Four Square Leagues: Pueblo Land in New Mexico
Malcolm Ebright, Rick Hendricks and Richard W. Hughes
12 original drawings, 4 maps, 7 illustrations, index, bibliography. 452 pages
UNM Press, 2014, www.southwestbooks.org
This long-awaited book is a detailed, up-to-date account of the complex history of Pueblo Indian land in New Mexico, beginning in the late 17th century and continuing to the present day.
The authors (historian Malcolm Ebright, an attorney and director of the Center for Land Grant Studies; New Mexico State Historian Rick Hendricks; and Richard W. Hughes, an attorney specializing in Indian law) have scoured documents and legal decisions to trace the rise of the mysterious Pueblo League between 1700 and 1821 as the basis of Pueblo land under Spanish rule. They also provide a detailed analysis of Pueblo lands after 1821 to determine how the Pueblos and their non-Indian neighbors reacted to the change from Spanish to Mexican and then to U.S. sovereignty.
Four Square Leagues is characterized by success stories of protection of Pueblo land as well as by centuries of encroachment by non-American Indians on Pueblo lands and resources. Specific studies of the land struggles of Jémez, Cochiti, Santa Clara, Sandia and Picurís pueblos are capped by Santa Ana Pueblo’s campaign in the early 1700s to buy back their ancestral lands from their Spanish neighbors, and Taos Pueblo’s successful battle for its sacred Blue Lake. This is a uniquely New Mexican history that also reflects issues of indigenous land tenure that vex contested territories all over the world.