About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back From the Great Northern Frontier

Secret History fell silent for a few weeks while I attended to some family business and recreation in the north. Issues of Latin America were never far, however.

I spent some time chatting with a cousin who works with Latino students in the heart of spud country about the ridiculousness of Idaho's English only position as well as the excellent performance of her Mexican-American students. As Idaho children increasingly take their two week "spud picking" break from school to go on trips to Disney Land and (yes) Cabo, Mexicans have filled in the gaps - and have kept rural Idaho from depopulating as its children flee for more cosmopolitan climes.

I see that West Yellowstone has increasingly become a seasonal place of work for African American and Latino workers and less and less High School and College Students of the Montana / Idaho white middle class. Given ten years I think we will see Montana following the pattern of Colorado and South Dakota and teen farm labor will be replaced by Latino farm labor. A short visit to the Blackfoot rez will bear that out, where hip-hop Pikuni teens with names like Garcia and Gomez participate in drum circles and other cultural celebrations.

As it has always been, the hope of the population of the US west relies on cheap labor. From the time the hydraulic drill was introduced into hard-rock mining to today, the US West is a colonial endeavor in need of labor to fuel the extractive profit of its existence - be it the extraction of minerals and ag products or the inexpensive service of tourist industries.