Saturday, March 20, 2010

Emilia Benavidez/Refugio Benavidez

Click on the image to make it larger.

This is a picture of Emilia benavidez on the left, my maternal aunt and her sister and my mother Refugio Benavidez. The original picture was taken in 1920 when Emilia was 18 and Refugio was 15.

The original hangs in my house, it is an oval and shaped like a shallow bowl. I had the image restored, not the original picture. It came out nice.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Genizaro, how many Americans know the meaning? How many New Mexicans know the meaning? How many Hispanic New Mexicans know the meaning.

Genizaro were detribalized non Pueblo Indians in the midst of Hispano society in New Mexico before the American occupation in 1846. And there were many of them. The Comanche, Navajo, Ute and Apache would, in the course of their raiding, take captives. Young boys and women for the most part. The Spanish in New Mexico in time came to purchase these detribalized Indians. They did it to acquire servants, they did it to convert them to the Catholic faith and, in some cases, they did it to save their lives.

There is documentation of Spaniards refusing to purchase the captives and the Indians who had them would then slaughter the captives.  So the practice of purchasing them continued.

There came a time in the history of New Mexico where after generations of the practice, the numbers of Genizaros was large. They were living on the margins of New Mexican society. The very bottom rung of society.  Spanish authorities decided that they needed a place of their own to call home.

The New Mexico settlements of Tome, Abuiqui and San Miguel del Bado were originally populated with these Genizaro people. They were Hispanized detribalized Indians from many tribes. They may or may not have spoken their native language or the language of their captors. They were Christianized, they spoke Spanish etc., etc. 

Eventually they became assimilated and absorbed into New Mexican Hispano and Pueblo society.

The Genizaro walk amongst us today.