La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado
"La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado" collects eleven essays by a cross-section of Colorado scholars and writers. The book opens with an examination of Spanish-Mexican exploration, conquest, and settlement of the Colorado region. Moving from exploration to biographical sketches, the book profiles the enigmatic Teresita Sandoval, cofounder of Pueblo; provides the turn-of-the-century memoir of vaquero Elfido Lopez; and offers a bilingual version of the autobiography of Pablo Cabeza de Baca, who recalls the values of his youth and his days at Denver's Sacred Heart College, the precursor of Regis University.
Several essays address the employment patterns of the early part of this century, when desperate native-born Hispanos and Mexican immigrants competed by the thousands for jobs at mining and agricultural corporations throughout Colorado. Four essays study particular expressions of this conflict, including the infamous Ludlow coal strike of 1913-1914; Colorado's sugar beet industry, where Mexican immigrants faced constant discrimination; the growth of the state's sugar industry, the collapse of which devastated Mexicans (the preferred labor force in the field); and a New Deal-era experiment in which laid-off miners were trained to weave Rmo Grande-style blankets, in the process revitalizing a dying folk art.
Finally, four essays encompass the recent political and cultural rebirth of Hispanos, including a study of the origins of the Crusade for Justice, Denver's leading Chicano rights organization of the 1960s, which-based on declassified FBI documents-proves that government agencies tried to suppress the Crusade and its popular leader, Corky Gonzales. Inaddition, authors look at the Westside Coalition's efforts to help that Denver community take control of its own affairs; profile mental health professional Diana Velazquez and the synthesis of Indian and Spanish folk medicine known as curanderismo; and analyze Hispano land use in southern Colorado, citing San Luis as an example of a community struggling to preserve its communal self-sufficiency and the environment in the face of development by outside contractors and businesses.
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During the Mexican Republic Era (1821-48), the government issued suspicious
land grants (mercedes) covering parts of southern Colorado, including the
Sangre de Cristo, Conejos, Vigil St. Vrain, Nolan, Tierra Amarilla, and Baca
grants.7 In 1843, New Mexico's last Mexican governor, Manuel Armijo, granted
the above land to foreigners of questionable loyalty like Americans Ceran St.
Vrain and Stephen Lee and Canadians Gervais Nolan, Charles Beaubien, and
his son Narciso.
for "war has many forms." From his perspective, the government that sent its
citizens to fight in Vietnam was disregarding the rights of Chicanos, and the
responsibility for righting these injustices lay in the hands of minorities.42 "The
People of New Mexico Have Moved Together ..." To the FBI, Gonzales's anti-war
politics and ties to Black Power activists, leftists, and progressives were
overshadowed by his association with Reies Lopez Tijerina and the dramatic
New Mexico land-grant ...
For more on the cultural ecology of Chicano agropas- toralism see John R. Van
Ness, "Hispanic Land Grants: Ecology and Subsistence in the Uplands of
Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado," Land, Water, and Culture: New
Perspectives on Hispanic Land Grants, Charles L. Briggs and John R. Van Ness,
eds. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987), 141-216; Devon G.
Pefia, "The 'Brown' and the Green': Chicanos and Environmental Politics in the
Upper Rio ...
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Woman in Between
Some Memories from My Life as Written by Elfido Lopez
Pastimes in the Life of Pablo Cabeza de Baca
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