ABOUT SFA                        BECOME A MEMBER                            CONTACT  

BorderLore, October/November 2015 
Recollection -- The universal significance of memory

Recent All Souls commemorations have inspired us to journey back through the landscapes of our memories. What do we remember? What do we choose to forget? This is a time to reorient ourselves to the people, times and places now passed... and to revive what is kept in the shadows of our souls. 

Our reflections on the past often are shaped by culture. We listen to the rich and vivid imagery of an Elder's oral tradition -- and we gain perspective to often conflicting historical narratives. We see how memories connect one generation to the next, just as they carry forward the meaning of cultural rituals or symbolic objects. We recognize that memory is a cultural transmitter of advice and entertainment. We allow our recollections to help us affirm identity, honor an ancestor, or respect another's story.   

This BorderLore edition pulls from the everyday life of our region and synthesizes several references to culture and memory:

Robin Reineke of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights Project speaks to the power of forensic anthropology in preserving the memory of migrants missing in the borderlands, here

The Primavera Foundation annually helps us honor the indigent and unknown buried in Pima County Cemetery. Learn more here.

Dr. Stephanie Sanchez of the University of New Mexico explores food as it relates to commemoration and cultural practice, here.

Filmmaker Leslie Ann Epperson discusses how her Many Bones One Heart film gives creative voice to community memory and ritual, here.

SFA Master Potter Ron Carlos answers questions about gourd rattles in his Native American community, and recalls memories of his own first rattle, here.

  • Become a member of the Southwest Folklife Alliance and learn more here.
  • Additional news and resources are found here.

End Notes... 
Precious are the memories and symbolic objects that allow us to pass along important lessons from our past. Memories are not paths of escape: They are guardians of what speaks to us...and about us. As we think back and "remember when," may culture allow memory to be a bond of belonging, and fuel for our futures.

November is National Alzheimer Awareness Month. 
"Our memory, which we possess as beings equipped with a human mind, exists only in constant interaction not only with other human memories but also with things, outward symbols.... Things do not have a memory of their own, but they may remind us, may trigger our memory, because they carry memories which we have invested into them..."

 Communicative and Cultural Memory,
Cultural Memories Studies Handbook (2008), page 111
Jan Assmann (Johann Christoph Assmann)
German Egyptologist and Theorist
© 2015, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the monthly e-news magazine of Southwest Folklife Alliance. The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people's viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona. 
Managing Editor:   Monica Surfaro-Spigelman 

Thank you for reading this newsletter. We welcome your feedback, commentary and any suggestions or ideas. Write to us at:  swfolklife@gmail.com

Previous issues of BorderLore Newsletter are archived  here and here.