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BorderLore, January 2016 
This winter, we snuggle under a warm protective cloak of culture   
Well-worn blankets and wraps -- these are beautiful examples of everyday life that elevate and preserve our being while keeping us cozy.

It's the same with culture, which drapes across our shoulders protectively these months. The fibers of culture seem to blend diverse function, artistry and tradition into its warm weave. From prayer shawls and baby swaddles, to marriage comforters and death shrouds -- blankets are timeless emblems central to tradition, just as culture is central to our humanity.

This Borderlore edition blankets us with the familiar old coat of its assorted folklife:

Jo Farb Hernández, museum curator and director of Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments (SPACES), talks about accessible archiving of local art environments, and underscores the importance of these collections to community place-making, here. 

Grave markers preserve and express the character of communities in which they rest. Jim Griffith explores the decorative and human details of ethnicity and occupation in grave marker folk art, in this first of a BorderLore series, here.

New media technologies create new thinking and processes in the collection and preservation of our stories. Dr. Jamie A. Lee of the UA School of Information explains, here.  

The National Historic Preservation Act is 50 years old in 2016. As we celebrate the impact of this act, Betty Villegas looks at a new organization focused on authenticity when evaluating historic places, here.

SFA Master Sensei Mari Suzuyuki Kaneta updates us on preparations for February's Arizona Matsuri, and comments on how the mentor-apprentice experience is preserving classical Japanese dance tradition, here.

Plants and herbs help the body preserve its ability to heal. Tucson Herb Store's Amanda Brown comments on the body-nature connection...and gives an example of a preserved bundle from nature's bounty that offers winter well being, here.
  • Registration for the SFA's 2016 Ethnographic Field School is now open. Learn details about this experience in cultural documentation (in Southwestern Borderlands including Ajo, AZ the Tohono O'odham reservation as well as Sonoyta and Puerto Peñasco, Mexico), here.

  • The January roundup of additional news and resources, is here.
End Notes... 
As culture protects, it tells many stories. Its complex strands are like the detailed patterns of a traditional Native American trade blanket that wraps us all in comfort and holds together the fabric of our communities.

"...As the light from the fire illuminated the moving bodies and blankets, the swirling shapes, lines, patterns and colors sprang to life. I no longer saw blankets, but rather the familiar designs of the holy people coming to life from the sand paintings....i saw moving clouds, glowing sunsets, vari-coloured streaks of light, rainbow goddesses, sacred mountains, horned toads and images like desert mirages - all dancing before my eyes..."

Shared cartoon & cultural meme: "Happiness is a warm blanket, Charlie Brown..."

© 2011 Peanuts Worldwide LLC (image source here

© 2016, 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.