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BorderLore, May 2016 
Diverse vessels of culture reveal our folklife

They're everywhere, guiding an everyday flow that gives what's ordinary a context. They're essential companions, a trellis of natural agents that moves with us through life, transforming or keeping sustained processes in creative balance. 

We need our instruments. Whether they are raw materials, stories, foods or crafted objects - they highlight remarkable cultural details that are critical to life. Like a book's table of contents, BorderLore this month reflects on several common denominators that are instruments of our region's cultures: 
Pen, Paper, Book -- BorderLore interviews author and Border Book Festival founder Denise Chávez, who comments on the power of words to influence community and culture, here.

Roadside Cross -- In the fifth of a BorderLore series, Jim Griffith addresses the ADOT's recent unpublicized program of removing roadside death memorials, here.

Saguaro, Cholla, Native Wood -- The carved figurines by Domingo and Chepa Franco reflect everyday narratives of Tohono O'odham life. Research and recollections by family of the folk artists are collected here.

Guitar -- Music is a channel of community and a vehicle of hope: Classical Flamenco guitarist Ismael Barajas speaks about music as an instrument of memory, here.

Honey and Bee Keeper Tradition -- Independent bee keeper Mona Chambers reflects on bee-keeper and honey-making traditions, here.
Holocaust Education Center -- History is not forgotten, thanks to Southern Arizona storytelling. The stories of Holocaust survivors also are connectors to contemporary human rights, noted here.
  • BorderLore's roundup of news and additional resources is here.
End Notes... 
The auspiciousness of culture forever speaks through its instruments. We'll find these instruments whenever our hearts turn to edges of life that we must attend to. And that's when we remember that we, too, are instruments, carrying culture forward, if we choose.
Watch a recording that illustrates how images become a most powerful cultural instrument:
"Ethnography is about the messiness of human lives...because of the ethnographer's unique position as participant-observer, the ethnographer becomes the research instrument...."
"It is cultural transmission -- the ability to pass knowledge on from one individual to another even across generations -- that makes us unique among animals. Human communication may constitute such a powerful instrument that it overrides statistics..."
© 2016, Southwest Folklife Alliance. All rights reserved. BorderLore is the 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
Contributing Writer: Kimi Eisele 

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.