Journey Through Our Heritage participates in many off-campus events each year to connect Colorado’s communities to Auraria campus. Our yearly events consist of Day of the Dead, Literacy for All, Aurora Fox, Corn Mothers, Voices of the Valley, and La Alma Jaguar Camp. Each event has taken part in many different regions of Colorado starting from Denver all the way to San Luis Valley, and Breckenridge.
The Journey Through Our Heritage program, part of the Chicana/o Studies Department at Metro State University of Denver (MSU) is pleased to sponsor, Return of the Corn Mothers, a traveling photographic oral history exhibition of women from the Southwest who embody the spirit of community.
The nationally recognized exhibit has traveled extensively to universities and museums throughout Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming over the past ten years. The exhibition is based on the Pueblo myth of the Corn Mother, representing growth, life, creativity and feminine aspects of the world. Todd Pierson, master photojournalist, has trekked for a decade capturing the images and stories of women that have made significant contributions in their communities.
The show received a Rocky Mountain Women's Institute Fellowship in 2007 and began in the spring of 2008. Master photographer Todd Pierson has continued to add new women to the show since its inception. From there, the show has been the featured exhibition at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in the fall of 2008, and in May of 2009 was presented by the Chicano Humanities Arts Council (CHAC) as the featured exhibition in honor of its 30-year anniversary.
The ten-member team behind the Return of the Corn Mothers received the prestigious Colorado Humanities Fellowship in 2009 for the program "A Celebration of Wise Women of the Southwest," which was presented in conjunction with the Colorado Folk Arts Council and Metro State (then called Metropolitan State College). A one-day symposium was held on the Metro State campus, featuring multi-cultural women of all ages who have made significant cultural and social contributions to their Southwestern communities as traditional or folk artists, storytellers, and healers, and in other cultural roles.
The Return of the Corn Mothers photo exhibition’s tour went to the Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology in the fall of 2010. The next stop was at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico from May through July of 2012. On September 20, 2012 the exhibition came home to Colorado to be housed at the MSU Center for Visual Art. A two-month series of workshops and lectures took place, culminating in a grand fiesta event for the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). In April 2013, the exhibition was housed at Pima Community college in Tucson as part of a month-long literacy project. The 2016 Journey of the Corn Mothers exhibition was housed at Alamosa State University’s Hatfield Art Gallery, the San Luis Valley Museum in Alamosa, and at Metropolitan Sate University of Denver. In the Spring of 2017 the show was part of the El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo Colorado), Salt Creek exhibition.
LITERACY FOR ALL
Journey Through Our Heritage of Metro State University have been putting on the Literacy for All event for 4 years and counting. Literacy for All is a program which encourages reading through the introduction of stories and linguistic skills. About 1000 people attend the event.
Literacy helps impoverished children have a better chance for a future. Just by being able to read and comprehend information can help improve their grades and have better agency in society because all we do is read, write and speak across different cultures. If you learn how to read and write early on, you are up about 3-4 years on your classmates who started reading in school. By the age of 2, children who are ready to regularly display greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive skills than their peers. Children growing up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. The sad truth is that the vast majority of children who start behind, stay behind, leading to an increase in our nation’s dropouts rate among low-income and minority students.
Literacy for All event helps increase literacy by introducing new books, and new genres of literature such as Chicano and Spanish. We invite each year students from all three schools of the Auraria campus. The books are in the style of Chicken Soup for the soul, with recipes at the end for people to try. We had guest speakers talk about writing, editing, poetry, and other aspects of writing.
VOICE OF THE VALLEY
A four-day annual conference focusing on the cultural heritage and natural resources of the San Luis Valley. Why they are relevant and how to preserve them for generations to come.
A valuable partnership between MSU Denver, Adam State University, the San Luis Valley Museum, and the San Luis Valley community.
An important opportunity t
An opportunity to hear Maurice Jourdane speak about his experiences combating the oppression of farm workers’ rights.o engage with organizations, students and community members from southern Colorado.
We endeavor to gain an understanding of social, economic and geo-political issues of one of the world’s highest deserts and to help MSU student body understand how the issues of the Valley are interconnected to the issues of Metro Denver and what can be done to help.