Cislanderus, the name of our project, is formed from the combination of pieces that represent the union of two cultures: Canary+islander+US. We wanted to allude playfully to the United States acronym (U.S.), while making a reference to the plural personal pronoun “us”. Therefore, Cislanderus unites the Canary Islanders from both sides, the ones from the US, and the ones from the archipelago. In addition to illustrating this shared heritage that dates back to the 18th century, the goal of our project is to bring to light the presence of this community and its efforts to maintain the legacy of which they are proud of. The first stage of this work is dedicated to Louisiana. The second part, not started yet, will focus on the descendants of the 16 families that arrived in San Antonio, Texas, in 1731.
For the first time, Cislanderus gives a face to this reality. Our goal is to make a book and a photographic exhibition that will travel around the United States and the Canary Islands. Both the exhibition and the book will visit the emblematic places of this history, the places lost after the repeated scourges of the sea; we will see the faces and hear the voices of the “isleños” from Delacroix Island, the descendants from Baton Rouge, Reggio and San Antonio; we will delve deep into their work as fishermen and hunters, and discover the ways in which they fight on a daily basis to preserve an unprecedented historical and cultural legacy, often despite institutional oblivion and silence. The idea for this undertaking arose from our need to find answers, to complete what we could not find in the limited number of books dedicated to the history and language of this community. Today, two years after starting our research, Cislanderus is much more than a project, it is a voyage of discovery that will introduce us to the Canary Islanders of Louisiana in a way that has never been done before: face to face, and with the desire to look towards the future of a community which yet has much to say.