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 way, it was a time of great sorrow.


By Easter Sunday of 1847, Sterling Price, a Confederate general for the American/Mexican War, had captured, killed and begun the executions of hundreds of villagers from Río Arriba. In less than three months, Price offensively derailed the Valley, Mora, Embudo, Taos and Taos Pueblo. The issue was not our loyalty to Mexico; it was the land grab instigated by the likes of Bent, Beaubien and Armijo, who had anticipated the demise of Mexico and the plunder that would ensue.


I reflect on those who kept it together during that impossibly difficult time. The women, our great-great-grandmothers, fed the living and buried the dead, as they still do. And I wonder, why isn’t this story widely known? It’s an important story that is ready to be discussed, shared and put into perspective.



Camilla Trujillo, guest associate editor




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