This article first published by National Park Service
Manassa, CO (August 20, 2019) – Three National Heritage Areas in three Western states released a documentary that explores the historical and cultural connections between their areas. “Hello Neighbor” premiered during Pioneer Days in Manassa, Colorado, a town whose history embodies the story of the San Luis Valley as a multicultural crossroads along the Old Spanish Trail.
“Hello Neighbor” is the latest episode of Discovery Road, a long-running documentary series produced by James Nelson for the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area in Utah. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area in Colorado and Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area in New Mexico both collaborated on this project as well--making it the first time three National Heritage Areas (NHAs) have worked together on such a production. If the response to the premiere screening in Manassa is any indication, the collaboration was a success: more than 350 people placed orders for DVD copies, according to Monte Bona, Executive Director of Mormon Pioneer NHA.
The 30-minute film features interviews with residents of the San Luis Valley and touches on many aspects of the area’s history. That includes the remarkable sequence of events that ties together the history of three NHAs involved: an encounter in New Mexico that led a Hispanic resident of Colorado to aid Mormon settlers from Utah when they arrived in the San Luis Valley in the 1870s. “Hello Neighbor” also addresses the racial, linguistic, and religious conflicts that arose between various cultures in the valley, as well as the longstanding battle of water. Ultimately, the documentary shows that when the peoples of the San Luis Valley have overcome their cultural differences to foster a spirit of cooperation and natural resource conservation, their communities have been able not only to survive, but to flourish.
“Hello Neighbor” and more than 30 other episodes of Discovery Road are broadcast regularly on UEN-TV in Utah or can be freely streamed online.
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