Our Back Story and Moving Forward . . .

The idea for Las Maestras Center (LMC) for Xicana Indigenous Thought, Art and Social Practice emerged gradually, over three decades of Celia Herrera Rodríguez’ and Cherríe Moraga’s teaching and art practice as a visual artist and writer, respectively.

It was also generated through a daily life of growing political and spiritual consciencia that aligned itself with the visionary possibilities of women of color feminism nationally and internationally.  Of key importance and inspirational to LMC’s history was the root organization, La Red Xicana Indígena, founded in 1997.

The following are excerpts from La Red’s founding documents:

As Xicanas living in the United State, we self-identity as Indigenous women with Native origins in the Southwest U.S., México, el Caribe, and Central and South América. Our name, which mean “network” in Spanish, further signifies (in English) our alliance with all Red Nations of Turtle Island.

Balas Chonas – Coming of Age Ceremony. Winnemem Wintu, July 5, 2012.

La RED recognizes Xicanas and MeXicanas to be a pueblo made up of many Indigenous nations in diaspora who through a five-hundred-year project of colonization, neocolonization and de-indianization have been forced economically from our place of origin, many ending up in the United States.  Politically, we recognize that we stand with little legal entitlement to our claim as Indigenous peoples within América; however, we come together on the belief that, with neither land base nor enrollment card — like so many urban Indians in the North, and so many displaced and undocumented migrants coming from the South –,  we have the right to “right” ourselves; that is, to attempt to put la mujer Xicana Indígena back into balance with her origins and work vigorously from that site toward the decolonization, economic independence and cultural integrity of our communities. 

For more about La Red: https://www.facebook.com/LaRedXicanaIndigena/

All these ways of thinking are integrally tied to action, where each step in one’s road clarifies the work that needs to be done on the next step.  In 2017, Las Maestras Center became ‘the next step’ when Herrera- Rodríguez and Moraga, were invited by the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, John Majewski, to hold teaching positions at UCSB (Herrera, in Chicano & Chicana Studies; and Moraga, in the Department of English. We are also indebted to the engaged advocacy of English Chair, Enda Duffy and Professor Stephanie Batiste for our positions at UCSB.)

On March 2, 2018, Las Maestras Center for Xicana Indigenous Thought, Art & Social Practice opened its door . . .

LMC Opening Celebration

Future LMC programming includes, Arts, Education and Social Activism events, including enseñanzas on Traditional healing practices from a Xicana Indígena perspective by local elders.

Beginning in July 2019, LMC  also looks forward to expanded programming to serve off-campus communities, extending our association to also include the Division of Social Sciences, under the generous Deanship of Charles Hale.