some might think we do not care as much for the graves just because we do not know these people. As being a part of the community I like to think we share similar beliefs, and I found that me and my classmates respected each grave as they were family. We find ourselves caring for those who are buried. We are saddened to see those who lived short lives, and are touched when we see children’s toys placed at the graves. We are not just “workers” or simply just students trying to do what we are told. We want to be a part of this, and are passionate about what we are trying to do for the community while learning for ourselves through hands on experience. Even though everyone involved benefits, I believe the families of the deceased benefit the most. Those who have not been able to locate their loved ones will be able to access this information easily and be reunited.


As far as the HCPC goes I believe the stakeholders of the cemetery are all the members of the surrounding community itself. This cemetery is the final resting place of local and traveling people that all have a story to tell that reveal the history of the RGV at one point. The people buried at HCPC likely came from a lower social status and their families had no choice but to bury their loved ones in this public cemetery. Unfortunately at this point it is difficult to connect lost relatives but as the project progresses hopefully we can accomplish this goal. Many graves have been damaged due to no maintenance of the grounds for decades, again indicating the possible low social status of the individuals.

The RGV is a unique place to live. Here we mostly feel a shared identity and uncovering our history is something the community should actively invest in. Having this project and engaging with the community educates the public about archaeology and the importance of preserving historical features and landmarks. It has also shown the community that archaeological projects don’t just happen in far off places like Egypt and that they too can get involved. Hopefully with more publicity and education the community will continue to have an interest in the project and assist with histories of those buried at the cemetery.

Communities, Stakeholders,

The fact that the meaning of community can change, or rather what it represents, demonstrates the importance of differences within a certain “community”. I would like to point out the picture used for the blog, and the sign that is being held. It says, “Black ancestors matter”. It is relevant because in this context, one would assume that all ancestors matter. So I believe it’s important to also be aware of the shared meanings of what community stands for.

The people in public archaeology are those that our work may both benefit and affect. In this case, it would be the region around which we are doing current work on. The Hidalgo county public cemetery and its family, friends, whom this project can reach. The cemetery shares its grounds with different communities, yet perhaps all from the Hidalgo county area. Which has a high community of Hispanics, as you will find many common last names at the section of the grave site where our service learning takes place.  As a local Hispanic myself, death and life are celebrated and appreciated greatly. Although I can share a common belief with the rest of the community, not everyone may have the same belief or understanding of our engagement with this project. With that being said, we must take into account the communities changing conceptions and work for the general good of the people. Identifying the community and its shared ideals may come easy, but I can see how some issues may arise within the same community of people who may think a little differently.

Helping others find loved ones or disturbing the peace? That’s a question I wondered from the beginning but there are so many great benefits for ourselves as students and the community who we collaborate with. So who are we doing this work for? Well, for us but also for the county that has many burials of family so close to home in need of restoration. It may also be safe to say that the students, the county’s cemetery and the families are the stakeholders.  I have attended for the Spring 2018 and have not heard or seen any complaints but rather received great interests. I can agree that even though we are working together, it is crucial to understand and respect the community around us. It’s easier for me to say and understand since I have lived here my whole life, but for others who do not share the same community in the RGV, the term is still integrated into other groups with their own shared interests.

If I were an outsider looking in, I would prefer that people get to know what our community stands for without making assumptions and understanding any differences. I speak predominantly on the side of the cemetery we are marking, knowing that others may be neglected but also being aware that the boundary we are crossing, if any, is in that of our own. That is the people we should be working with in a respectable manner that benefits the project and the rest of the community. Another great part of the RGV, is that we also have diverse communities that all share this one cemetery. They can all visit family in their own way.

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Communities And Stakeholders

The main Stakeholder in the HCPCP (Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project) would be the government, in this case it would be the local government. Daniel Flores of the Hidalgo County Maintenance Department has reached out to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to formerly conduct this extensive project. The County is also providing water bottles and air conditioned restrooms powered by gas generators. DR. Sara Rowe is the main conductor of the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project. Dr. Rowe is the pioneer stakeholder for public archaeology in the Rio Grande Valley, which will shed light to community to the field of public archaeology in South Texas.

Initially in the Rio Grande Valley the communities that existed where Mexicans, later in the late 1700’s and 1800’s there was a flush of European settlers originating from France, Sweden, Germany, and Ireland, that bought a lot of land in the Rio Grande Valley, those families bought land and lived of the fat of the land by raising cattle and livestock, as well as growing maize, citrus and other various production crops as the Rio Grande Valley soil is fertile and the zone is subtropical that enables for almost any type of flora to flourish. However now in the modern days of the Valley in my opinion the Valley population that is the biggest community is Hispanics, Mexican Americans, and Mexicans, that probably make up 90% to 95% of the population in the Rio Grande Valley. Communities that include in the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery itself varies, I personally have seen a headstone with Swedish writing, however the majority of the of the individuals buried are Mexican, Mexican American, or Hispanic, because almost all of the epitaph’s are written in Spanish, instead of R.IP. there is E.N.D. (En Pas Descanse). Without a doubt WE are part of the communities that we are working with because, we live in the valley , we attend the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, furthermore in working with the HCPC we make ourselves a part of the community no matter what language one speaks or the color of skin one wears.

I do believe that we as archaeologist should not carry out investigations without studying or researching cultural affiliations, it is the community after all that we are doing the work for and it would be rude and disrespectful to exclude cultural affiliations, because it may be that within some communities there may be more than one culture present, and all cultures should be taken into account. If we choose to focus our attention on only certain communities obviously we are neglecting those that we are not studying, we should have a wide range of understanding, although at times it may not be possible to study every culture due to time constraints. However archaeologist should try their best to include as much cultures into their field of work as possible, especially the cultures that are slowly deteriorating. The power dynamics that could exist for those communities that are involved in the cemetery is the power of autonomy.



In the HCPCP, the stakeholders are everyone that lives in this community. This includes those surviving family members of the people buried there as well as those of us who live here but aren’t connected specifically to the cemetery. We (each of us students) are absolutely part of this community, some of us more overtly than others, but we all live and work in this community. The definition of this community I have in mind when I write this has certainly evolved and expanded beyond what is traditionally thought of as community (like neighborhoods or people of a certain culture) due to the advances of modern technology and the local integration of cultures and neighborhoods driven by UTRGV. So when I say this community, I am speaking very broadly of all those who live and work in the local community of Edinburg as well as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, because we share a common regional identity.


I think we all benefit from positive publicity and research outcomes, and we all look bad when it turns out that our community treated its poorest member’s dead with neglect. Hidalgo County is certainly not the only county to have neglected its “pauper” cemetery; bringing light to this example and showing how we can use research to start to repay for the neglect over the years is a great way to encourage other communities to do the same to their own neglected pauper cemeteries. Additionally, if it turns out that the county wants to change the way it handles this cemetery and invests in new procedures or archiving methods, we will pay for that with our tax money, as well as benefit from improved recordkeeping at the County offices. Further, asking the hard questions about how a community treats its poorest member’s dead loved ones makes us all consider our own mortality, and confront our own inner conflicts about death and what it means.


In this situation, the families of the dead in HCPCP would benefit greatly from our investigations, because they are able to see tangible benefits like the addition of historical and physical context to the graves. Without our foreign perspective, this project would not have happened. And if we held back on this investigation because of our cultural separation, then we would be doing actual harm to those family members, by not applying our knowledge and resources to preserving the heritage that they cannot preserve for themselves. Every day we wait, these graves fall further into disrepair, and lose more of their data. We have a duty to do what we can to help, because we have the skills and resources to do so. We know that we are outsiders to the community of people buried in the cemetery, but in a way, we are the descendants of the people who decided to treat the poor differently, and we are currently benefitting from the decisions made by those who were in charge of Hidalgo County in the past by taking advantage of the public services paid for by them. So, we are related. And we should work to do what we can to right the past wrongs.



As anthropologist work with different communities, they become a part of them. Sometimes it is communities they are born into, or work with over years. It can benefit anthropologists because they can get to know about how the communities are, not just to the public but to each other. I have been on the outside of the valley community and still am, I have only been for a year and a half. The valley has many people from many vibrant cultures, which blend together beautifully. By being on the border you see many people from all over the world. Some of them, like me, may not have any connection to the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery. People who are involved in the project are mostly individuals, who family has lived here, who have an interest in the history of the people of the valley, or those who would like to use it for future data and research.

One of the stakeholders for the HCPCP is The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the anthropology class led by Dr. Sara Rowe. Another stakeholder would be Hildago County officials, who gave our class permission to do work at the Pauper Cemetery site. The class also uses indirect stakeholders, by the family’s that visit the cemetery and give the class background on their family members. Many of the funeral homes, and hospitals that can give us information on who was buried there are also stakeholders.

Community Stakeholders in Public Archeology

The public is the general public that is to say the people that are not professionally working but volunteer. They have an interest in the public archaeology or the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project. As students, we are not part of the public but set apart. We are doing this work for several people those in the county, cemetery, community, families and for the deceased themselves.
Changing our conceptions or that of others on what a community is will change not only those that we work with but also the people that we are identifying. From what I understood some of the people were visiting and happen to die here which led them to be buried in the cemetery. Usually they would not be considered part of the community but now that they are dead and are buried among the people that were connected to the community the relationship changes. We as students may be considered outsiders as we do not have family members in the Hidalgo Pauper Cemetery however we are working for the community making us part of it if only for a moment. The are other communities that could get involved such as those that do the same type of work (recording the information on the graves) or those that have done similar work. On the other side, there could be others from the side of the families who could partake in the project.
The stakeholders for the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project is anyone that become involved like Hidalgo County, the cemetery workers, the University and its staff and students, the families of the dead and those that decide to join and contribute to the project.
There are several communities in the Valley and taking into consideration that defining what a community is can be somewhat obscure. There are several organizations within the community that specialized in helping promote awareness of topics such as these. There are also multiple people that are involved and are part of multiple communities as they intersect with various others.
The communities that include the cemetery and the individuals as members depends on which perspective one is looking from, if the person is including the HCPCP then the number of communities involved increases.
We are a part of the UTRGV community, part of the student community, although we may not be part of the other communities such as the general public or county related people.
The cemetery has a lot of history behind it but I would not be sure if there would be a need of cultural affiliation. What I mean by that is that is the cemetery has a lot of cultural influences that are plain as day but there are also a lot of thigs to consider when applying a cultural affiliation because we do not just want to assume and make a misinterpretation however is there is culture affiliation we show respect that. Culture is important and burial is usually always a big part of it which means that graves just as important.
There may be certain communities that we are forgetting or neglecting although this is not done with intentional purpose. There are communities that we are not aware of and taking into account that we are not part of all these communities involved there is a limit on the information and background we can accrue in order to involve more communities. Although the other communities that are already involved in the project may be able to close the gap and offer a clearer picture
There are several power dynamics involved that have gained interest in the cemetery like the county and the university who are the ones that made it possible to create the project in the first place.

Stakeholders and Communities in HCPCP

Within our project there are two groups of stakeholders us and the those who are interested within the community. We as students have dedicated time and effort to the HCPCP , during both class time and individual research . We students are invested in the project but not due to personal reasons unlike those on the community . People with in the community are interested in our project for various reasons comes to connections to the community and with each other in the Rio Grande Valley . Many people here can trace their ancestry back to the firsincluding helping find loved ones and deciphering family histories or even researchers that are  interested in the history of the Rio Grande Valley. There are several different communities that exist with the RGV including religious groups , family groups , and ethic groups . Family is a very important definer when it t RGV families that came from Mexico , it is not uncommon for one to consider themselves related to over half of a school in some places. If one person is not is not connected by family religion and ethic background are next. There are also sub communities like what school you graduated from or those who are veterans. The communities that are involved with the cemetery  are the people of hidalgo county  , specifically those of Mexican -American descendant due to the fact that the majority of people who are in the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery or of this ethnicity . I do believe that many people with in our project can claim to be part of the community we wish to work with some more than others . I am part of hidalgo county and am of Mexican American descent , but have no personal stake in the project outside of academics , but another student has told me that she and her family hope to find a relative that is buried with in the cemetery , so she more apart of the community than I am.
Ideally we should be of the cultural affiliation of those we are conducting research on but in case where that is not possible we must remember to be aware of the cultural practices and beliefs of the community and be sure to respect them when ever possible. And to not draw conclusions about the what was found with out background research from the community unlike the African Burial Ground Project “The potential for stereotype, sterile and  denigrating interpretations of the site ….became increasingly apparent to the African American community”(La Roche , pg 88).
If we choose to work exclusively with the Mexican American community of hidalgo county we are excluding all the other ethnic groups , because while the majority of those who are buried with in the cemetery are those of the Mexican American communities there are those who of different ethicizes as well who have just as much right to be involved. Focusing too much on the family can also hurt our project by us neglecting those who have no familial ties but wish to be involved anyway like community leaders and researchers. Possible power dynamics that can arise  include between and within us  students and the different community groups .We as student wish to focus on research gathering and data collection while those of the community may wish to locating specific graves for family members. There is also the issue that we have in across of community members not wanting us to conduct our research or not understanding exactly what we are doing. A women cam by too clean a family members grave because she though we would bulldozing any forgotten graves. We must be respectful of the wishes of the community while also pursuing our research  , and to also keep the community informed and deny any rumors of destruction of the cemetery while explaining exactly what we are doing.


La Roche, Cheryl J. and Michael L. Blakey (1997) Seizing Intellectual Power: The Dialogue at the New York African Burial Ground. Historical Archaeology 31(3):84-106.

Communities and Stakeholders

There are several communities in the Rio Grande Valley, such as the rich, the poor, the ones who go church, the ones who don’t, and so on. These communities are different in nature, but they so often overlap and intertwine that they can be viewed as one. As a whole the Valley can recognize the differences that there are between us, however people fail to sometimes remember that the communities here are fluid in their interpretations of one another. That being said there is a very noticeable group that is buried in the HCPCP. The group that is buried there most certainly belong to a group that either has/had less financial means than most all the other groups that live here in the Rio Grande Valley or people who may have simply had no identification on them and thus needed to be buried as a John or Jane Doe. In both these cases the HCPCP was the most affordable place for these communities to bury the dead.

Through out this project it has been very clear that the people buried in the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery are not only deceased but they are also still a part of the living community. Because everyone has experienced or will experience the loss of a loved one, the way that we interacted with community of the dead was in a way that allowed for us to feel as though we were getting to learn about a new friend’s house. Therefore it is evident that even though they are no longer living, they still affect the lives of those that live/lived around them. That being said I believe that it was highly beneficial to the project to have people who live in the surrounding area of the cemetery working on the project. This is because as people who live in the same area that the deceased once did, will understand the culture of the area better than an outsider. However, there are some drawbacks to this, for instance because not everyone working on the project lives in or has lived in the same community as the deceased or even as each other. So, then it may be better that we do not allow our own cultural views to influence how we see the people buried in the cemetery.

As stated earlier there are several communities here in the Valley, but not all of them are in the cemetery. So, when we look to talk to the family members of the deceased we are only really including one community in the project, and we are thus neglecting all of the other communities who may have or hold an interest in the project. For instance, if we choose to only really notify and talk with the loved ones of the deceased and choose not talk to Hidalgo County about the progress of the project, then we would loose some of the freedom that we get now. However, this in turn may cause problems with the deceased’s loved ones and may cause them to disagree with the county’s decision.

Stakeholders of the HCPCP

This blog post is based upon the readings on stakeholders in Public Archaeology. I make references to Anna S. Agbe-Davies’s Inside/Outside, Upside/Down: Including Archaeologists in Communities and Cheryl J La Roche and Michael L. Blakey’s Seizing Intellectual Power: The Dialogue at the New York African Burial Ground.

Our project is called the Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project and i firmly believe the stakeholders of this entity are the Hidalgo County and the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley because the institution, specifically Dr.Rowe, proposed this project in not only to educate students who seek work in the field of archaeology but to also promote change and contribute to the community here at Edinburg.

The Valley occupies the vast amount of South Texas that is home to over 1.5 million people with the majority having a Mexican-American background. The predominance of Hispanic culture is expressed through all areas of exposure but what still appears to lack is history. As infrastructure multiplies and revenue steadily increases through new business, our history in the Rio Grande Valley is still somewhat patchy or misinterpreted. Much of this history includes important figures who contributed to this growth and expansion of the Valley who are very well our ancestors. To some extent, i can relate to La Roche and Blakey on the matter of community engagement being a necessity to conduct research because of authentic representation. It is important for not only the owners of this cemetery for also the communities that are linked to these graves and the location, in general. Communities such as Mexican-Americans and possibly low-income  fall into the groups in which we must involve ourselves with in exposing these changes for re-identifying and data collection.

I personally believe it is essential that we as conductors and members of this project affiliate ourselves with the families and the city we are working with. As mentioned in the McGhee article from the prior week’s readings, he mentions that the purpose of this project should not be labeled under research project but as a community organizing and/or development. Like that of the CHAPS program, this Hidalgo County Pauper Cemetery Project is to represent the one’s who have been forgotten through neglect of maintenance and the socioeconomic struggles that led for these individuals to be buried in the conditions that they were.

The conditions of most of the graves found at the Pauper field indicate low-income that result in alternative materials used to build markers for these graves as well as inscriptions because headstones could have been a luxury; and to be frank, still are. So it is imperative that we keep in mind the many roles we play in order to achieve the success for this project such as community engagement, local historic reformation, a solid relationship with the groundskeeper who have allowed us to conduct research on land, and actively speaking on the topics and issues that surround this project through media and publication.

As far as power dynamic within the communities we have been and will be working with under HCPCP, it may not be known exclusively that any community and/or relative to a passed one located on the cemetery can play a huge part in data collecting and verifying documentation in site. This is why it is crucial that we spread the construction of this project within communities in the city as well as on campus at University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley to recruit others who can provide quality information.

The existence alone of this project having to due with re-identifying and representing past history respectively under the provision of the county shows that there is a purpose in this work to really create a positive narrative for the Valley.