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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Water Cooler: Visit Kanopy to learn about Hispanic American heritage

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 13, 2021

Dancers perform to celebrate Hispanic Heritage during halftime of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019.   (Associated Press)
Dancers perform to celebrate Hispanic Heritage during halftime of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019.  (Associated Press)

Hispanic heritage month starts tomorrow, so get a head start with these films on Kanopy created by Hispanic American directors. Kanopy is a free streaming service for Spokane Public Library members. Visit to learn more and start streaming.

“Precious Knowledge” – A look into the fight for the Mexican American studies programs in Arizona public schools, featuring interviews with school officials, teachers, parents, and the lawmakers who supported and wrote legislation to ban the program before the ban was eventually ruled unconstitutional in 2017. Directed by Ari Palos and Eren Isabel McGinnis. 2011. 70 minutes.

“Mosquita & Mari” – A coming of age story that follows to Latina teens as they slowly fall in love in Southeast Los Angeles. What starts as an innocent high school romance quickly escalates into tough life decisions as the teens are forced to choose between one another or their life’s obligations. Directed by Aurora Guerrero. 2012. 86 minutes.

“Between Us” (“Entre Nos”) – Mariana has just arrived in New York City to find a new life. After being deserted by her husband Gabriel, she must try her hardest to provide for her family while navigating life in a new city where she hardly speaks the language. Directed by Gloria La Morte and Paola Mendoza. 2009. 82 minutes.

“The Immigration Paradox” – A critical look at the causes and process of immigration from Central and South America into the United States and other parts of North America, asking why some would risk their lives to make the journey. Directed by Lourdes Lee Vasquez. 2014. 77 minutes.

“Songs of the Homeland: History of Tejano Music” – A look into the past and present of Tejano music, including performances and interviews with musical pioneers such as Tony de la Rosa, Valerio Longoria, Lydia Mendoza, Isidro Lopez, Sunny Ozuna, Mingo Saldivar, and Little Joe Hernandez. Directed by Hector Galan. 1995. 57 minutes.

“Accordion Dreams” – Learn how European accordion traditions and traditional Mexican music came together in Texas to form an exciting new sound called conjunto. This documentary is narrated by singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa and features footage of conjunto greats like Valerio Longoria, Mingo Saldivar, Ruben Vela, Eva Ybarra, and Flaco Jimenez. Directed by Hector Galan. 2001. 58 minutes.

“Cubamerican” – A personal look at the large scale political struggles between Cuba and the United States. Spanning more than 60 years of Cuban history, this documentary centers on how one Cuban family was broken apart by the chaos of immigration and displacement. Directed by José Enrique Pardo. 2012. 108 minutes.

“Maid in America” – A documentary that observes the lives of three Latina immigrants who work as housekeepers and nannies in Los Angeles, revealing the efforts immigrant communities and individuals make to redefine their roles in accordance with contemporary Latino culture and in the context of overarching political and social issues. Directed by Anayansi Prado. 2005. 58 minutes.

“Willie Velasquez: Your Vote is Your Voice” – A PBS production on the search for Latino political empowerment in the United States. Velasquez was the son of a Mexican American butcher who was propelled into a life of activism after questioning the lack of Latino representation in his local government. Directed by Hector Galan. 54 minutes.

“Children in No Man’s Land” – A documentary that follows three unaccompanied minors entering the United States at the Mexico border in order to shed light on the long and difficult journey Latino children face in search of a new home. Directed by Anayansi Prado. 2008. 39 minutes.

“Visiones: Latino Art & Culture” – A PBS documentary series that explores rich traditions of dance, music, writing, painting and performance in Latino culture across the United States. Directed by Hector Galan. 2005. 163 minutes.

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