Many books deal with New Mexico's past, but the twelve original essays here reinterpret that history for the first time from a Chicano perspective. Self-determination, resistance, and cultural maintenance are the recurring themes in the lives and struggles of Nuevomexicanos from 1848 to the present. The conflict has been not solely with the customs and institutions Anglos introduced--though certainly that has occurred. On a more fundamental level, the clash has been over modernization--how the Spanish language, folk traditions, and land grants can survive as a heritage for future generations amid English, new and secular values, and real estate booms and speculation.
Nuevomexicanos have confronted colonialism, ethnocentrism, and racism throughout their history. But as these essays make clear, pride in Spanish descent runs deep in New Mexico and has led to a vibrancy unmatched in any other region in the United States. Nuevomexicanos have not simply survived or endured. They have secured their influence through the highest level of education among all Chicanos in the United States, through greater political representation at the local and national level--and in both major parties--than in any other state, and through a culture that has simultaneously resisted and adapted to change.
"This collection is a first in taking a Chicano perspective. . . . An outstanding, important work. "--John R. Chávez, Southern Methodist University