Chasing Dichos Through Chimayó

Don Usner

Sparks, SAR Boardroom

Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 3:00–4:00 pm, Free

Don Usner grew up in Los Alamos and Chimayó, where he was often immersed in the language and culture of “the Valley.” Although his parents discouraged him from speaking Spanish, some words stuck with him, especially the folk sayings, called dichos that peppered almost all conversation. Dichos are rarely heard anymore, but Usner and his mother have gathered a collection of nearly three hundred from Chimayó. These dichos, and the photographs that Usner took on journeys through Chimayó as he compiled them, form the heart of a book Usner has just completed that combines the sayings, the photos, and a narrative about his visits to Chimayó.

ChimayóChimayóPhotograph courtesy Don Usner.ChimayóPhotograph courtesy Don Usner.

Don Usner earned a BA in biology and environmental studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MA in geography at the University of New Mexico. He has written several books and articles about life in Chimayó, including Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza; Benigna’s Chimayó: Cuentos from the Old Plaza, “Don Victor Ortega: A Chimayó Patrón Goes to the Constitutional Convention”, and “Hispano Plazas: A Perspective from a Chimayó Expatriate.” Don teaches photography at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a recipient of a 2013 New Mexico Community Foundation Luminaria Award.

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