May 2014

Las Norteñas: Prescription for Healing


Española has an alliance with Taos Pueblo. By “Española,” I mean The Valley, as we refer to it. The Valley includes the Tewa villages, as well as the 18th-century villages of Santa Cruz, Guachupangue, La Mesilla, La Puebla, etc., that still exist and make up greater Española. Our alliance goes back to a time, not so long ago, when we were mutually raising the foods of our survival and tenacity. It was a time when the Camino Real was nearing the end of its 300-year run, and the Santa Fe Trail had not yet begun. And because life is that More >

The Battle at Santa Cruz de la Cañada and the Siege at Taos Pueblo


Camilla Trujillo



The following is a true story. It really happened. I think it is important to retell it now, so that we can understand the source of a wounding that occurred in the Española Valley in the 1800s.


Part 1


In 1789, when Washington was our country’s first president, the Valley, which would not become “Española” for another 100 years and was still known as the Parish of Santa Cruz, was approaching its 200th year of European colonization. By then, the “European” had given way to “New Mexican,” and the Valley was experiencing what archaeologist Herbert Dick deduced was a century More >

Thoughts about an Imposed Grand Silence from Communal Trauma


Impacts of the Taos Revolt of 1847 are still felt.


Juanita Lavadie


Through generations since the Taos Revolt, it is difficult to comprehend the terror and trauma inflicted by this event on families that had long lived on this land, Hispanic and Native American. A gnawing silence pervades any family stories about this historic time of violence, revenge, brutal seizures and unrestrained executions in the name of patriotic U.S.A. retribution. I will not recite any historical data but, rather, only present a voice of personal perspective. Over the years, I have listened to and collected family stories that have inspired work and More >

Women Start the Healing Process in Response to Historic Violence


Don Bustos


The recent news of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) kicking ranchers and cattle off federally managed public land in Nevada stirred an emotional chord in me because of New Mexico’s history. The ranchers contend that their water and livestock rights were recognized by the state long before the federal government took over the land’s management. I started to think about why there is such distrust between traditional, land-based people and the U.S. government.

Growing up, I was told that our land and freedom were taken away by several different governments. First, we escaped Spanish rule in the More >

Being of Tewa Women Ancestry


Kathy Wanpovi Sanchez


Being of Tewa ancestry in these times bears tremendous testimony to the love of all our relations. Being kind-hearted women, compassionate sisters, supportive aunties, patient (oh so patient) wives, caring mothers, tired but generous and loving grandmothers—all within an Indigenous beingness—bears testimony to Mother Earth’s love for us all.


My passion in life is to create new pathways to reach and re-energize the hearts of women running on frustration, women who are sick and tired of seeing our people trying to be tribal in the boogieman’s shoes.


What do native lullabies have in common with the boogieman? News travels More >

La Querencia: Agriculture, Culture, and the Creation of Meaning in Northern New Mexico


Maclovia Quintana


People have been farming in northern New Mexico for generations running into centuries, my own family among them. When I first came to Yale in 2007, I did not expect that I would eventually end up studying the very place I came from. But this is the nature of New Mexico—you may leave, but it never leaves you. Now, as a Masters student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, I have focused my research on small-scale agriculture in northern New Mexico, on the way that it has changed over time, but most importantly on the way More >

Along the Path of Learning


Camilla Trujillo


As a kid I would accompany my Grandma Tonita outdoors, where she’d point to this “yerba” or that one and say, “Traime eso.” I would carefully pull a few leaves and flowers from the plant and reverently deliver them to her. She would tuck them into her apron. Inside, we would place the various herbs into boiling water and cook them into a tea. From tummy aches to hangovers, Grandma had a “remedio” that she could find in the garden. I grew up knowing that her remedies had as much curing power as anything, and I raised my own More >

Women in Agriculture in the Española Valley


¡Qué Viva Mujeres!


Sayrah Namaste


Most New Mexicans know the legend of San Isidro the Laborer and Santa María de la Cabeza, peasant farm workers in Spain who were devout Catholics and had the assistance of an angel in the fields. We celebrate the holy couple every May with the blessing of the acequias on the feast day of San Isidro. During times of drought in Spain, Santa María’s skull was carried in processions to pray for rain, so she became known as Santa María de la Cabeza.

Although many people picture a man when we use the word “farmer,” women are More >

Memory Doors


Patricia Trujillo


Each morning, I have the privilege of opening the door in my kitchen to look out onto the juniper-covered hills and mesitas that my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother looked upon in El Guache, New Mexico. I take my cup of coffee to the door and begin every day by monitoring the slight changes. Recently, I’ve seen an apricot tree take bright pink bloom, and then unfortunately, frost, and scatter the not-to-be fruit like burnt popcorn on the ground. In the last couple of weeks, leaves began their green push into life. Birds come and go from this More >

Oremos, Oremos: The Fruitful Life of Isabel Salazar, an Amazing Cook


Camilla Trujillo


Oremos, oremos de los cielos, venemos.

Si no nos den Oremos.

Puertas y ventanas que braremos!

We pray, we pray.

From the heavens, we come.

Doors and Windows will not stop us!

Here in Lyden, we had Oremos,” says Isabel Salazar. “Daddy would make two luminarias with peach wood. He said they were for bringing the Holy Spirit. When it got dark on Christmas Eve, he would light them, and we kids would go outside and hold hands around the fire. We would jump around while he would pray for the Ánimas, the dearly departed. And while Dad would go on and on and on, More >

Healthy Children Make Happy, Healthy Communities


Anna Marie García


At the moment the bow of the large Spanish vessel touched the distant shores of the New World, the passengers were ignorant of the impact their immigration would have on the generations to come. Those passengers included my ancestors, hailing from the shores of Seville. Among their many impacts is my own steadfast dream to travel, to experience living with other cultures and to continue to learn every day.”

Noah García, my son, expressing the three key things at the heart of our family’s passion for living


Growing up in a small farming community along the Río Grande under the More >

A Tribute to a Living Legend


Roger Montoya


My mother and friend, Dorotea Montoya, widely known to community members from the Española Valley as “Dottie,” is recognized by many people of northern New Mexico as a woman of great wisdom, strength and resilience.


Dottie was born in 1933 in a small adobe house in the mountain village of Picurís Pueblo near Peñasco. She was born to Demetria and Maximiliano Roybal. Demetria, a remarkable community leader herself, would instill in my mother the deep commitment to community that would be the driving force of her life’s work. One of 13 children, Dottie and my father, José Amado Montoya, would More >

Smoke and Mirrors: Theater as Healing Art


Rosalía Triana


I have struggled all my life with the kinds of problems that are all too familiar here in El Norte. But I don’t want to talk about the problems; I want to discuss solutions, although I don’t know “the” solution. All I know is that I do one thing well, and it’s a useful thing. It has helped me heal and changed my life for the better. So I want to share it with my community. That’s why we have created Española’s MainStreet Theatre, as a tool for bringing community together, for sharing stories and developing skills, for finding More >

Reviving the Seed Arts: Reclaiming Resilience in Our Local Foodsheds


Laurie Lange


It’s an exciting time to be an eater of carrots and daikon, kohlrabi and escarole. There’s so much more variety in produce now, and many more local places—with a farmer’s face attached—to get it. And more variety in seed catalogs, too. As a long-time gardener, I remember the 1970s doldrums I got when looking through tomato listings: a few old standbys, plus some hybrids with industrial names. That was it. The reintroduction of heirlooms has added so much flavor and color! Pink, red, purple, orange and yellow—a spectrum of tomatoes from around the world and with unique histories.


In More >

The Bee Hive: Boom to Bloom

Promoting Nutritious Habitat for Local Pollinator Production and Food Security


Melanie Margarita Kirby


For almost a decade now, there has been an explosion of beekeepers across the nation. In 2006, as news of colony collapse disorder spread, folks became concerned, and many were inspired to learn honeybee husbandry. While the world does indeed need more beekeepers, what it especially needs is more healthy stock to steward. However, this is a very nuanced endeavor.


As weather continues to fluctuate and environments are contaminated, pollinator production around the world is being compromised. Many novices fail to research properly before beginning. First and foremost is the More >

Fungi Can Help Save the World

  Working with Underground Soil Ecology in Organic Farming


L. Acuña Sandoval


All anyone has to do is read the latest report from the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to comprehend the grim details of our shifting planet. One of the worst predicted impacts in the coming decades (besides rising sea levels) is that food may become scarce. Food crops may not be able to survive or evolve fast enough in the changing climate to feed Earth’s inhabitants. How do we initiate changes now to be able to produce food to save future generations? A relationship that plants, humans More >

OP-ED: Defending Our Community Bill of Rights Ordinance, Which Bans Corporate Oil and Gas Drilling in Mora County


John Olivas


This past spring, the people of our county—Mora County, New Mexico—became the first county in the United States to ban all corporate oil and gas drilling as a violation of the people’s civil and environmental rights.


During the past six months, several corporations have sued Mora County in federal court, seeking to overturn our law, known as the Mora County Community Bill of Rights.


The corporations are claiming the following:


  • That our ban violates the corporations’ constitutional rights to drill;
  • That our protection of the fundamental rights of the people and the natural environment of Mora County violates the More >

Newsbites – May 2014


More Young and Hispanic Farmers in New Mexico

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture survey shows a significant increase in the number of young and minority farmers in New Mexico over the past five years, as well as more farms and ranches. The average age of the principal farm operator in the state is 60.5. However, the number of farmers and ranchers under age 34 jumped from 818 to 1,200.


There are more than 24,700 farms and ranches in the state, according to the 2012 agriculture census. That’s an 18 percent increase since 2007, which is contrary to the national trend. The More >

The Great March for Climate Action Comes to New Mexico


Earl James


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu


And so does a journey of 2,996 miles from Los Angeles, Calif., to Washington, D.C. On March 1, more than 1,000 human beings—just like you and me—made a decision to march out of L.A. with a goal of reaching the nation’s capital on Nov. 1, calling all along the way for U.S. action on the climate crisis. Fall congressional elections can’t duck this Great March.


Approximately 40 people signed up for the entire eight-month march, braving heat, rain and cold, all to bring attention to the desperate More >

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate’s Statements


Editor’s note: The June 3 primary is approaching. Gary King is New Mexico’s attorney general; Linda Lopez and Howie Morales are state senators; Lawrence Rael has served in many executive roles; Alan Webber is a businessman and former publisher.


Gary King:

Protection of the environment and especially of our ground and surface water resources is one of my top prioritiesthat is what we need in the Governor’s Office today. Where others may talk and make promises, as your attorney general I have fought to protect our environment. I am proud of my record of accomplishment. 


A few years ago I challenged the Bush-EPA’s More >