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Huerfano history book wins Colorado award

DENVER — At the 132nd annual meeting of History Colorado, formerly the Colorado Historical Society, Virginia Sanchez of Denver was named one of three recipients of the Josephine H. Miles History Award for her book, Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley.
The Miles History Award recognizes outstanding projects in Colorado communities that make a major contribution to the advancement of Colorado history in the past year. According to Elisa Phelps, History Colorado’s Director of Collection and Library Division, the awards committee selected Sanchez’s book due to its “focus on family, women (Native American and Hispanic), history, spiritual life, and education; and because it integrates history with archaeology, oral histories, and church records.”
Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley introduces the Hispano settlers who first came into the Lower Cuchara Valley as early as 1862 and discusses the impact of culture and conflict brought about by change.
According to Sanchez, the term Cuchareños refers to the Hispanic people of Cucharas, a town in Huerfano County that today no longer exists. She chose to use the term in the title because, “despite the newcomers’ views about religion, sacrifice, water use, class and ethnicity, the people retained their language, customs, culture and traditions. It is the people and events associated with Cucharas that make it a fascinating piece of Colorado history,” she said.
Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley was published in 2010 by The History Press and is available at the Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center and Museum, El Pueblo Museum, Barnes and Noble bookstore, and online at

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