March 2014

Española – A Microcosm Of Our Region


Española is a microcosm of the wide border region of Mexico and the United States. It is the quintessential meeting place, albeit a chaotic and embattled one, of Latin American and Anglo civilizations. It is also the traditional homeland of the Tewa Pueblo people and their millennial civilization, which continues to honor the earth, its plants and animals, as well as the seen and unseen forces of the universe.


No landscape could be more beautiful or befitting of this epic intersection. The valley is flanked by the reposing blue mountains of the Jémez and the towering grey stone Truchas Peaks. More >

Tewa Pueblos, Spanish Villages, Official Villa and Railroad Town: The History of the Northern Valley of the Río Grande in New Mexico


Hilario Romero



No historian can write an accurate accountof the area known today as the “Española Valley” without including the early ancestors of the Tewa Pueblo Indians and the centuries before their eventual migration to this lush valley in the 1200s. After all, the city of Española is located on the Pueblo Land Grants of both Okeh’Owingue and Kha’P’oo’Owingue (San Juan and Santa Clara Pueblos). Also, the abandoned village of “La Cañada,” which was a small ranching village since the 1600s, was repopulated by the Tano people who migrated there from San Lázaro and San Cristóbal pueblos. Fifteen years after the More >

Book Profile



By Camilla Trujillo

Images of America Series – Arcadia Publishing (ISBN: 9780738579672)


After retiring from 25 years as artist-in-residence at northern New Mexico schools, Camilla Trujillo spent a year interviewing families, collecting historical photos and writing a series of essays. The result is a 128-page photographic journal of the Española Valley.



Española,” Trujillo says, “had been a complex community of about 20 villages, three Indian pueblos and a small city.” The scope of her book ranges from “El Encuentro,” the first meeting between the Spanish colonists and the Pueblo inhabitants of the upper Río Grande—to the establishment of the first capital of New More >

Reflections on the Española Plaza


Tom Guthrie


When I tell people I find the Española Plaza fascinating, I often encounter disbelief. I hear that the Plaza is an empty wasteland, a failed social project, or the unfortunate result of mayor Richard Lucero’s grandiose dreams. I myself see the Plaza as a complicated space where Nuevomexicanos are creatively coping with the region’s double colonial history and negotiating New Mexico’s place in the United States.


Plazas were the heart of both Pueblo and Spanish town planning. Almost all the settlements around Española have plazas. Española, though, was a railroad town established in the 1880s. As such, it had a main More >

Book Profile


Recognizing Heritage

The Politics of Multiculturalism in New Mexico

Thomas H. Guthrie, University of Nebraska Press, 2013, 336 pp.



In 2006 Congress established the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Area to recognize the 400-year “coexistence” of Spanish and Indian peoples in New Mexico and their place in the United States. National heritage areas enable local communities to partner with the federal government to promote historic preservation, cultural conservation and economic development. Recognizing Heritage explores the social, political and historical context of this and other public efforts to interpret and preserve Native American and Hispanic heritage in northern New Mexico.


The federal government’s recognition of New More >

Honoring the Spirit of the Española Valley

A Tewa Perspective


Matthew J. Martinez


I grew up at Ohkay Owingeh, a place that is situated in a vast landscape of mountain ranges, rivers and valleys rich in agricultural lands, and surrounded in a history of trickster stories and coyote voices. At the confluence of the Río Grande and Chama River exists a meeting ground of Tewa people who traveled from the north, from the earth and other emergence vessels to a place we call home—Ohkay Owingeh—place of the strong people. Nearby petroglyphs date back 10,000 years. Like a bead of knotted cords, the Río Grande weaves ancestral homelands of Posu More >

Cultivating a Future: Where Do We Go From Here?


Comments to the Chama Peak Land Alliance, Los Ojos, NM


Arturo Sandoval


Before we discuss where we go from here, it’s important for us to understand where we’ve been historically, and how we’ve gotten to where we are today.


The sobering reality is that northern New Mexico is in a deep crisis—economically, socially, educationally and psychologically. This current state of affairs has been caused by the cumulative effect of American colonial practices; by the collapse of traditional Hispano and Native American cultures under the pressure of modernity over the past 150 years; and by a fundamental and critical lack of visionary leadership by More >

Tierra Sagrada


Arturo Sandoval


I was born and raised in the Española Valley, which is my homeland—my Tierra Sagrada (sacred earth). I did not realize it then, except perhaps intuitively, but looking back over five decades, I realize now that I was raised as much by “place” as I was by family and by community.


Our toys were “palitos de leña” that we turned into horses that we raced across the llano. In winter, we built our own sleds out of wood, and covered the runners with thin strips of tin before propelling ourselves down the nearby hills. More than anything else, we used our imaginations More >

What Does Public Health Look Like in Española?


Ana Malinalli X. Gutiérrez Sisneros


The heart of northern New Mexico, where cultures unite,” says the website for the city of Española ( It is where I have chosen to live for the last 30 years and raise my two children, now grown. Why did I choose it? Well, there are many living cultures here, and languages are still spoken that I was hearing less and less of in Albuquerque. I am comfortable in Española; it is like a perpetual South Valley. It’s rural, there are still dirt roads, life is at a slower (and lower, for the cars that make More >

Hispanos in the Valley of Sorrows: Overdoses and Suicides in North Central New Mexico


W. Azul La Luz



Please picture this: you walk into a cancer ward in a hospital; with you is a knowledgeable oncologist. He looks around at the terminally ill patients, many of whom are in various stages of dying from their respective cancers in what would be horrific pain were it not for the large dosages of pain medication. The oncologist turns to you and says, “We really need to cure these people of their drug addiction.”

The essence of that statement is exactly what the “accidental drug overdose” deaths are about. An epidemic of drug overdose deaths has been plaguing More >

OP-ED: Drug Addiction in the Española Valley


Drug addiction in the Española Valley and northern New Mexico is a real concern. The addicts are mostly victims of heroin, cocaine, crack, alcohol abuse and painkillers. However, meth, which has become an increasing problem in the state, has affected many youth and people between the ages of 22 and 28. It is a very discomforting that there are a large percentage of unemployed youth and also young children that have succumbed to this.


What is particularly distressing with this epidemic is that we have no consistent programs that have been effective to combat this destructive way of life. Help More >

Reclaiming Española


Alejandro López


For the last week, I have experienced Española on foot and visited countless sites, including Santa Cruz, McCurdy, Fairview, Riverside, Cuarteles, Arroyo Seco, San Pedro, El Alto de Española, Corral de Piedra, El Guique, Hernandez, El Duende, Ranchitos, El Llano and Santo Niño. As it turns out, Española, a centerless American commercial satellite, transposed to this community of old Native American and Nuevo Mexicano villages in the late 1800s (which, over time, it absorbed) is not one place, but many. Each has its own geography, history, architecture (or lack of), set of old families and new, and of course, its More >

Living the Dream of Cooperation and Friendship in Tewa, Spanish and English


by Alejandro Lopez with Tewa Translation by Vickie Downey



Wi thaaa, thayan day t´ oe maa ihaydi, navi pon don ku? i taa idi hedi oe yoekan heda oe aa kudi. Oe aa k´oe in ayyaa oe Kapo win heda in ayaa oe Santa Cruz win da na’ i sawodi nan di da thaa hedi k’ema in di muu hedi danpava wiyeh heda kuu a oe k’o togi, i panteh wingindi dan kú i. Dan man ya’a, pin da hedaanshaa, i nan da i p’oe adi day tay paa’ i i nap´orkhuu I nap’oekhuu oe sogeh di, wina tayaa i More >

Love in the Valley of Infinity

We are now living for the promise of infinity”—Luis Peña.



Clarissa A. Durán



We are coming into a time of love and balance. We are being reborn spiritually via the Energy of the Divine Feminine. No, this isn’t a woo-woo piece on spirituality. This is a story of the heart of Española. We are a people of complex cosmology made of our European ancestors who came to México, created life with our Aztec grandmothers, whose progeny came to El Norte and created life with our Tewa ancestors. We are Yo Soy Joaquin[‘s] everything and nothing. We are La Raza Cósmica.


The greatest part More >

The Española Hunter Arts and Agricultural Center and Community Mural Project


Roger Montoya, Alejandro López and Renee Villarreal



In 2013, the New Mexico Community Foundation’s Collaborative Leadership Program, in association with international community activist Lily Yeh, launched an arts and culture initiative fueled by highly participatory community building and intercultural collaborations. Ms. Yeh, a petite, humble, 71-year-old Chinese-American, has helped restore broken communities for survivors of the genocidal Rwandan war of 1992, for shunned shantytown dwellers from Korokocho, Kenya, who make their living by salvaging odds and ends from an adjacent dump, and for overlooked residents of blighted US East Coast inner cities. In New Mexico, she worked with community leaders and More >

Sustaining Our Local Economies


Christopher Madrid


We all want our local economies to thrive. We want a place where our youth can choose to live where they were raised because they can secure an acceptable standard of living worthy of their talents. We want fulfilling job opportunities for our citizens… we want the American dream to continue in our rural communities.


Unfortunately, the recent economic trends remain unacceptable, which begs the question, “What do we do about it?” In large part we tend to place the responsibility for the economy on government and other non-government organizations, but in fact we have had remarkable consensus for some More >

OP-ED: Rethinking Northern New Mexico College


Susan Meredith


Were it not for the fact that Northern New Mexico College in Española has been the recipient of enormous sums of money from the state over its nearly 45 years of existence, and that few other institutions in the valley can serve as a potent catalyst for positive community development in an otherwise impoverished region, its poor performance record could be overlooked.


In just the last two years, Northern’s enrollment has plummeted, as students are voting with their feet by taking their tuition dollars to other institutions. Student migration has been prompted, in part, by a recent dramatic hike More >

Academy of Sustainability Education Planned for Santa Fe


Kim Shanahan


Real sustainability can only be achieved if the social fabric of a local community is sustained. In one as fascinating, complex and beautiful as Santa Fe, that is not easy. The proposed reconfiguration of the South Campus of Santa Fe High around a concept to be called The Academy of Sustainability Education will engage Santa Fe’s diverse youth with rigorous, relevant, hands-on, project-based learning. It will weave sustainability into the fabric of their lives.

Santa Feans who experienced Santa Fe High School more than 15 years ago, either as parents, as students or both, have clear memories of education on More >

2014 New Mexico Legislative Wrap-Up


Laura E. Sanchez


The 2014 legislative session is history, adjourning at noon on Feb. 20. Like many previous short sessions, it was a race to the finish on certain bills, while others languished in committees, held hostage by committee chairs in some cases but, more often, falling victim to the ticking clock.

This year was a budget session, which means legislators were obliged to adopt a budget for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. Bills introduced also had to be germane to the budget or the state’s financial matters. Any not related to the budget had to receive a message from More >

Newsbites – March 2014


Northern New Mexico Regional Art Center Events

The Northern New Mexico Regional Art Center, a nonprofit organization based in the Plaza de Española, is under contract with the city of Española to provide arts education management services to the community. NNMRAC operates the Convento Gallery, a gift shop and visitor center on the Plaza. The organization also provides after-school art, music/chorus classes year-round, including a Summer Arts Academy.


On March 14, between 5 and 7 pm, there will be an opening reception for Río Rancho artists Jean Kempinsky and Dick Overfield. Their exhibition ends April 11. The annual NNMRAC Santo Niño More >