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This is La Ondaba Hita bringing you a special feature on La Chicana. This is La Quoutura Chicana. This is La Raza, a little carne littos in La Casa. A U.S. Chevrolet down to the floor. Conunos, tight skirts, spokes, and four doors. Images of the Mexican Revolution. Perhaps a Pia, a Ma, or a Bueno. Speaker language, no, they'll Anglo. This is La Quoutura Chicana. And all the assaults are the greasy burritos we'd hide in our land sex. A state worker who says he's Hispanic, Charlie, man. A single free modern Chicana, or Chicana. Being a Chicana to me means being something different. Something beautiful, for instance.
But as Chicanas, we are so fortunate to have a bilingual by cultural background. And just being part of this culture gives you a feeling of duality. But the duality you can interpret is being doubly rich for who you are and what you want. When I came to college, I thought that my family resented me for it. They thought I would get so inculturated. And so intertwined with the white society that I would reject, they would be ashamed of them. And I'm proud of myself because I've shown two of my family and the rest of the people in my neighborhood that you can get an education and still be proud of what you are.
I grew up with prejudice and bigotry. But I also grew up with this sense that I'm going to show them. And I guess maybe the most important thing in being a Chicana was the realization that it was really an honor to be a Chicana as you grow up. I like some of the things that feminist women go for. I don't really particularly take them to the extreme that most white feminist women do. Because of the fact that I really believe in helping people and I like to work alongside people, I don't like to be ahead of a man or to walk behind him. I want to work hand in hand with my people and my rest. And I think that Chicana's and Chicana's should work together for the cause so that we can go out of the land. The family has to be very important in trying to establish the goals for our young people to strive for something better. I still see this feeling of inferiority not trying to excel.
And I think that all of us that are in any kind of a position need to get out and say, hey, it's not easy. But you can do it. Why can't you do it? The world belongs to you, the future belongs to you. And don't settle for less. I do feel that I'm a feminist as well as a Chicana. And I think that that's like an extension of being a Chicana. But it also means a responsibility to be more assertive and to help other women find themselves and to not be afraid to take a risk. And I think there's a lot of people who think of me as a model for the kinds of achievement that they want to fulfill. And sometimes that makes me feel a little bit strange
that say people say, well, yes. You're somebody I'd like to model myself after and I thought, who me? But then as I look at myself, I think, oh, yeah. I'm not the average passive type of person. You know, I think I've been a long ways from being really shy and timid as a little girl to holding my own. I am a woman. I am a person. You see a veil. Unreverso with my black hair streaming down, but always covering half of my face. You say that I am your woman. Sometimes suggested. Sometimes hiding. But always weak. You say I never released that veil that hides me. And so that makes me mysterious?
That is only because you spend too much time looking at me. Not seeing me. You spend all your time writing about me, but not knowing me. A goddess in your poems you make, a flower in your dreams I am. And in your mind, you carry the thoughts of your desires. But I don't want to just live in your poems in your dreams. I want you to see me, the person. I am trying to unveil myself so that you can see me. Fully, completely. It is time you realize that I too have scars like you, but I too am strong like you. We can love each other, but we can also work together.
So don't look another way when a passion brings you down. Don't turn your back on me when you need some strength and some help. Look at me. Look at my face. The veil removed. Together we can hold up the sky. This has been a presentation of not-on-the-productions for Pacifica in Berkeley, Califas. We are here celebrating International Women's Day with several women who are artists
and community workers, all-creative women in our own right. We are Mia Kiersey Stagaberg, Beverly Sanchez, Nita Luna, Denise Chavez, Jenny Chavez Montoya, and Gay Luhan. We've been talking about the absence of role models for women, particularly women of color. Beverly, you have a poem that you'd like to read. Yes, Mary, I would like to read a poem as a matter. In fact, I've got one right here. Actually, I've been working in media for a while, and in different points I've tried to find, not really tried to find, but I've tried to see things in films, particularly, that has attracted me and taught me about women or about identity, things having to do with makeup, as Chicana, et cetera, and there are very few.
There's a very famous film called High Noon that I saw as a child and didn't think much of it, and then I saw again a couple of years ago and I wrote this poem. In the movie High Noon, there was a woman by the name of Katie Houdado, who was a supporting actress in the film, and I wrote this poem about her. Katie Houdado, everywhere we go. Katie Houdado, la mohair más verme. Got that when you raised your dark eyebrow high, your chest swelled, your shoulders dropped, your lungs filled and emptied through your nose and you said to that guy that used to be on sea hunt. I don't want anyone to put his arms around me unless I like him, too. And I don't like you, too. She was no Buddha. I mean, he kind of with pride, with brains, but most of all, una mehikana más fiidme, una mehikana kunganas. Kate never squandered. She cried inside silence. She loved, but mostly she knew,
que fuepasando. As Mr. Macho, sea hunt came to her trying to convince her of his love and dedication. She said, you have big, broad shoulders. It takes more than big, broad shoulders to make a man. And then when that gavacha Awada grace-kelling mushed and oatmealed around, doubting and dibbling, oh, but I love him. Katie said, then what are you doing here? He needs you, grab the gun and go to him before someone else does. And I shouted, hey, Katie, go, go. Because Katie did not squandered. She cried in silence. She loved, but mostly she knew que fuepasando. That was just kind of a fun observation. She was a supporting actress. To me, she was a star. There are too many films that are being made.
Where you do have someone that you can identify with. I'm not sure why she wasn't the star, but I suppose it's because she's dark and not white. But I just wanted to show that with you. I was looking through some old magazines, some old times Newsweek life and look from the 1961, 1962. And to look at those magazines, black people, Chicano's Native Americans, Asians did not exist. And I was thinking that it's probably not, it must have been a real surprise to white people that all of a sudden all of us became real angry. It must have seemed that we came out of the woodwork. We were really invisible. And then I looked at some current magazines and I found that they really haven't changed. It's interesting that you mentioned that
because the first time that I published an article embarrassingly enough now, it was in Madam as a magazine. And this was in 1970. And the way I actually got it published was when I sent in a cover letter along with the article that I wrote, and the article was entitled, Mexican American Women of the Southwest. And it was primarily to let Anglo-Saxon American know that we were live and doing well in the Southwest. But my cover letter to the editor was, I have not, I have yet to see a brown or a black face in between your magazine covers. There were just no third-world women represented at the time in that particular magazine. I think the truth is that at this time, there still aren't enough brown women, Native women, black women, that are representative in those type of magazines. But it's interesting that they eventually did publish
the article, and I think that now they are addressing, you know, more and more articles through third-world women. Well, this is not only true in articles, but in all types of art and movies and theater, when you were reading your poem Beverly, it reminded me of being in graduate school, and going up for a reading for Tennessee Williams play, and having to play the Latin Spitfire woman. You know, this sexual dynamo, this machine. And I mean, that is, I think, what we still see, all the Barbara Carrera, all of these types of sexual type actresses, they may be very lovely to look at, but the substance simply is not there. And I think we as theater people, Mita Luna and myself, are trying to, in our project, at you and Mexico, change this image of women, that women are strong, we are not to be pitied, and we are above and beyond the Madonna or the Spitfire.
Right. So we've had to basically define ourselves, and we have had to look to ourselves for creativity, for inspiration. Where are some of the ways that you have found to feed yourselves, to feed that creative self? Mia? Wow. I don't know where it's all coming from these days. It seems like we're still defining ourselves. Where women are, part of what makes us strong is that we're so grounded in what we got to do. We got to take care of everything. We get trained to that at a really good age, and we're good at it, and we do a really good job at it. And many of us who are here tonight have children, those of us that don't have children, have taken care of projects, and become good grant writers, and some of the rest of us that have children
have done those things too. Women are, get used to being capable in a lot of ways, awfully fast. Most of us also have to make money. These days you got to do it just to get the beans on the table. And what that means is that a lot of what feeds you is that you had to survive a lot of stuff. And you learned how to keep your zest and your sense of humor and your love of the beauty of life anyway, and then at certain times when you can get the slack, you go for that. And I think that right now is a golden opportunity just because we don't have models. It seems to me, like 10 or 20 years from now, we're going to have home definitions of the family and of relationships that we're just envisioning at the moment and trying out and awkward and experimental ways. But the exciting part is that what we're doing now is what people are going to have choices for later. I think what you're saying is the sort of thing that Beverly explained in her poem is that we don't have time
to squander all our time as precious from the moment we awaken to the time we go to bed and even in our dreams we're working. So we just don't have the time to squander whether we're doing artistic work, whether we're doing domestic work. I'd like to talk about why we don't have time and how you see how I don't know. I'd maybe like to direct this to meet the gale or someone who hasn't spoken. Why is it, or even you, Jay, since you brought it up? What is it that you feel when you say we don't have time to squander? I know I feel that for different reasons. I have answers to that. But I'd just like to open that up. I don't know. I don't know if it's our sense of responsibility and responsibility. Well, responsibility because we've been brought up as Mia said to take those responsibility upon ourselves. If something needs to be done, we generally don't hold back and say, well, I'm going to wait for this other person to do it. We see it as something that has to be done and we do it.
And sometimes we take too much upon ourselves. We are now beginning to go out and become artists and do all these other things. And that we've probably done in the past what we haven't gotten recognition for. But now we're expanding into other areas. We're expanding into professional areas or expanding into business areas, into professional areas. So we're not only having to juggle what I keep saying, domestic, I don't know if that's the proper term to use. You know, domestic life and our vocational life, but now a professional life too. So the time is very precious, you know, to us. And I was going to say, I think, too, that we don't find any supports in our culture, the American culture that we live in now. So we spend a lot of time at home trying to create a new culture for our families. And we can't leave that job to anybody else because then it's lost for until the next generation comes along.
So besides needing to work and put food on the table, we're also trying to create a future and that can tend to fill up somebody's day, you know, when they're trying to think about it. At least. I wholeheartedly agree with Miguel. For me, I work in culture. I consider myself a culture worker. I have a sense of urgency because we live in the greatest profile on the machine the world has ever seen. Daily and it's every second that takes by more and more the good things of the working class people, the richness of the third world people is being eroded. So for me, I hope to be able to present works that will inspire people to want to create, to turn that negative energy into any energy that is creative, especially within the children, the children or the future. Do you have a poem or some creative work that you'd like to inspire or listen to? Well, it just so happens that speaking of which.
Speaking of which, being a woman is very difficult, especially being a third world woman. We suffer the three pillars of oppression as workers, as mujeres, and then as people of color. This is a poem that I wrote to Michael Panero. It's in Spanish, it's Spanish. how it is to clean it as well. However, it provides a simple amount of obligations andwalling in the landscape.
How can the welding and making new people feat for why once occurs Nobody except everybody was there, lots of people who wrote on Pesach. At the same rate, it's undefined, poverty is fascinating! They made it just coming! Very nice, IAN! to speed up Inferno for the good point, which is super well-pising! And I'd like to clarify what you said, Jenny, is the fact that we always have been artists. Our people, all of us are artists in our hearts and in our spirits. It's just that somehow we have gotten confused, we don't realize it to maintain a home, to have a family, to work with the earth,
to be weavers or potters or whatever, santetos, anything, this is art. And I think that once our people, all of us are people, understand that living is an art, that perhaps we can move forward with some kind of determination. One of the goals of the feminist movement, if we can talk about the feminist movement as such, is that women move out of the domestic realm, as you say, Jenny, into the society at large and take on a larger variety of roles. But what I hear you saying is that the home is, as valid an area of work. Okay, well, like Nita says, you know, our children are a future and we do have to put in time, because the educational system is not going to do that for us. We all know that the public school system is in trouble right now.
They are not giving our children any character building courses. We have to teach our children ethics. We have to teach our children morals. We have to make our children aware what's happening in other parts of the world, in the third world. These things are not being taught to our children. We've had problems just teaching Southwest history here in New Mexico. We don't have the courses. They do not put Southwest history into perspective. And so we ourselves have got to teach our own children, our own history, and this takes up a lot of time. This takes up time for every parent, for every cultural worker, as Nita says. We have, that's our responsibility. And that takes up part of a large part portion of my time for my future. I also think, Jenny, that we out of necessity, out of understanding that we have to teach the children because they are the future, have moved into the realm of politics. The closing down of the schools, Reaganomics, if you will, are forcing the people more and more
into making the government responsible for its actions, be it El Salvador, when they take away the money from our schools, from our social programs, to feed it to the military. So more and more, I think that in the 80s, that women will see their roles not only in the home, but will be forced to go to the streets, if you will. Okay, definitely. Come on. Not as soon as you know. Okay, I understand that if changes cannot be made, if changes cannot be made politically, okay, as we do it in a nonviolent fashion, that inevitably this country will eventually have to have some type of, you know, a violent outbreak, okay. And what's going to happen is if we ourselves, you know, as leaders don't begin to produce these new alternatives, we're going to be a point in frustration not only in, you know, in our educational levels, our children are going to suffer from it,
if we ourselves don't begin to create a new culture. And when I speak of culture, I'm basically speaking of, you know, the ethics of this country, where is this country taking us? And I, you know, I'm saying if we're going to be good at Americans, then we have to, you know, look at the ethics of this country. And this country being a world power, we have a large responsibility to our children. So how do we do that and not get, how do we be vanguard of technology and environment and have all these relationships going on that are sympathetic and supportive and encouraging and make change? And put some beans on the table at the same time. Okay, Dana, he's a good girl. Join in there. We're doing it. We're doing it. We're doing the family past the bloodlines. I think it's one way. How do you mean? I mean, the extended family is such a wonderful entity and it's becoming a passing fancy.
If you live in the city, it's very difficult to have your family close to you. So you create other, you create other things to replace it. And that's friends, that's neighbors, that's organizations, that's churches. You treat people just as you treat people, you're working with just as if they were your blood and depend on each other even more. I mean, I think that we don't have much time. I think that what's happening in Latin America is happening also in Mexico. And, well, it's happening right here in our own backyard, a yellow thunder camp, for example, where there's a war being waged against the native peoples. I think that to just to expound on your point, that that can be done in the concrete, more community involvement, what a handful. I work with Casa Armejo. And now we're in the midst of trying to build food cooperatives or cooperatives where people will actually work the land, where people can be fed.
There is no need for hunger. There is no need for hunger at all. Okay, I agree with that. I came essentially from a farming family and what I've seen in my own family is that the land hasn't been utilized because we've been sucked into this idea of getting wages of eight to five jobs. You have to have an eight to five job or you're not a legitimate person in the society. And it would be nice if our people would become independent again by an independent by utilizing the land that they do have and whether it's in a communal situation such as Casa Armejo or our cooperative situation rather, or in just individual lands that we now hold and hopefully won't lose in the future. We are getting down to the nitty-gritty and what we have to do is we do have to start producing for ourselves. And the best way to break down the capital of the situation that we're in now
where things are being taken away from us and taken away because we're consumers. If we would stop being consumers, then the system would eventually have to come to a halt if we could create our own product, create our own food, begin to create things for ourselves and not consume so much of the outside things, then I think we could get free of a lot of those situations of being unemployed, eight to five situations that we don't wanna be in and start learning to be more creative. And being more independent, this would give us more freedom to spend more time with our children and give us more freedom to spend time with our cooperatives. And it's a hard thing to do. I know that in my own situation right now, I'm one of those unemployeds, but I'm not squandering my time. I'm trying to utilize my time by being more creative, teaching my child to do things on our own and his own. And hopefully producing a livelihood for myself
by not worrying so much that I'm unemployed and not breaking in the big bugs. So why are we surviving? We have to make a distinction between having money and having resources, is that what you're saying? Exactly, exactly. That reality of being producers, I think is a very scary one. I think it's really easy for us to want to do more than what we're doing. I think it's real difficult or another thing completely to get out of that eight to five reality where somebody else is responsible for our livelihood to where we make our own. I certainly don't know how to do it. OK, it is a difficult thing. And like I said, I guess the one step to take is to stop consuming. And by consuming, I'm saying large items, like we don't need colored TV's.
We don't need monstrous freezers for the food. We can learn to utilize other ways of preserving food and using freezers. Being a consumer is a tricky thing. And the more you get away from it, the freer you become. And it's difficult, I know, because a lot of us are single parents. And that's what I think that the media has a lot to do with this, the whole fabric of the society that creates this desperate need in us, them and us. I want more and more, let's consume, let's take in. And anybody that is removed from this, them and us situation becomes the outsider. We're seeing this incredible breakdown of the extended family. We see the immigration hysteria now. But this isn't not only in the country. It's in Haiti and South America. It's all over the world.
We're creating boundaries between people. We're putting distinctions of them. And then we're not realizing that really we are a family. We are. And we need to work together and band together to create a world in which we want to live in. I like to share something practical about time. I have to have my wife very organized, because I have a job in Santa Fe and Sunday doing an oral history project with old people one day and Tuesday. I'm a type setter for 10 hours one day and 14, 15 the next. And the rest of the week, I take care of three kids and try to write a novel. So I have this little recipe box that is just for me, this is my own toy. And I have little pictures of Norway because my background is Norwegian-American and other things that I really like on it. And it's divided into sections like current projects, my closest friends, and what we did last time what we're probably going to do next time. I can tell you from that box what's the last thing
I crocheted when was the last time I made a painting when was the last time I submitted writing for publication. Basically everything that I got to do that got to make room for is somewhere in there. And I kind of keep rotating it. This circle image is really always powerful for me. And it never stops, it just keeps rotating. And basically I can keep things together and have fun doing it with that box. Well, is your box a journal or how does it operate? No, it's just, it's got file cards in it. It's a recipe box, except I think it's replaced my old recipe box actually. I think a lot of this time I used to spend on making you put it, everybody had to have to be happy. I woke up one day and said, you know what you guys? I'm not here to make you happy. You're here to make you happy. So from now on, here's the three basics and you know, you start figuring it out. I had to, I mean, I just had one kid too many all of a sudden I go, ah, I've got to put it together.
I've got to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. So I started writing my novel at that moment. That was another point I was going to make is that women are incredibly resourceful. And this is true of all the sisters I know. When the crunch comes down, you can count as to take hold of it from the top of the mountain and figure out what to do. That seems to be this discussion. When it's learning time management techniques is what it is. And you know, like I was saying, we can't squander time. We don't, it's not that we don't have the time. It's just we have to learn how to utilize it. And we have to sit priorities for ourselves. And so it's just learning time management. And sometimes, you know, we have to sit ourselves up as first priority because otherwise we're not going to get anything done for ourselves. And that's a really tough thing to do when you do have children and you do have other familiar responsibilities. And when you have responsibilities to the community, you know, but there are going to be times we've got to sit time for your own particular project, you know, even though, you know, maybe writing may seem
like a really selfish thing to people, you know, because you're often a corner by yourself. But what you're doing is it's all politically, it's all political, it's all the, it's all what we're going to be doing for others too. Well, this is why I agree with Beva in that for me, I have a very busy schedule and three children. If it weren't for my friends, for my Campanetos, my sisters, my brothers, there is no way in the world that I could produce. I'm very fortunate to have brothers and sisters Campanetos, who understand that the work that I do is not done for myself, but that it is in the name of freedom. So I encourage everybody to adopt an extended family as soon as possible. I think there are many women out there, though, who don't have those kinds of support systems, who are feeling, who are maybe you're listening to this while they're ironing or washing dishes and wishing they were someplace else. Like here, maybe. And I'm sure it must seem like an incredible luxury
to have lots of people who will help you do what you need to do. It is, for believe me, I also get hit up too. I have taken 15 kids to the park. Yeah, no, but it has to be a cooperative effort. About that, if you bear with me, I'd like to read a poem about that I wrote. About the struggle that takes place between sisters that are not necessarily blood sisters. I have, for some reason, had a very natural love affair with women who weren't my sisters, and I've always cared a lot for women. It could be because I don't know my mother and her sisters or whatever, but there's always been a lot of conflict too, but we've always gone through that. And I'd like to dedicate this to women who are struggling together and with men. The name of it is called the Meme Fanon Phenomena.
The Meme Fanon Phenomena is framed in seconds of glittered decadence. Its motion is stuck on the gold paint, peeling from its plastic termite rot. The fear is so clear that it takes 10 miles of energy combanera to breathe the freedom to go on. I am proud of you, my Chicana sister, who has disowned me today and who I disowned yesterday, because it makes me know that we can make mistakes, comearada, combanera, meeta, meeta, meeta, that is the greatest leap. No esa, the hardest stroke, no comada, at the beginning, at the end, in the middle, and all the way in between. Just that it's a hard thing to create what we're wanting to do and that we can't get burned out. I mean, I think that we make mistakes,
thoughts, and lots of, at least I ran over and over again. So the thing is to learn from our mistakes and to have the freedom to be able to give each other constructive criticism that is to grow, to help you grow, not to cut you down. That's what the media teaches us today, is to put everybody down, it teaches us to be selfish and to think of me, no matter who, but when we use, if we can use criticism in a constructive way to help each other grow, then the people will be stronger. Good, I have a group of friends who last summer had a slumber party, group of women friends, and we sat up, we were all adult women, and we sat up all night and exchanged things as well as ideas, until early, early in the morning, and it was such fun and it was so rewarding and enriching. And I really encourage other women who perhaps are feeling trapped or who are not feeling trapped
to reach out to other women and begin to create the kind of community that makes international women's day more than just a one day kind of celebration. So on that note, let me thank you all for your involvement and your participation, and we'll go back to the studios with Maria Ruiz and Maria Dumont. Good night. Take it away. All right.
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Exploration of being a Chicana, including confronting racism and being a Chicana feminist.
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Chicago: “La Chicana,” 1982-06-18, KUNM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “La Chicana.” 1982-06-18. KUNM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: La Chicana. Boston, MA: KUNM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from