Friday, September 25, 2009

Family History and New Mexico History

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 This is the Martinez hacienda in Taos. You can tour it today for a few dollars. You cannot beat the experience to get a feel how some of our ancestors lived. Some were the like the hacienda owners and some were like the folks who kept it going.

New Mexico history is family history for Hispanic New Mexicans. Especially the Spanish period (1598 to 1820) and the Mexican period (1820 to 1846). The American period (1846 to now) is also family history, but now there are many families. Before the Americans came and annexed the province we were one huge family.

It appears that thru time, 1598 - 1846, we became primos, tios y tias, either thru blood and/or marriage. Maybe a few generations separating most of us, but that is all it did. Was to separate us. Back then we were a pretty homogeneous people. We all had roots in Spain, we all had roots in Mexico, we were all Catholic. Most of us had Native American blood of some kind. We all spoke the same language, we all ate essentially the same food.

We also faced the same dangers. Starvation, Indios barbaros, los Americanos, the Chihuahua merchants.

250 years of living in isolation in the upper reaches of the Rio Grande and its tributaries had caused this. 250 years is no small span of time. It might not be much for a tree, but for New Mexicans it was a long time. 

Think about the 250 years this way. The Americans have been in New Mexico 163 years. New Mexico has been a state 97 years.  1776 to 2009 is 233 years. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Homeland up Close 1598 to 1950 or so.

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Most of my maternal ancestors came from Santa Fe, then to San Miguel del Bado then to El Gusano (South San Isidro) and Las Ruedas on the Los Trigos Land Grant. There were also some at Pajarito, Las Colonias and Las Mulas (North San Isidro). Some in Ilfield, San Juan, San Jose and skipping over to Las Vegas.

My paternal ancestors came from Santa Cruz de la Canada and spread to San Miguel del Bado and north and west from there to Tecolote, Valles de San Geronimo, Sapello and downriver to La Junta (Watrous). Also in the Watrous area to Tiptonville, Cherry Valley and finally seems like they all ended up in Las Vegas.

The Second World War changed everything. During the war a lot were drafted into the service and when they came back they moved away. At first to the Denver and Los Angles area. The "moving away just speeded up and after the Korean war the spread to pretty much most of the country." But the majority are still here, in every walk of life too.

There is an excellent book on the subject. "The Hispano Homeland" by Richard L. Nostrand and published by the University of Oklahoma Press. It tracks Hispano New Mexicans from the get go thru the 1980's. An excellent, excellent book and well worth the price.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cautivos y Cautivas

The practice of taking captives was common amongst most Indian tribes. Between "los Indios Barbaros" and the Spanish it started as soon as the Indians could do it in New Mexico. That was probably around the time they started using the horse. Los Indios Barbaros were the Apache, Ute, Navajo, Kiowa and later the Comanche. And they all took captives.  

The Apache took  my 2nd great grand uncle Jose Andres Martin captive and later traded him to the Kiowa where he lived out his life. Reference an earlier post of mine here:

The only reference to the Pueblos taking Spanish captives that I can find is during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. The Pueblos kept at least a few Spanish women. At least one survived and is documented in the historical record.

Unlike the Europeans on the east coast, who were also being taken captive by the Indians, the Spanish also took captives. It was tit for tat amongst los Indios Barbaros and the Spanish in New Mexico. There were many Indians who were assimilated into New Mexican society as late as the early American Period. Most, if not all, were taken from the ranks of los Indios Barbaros, especially the Navajo. There are references in the historical record to the percentages of Apache and Comanche that were in reality Mexican. This historical record mostly from the traders on the Santa Fe Trail and later the Americans as they took over the province.

The Spanish/Mexicans lived in close proximity to the pueblos and inter marriage was common and frequent. But that is another post.

I think we can all look at our relatives, maybe even ourselves, and recognize Indian features in many.