Graciela Kennally-Presslaff, Undeclared, BMC ’24

I picked this photo of a woman dressed in a traditional head garment who is performing a native dance. Indigenous and Hispanics of indigenous decent are often forgotten about in the discussion of Hispanics. Our languages are often forgotten under the guise that ‘all Hispanics speak Spanish.’ While Spanish is very sacred part of our culture, millions of Mexicans speak an Indigenous language.

My birth mother is Honduran Indigenous. Had I not been adopted; it is quite likely that my first language would not have been Spanish. In my own experiences I found that not only are Hispanic adoptees often neglected by their own for not being raised in traditional households, but indigenous Hispanics also face the same struggle for not speaking the language.

Many traditions have native roots. Día de los Muertos is no exception. I always get excited when other cultures draw back to their roots and celebrate their heritage. Seeing Mexican fabrics, traditional headdresses such as this one, braided hair, beaded earrings brought me so much happiness. For me it signifies incredible pride in one’s culture. Dance and song especially is a practice many natives, not just Hispanic natives engage in.

To me, the trip was significant not in just connecting our course and meeting Mexicans but meeting people of many different backgrounds. Hispanics are an ethnicity, not a race; thus, we are incredibly diverse. South Philly was no exception. As I spoke to some people that night, some introduced themselves as Ecuadorian, Honduran, Mexican, Colombian, and Dominican. While all cultures may not celebrate Día de los Muertos or engage in cultural practices, they were out to support the community. Everyone welcomed us in a grand celebration of our culture.