Cherríe Moraga, Author-Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir | One to One

♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ >> HELLO I’M SHERYL MCCARTHY WELCOME TO “ONE TO ONE.” PEOPLE WRITE MEMOIRS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS: TO FILL IN GAPS IN THEIR FAMILY HISTORIES; TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW THEY BECAME THE PEOPLE THEY ARE; AND TO MEMORIALIZE THE PEOPLE, PLACES AND EVENTS IN THEIR LIVES WHOSE STORIES COULD BE LOST IF THEY DIDN’T TELL THEM IN HER NEW BOOK “NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART,” WRITER AND ACTIVIST CHERRIE MORAGA WRITES ABOUT COMING OF AGE ON THE MEXICO-CALIFORNIA BORDER IN THE 1960s, IN A COMMUNITY OF MEXICANS OF MIXED INDIAN AND SPANISH ANCESTRY; ABOUT COMING OUT AS A GAY WOMAN YEARS BEFORE THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT TOOK OFF; AND ABOUT BECOMING A CHICANA FEMINIST IN THE MIDST OF THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT OF THE 1960s MOST OF ALL, THOUGH, HER BOOK TELLS THE STORY OF HER MOTHER, ELVIRA, THE TINY MEXICAN WOMAN WHO HAS THE HEART OF A LARGE AND WARM EXTENDED FAMILY OF MESTIZOS AND HER ORDINARY, BUT REMARKABLE LIFE THE BOOK HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX WELCOME >> THANK YOU, IT’S GOOD TO BE HERE >> WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS BOOK? >> I WROTE IT AS A SORT OF HONORING OF MY MOTHER AND RECOGNIZING THAT HER STORY AND HER GENERATION’S STORY AS A MEXICAN WOMAN IN THE UNITED STATES IS A PART OF AMERICAN LITERATURE THAT HAS SELDOM BEEN WRITTEN >> YOU WRITE THAT YOU HAD ONLY ONE ROMANCE, YOUR ROMANCE WITH YOUR MOTHER IS THAT TRUE? YOU HAVE A SIGNIFICANT OTHER, LONG TIME, BUT ONLY ONE ROMANCE >> I’M SAYING THAT IN THE LARGER SENSE OF WHAT IS ROMANTIC IN OUR LIVES AND I THINK THE ONE ROMANCE THING, WHEN YOU SAY WHO IS THE GREAT LOVE OF YOUR LIFE AND IT SETS THE TONE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LOVING THAT’S WHAT MY MOTHER WAS TO ME THE KIND OF PERSON SHE WAS, HER RELATIONSHIP TO FAMILY, HER RELATIONSHIP TO SUCH A STRONG SET OF VALUES AND HER RELATIONSHIP TO DESIRE WHICH WAS NEVER QUITE FULLY REQUITED ON A CERTAIN LEVEL IN HER LIFE THAT BECAME THE PANORAMA OF WHAT I UNDERSTOOD AS FEELINGS AND LOVE ON A CERTAIN LEVEL, SHE BECAME THE PROTOTYPE FOR ME I’VE WRITTEN ELSEWHERE THAT FAMILY IS A PLACE FOR BETTER OR WORSE WE LEARN TO LOVE I THINK THAT’S WHAT I MEANT >> TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOTHER AND FATHER, WHERE THEY CAME FROM AND HOW THEY MET >> MY MOTHER WAS BORN IN CALIFORNIA AND MY FATHER WAS BORN IN SAN FRANCISCO THERE IS ABOUT EIGHT YEARS DIFFERENCE, SHE WAS OLDER HER LIFE — SHE BEGAN IN A HUGE FAMILY AND THEY WERE BASICALLY THROUGH THIS WHOLE SOUTHERN AREA OF CALIFORNIA, THEY WERE FARMWORKERS MY GRANDFATHER APPARENTLY ALSO DID CONTRACTING WHERE HE WOULD CONTRACT HIS OWN FAMILY OUT, TO WORK IN THE FIELDS WHEN THE DEPRESSION HIT AND THIS IS WHERE HER STORY TAKES ON A DISTINGUISHED TWIST IS SHE — THE FAMILY GETS MOVED TO TIJUANA SO MY MOTHER BEGAN TO WORK AT THE RACETRACK AND CASINO AND SHE WAS ONE OF THOSE — THIS IS THE 1920s INTO THE EARLY ’30s, A CIGARETTE AND HAT CHECK GIRL THAT WAS A TIME WHERE SHE WENT FROM BEING A FARMWORKER TO RUBBING ELBOWS WITH ALL OF THESE ACTORS AND PEOPLE I THINK THERE IS A LINE IN THE BOOK THAT SAYS HOW ARE YOU GOING TO KEEP THEM DOWN ON THE FARM WHEN THEY’VE BEEN TO TIJUANA IN THE ’30s? AS A YOUNG WOMAN, SHE GOT A GLIMPSE OF THIS COSMOPOLITAN LIFE THAT ONLY LASTED FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND THEY RETURNED TO LOS ANGELES WHEN SHE RETURNED, SHE WENT BACK TO FACTORY WORK SHE DID NOT HAVE EDUCATION EVENTUALLY AFTER WORLD WAR II SHE MET MY FATHER, WHO BASICALLY WORKED FOR THE RAILROAD HIS WHOLE LIFE

>> SO YOUR MOTHER, SHE DID A LOT OF WORK EVENTUALLY SHE STARTED TO MANAGE A HOTEL THAT WAS LEFT TO YOUR FATHER? >> MY FATHER’S MOTHER HAD BEEN A VAUDEVILLE ACTRESS IN SAN FRANCISCO AND THROUGH A SERIES OF EVENTS, SHE ENDED UP MANAGING THIS SINGLE OCCUPANCY HOTEL THAT WAS RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM HUNTINGTON BEACH, BUT THIS IS IN THE ’40s EVENTUALLY THROUGH MANAGING IT, SHE BOUGHT THE HOTEL >> YOUR FATHER WENT FROM JOB TO JOB >> HE WAS A VERY STEADY EARNER, BUT HE ALWAYS WORKED IN WORLD WAR II, HE LEARNED TO BE A TELEGRAPHER AND HE USED THAT TO WORK IN THE SANTA FE RAILROAD AND THERE WASN’T A LOT OF MOVEMENT ABOUT WHERE YOU WENT IN TERMS OF HIS JOB, BUT HE HAD A UNION AND HE WAS A STABLE EARNER, IT WAS LATER IN LIFE AFTER HE RETIRED WHERE HE STARTED A LITTLE INCOME TAX BUSINESS FOR HIMSELF >> YOU SPENT TIME IN SOUTH PASADENA AND SAN GABRIEL — BOTH ARE REALLY PARTS OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD AS A HAPPY MEXICAN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD >> ABOUT THAT IS TO SAY, I THINK THE HAPPY PART WAS MY RELATIONSHIP TO THESE HUGE EXTENDED FAMILY AND WE HAD RELATIONS IN NEIGHBORING TOWNS AND WE ALL LIVED AROUND THERE MY MOTHER WAS THE FIRST ONE TO MOVE THERE AND OUR FAMILY WAS, MY GRANDMOTHER LIVED NEXT DOOR SHE WAS BORN IN SONORA, MEXICO SHE WAS SPANISH-SPEAKING ONLY BECAUSE OF OUR PROXIMITY, ALL OF THE FAMILY WAS IN OUR MIDST AND THERE WAS A SENSE I HAD ABOUT CERTAIN KIND OF CULTURAL ABUNDANCE THAT ALWAYS GAVE ME A STRONG SENSE OF WHAT VALUES OF FAMILY AND WHAT HOME MEANT >> YOUR MOTHER NEVER FINISHED ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUT YOU, YOUR BROTHER AND SISTER WENT ON TO COLLEGE WAS THAT THE INFLUENCE OF THE CATHOLIC EDUCATION YOU GOT GROWING UP? >> IT WAS MOSTLY INFLUENCED BY THE FACT MY MOTHER DID NOT HAVE AN EDUCATION AND SHE ALWAYS BEMOANED THE FACT THAT MAYBE IF SHE HAD EDUCATION HER LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT SHE WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO WORK AT THE FACTORY >> DID SHE PUSH YOU ALL TO GET A COLLEGE EDUCATION? >> SHE PUSHED US TO GET A HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION I REMEMBER WHEN I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND THE FIRST YEAR IN COLLEGE, I WAS LIKE THIS IS HARD SHE WAS LIKE YOU GOT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION, YOU WILL DO FINE THAT GAVE ME MORE DESIRE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL I HAD BROADER NOTIONS BUT FOR HER, THAT WAS SUCCESS I THINK — THE CATHOLIC SCHOOL I WENT TO ON MANY LEVELS — CATHOLIC EDUCATION I GOT WAS HARD ON ME BECAUSE I ALREADY KNEW FROM THE TIME I WAS YOUNG ABOUT BEING QUEER AND MY SENSE ABOUT ALL THOSE THINGS I KNEW THE CHURCH RULES WERE NOT IN MY FAVOR BUT THE SCHOOLING I GOT IN HIGH SCHOOL IN PARTICULAR WAS VERY GOOD THE ACTUAL CLASSES, WHAT I LEARNED IT WAS SOLID >> IN YOUR COLLEGE YEARS, THIS IS WHEN YOU STOP GOING TO CHURCH, STARTED WEARING MOSTLY PANTS, I THINK SLEPT WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND, CAME OUT TO YOUR MOTHER AS A LESBIAN AND BEGAN TO MOVE INTO THE LESBIAN LIFE IN LOS ANGELES HOW DID YOUR MOTHER REACT TO THAT? >> MY MOTHER WAS ALWAYS THE KEY PERSON, SO IF SHE WAS OK WITH SOMETHING THAT MY FATHER WAS THE BOOK DESCRIBES THAT MOMENT VERY SPECIFICALLY AND I THINK THE HEART OF IT IS TO SAY THAT IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS I’VE EVER HAD WITH MY MOTHER AND I WAS PLANNING TO LEAVE LOS ANGELES TO MOVE TO THE BAY AREA

AT THE POINT IN WHICH I DECIDED TO LEAVE, I HAD PACKED MY BAGS AND WAS READY TO GO I CAME FOR A FAMILY BARBECUE AND — BUT BEFORE I CAME, I CALLED MY MOM AND SAID, I WILL BE THERE AT SUCH AND SUCH TIME SHE SAID YOU ARE NOT GOING TO COME EARLIER? I HAD BEEN STAYING AWAY A LOT BECAUSE ONCE I CAME OUT I FELT LIKE I HAD THIS SECRET LIFE AND MY DECISION WAS TO MOVE TO THE BAY AREA BECAUSE I FELT THERE WAS NO WAY IN THE CONTEXT OF MY MEXICANISM, MY MOTHER’S VALUES AND CATHOLICISM THAT I COULD EVER BE OUT IN THE CONTEXT OF MY FAMILY MY MOTHER SAYS TO ME ON THE PHONE, YOU ARE LEAVING WITH A SECRET THAT TO ME WAS INDICATIVE OF THE QUALITY OF MY MOTHER ABOVE ALL ELSE, SHE ASKED ME FOR THE TRUTH BECAUSE SHE KNEW I WAS LEAVING AND REALLY LEAVING, I WASN’T JUST LEAVING GEOGRAPHICALLY, I WAS GOING TO LEAVE WITH A SECRET LIFE TO HER CREDIT SHE SAYS THAT AND I’M KIND OF BUSTED I’M AT THE MOMENT WHERE I CAN KEEP LYING BUT SHE IS ASKING FOR THE TRUTH WHEN I TOLD HER THE TRUTH, IT’S DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK THE HEART OF THE MATTER IS SHE SAYS HOW COULD YOU THINK THERE WOULD BE ANYTHING IN THIS LIFE YOU COULD DO THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE MY DAUGHTER? THAT WAS GOOD >> WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK AND THEN WE WILL BE BACK WITH CHERRIE MORAGA, AUTHOR OF “NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART.” ♪ >> WELCOME BACK, I’M SHERYL MCCARTHY AND I’M TALKING WITH CHERRIE MORAGA, AUTHOR OF “NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART.” YOU ARE OUT AND YOU DISCOVERED FEMINISM HOW DID YOU BECOME A FEMINIST? >> THAT WAS PROBABLY 20 YEARS IN THE MAKING ON A CERTAIN LEVEL I WAS GOING TO IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE AT THE TIME, THE NAME IS MISLEADING BECAUSE IT WAS A NONSECTARIAN AND COEDUCATIONAL COLLEGE AT THAT POINT IT WAS A VERY PROGRESSIVE SCHOOL POLITICALLY AND THE NUNS WHO FOUNDED THAT SCHOOL WERE THE FIRST TO DROP THEIR HABITS IT’S A PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH ALL OF THIS ACTIVISM IS HAPPENING AROUND ALL THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT THE PEOPLE OF COLOR MOVEMENT, THE QUEER MOVEMENT, THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT, ALL OF THEM ARE BEGINNING TO EVOLVE OUT OF ONE TO THE NEXT AND SO I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME GLORIA STEINEM CAME TO THE COLLEGE TO SPEAK I KNEW THAT WASN’T MY LIFE, BUT I DID KNOW AT THE HEART OF IT TO LOOK AT THE WAYS PARTICULARLY AND THE SPECIFICITY OF OPPRESSION THAT WE EXPERIENCE AROUND SEXISM AND PATRIARCHY AND ALL OF THOSE QUESTIONS I DID KNOW I WAS RAISED WITH A DOUBLE STANDARD I DID KNOW THERE WAS A CULTURAL SPECIFIC VERSION OF MY FEMINISM WHICH BROUGHT ME NOT JUST TO FEMINISM, BUT TO CHICANA FEMINISM I FELT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT OUR LIBERATION AS HUMAN BEINGS, WE NEED TO LOOK AT IT IN TERMS OF WHAT ARE THE PARTICULAR CULTURAL HOW WE ARE RAISED AS A LITTLE GIRL, I MADE MY BROTHER’S BED, I PICKED UP HIS CLOTHES, I WAITED ON HIM, I GAVE HIM MONEY FROM MY PIGGY BANK FOR HIS DATES YOU SEE THOSE ARE SMALL THINGS, BUT ALSO I WAS RAISED WITH A DOUBLE STANDARD ABOUT MEN GOT TO BE FREE AND WOMEN DID NOT >> WAS CHICANA FEMINISM DIFFERENT FROM BLACK FEMINISM? BLACK FEMINISTS HAVE OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THEIR ISSUES WITH WHITE FEMINISTS, BUT WAS CHICANA FEMINISM DIFFERENT FROM BLACK FEMINISM? >> IN 1981, — PUBLISHED AN ANTHOLOGY CALLED “THIS BRIDGE CALLED MY BACK: WRITINGS BY RADICAL WOMEN OF COLOR.” THAT ANSWERS THE QUESTION BECAUSE NO, ON A CERTAIN LEVEL WE WERE RESPONDING TO A WHITE

FEMINISM THAT WAS BIASED AND DID NOT HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE COMPLEXITY OF HOW RACISM IMPACTS ALSO WOMEN OF COLOR’S LIFE TECHNICALLY AS A BLACK FEMINIST, YOUR ISSUES WERE UNDER THE SAME CATEGORIES AS MINE THERE ARE SPECIFIC WAYS IN WHICH I WAS RAISED IN THE PARTICULAR CONDITIONS OF MY FEMINISM THAT IS INFORMED BY OUR HISTORY SO THE HISTORY OF MEXICO, THE HISTORY OF COLONIZATION OF MEXICO IF AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE LOOKING AT THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY AND LIBERATION, I HAVE TO LOOK AT THE CONQUEST THOSE ARE THE IMPORTANT THINGS, PARTICULARLY AS A TEACHER WHEN YOU ARE TEACHING THESE THINGS, IT’S THE SPECIFICITY THAT HELPS PEOPLE >> YOU SPENT SOME TIME IN BOSTON, NEW YORK, HANGING OUT WITH FEMINISTS HERE AND GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? >> I WAS INCREDIBLY FORTUNATE IN THE FACT THAT WHEN I CAME EAST FOR THE FIRST TIME TO LOOK FOR A PUBLISHER FOR THIS BOOK, SOME OF THE PEOPLE I MET IS THAT I MET A WHOLE GROUP OF BLACK FEMINISTS, BUT IN PARTICULAR BARBARA SMITH AND AUDREY LORDE — AND THEY WERE ALSO LESBIANS, THEY WERE BLACK FEMINIST LESBIANS TO ME IT’S LIKE WHEN YOU WERE SAYING WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE, YOU ARE RIGHT, BECAUSE ON A CERTAIN LEVEL ALL THE CATEGORIES OF THINGS THEY WERE CONFRONTING IN THEIR LIVES AND AS WRITERS THAT THEY WERE LOOKING AT, I SAID I CAN BRING THAT HOME THEY BECAME A MODEL OF HOW WE UNDERSTAND OPPRESSION AND HOW WE UNDERSTAND THE ROAD TO OUR FREEDOM THEY WERE MY TEACHERS >> YOU DID TAKE THAT HOME, YOU WENT BACK TO CALIFORNIA >> NEW YORK IN THE ’80s DOES NOT HAVE THE MEXICAN POPULATION IT HAS NOW THE ONLY MEXICANS I KNEW WERE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, A SMALL GROUP OF THE FIRST AFFIRMATIVE ACTION STUDENTS THE WORK I NEEDED TO DO FOR THE BOOKS THAT WOULD COME SOON AFTER MEANT THAT I HAD TO TAKE IT HOME >> YOU GO BACK HOME AND THERE ARE THINGS GOING ON WITH YOUR PARENTS AT THIS TIME YOUR MOTHER AT SOME POINT STARTS SHOWING SIGNS OF DEMENTIA >> THAT WAS FAIRLY RECENTLY SHE WAS ALREADY IN HER LATE ’80s I HAD MADE MY LIFE IN CALIFORNIA AS A WRITER AND TEACHER AND THEY REMAINED IN SAN GABRIEL AND I LIVED IN THE BAY AREA IT WAS MY MOTHER’S ALZHEIMER’S THAT INITIATED THIS BOOK IT MADE ME WANT TO RE-COLLECT HER STORIES AND LOOK AT QUESTIONS OF MEMORY CULTURALLY THAT I FEEL THERE IS A LOT, ESPECIALLY FOR US AS MEXICAN AMERICANS, WE ARE TOLD WE ARE SUPPOSED TO ASSIMILATE I FEEL LIKE ON A CERTAIN LEVEL, WHAT I FEARED IS THAT WITH THE LOSS OF MY MOTHER’S GENERATION, WHAT WERE WE LEFT HOLDING? THE BOOK BECAME TRYING TO RE-COLLECT THAT FROM MY MOTHER AND FROM HER GENERATION SO IT WOULD NOT BE LOST >> YOU WRITE THAT WHAT THE FAMILY SHARES WITH MULTIPLE GENERATIONS OF MEXICAN AND MEXICAN AMERICANS IS THE DENIAL OF YOUR NATIVE ORIGINS THAT YOU DRANK THE BITTER KOOL-AID OF COLONIZATION WAS IT YOUR INDIAN ORIGINS YOU DENIED IN THIS PROCESS THAT YOU WERE LOSING TOUCH WITH YOUR INDIAN ORIGINS? WAS THAT WHAT WAS GOING ON? >> IT IS VERY COMPLICATED WHEN YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE HISTORY OF MEXICANS AND MEXICAN AMERICANS IN THE UNITED STATES, THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEXICANS, AND MEXICANS IS THE NAME OF THAT NATIONSTATE — MEXICO THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF NATIVE ORIGIN PEOPLE, HUNDREDS OF NATIVE GROUPS DIFFERENT NATIONS YOU CAN GO — PEOPLE KNOW THE MAYANS, THERE ARE ALL OF THESE NATIVE COMMUNITIES WITH THE COLONIZATION OF MEXICO, WE BECAME MEXICANS BUT THE WAY WE ARE AMERICANS BUT WE ARE AMERICANS BUT YOU DON’T FORGET YOU ARE BLACK

IN MEXICO, IT IS LIKE YOU ARE NOW MEXICAN AND FORGET YOU ARE INDIAN THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEXICANS EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE 100% NATIVE, IN FACT, UNLESS YOU ARE IN YOUR TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY AND YOU SPEAK YOUR INDIGENOUS TONGUE AND WEAR THE TRADITIONAL CLOTHES, IT BEGINS TO CHANGE SO MUCH, BUT SUDDENLY YOU GO INTO THE CITY AND LOSE THE FACT YOU ARE NATIVE WE ARE ALSO BEING TOLD WE ARE NO LONGER INDIGENOUS EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE STILL PRACTICE, EVEN WHEN YOU LOOK AT CATHOLICISM, THE WAY MEXICANS PRACTICE CATHOLICISM, THERE IS SO MUCH INDIGENISM IN IT WHEN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT NOT ASSIMILATION, WHAT IT MEANS IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE NOT JUST ANOTHER IMMIGRANT POPULATION, WE HAVE BEEN HERE FOR THE BEGINNING OF TIME THAT BRINGS TO YOUNG PEOPLE A SENSE OF — NOW WITH ALL THE ANTI-MEXICAN AND ANTI-LATINO PROPAGANDA THAT IS GOING ON ABOUT THE FENCES AND ALL OF THIS STUFF WITH TRUMP, IT IS LIKE THE IDEA OF WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE IS SO DISTORTED AND SO I FEEL LIKE PARTLY THIS BOOK IS ABOUT TRYING TO REALLY SHOW THE COMPLEXITY OF THE MEXICAN AMERICAN AND MEXICAN EXPERIENCE >> WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THAT MEXICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY YOU GREW UP IN IN SAN GABRIEL? >> THERE ARE ALWAYS NEW GENERATIONS OF MEXICANS COMING IN THERE ARE PEOPLE IN SAN GABRIEL THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING MY TIO BY MARRIAGE SAID, WE’RE THE INDIANS WHO BUILT THE MISSION THIS CONSCIOUSNESS AND RECOGNITION THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA OF PEOPLE’S INDIGENOUS ORIGINS IN CALIFORNIA IN VERY RECENT YEARS, IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, HAS REALLY BEGUN TO SURFACE IT IS A NEW AND IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT >> WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART? >> I’M JUST TALKING ABOUT, — I THINK I HAVE A REALLY STRONG BELIEF AND I’VE ALWAYS FELT THIS AND IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH BEING AN ARTIST THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY MOTHER, IS THAT EVEN WHEN SHE FORGOT SOMETHING, HER BODY REMEMBERED SHE WOULD DO ACTIONS SHE HAD DONE HER WHOLE LIFE AT ONE POINT SHE BECAME VERY ILL AND HAD TO GO TO A MEMORY IMPAIRED PLACE AND SHE WAS STILL CLEANING UP THE ROOMS, THE TRASH CANS IT WAS MOSTLY ANGLO PEOPLE THERE THE NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART IS THAT INSIDE OF US, WE DO HOLD MEMORIES AND WE HOLD KNOWLEDGES THAT ARE DNA REMEMBERS THAT PARTLY THE WAY TO BECOME IGNORANT IN THE UNITED STATES IS WE FORGET WE FORGET WE ARE GETTING MESSAGES ALL THE TIME, AND IT’S NOT INTELLECTUAL, IT BECOMES INTELLECTUAL A FRIEND OF MINE IS A YORUBA PRACTITIONER SHE SAID, UNTIL HEAD KNOWLEDGE BECOMES HEART KNOWLEDGE YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING THE NATIVE COUNTRY OF THE HEART FOR ME IS MY RIGHT TO BE ALL THE COMPLEXITIES OF WHO I AM I MEAN US AS MEXICANS IN THE UNITED STATES AND LATINOS, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO REMEMBER OUR ORIGINS WE TALKED TO STUDENTS, THEY ARE ALL MESTIZOS, AND IN THAT VIEW, I’M LOOKING AT ALL THE AFRICANOS — IF YOU CAN WALK IN THAT WORLD WITT THAT KNOWLEDGE, THEY WILL HAVE A COUNTER NARRATIVE TO THE TRUMPS IN THE WORLD THEY WILL BE MORE FORTIFIED TO MOVE THROUGH THIS WORLD WITH SOME KIND OF SELF-LOVE AND SELF-KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE >> IT IS — YOU GIVE US A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY THAT DOES NOT GET WRITTEN ABOUT MUCH WE DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THESE ARE NOT REALLY IMMIGRANTS, THESE ARE AMERICANS, MEXICAN AMERICANS >> AND THEY ARE NATIVE AMERICANS IN THAT SENSE THE IRONY OF IT IS, THE EAST COAST WEST COAST THING TOO WE ARE THE MAJORITY IN CALIFORNIA THERE ARE WORKS THAT COME OUT,

BUT IT’S ALL THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE I’M GLAD THE WORD GOES OUT AND I ALSO FEEL LIKE WITH THE CARAVANS AND ALL THAT, I THINK IT IS OUR JOB AS LATINOS IN THE UNITED STATES TO CONTINUE TO IDENTIFY WITH THOSE PEOPLE >> TO IDENTIFY WITH OTHER IMMIGRANTS? >> THE ONES WHO KEEP COMING IN THEY ARE BEING FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES IT IS THE CIVIL WAR GOING ON, THE DRUG CARTELS, ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED FOR A LONG TIME, BUT FROM THE FIRST NAFTA IN THE ’90s YOU SEE THAT AND I CAN SEE SOMETIMES — “THOSE AREN’T US ANYMORE.” “WE ARE AMERICANS.” I THINK WE ARE OBLIGATED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ALLOW THEM AND WE PROVIDE A VOICE FOR THEM >> I’M AFRAID WE ARE OUT OF TIME I WANT TO THANK CHERRIE MORAGA FOR JOINING ME TODAY “NATIVE COUNTY OF THE HEART” A MEMOIR, IS PUBLISHED BY FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX, AND IT IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AND IN BOOKSTORES FOR “ONE TO ONE” AND THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, I’M SHERYL MCCARTHY ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪