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. http://www.jstor.org.ezhost.utrgv.edu:2048/stable/25616551