Quotes about Mexican Influence & Culture in Arizona

Arizona owes much of its color and individuality to the Mexicans, who largely retain their own culture and customs in an environment constantly growing more alienized. ~Arizona: A State Guide, compiled by Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Arizona, 1940

You know you’re an Arizona native, when in your heart you’re sure that at the end of the rainbow there is not a pot of gold — but a good Mexican restaurant. ~James W. Cook, quoted in You Know You’re an Arizona Native, When…, compiled by Don Dedera, 1993

I speak as much Spanish as anyone who has grown up in Southern California or Texas or Arizona. ~Will Ferrell, interview with Randy Cordova of The Arizona Republic, regarding his movie Casa De Mi Padre, 2012

You know you’re an Arizona native, when your lungs don’t deflate when you bite a jalapeño pepper. ~Cappy Kirby, quoted in You Know You’re an Arizona Native, When…, compiled by Don Dedera, 1993

Tucson had opened my eyes to the world and given me… a taste for the sensory extravagance of red hot chiles and five-alarm sunsets. ~Barbara Kingsolver, “Called Home,” Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, 2007

I lived in a little stuccoed house in a neighborhood of barking dogs and front-yard shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe. ~Barbara Kingsolver, “Making Peace,” 1998

Phoenix’s Mexican American community dates back to the founding of the city in 1868. From these earliest days, Phoenicians of Mexican descent actively participated in the city’s economic and cultural development, while also fiercely preserving their culture and heritage in the thriving barrios, by establishing their own businesses and churches… As the century progressed, the Mexican American population grew and expanded into several areas of Phoenix, and today the substantial community is flourishing. ~Frank M. Barrios, Images of America: Mexicans in Phoenix, 2008

      They, like many other Mexican American families in southern Arizona, led a life of hard work, solitude and self subsistence in harmony with the land. It is difficult to imagine and appreciate the historical presence and economic and cultural contributions made by these pioneer families in the Sonoran Desert. But where there are now freeway interchanges and suburban housing tracts and shopping centers and golf courses, there were once vital and energetic and close knit communities of Hispanic settlers who brought with them the skills of living off the land from their native state of Sonora, as well as a legacy of Mexico’s Native American, Spanish and Mestizo cultures…
      The legacy of the Mexican American pioneers in the Sonoran desert is an enriching and enduring one. Although many of their monuments — their farms, ranches, chapels, homes and corrals — may have been bulldozed in the name of progress, it is important that we gather their stories and respect their memories and culture which has contributed so much and is still evident in the southwestern lifestyle that we cherish. ~Patricia Preciado Martin, “The Mexican American Culture in the Sonoran Desert,” in sonorensis (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum), Spring 1996