7. Manuela Wickham Makes Tortillas, 1998

This photograph of Manuela Wickham preparing corn tortillas in the “Hispanic Village” of the Jefferson County Fair in Madras, Oregon was taken by Laura Strobel on July 25, 1998. Strobel interviewed Wickham for a traveling exhibit project titled Traditional Arts of the Oregon Country (TAOC).

Manuela Wickham was born in 1948 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. In 1957, her family moved to central Oregon and found work in the potato and mint fields around Culver. Although her mother’s tortillas were homemade, Wickham didn’t learn how to make them herself until after she was married in 1972. By the mid-1980s, Wickham’s Mexican-cooking skills had matured, and she began publicly demonstrating the art of tortilla-making for local school groups and through various cultural awareness programs. According to Wickham, “The reason why I continue to make tortillas is because it’s a part of my culture and it reminds me of my mother. I can always hear her patting the tortillas with her hands.”

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