As Santa Fe has become more and more of a tourist town, its Hispanic citizens have increasingly struggled to define and preserve their own cultural identity. This book is one of the few efforts by a native Hispanic resident to examine the city's traditions and cultures. Andrew Leo Lovato's focus is to understand how outside influences have affected Hispanic cultural identity and how this identity is being altered and maintained. Lovato also analyzes the development of homegrown Hispanic cultural identity in Santa Fe.
Looking at the impact of tourism, he asks questions that resonate in any city relying on tourism for its livelihood: When a culture is defined, interpreted, or co-modified by outsiders, are natives of that culture influenced by the outsiders' interpretation? Do outsiders' definitions become part of their self-identity?
Lovato begins by reviewing Santa Fe's history, from the Anasazi to the present-day tourist boom. In attempting to define the city's cultural identity, he includes excerpts from interviews with some of New Mexico's intelligentsia. Other interviews help examine the Santa Fe Fiesta and the city's identity as an art market. The concluding chapter, which considers tourism's general impact, features discussions of authenticity, the impact of tourism on native cultures, the relationship of tourism to development, and the political dimension of tourism.