Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives

by Erlinda V. Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-87071-584-6. Paperback, $22.95).

Now available from Oregon State University Press

From Oregon State University Press:

“This important volume sheds new light on the stories and lives of mexicanos in Oregon: why migrants come to Oregon fields, construction sites, and warehouses, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.

“Drawing from the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, gender and cultural studies, building on the work of earlier scholars, and providing new and original research, Gonzalez-Berry and Mendoza present a comprehensive view of the experiences of the Mexican-origin population in Oregon.

“The number of Latinos residing in Oregon has increased dramatically in the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system, in the agricultural fields, and in the service occupations. This, however, is not a new phenomenon. There has been a settled Mexican-origin population in Oregon since the mid-nineteenth century.

“Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary scholarly works, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflect the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the whole story of Mexican migration and settlement in Oregon.

“Mexicanos in Oregon is a major contribution to the general understanding and appreciation of the stories and lives of Mexican-origin immigrants. It is a vital resource for immigration scholars, historians, students, and for all Oregonians.”

About the Authors

Erlinda Gonzales-Berry served as professor and Chair in the Department of Ethnic Studies at Oregon State University. She is currently Executive Director of Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County. She earned a PhD in Romance Languages from University of New Mexico. She co-authored The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico and edited Pasó por Aquí: The Literary Heritage of New Mexico.

Marcela Mendoza was born in Argentina and is a UO Department of Anthropology Research Associate. She has been an instructor at Oregon State University and is currently Executive Director, Centro LatinoAmericano. She earned a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from University of Iowa. Her articles and chapters on immigration have been published widely, including in the Oregon Review of International Law, The Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators, The Journal of Economic Issues, and The Latino Research Review.