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La Charreada: Rodeo a la Mexicana: Rodeo a la Mexicana

Film by Olga Nájera-Ramírez
Produced by Olga Nájera-Ramírez
Cinematographer: Jon Silver
Sound: Kevin Hoshiko, Michael Kostyal
Editing: Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Danny McGuire
Copyright: 1996, Olga Nájera-Ramírez
26 minutes, Color
Original format: Betacam SP, 1996
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Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Olga Nájera-Ramírez or to the distributor.


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This video focuses on la charreada, a unique equestrian sport that is the official national sport of Mexico. Consisting of various equestrian games and roping and riding competitions, the charreada emerged from the techniques employed in cattle ranching activities such as herraderos (branding events) and rodeos (roundups). Today, the charreada is practiced and preserved by Mexicanos living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Based on five seasons of ethnographic fieldwork centered in Sunol, California and extending to other parts of the United States and Mexico, this video demonstrates how the charreada helps construct a particular conception of Mexican cultural identity by invoking a set of images, landscapes, historical events, symbols and rituals which represent the shared experiences which give meaning to Mexico as a national culture.

Interviews with practitioners are presented in the original language (some are recorded in Spanish, others in English) and open captioning provides the appropriate translation to produce a fully bilingual documentary. This project offers a timely and unique contribution to the understanding of the interrelationship between Mexico and the Chicano community.


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