Santa Paula Times

Heriberto Ramirez, a Purepecha lemon picker, works in a crew of limonero made up of indigenous Purépecha immigrants from Tur1quaro, a town in the Mexican State of Michoacan, and indigenous Nahuatl immigrants from San Marcos in the state of Guerreo. This is just one of many photos on display at the Santa Paula Resource Center, 940 E. Main Street. A Reception and Community forum will be held Tuesday, September 16 (Mexican Independence Day), 6:30-9:00pm, Santa Paula Family Resource Center.

Living Under The Trees: Indigenous Mexican Farm Workers in California

September 12, 2008
Santa Paula News
Photographs and Text by David Bacon Living Under The Trees, recent work by award-winning journalist and documentary photographer, David Bacon, highlights the difficult issues that are critical to California’s indigenous Mexican farm workers. This exhibition is a thoughtful series of photographs and oral history narratives that explores the unique challenges these indigenous communities face, while also celebrating the culture and community spirit that sustains them.Immigration is one of the most important and hotly debated issues in the United States. Yet many people have little familiarity with the immigrant experience, or for that matter, an understanding of indigenous immigrants. According to estimates, indigenous Mexican migrants constitute over half of California’s farm worker population, yet they remain marginalized and with limited access to safe, affordable housing and social services. Speaking several unique languages other than Spanish, these communities of Mixteco, Triqui, Zapoteco, Chatino, and Purepecha are frequently the targets of discrimination from both Latino and non-Latino individuals across California.Living Under The Trees chronicles the conditions of indigenous farm worker communities in California. The images and narratives convey the vibrant cultures of music, dance, food and traditional health practices, which help these communities survive under very difficult circumstances. And while the images show situations of extreme poverty, they also present people as agents of change - questioning unfair work conditions, working for better housing, and making critical decisions about their community. The exhibit underscores the consequences of economic dislocation from Mexico, and the challenges that dislocation creates for these communities in California.This traveling exhibition is a partnership between David Bacon (Illegal People - How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Beacon Press, September 2008) and the non-profits, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (, and the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations ( The exhibition is partially funded by the Ford Foundation. Additional support for the project was provided by the California Council of The Humanities and the California Endowment. The exhibition will tour locations in Southern and Central California in late 2008-2010, with accompanying public events that promote cross-cultural understanding and community dialogue among participants. These events anticipate broadening the role of local businesses and civil society leaders to identify local and regional paths for change that can increase access to affordable and safe housing, financial services and education for members of indigenous communities -- issues that are relevant not only to farm workers but to Californians as a whole.Living Under The Trees: Indigenous Mexican Farm Workers in California exhibition & event details:Location: Santa Paula Family Resource Center, 940 E. Main St., (805)525-6616
Date: Now thru October 3, 2008Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday thru FridayAdmission:FreeReception & Community forum: Tuesday, September 16 (Mexican Independence Day), 6:30-9:00 p.m.