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.