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Michelle Griego explores the Denver Chicano Movement in

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Michelle Griego explores the Denver Chicano Movement in

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Michelle Griego explores the Denver Chicano Movement in “The Border Crossed Us”


Michelle Griego explores the Denver Chicano Movement in “The Border Crossed Us”

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Long before Colorado was Colorado, Indigenous tribes lived on the land, then Spanish settlers arrived. The Mexican War of Independence fought in the early 1800’s meant they became Mexican citizens. Then came the Mexican-American War which lead to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico gave 55% of its territory to the United States to end the war. 

That meant the border moved south, crossing those families and landowners who had lived in the area for generations.

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CBS News Colorado’s Michelle Griego explores the rich Chicano history in Colorado Friday at 6:30 p.m. as she goes more in depth with her special report, “The Border Crossed Us.”

CBS


 “There were families and people living in these communities and they essentially told them, you can become a United States citizen or you can go to Mexico,” explained Lucha Martínez de Luna, a Chicano historian at History Colorado.

“Of course, a lot of these families had been living there for hundreds of years already so they stayed.”

But they faced hardships and displacements, especially when the U.S. Senate reneged on a promise in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that said they would keep their land.

To add to the problem, all legal documents were in English with no interpreters provided when landowners tried to go to court.

Fast forward more than 100 years, Chicanos found themselves fighting to regain their culture and have equality at work and at school, especially in the 1960s.

“Discrimination became more prevalent,” Antonio Esquibel, a Chicano educator, pointed out. “There were signs that we had in restaurants that said no Mexicans allowed so people were starting to say ‘Well hey, why are we putting up with all of this crap?'”

A Chicana led the protests for better conditions at the Kitiyama Carnation Farm. Students walked out of West High School protesting a teacher and with a list of demands that included being taught about their own history. A Catholic priest fought to save a Latino neighborhood after the 1965 flood.

Through it all, activists used the phrase “The border crossed us” as a rallying cry.

“For me, Chicano is a way to embrace my Indigenous roots to this hemisphere,” explained Rudy Gonzales, a Chicano activist. “That we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

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