Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area awards grant to Adams's State's C.A.S.A.


Adams State University's student led-organization, C.A.S.A. (Cultural Awareness Student Achievement) was awarded a cultural heritage grant of nearly $5,000 from The Sangre De Cristo National Heritage Area for its project, Roots Run Deep: Preserving Heritage by Honoring Identity.

"This project will focus on connecting students, faculty, and community members to the rich and often ignored cultural history of the San Luis Valley," said C.A.S.A. director, Oneyda Maestas. "I want the grant to increase the cultural capital of the valley. This cultural capital can have drastic effects on how we view our own culture and others. It helps us honor and understand that cultural traditions are not stagnate, but lived through experience."

C.A.S.A is matching the grant with $7,235 in cash and in-kind services. The grant-funded activities include:

  • Harvest and preparation of traditional chicos with acequia farmers in San Luis
  • Traditional slaughter of a hog with the seventh-generation Salazar family
  • Building on campus a traditional horno used by the Pueblo peoples
  • Creation of a traditional sheepherder's museum in the form of a 1930's era sheepherder trailer from the valley
  • The group participated April 5 in a matanza, or slaughtering of a pig at the Salazar ranch.

Cheyenna Sherlock demonstrates the Navajo process for butchering a sheep, as Elvina Tupuona observes. In Sherlock's culture, women are responsible for domestic processing of meat.

CASA students work together on husking the dried corn to make chicos.

"Cultural inclusion is paramount to the mission of C.A.S.A", Maestas explained. C.A.S.A. serves as a hub for student engagement in academics, leadership, and community involvement. The importance of local traditional foods, as well as the interplay between modern and communal agricultural, are central to some of these projects. Adams State professors will also participate, to give students insight into associated aspects of biology, agriculture science, and anatomy.

For more information, please contact the C.A.S.A. house at 719-587-7687 or e-mail Oneyda Maestas.