Latino History Is Oregon History: Preserving Oregon’s Latino Heritage through the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste Archive
de la Cruz, Sonia
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de la Cruz, Sonia
Since the spring of 2011, the University of Oregon Libraries have been working closely with the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Tree Planters and Farmworkers United, PCUN) to organize, preserve, and make accessible to the public the extensive records they have generated during their history. A union of largely Latino farmworkers based in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley, PCUN is the largest organization representing Oregon’s growing Latino population. As in many other states, the state’s Latino community is growing so rapidly that, as of the 2010 census, Latinos constitute Oregon’s largest ethnic minority. Since 1985, PCUN has been a fierce advocate of the rights of farmworkers, 98 percent of whom are Latino. Engaged faculty at the University of Oregon have worked closely with PCUN over the years, advancing research and social justice through intellectual and activist collaboration. As PCUN has matured as an organization, it has increasingly recognized the need to preserve its own story, both for the institution’s future and as a contribution to Oregon’s Latino community. For its part, the University of Oregon (UO), as the flagship public university of the state of Oregon, has acknowledged the importance of recognizing and serving all segments of Oregon’s diverse population. This convergence of interests led to the agreement between PCUN and the UO, signed in June of 2011, to house and make accessible to the public PCUN’s records. Since that time, faculty, students, and staff at the UO Libraries have been working to organize and advocate for this important collection. Drawing on a network of engaged scholars, community activists, and skilled librarians, the PCUN records have been a nucleus for projects to ensure that UO truly serves all of the people of Oregon, and that the state’s history does not marginalize its Latino community.
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