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Not Now

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

15 2 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
appease the Comanches and Kiowas, but fails to contrast adequately this policy
with the will and wishes of Texans.
Such minor faults do not detract from the volume's scholarly value. As the
confrontation between the two college students illustrated, animosities in Indian
Country still linger. In fact, the author should be commended for placing Indian
dynamics at the epicenter of a larger history in which they are more often fixed
on the periphery.
Sam Houston State University TY CASHION
The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico. Edited by Erlinda
Gonzales-Berry and David R. Maciel. (Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press, 2000. Pp. vi+313. Acknowledgments, introduction, notes on
contributors, index, illustrations. ISBN 0-8263-2199-2. $19.95, paper.)
Historical works on Nuevo Mixico are plentiful, especially with regard to the
region's Spanish colonial and Mexican historiography. On the other hand, there
have been only a few in-depth studies of New Mexico as a cultural homeland,
and still fewer works on protective measures by Nuevomexzcanos to maintain the
homeland. The purpose of The Contested Homeland is not only to fill the void but
also to relate the history "from a Chicano perspective" (p. 8). As the editors
note, the settlement and development of New Mexico as a Hispanic territory
occurred much earlier than that of the neighboring states; yet "We had to wait
until the advent of the Chicano movement . .. to understand the complexity of
Nuevomexicano history and identity formation" (p. 6).
The last chapter in the volume in fact recounts the Chicano movement of the
mid-196os and the 1970s as experienced in New Mexico, one of the places in
the Southwest where contestation was most pronounced. To appreciate the
Chicano history of Nuevo Mexico, this chapter should be read first. Interestingly,
the Chicano movement here centered on resistance and affirmation of identity:
the homeland issues of community land grants, political empowerment, and the
preservation of cultural heritage. Aptly, the chapter begins with an account of
the land struggles led by charismatic leader Reies Lopez Tijerina and the Alianza
Federal de Mercedes Libres. Inspired by Tijerina and the followers of the
Alianza (mostly land-based elders from rural counties), student activists and
other Hispanics mobilized to address a host of other latent issues in the state:
political empowerment with an explicit Chicano agenda by way of grassroots
organizations such as the Raza Unida Party of New Mexico; economic empower-
ment utilizing the resources of the ancestral villages along the river valleys, espe-
cially land and water rights; and cultural awareness in the arts and the academic
curricula of the state's colleges and universities.
The issues of the Chicano movement of New Mexico were deeply rooted in cul-
tural resistance and collective action of earlier times, dating to the occupation of
the homeland by military forces of the United States from 1846 to 1848. In Part I
of the book, we learn that the plotting of a resistance movement by
Nueveomexicanos began just a few months after Col. Stephen Kearny established a
provisional government, culminating in the armed rebellions at Taos and Mora
in early 1847. The resistance forces were not successful in regaining control of

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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