Inlandia Institute

Trujillo adobe.

Inlandia Institute invites you to celebrate and learn about the area’s Native American connection and genízaro pioneers on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts in Riverside.

Find out about the life and times of genízaro pioneers of La Placita/Agua Mansa, Alta California, Mexico, known today as Riverside and Colton.

Who were genízaros? Why did they come to Alta California? What were they hoping to accomplish? How did they get here? Why here and not someplace else?

Join Inlandia Institute with special guests: UCR Professor Emeritus Dr. Carlos Cortés and La Placita descendants Leonard Trujillo and Nancy Melendez.

Learn about the Trujillo Adobe historical site, plans to restore it, and re-ignite the old Spanish Town settlement.

Jot down any questions and join the conversation.

Dr. Carlos Cortés is a nationally known and award-winning author, teacher, consultant and speaker on a wide variety of issues related to diversity, multiculturalism, the impact of media, and cross-cultural understanding. He is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Riverside.

He served as the creative/cultural advisor for Nickelodeon's award-winning children's television series, "Dora the Explorer" and "Go, Diego, Go!”

"Sometimes we become so distracted by national and world events that we overlook the historical dramas in our own backyard. It's nice to be able to participate in an event that brings our own local history to life," Cortés said.

Leonard Trujillo is a direct descendant and a third great grandson of Lorenzo Trujillo and Maria Dolores Archuleta, who settled in the San Bernardino Valley of Alta California in the early 1840s. As a direct male descendant, Leonard was able to confirm through Y-DNA testing the Indigenous ancestry of his Trujillo family line in New Mexico.

Freed by retirement, Leonard volunteers to help individuals trace their ancestry.

He currently serves as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America.

“And there were the intriguing stories of my paternal ancestors from New Mexico who established the first settlement in Riverside, California in the 1840s and were described as Native Americans,” Trujillo said.

Nancy Melendez is the founding president of the Spanish Town Heritage Foundation, which raises awareness of the need to preserve and restore the Trujillo Adobe and supports the vision to re-create the Spanish Town settlement on the land.

She is the recipient of the 2016 Dr. Carlos Cortés Award for championing diversity and inclusivity and the organizer of the Tamale Festival, which will be running its eighth year in April of 2020.

“As a sixth generation Riversider, I'm a proud native, an active citizen, small business owner, community volunteer, and dedicated parent. I have devoted my career and free time to the betterment of our community and most recently to the restoration and preservation of the Trujillo Adobe, my family Adobe,” Melendez said.

This event is free and open to the public, followed by light refreshments.

In partnership with UCR Arts and the UCR Center for Ideas and Society.

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