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Bi-National Indigenous Expo/Encuentro

Multi-Faced Expressions of Indigenous Cultures from Both Mexicos


Silver City – Western New Mexico University’s (WNMU’s) Division of External Affairs is organizing an event for the public and campus community focused on Indigenous art, music, culture, storytelling on both sides of the border. The groundbreaking event recognizes the critical historical and current role of Indigenous cultures and communities that define the borderlands region where WNMU and Grant County are located, and the contributions to our identity, art, music, storytelling and more.

The event is the conception of Dr. Magdaleno Manzanarez, Vice President for External Affairs, and renowned scholar and researcher of migration and human mobility across the region spanning Mexico and the United States. Together with key team members, notably Brenda Diaz (WNMU International Coordinator) and Marivel Medel (Program Manager, Title V) the event assembles members of the Chiricahua Apache, esteemed Indigenous scholars, Indigenous actors, podcasters, artists, musicians, and more. It is an event for families and people of all ages.

“We tend to think of our national borders as borders of culture, art, language, and people. But that narrative misses the fact that Indigenous cultures and people have been migrating across thousands of miles on our joined continents for thousands of years,” explains Dr. Manzanarez. “Our goal with this Expo – generously supported by New Mexico Senator Siah Correa Hemphill – is to expose people to this reality, and to offer our Indigenous and diverse youth the opportunity to connect to an authentic identity that is theirs, anchored in art, music, dance, storytelling, and discourse. We see this event as underscoring a critical reality that has been buried in the din of politics and nationalism and has marginalized entire generations and communities. We want to change that.”


The event features Dr. Hugo Morales, a Mixtec Indian from Oaxaca, Mexico who at the age of nine immigrated to California with his family. On May 25 this year, Dr. Morales was conferred an honorary doctorate by Harvard University as “...co-founder and executive director of Radio Bilingüe, in recognition and celebration of his lifelong achievements.”

Assistant Professor Melissa Teller of WNMU’s Gallup campus will offer a workshop that connects North and South America culturally and historically. Well-known actor Gary Farmer will discuss his experiences as an Indigenous Hollywood talent, and

Andi Murphi, host of “Toasted Sister” podcast will offer a podcasting and storytelling workshop focused on Indigenous foods.

The event features Danza Azteca Naucuatli, a modern mystic folk/Indigenous dance tradition from Mexico based on the culture of the Indigenous Mexicas.

Featured artist Porfirio Gutierrez has his grounding in Zapotec traditional knowledge manifests in his textiles, reinterpreting the traditional weaving language, subverting and re-imagining the symbols and forms, morphing his textile designs toward the fractal forms and spaces of architecture and the movement he sees in cities and urban environments.