Is New Mexico an ‘Incomplete Project’ of the United States?

Brought Into the Union Through Conquest, the State’s Untidy Identity and History of Autonomy Persist

New Mexico has an uneasy and complicated history. After joining the United States by conquest—through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848—its residents didn’t automatically become citizens until the area gained statehood in 1912. The legacy of this past—which includes Native American settlements that stretch back over a millennium and Spanish colonization in the late 16th century—was the subject of a Smithsonian/ASU “What It Means to Be American” event, titled “How Did the American Conquest of the Southwest Shape New Mexico’s Future?” which took place …

How New Mexico’s “Peons” Became Enslaved to Debt

A System Inherited From Colonial Spain Kept Americans in Servitude Even After the Civil War

Imagine a time and place where a small debt—even just a few dollars—could translate into a lifetime of servitude not only for the debtor, but also for his or her …

Train From New Mexico

In the Lamy train station, passengers lean stiff
hips against wooden benches. Hear that old creak.
An attendant heaves my green trunk onto an antique
scale made of wood and …

Manifest Destiny, That Atrocious Ideal

A Wintertime Visit to a Onetime Nuclear Test Site Reveals the Lengths Americans Go to Own Whatever They Please

On the outskirts of Tularosa, New Mexico, I drove among sacred mountains. It was three days before Christmas, 2014, and it was over 70 degrees. With the A/C cranked, I …

A Young Bride Among the Roustabouts of Santa Fe

My Great-Great Grandmother Missed the Gentle, Green Valleys of Germany, But Our Jewish Family Needed a New Start

When my great-great-grandmother set out for New Mexico territory in 1866, she spoke no English. Nor did she speak any Spanish.

German was her native language; Yiddish as well. Julia …

Saying Goodbye to Rush Hour on the 405

Teaching Yoga in Roswell, New Mexico Ain’t Glamorous. But There’s Something Magnificent About Living in a Place Where There’s Nothing to Do But Think.

Today looks like this. Up at 6 a.m. for a dog walk to beat the sunshine. Out the door by 7. See the city firemen training with weights at the …