UW-Green Bay Archives and Area Research recently hosted the class, “Cultures of Spain” taught by Spanish Prof. Cristina Ortiz. The students broadened their perspectives, studying a collection of materials donated by alumnus, Benjamin Cruz-Uribe ’73 ’79 (Ecosystems Analysis and Master of Environmental Arts & Sciences). The unique documents had been handed down through generations of his family and Cruz-Uribe donated the items to the Archives so they could be preserved and studied by researchers.
The class was studying about new Spain and the colonial era and visited the Archives on the seventh floor of the Cofrin Library to study the original materials dating from the 1700s. The collection contains a 1735 dictionary of Spanish and Nahuatl languages; a 1746 North America history book; and a 1768 document from the Archbishop of Mexico.
Students were asked to examine the Archbishop’s decree and attempt a translation of the 18th century handwritten script. Their translation revealed the document was “14 rules” to be followed by the Indians of Mexico for their “spiritual and earthly happiness and well-being.” Among the rules were suggestions for maintaining a clean home; helping neighbors who are sick; avoiding disputes; providing a house for one’s family; and the rais[ing] of chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats; and knowing the catechism in Spanish and their own language. The class went on to discuss in Spanish the cultural and historical significance of these rules.