It is important to note that the Rio Grande Valley has more Hispanic people than any other ethnicity. Therefore, the HCPCP is conducted by diverse cultures with most of the research participants and burials being of Hispanic descent. I believe that with these same or similar cultural backgrounds, the project is easier to understand and determine valid results, for we can understand the forms of burials conducted in the area by comparing with our own lives. With that said the stakeholders are both the community and the researchers since there is a connection with the culture and society. Of course, this does not leave out other cultures that are integrated, buried nearby, who we are able to learn as well as understand, such as Hispanic culture. The end result is to record, analyze, provide and revive the cemeteries’ descendants and memorial region.

Communities in the Rio Grande Valley are mainly Hispanic but there are diverse cultures. One way we can glimpse at this is by viewing the nearby Black descent cemetery. This shows that others besides Hispanics have been living in Edinburg, Texas since the earlier days. Even so, there are mainly Hispanics buried in this region as there are more Hispanics living here in present times. The reason for this is that the Rio Grande Valley is neighbor to Mexico and the land became part of the United States after the Treaty of Guadalupe of Hidalgo in 1848. The cemetery has dates going back as far as the late 1700s. It shows that the start of burials was during the time that the land belonged to Mexico. Such acknowledgment raises the question: does this cemetery have older descendants than the other three neighboring cemeteries? As stated before, there is another cemetery nearby that has black burials whereas the other well maintained (compared to the one we are working on) Hillcrest Memorial Park and Monuments cemetery. It is interesting how the Hillcrest cemetery is so well maintained with paved roads, integrated water sprinklers, trash cans, restrooms and so on.  What happened to the HCPC? Is it much older than the Hillcrest? Is there a difference in the hierarchy? This is important to know so we can determine what communities should be more reached out to. It is like how Cheryl LaRoche and Michael Blakey’s African Burial Ground project in New York shows how the work gave a testimony of the African-American contribution and suffering in that region (LaRoche and Blakey 1997: 100). Here we might find a connection to the regions past participants of what they represented and who they were.

   Having Hispanic students conducting research with the HCPCP there is obvious cultural affiliation. It would be great if we could work with communities around us especially those who are families from the descendants. However, “all people put value on objectivity in certain contexts” and no one should be rejected or forced to use the data collected (Kanne Pyburn 2009: 163). By placing the information online, whoever wants to go and see is free to do so. I do believe that there needs to be cultural affiliation involved for the project to function. This does not mean that the leader of the project should be someone that has a decedent in the cemetery. What I mean here is that it makes it easier to have some people that know about the culture. With that, the researcher can teach the others something they know about the burial materials or forms that are difficult to see if not part of that culture. Together they learn and understand the cemetery. Cultural affiliations can as well ease tension with the community who at times dislike non-Hispanic people to research their region. Something similar to the African Burial Ground project problematic situations of questioning if white people should study black people (LaRoche and Blakey 1997: 93).  Now if we have Hispanics in the project there will be more comfortable with the communities. In all, I think working with diverse cultures is good for there are so many different views and interpretations that can work together to find the cultural significance of the cemetery.

The stakeholders for the HCPCP are the community and researchers. Both should have some control over the research to share with each other what comes out from the project. What they end up gaining is knowledge of the regions ancestors, culture, and social changes. In fact, the power dynamics of the project is to make the cemetery a better place in order to maintain the cultural importance of the living and the dead. By working together, the attention to continue maintaining the cemetery will increase, for people will become aware of this forgotten graveyard. Going back to HCPCP stakeholders, not only does the researcher need to know the community but the community needs to get to know the researchers in order to understand each other. It is how Pyburn states: “It is important to be known, as to know (Pyburn 2009:174).” In other words, by knowing each other we can place trust and respect on the region and the work that is being done.


0 thoughts on “Stakeholders

  1. This description of a stakeholder is beautifully thought out. When reading the introduction my brain immediately started turning and thinking of ways cultural diversity on a project would benefit said project. As I continued to read this post all of the thoughts that crossed my mind were said. I agree that cultural diversity is beneficial to have when working on a project because, as stated above, when various cultures work together in a location that may, or may not, be familiar to others is helpful in understanding what is found. For example, if there are two people who identify as Hispanic and they are working on the HCPCP and one is more in touch with their heritage than the other and they find a trace, whether it be an item, carving, etc., that is significant to said heritage then it could be a suggestion to add about findings while working on the project. Though, it may be best to not have any preconceived notions when finding any sort of information. However, I fully agree that working on this project with individuals that understand the culture a little more closely for the reason being that there may be instances of classifying information incorrectly because it appears one way but is common in a culture as another way (e.g. E.P.D).

  2. I hadn’t considered the thought that this cemetery contains graves that date from the time when this land belonged to Mexico. This makes me think of the many possibilities to research the various periods of social and civil unrest that the local communities have endured: people buried here have lived through the Mexican War, Mexican Revolution, American Civil War, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, etc. It would be fascinating to investigate how the lives of the community in this region was impacted, using these periods as lenses.

    I also like the idea of contrasting the information that we have gained from this project with the data from the other local cemeteries. This approach would help to highlight the disparities in the lives of the communities in real, tactile ways. There is a very obvious class distinction between the layout and maintenance of each of the cemeteries: the neglect and eventual forgetting of the black community, the shunting aside of the Hispanic community who was here first, and the economic dominance and pride of the Americans who settled the area.

    I agree the fact that we have so many students participating in this project that belong to the local community in varied ways makes this project that much more relevant to the local community. Each person involved brings a unique viewpoint to the project, and these viewpoints can only improve our understanding.

  3. Cultural Affiliation is important because it does make identifying and understanding culturally important material easier. Someone belonging to or familiar with the target culture would have an easier time with the findings and communicating with locals because they would be more comfortable with someone similar to them. Cultural Diversity is just as important because even though they may be different two cultures may have some key similarities that they relate to in some way and form a connection. I agree that Cultural Affiliation would make things some what easier because unfortunately there is a race issue in the world and Anti-people of color could create a bias but knowledge has no color and should not be a factor in Archaeology or the world in general but I’m sure we’ll get there someday

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