Gov. Jay Inslee announced today the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation is receiving a $34, 374 grant from the National Park Service to identify places of Latino historic and cultural significance in the Yakima Valley. The grant is one of thirteen the National Park Service awarded nationwide to increase the number of historic sites on the National Register of Historic Places for underrepresented communities.
“One of Washington’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its people. Washington’s Latinos are a fundamental part of our identity,” Inslee said. “This grant is an important opportunity for Washington to recognize the significance of the Latino community to the evolution and development of our great state.”
Analysis of the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s Historic Property Inventory indicates that only 37 properties have been identified as primarily associated with ethnic heritage. The Latino Heritage Youth Summit convened in Yakima County in 2012 served as a reminder to preservationists that Washington state has a rich heritage associated with Latino settlement. The grant will be used to locate and recognize nationally significant places associated with the Latino story in the Yakima Valley.
Because past historic preservation efforts have focused on properties derived from European settlement in the nation. national and state register listings are largely comprised of the homes, institutions, and businesses of Euro-American cultures. Often overlooked are cultural and historic resources associated with groups that are under-represented in the nation’s historic narrative including African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American cultures.
"The State of Washington is poised to acknowledge the important historical legacy of Latinos,” said Dr. Erasmo Gamboa, Associate Professor of Chicano Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies at the University of Washington. “Knowing that the Latino experience predates the official start of our state and continues to the present day, this is a most welcomed and exciting opportunity to preserve this part of our state’s heritage. This grant also gives the state the chance to interpret and relate the history of the contributions of migrant agricultural workers to the success of early Latino entrepreneurs, and more, with a larger public in Washington,"
The National Register is an honorary list of our nation’s most significant historic properties and poses no regulatory burden on property owners. The project will start in early winter and run for a period of one year.