The Latino Symbol
This symbol is the seal of the Taino Tribal Nation, the original people of Puerto Rico.
This symbol was etched into rock around 900 B.C. and represents one outer Sun circle,
one inner Moon circle, the three stem points of the ceremonial pipe, and the three
cardinal points of the sacred mountain of Cauta, from which it is said that all humankind
originated. Sun symbols similar to this appear in indigenous artifacts from Mexico
through the countries of South America.
Latinos are the largest ethnic community in Washington State, and are among the oldest
and newest migrants to this area. Spanish mariners began exploring and mapping the
Northwest Coast in the 1500s, and these early explorations spawned a network of Spanish
speaking people along the Pacific Coast that were used as stepping stones by later
The second wave of Mexican migration came through the building of the railroads from
Mexico City to British Columbia between the 1870s and 1920s. The braceros—literally,
men who worked with their arms (brazos) with the strength of steel (aceros)—did the
hardest work of shattering rock, building bridges and laying down track. A third wave of
migration replaced American workers-turned-soldiers during World War II. Yakima
Valley farms were literally saved from ruin by the braceros.
During the 1960s, many workers came to Western Washington’s urban centers in pursuit
of a better life unrelated to agriculture. Other migrants came through the military, from
the South, and from cities in the Eastern U.S. in search of socio-economic mobility.
Thousands of Latin American and Cuban refugees came in the 1960s-1980s to escape
political repression at home.