Nebraska Cultural Contributions
The visibility of Latinos is evident in the number of tiendas (small stores) and Mexican restaurants that dot the landscape of Nebraska’s towns and cities. Tienda owners not only sell supplies familiar to Latino customers, but they also attract local non-Latino Nebraskans who have come to enjoy Latino cuisines and products. A quick homemade meal of tacos de barbacoa (barbequed meat), menudo (a stew made from hominy and tripe), or tamales can be obtained from the smaller, kitchen-equipped tiendas. Consequently, large supermarket chains now carry Latino products, which can be found on shelves in aisles devoted entirely to them.
Taco Bell and Taco John now face competition from authentic Mexican restaurants. An example is La Mexicana restaurant, located in Grand Island. It serves authentic Mexican food prepared by Latinos. The cook prides himself on the delicate balance of spices and the high quality tripe he uses in his menudo. Served on the weekends, the scent of the spicy stew draws crowds of Latinos and Anglos. Lunch time is especially busy during the week, as local business owners and their employees dine on tortas (sandwiches served on a grilled roll), rellenos (stuffed chiles), and many other specialties.
Latinos enliven the communities through their entrepreneurship, activism, and participation in activities and events. Moreover, enrollment in Spanish language classes continues to rise. The ethnicity and language of new arrivals differ from early migrants, but there is no denying Nebraska and the United States continue to benefit from the addition of recent migrants from Latin America.
1. Webb, 103.
2. Webb, 112.
3. Weber, 171.
4. Dary, 42.
5. Dary, 48.
6. Dary, 54.
7. Luebke, 137.
8. Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Mexican American Commission, Our Treasures, 17.
9. Millard and Chapa, 31.
10. Millard and Chapa, 32.
11. Gouveia and Stull, 3.
13. Gouveia and Stull, 9.
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