History ETDs


Jacobo Baca

Publication Date



This dissertation examines changes in Hispano and Pueblo Indian land tenure in the Tewa Basin of north central New Mexico across three centuries. Land grants imposed upon the Pueblo world in the Spanish colonial period limited the shrinking Pueblo population. They paradoxically protected Pueblo land from further incursions through the Mexican era. By the American territorial period, Pueblo and Hispano land grants were exposed to similar legal, political, and economic processes that dispossessed both communities of their commonly held lands. When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the federal government intervened after decades of reneging on its duty to protect Pueblo lands. The result was the Pueblo Lands Board, which examined non-Indian claims to lands within the exterior boundaries of Pueblo land grants. New Deal programs followed the proceedings of the board, and addressed both Pueblo and Hispano land tenure by purchasing numerous Hispano community and quasi-community land grants that had long since passed from communal ownership. Through an examination of intercultural relations and government relations, I analyze how Indian Pueblos and Hispano villages that once shared a sense of common destiny grew apart by the middle of the 20th century. This dissertation explores ethnic politics in Hispanos struggle for culturally based land claims in New Mexico. It examines the repression of Pueblo-Hispano hybridity by Pueblo rights advocates, government bureaucrats, Indiophiles, Hispanophiles, and Hispano and Pueblo communities themselves. It compares Hispano communities struggle for land and water rights with comparable Pueblo Indians struggles. Despite similarities in how they worked and bore claim to their land in the past, the divisive way that Hispano and Pueblo communities relate to one and other and how they understand and articulate their claims to land and water rights is indicative of growing fissures between the two communities. Convoluting already complex relationships are changes in Hispano ethnic politics, where celebrations of a Spanish colonial heritage have given way to a recognition and assertion of indigenous origins, articulated notably in claims to land and water rights.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

García y Griego, L. Manuel

Second Committee Member

Connell-Szasz, Margaret

Third Committee Member

Smith, Jason Scott

Fourth Committee Member

Singer, Beverly



Project Sponsors

Center for Regional Studies Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Office of the State Historian (New Mexico)

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