San Luis Valley Museum-Alamosa
Many years ago, when I started working at the San Luis Valley Museum, I read a lot about the history of the Valley. I learned about the Spanish History from one of the Board Members, Dolores Chavez. As I read I asked many questions of her. She shared with me all of the many changes the Valley has gone through citing history and her own life.
I read about the Spanish Inquisition, explorers in the New World, the cities of gold and Onante’s travels north from Mexico City to New Mexico. He led families north to find new homes in a new land with promises for a new future. What a massive undertaking!
A gentleman stopped at the Museum and shared with me his knowledge of the Onante events. He said that the Mass of Thanksgiving took place August 19th, 1598 or 23 years before the Pilgrims. It made me want to learn more because I realized that the “First” Thanksgiving was NOT with the Pilgrims but with the Spanish. The Spanish had been exploring the Americas for years. Without their exploration and the stories going back to Europe, Europe would have probably never gotten involved in the “New World”. (Side note: St. Augustine, Fl is the oldest city in the US, around 1547, settled by Spain.)
My desire to have and celebrate the “First Thanksgiving” is to share history, not lost but overlooked. None of us can afford to diminish or set aside history of another group especially when it affects all of us. Our beginnings in the Americas are not the pilgrims, or the trappers or Jamestown. It is part of the history of Spain. They chronicled the Native Americans, the lands from the eastern seaboard to California. Understanding their history is like filling in several holes in our own European history. It is past time to learn, share and sometimes even agree to disagree but let us do it with tolerance, respect and understanding. So let us share the day, the family stories, the laughter and the smiles. We will all be better for it!
We will celebrate the “Frist Thanksgiving” on July 14th, 2018. Lunch will be served at the American Legion on 4thSt starting at 12:30 PM with a few words about our shared history and our prayers of Thanksgiving for having this time together. After lunch, at the San Luis Valley Museum we will have music by Los Cancioneros Del Valle. They will perform from 2:30PM to 4:30PM. Enjoy the music, dance, have dessert, tour the museum or visit with Geronimo Olivas, who creates santos and will have many on display. At 6 PM we will say goodnight to new and old friends. Please come and join us!
FRIDAY July 13th, 2018. The San Luis Valley will host Dennis Lopez. He is known for his vast and accurate knowledge of the history of the San Luis Valley. The Museum is so honored to have him share this knowledge with all of the people who live here in the Valley. The program will begin at 6 PM. Come, renew your knowledge, learn something new and share with others the Spanish history of the Valley. See you Friday night!