Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

Land Grant - Merced and Acequia Historical Gallery & Repository

September 2021 New Mexico Land Grant Council monthly meeting

Background: AG’s Directive/Beliefs

“Focus Efforts on Our Most Vulnerable Land-Based Communities”
“Hear the Voices – Transform Equity Voices to Become Legal Voices”
“Building Capacity to Identify Policies Available to Local Voices”
“Support Citizen Leadership & Community Heroes – Train for Succession”
“Facilitate Efficient Governance – Dancing Through the Walls”

Historical: An addition to the NMDOJ office where historical and research materials can be viewed and studied. Also offers temporary housing for documents provided by Land Grant Boards, Acequia Commissions and other entities that best reflect New Mexico’s traditional communities.

Gallery: A visual snapshot which reflects Land Grant-Mercedes and Acequias significance in history and the present. This small collection of legal papers, records pertinent to the study of ancestral lands and documentation of centuries-old traditions, empowers New Mexico’s most vulnerable land-based communities and encourages New Mexicans of all ages to recognize our historic cultural roots.

Repository: Located on the NMDOJ website, the repository is maintained digitally to record relevant documents and other materials in perpetuity. Intended as a community-based, educational platform, the Repository also includes a series of videos highlighting our Land Grant and Acequia leaders and organizations. Constituents can additionally find links to several other resources such as the New Mexico Land Grant Council, the UNM Land Grant Studies Program, New Mexico Land Grant Interim Committee, New Mexico Acequia Commission, etc.

Acequia Display Case

From New Mexico Acequia Association

1865 Estatutos revisados y leyes del territorio,
         “Acequias” Acto de Juno 20 de 1851 Pp. 19-32

1922 Pecos Hydrographic Survey
1929 Reglas y Regulaciones de la acequia de la mesa del medio 

1939-2005 Leger Book with reglas and meeting notes

1949 Reglas de La Comunidad de Buena Visita

1974 Acequias del Norte by Phil Lovato

1991 Upper Pecos River Stream System Hydrographic Survey 1991-2017

1991 Gallinas River Section [Proposed] Partial Final Judgement and Decree. Sheet 23

2014 Nuestra Señora del Rosario San Fernando y Santiago Land Grant

2015 New Mexico Acequía Association Governance Handbook and Bylaws Template 

2017 Water Rights Declaration and New Mexico Land Grants

2021 Acequía and Land Grant Education Project

2021 Reclaiming Our Past, Sustaining Our Future:
         Envisioning a NM Land Grant and Acequía Curriculum

2022 Indigenous feminism flows through the fight for water rights on the Rio Grande

 ————————————————————————————-

2004 Bulto de San Isidro presented to Governor Bill Richardson at signing of Land Grant
           – Merced Authorization Act declaring Land Grants as Legal Subdivisions of
              State of New Mexico (Tierra Amarilla Artist Unknown)

Courtyard Wall

Row 1: Bottom

1846-1848, 1859            Hugh N. Smith                (no photo available – printed doc)

1848-1852                      Elias Putnam West         (no photo available – printed doc)

1852                                Henry C. Johnson           (no photo available – printed doc)

1852-1854, 1867-1869   Merrill Ashurst                  (no photo available – printed doc)

Row 2: Middle

1854-1858                          Theodore Wheaton

1858-1859, 1860-1862       H. Tompkins

1860                                    Spruce M. Baird

1862-1866, 1867                 Charles P. Cleaver

1866-1867                           Stephen B. Elkins

1869-1872                           Thomas B. Catron

1872                                    Thomas F. Conway

1872-1878, 1881-1889        William Breeden

Row 3: Top

1854-1858                          Theodore Wheaton

1858-1859, 1860-1862       H. Tompkins

1860                                    Spruce M. Baird

1862-1866, 1867                 Charles P. Cleaver

1866-1867                           Stephen B. Elkins

1869-1872                           Thomas B. Catron

1872                                    Thomas F. Conway

1872-1878, 1881-1889        William Breeden

Photos and Documents – Southside Long Wall

All Land Grant citations from Dr. Jacob Baca, Land Grant Historian and Land Grant Studies Program, The University of New Mexico

Bottom Row

1796 Santa Barbara Land Grant (petition)

1796 petition, granting and possession documents, Santa Bárbara Land Grant, January 1796, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 114. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.   

1871 Town of Tomé (patent)

1871 patent, Town of Tomé Land Grant, April 5, 1871.  Courtesy of the Town of Tomé Land Grant, Tomé, NM.   

1877 Town of Tajique (survey map)

1877 survey plat of the Town of Tajique Grant, February 1877, Daniel Sawyer and Stephen McElroy, U.S. Deputy Surveyors, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.   

1879 San Miguel del Bado (survey map)

1879 survey plat of the Lorenzo Marquez Grant of the San Miguel del Bado Tract, November-December 1879, John Shaw, U.S. Deputy Surveyor, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.   

1895 Truchas Land Grant (survey map)

1895 survey plat of the Nuestra Señora del Rosario San Fernando y Santiago Grant, October 10-16, 1895, Albert F. Easley, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.  

1896 Atrisco Land Grant (survey map)

1896 survey of the Town of Atrisco Grant, October 8-26, 1896, George H. Pradt, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.
 

1900 San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant (survey map)

1901 survey map of the San Antonio de las Huertas Grant, December 21, 1900 to January 8, 1901, Levi S. Preston, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe. 

1901 Don Fernando de Taos (survey map)

1901 plat survey plat of the Don Fernando de Taos Land Grant, June 8, 1901, Jay Turley, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe

Middle Row

1150-1821 Pueblo Nations-Spain-Mexico-New Mexico Status

From Joe S. Sando Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History

1150-1350 The Classic or Golden Age of the Pueblo Indian development is experienced. There evolved a culture, a formalized religion, and a system of government so advanced that the Pueblo Indians could not be referred to as “savages, or barbarous. There is no written language, oral history flourishes…

1350-1700 This is a period of maximum expansion of Pueblo Indian Culture of New Mexico; also the beginning of an alliance with the Spanish against raiding Indian tribes…

1537 Pope Paul III issues a papal bull, “Sublimus Deus,” which proclaims that American Indians are indeed truly men and entitled to liberty and possession of their property…

1620 A royal decree of the King of Spain requires each pueblo, with the close of the calendar year, to choose a governor, lieutenant governor, and other officials as needed to carry on the affairs of the pueblo. Silver-crowned canes are given to each pueblo governor as a symbol of his office and authority, with the cross on the silver mount symbolizing the support of the church to his pueblo…

1821 The Plan of Iguala is adopted by the Mexican revolutionary forces attempting to throw off the yoke of Spain… all inhabitants of New Spain without distinction, weather Europeans, Africans, or Indians, are citizens of this Monarchy, with the right to be employed in any post according to their merit and virtues… the person and property of every citizen will be respected and protected by law.”

1620’s – 1987 The Silver-Crowned Canes

From Joe S. Sando Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History

“The Pueblo Canes are symbols to the people that all power and authority exists in their own form of government; that their government is responsible to the people; and that they owe allegiance to the United States of America. On the other hand, the canes are symbols of the United States Government’s responsibilities for trusteeship of the pueblos.” “It is still tradition to have all canes of the higher civil officials blessed on January 6, the feast of the Three Kings.”

The 1st Cane 1620’s Following the institution of the Spanish form of government among the Pueblos of New Mexico, each governor received a silver-crowned cane of office; holding a balancing scale, are symbols of justice and leadership…

The 2nd Cane 1863 President Abraham Lincoln Cane, presented to 19 Pueblo Governor’s in recognition of his authority under the United States Government. …..

The 3rd Cane1980 Governor Bruce King Cane, was presented to reaffirm the sovereignty of the Pueblo Governments.

The 4th Cane 1987 King Juan Carlos of Spain, gave a second Spanish Cane to the Pueblo Governor’s to confirm that for more than three centuries there has been continued recognition of Native American Government — the most enduring local government in America.

1701 Cristoval de la Serna Land Grant  (plat map)

1894 survey plat of the Cristobal de la Serna Grant (detail), John H. Walker, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. Court of Private Land Claims, Report No. 21. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records. 

1910 Constitution State of New Mexico (Sec. 5, mention of land grants)

The Constitution of the State of New Mexico, 1910 (detail), Article 2, Section 5, New Mexico State Archives and Records Center, Santa Fe, NM.  Section 5 “The rights, privileges and immunities, civil, political and religious, guaranteed to the people of New Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall be preserved inviolate.”

 

2003 New Mexico Department of Justice – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Division

The Treaty, incorporated into New Mexico’s State Constitution in 1912 and is part of the state’s legal and cultural heritage. The OAG Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Division, created in 2003, established to review, oversee and address concerns relating to the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that have not been implemented or observed in the spirit of Article 2, Section 5 of the Constitution of New Mexico.

The Treaty Division provides legal representation to the New Mexico Land Grant Council and the New Mexico Acequía Commission. The Division’s vision is to take a proactive approach to finding solutions and responding to the evolving needs of the Land Grant Community by providing legal support, policy development and outreach. Land grant issues remain vexing in New Mexico and claims of new or continued ownership of ancestral lands are a top priority. The Treaty Division continues to pursue resolutions to the encroachment of historical common lands while seeking to protect, perpetuate and celebrate New Mexico’s history and culture of land grants and acequias. The Division also works with the land grant council to identify legal assistance for land grants-mercedes that are political subdivisions of the State under §49 NMSA 1978 and reviews and responds to election contests filed with the treaty division in accordance with §49-1-7 NMSA 1978. Additionally, a top priority of the Treaty Division is to continue the development and building of the New Mexico Department of Justice & Land Grant-Merced and Acequía Historical Gallery & Repository.   

 

2015-2022 from Hector H. Balderas

New Mexico Land Grant-Mercedes y Acequías Historical Gallery & Repository

New Mexico is unique in its history and in the diversity of its people. New Mexico has not amended protections for traditional people out of its constitution, and of course, it should not. Our Hispanic and Native American traditional communities are the lifeblood of this state, and part of my job as attorney general is to keep them healthy through protecting rights recognized in law more than a century ago.

People generally think of civil rights as protecting against discrimination in terms of voting, employment or housing. While these issues are very important, I have a special duty to protect the civil rights of traditional communities too. New Mexico’s constitution has specific protections for Hispanic and Native American populations in its bill of rights. I have made it a point to pay attention to situations that threaten our land-based, traditional and most vulnerable communities and their way of life.

Our state constitution protects inalienable rights, stating, “All persons are born equally free and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of seeking and obtaining safety and happiness.” (N.M. Const. Art. II, §4 Inalienable rights) In the next article, our constitution names additional rights – rights protecting New Mexico’s traditional Hispanics and Native American communities. “The rights, privileges and immunities, civil, political and religious guaranteed to the people of New Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall be preserved inviolate.” (N.M. Const. Art. II, 5, Treaty of Guadalupe rights).

The Treaty, incorporated into New Mexico’s State Constitution in 1912 and is part of the state’s legal and cultural heritage. The OAG Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Division, created in 2003, established to review, oversee and address concerns relating to the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that have not been implemented or observed in the spirit of Article 2, Section 5 of the Constitution of New Mexico.

 

2009 New Mexico Land Grant Council

The Council was created in 2009 by the New Mexico Legislature (NMSA 1978, §49-11-1). Its five councilors are appointed by the Governor and are chosen from land grant boards of trustees.  It serves as a liaison between land grants and federal, state and local governments, maintains the Community Land Grant Registry and administers a land grant support program, offering direct technical assistance and training to land grant boards of trustees.  The Council also reviews state and federal policies and legislation affecting land grants in New Mexico, develops, and promotes federal legislation benefitting community land grants.

 

1912 – 2012 A Century of Statehood (from Jennie Lusk)

Centennial View of the Origins of 21st Century New Mexico Legislative Decision-Making

Unlike the Founding Fathers of the United States, territorial lawmakers were not writing on a clean slate when they established the State of New Mexico some 100 years ago.

Federal courts and legislators had already spent over a century shaping the country New Mexico was to join. They had already established a republic form of government with obvious inconsistencies, including legalized slavery. The military had already been set on a course that included “resettlement” of native populations, the Indian Wars, their ensuing massacres and the War with Mexico. Congress quietly excluded women.

New Mexico’s attempts at statehood ran afoul of the national agenda repeatedly, being delayed by the effrontery of its military government to establish a legal code without congressional approval and, later becoming part of the compromise designed to stave off the War Between the States. Although New Mexico and Arizona originally were part of the same territory, New Mexico was admitted separately because of the insistence upon inclusion by its Hispanic legislators, who would not give up provisions that have protected Spanish language throughout statehood. Statehood itself was no easy achievement, but rather, a series of many tries and many failures over a period of more than 60 years.”

1765 San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant (Petition)

1765 petition by Juan Gutiérrez, on behalf of himself and eight other families, to Governor Tomás Vélez Cachupín for the San Antonio de las Huertas Land Grant, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 144. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.     

2022 NM Acequias and Land Grant Education Project (ALGE project)

The Acequía and Land Grant Education (ALGE) project is intended to convene educators, community leaders, and other key stakeholders to develop and provide recommendations to the Public Education Department and the Higher Education Department on how to reshape New Mexico’s educational system to include a culturally relevant curriculum that embraces the topic of acequias & land grants.

2022 NM Acequias and Land Grant Education Project (ALGE project)

New Mexico youth have had to acquire place-based knowledge outside of conventional educational spaces.  Climate change and increased recognition of the ways in which systemic racism has created inequities across the United States make more evident the importance of place-based youth education.  Acequia and land grant education offers experiential education opportunities that are authentic, land-based place-based, community oriented, culturally and linguistically responsive.  Collaboration between government officials, educators, parents, students, and the larger communities in which the students live would be crucial to developing a land and water curriculum.

Top Row

1909 Chilili Land Grant (1909 patent)

1909 patent for the Town of Chililí Land Grant, January 18, 1909, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.       

1907 Manzano Grant (patent)

1907 patent for the Town of Manzano Land Grant, February 8, 1907, General Land Office Records, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Office, Santa Fe.

1891 Canon de Carnue – patent (portion) February 2, 1903

First page of the patent for the Cañón de Carnué Land Grant, issued February 2, 1903, courtesy of the Cañón de Carnué Land Grant, Carnué, New Mexico.

1876 Tierra Amarilla Land Grant (survey)

1876 survey map of Tierra Amarilla Land Grant by U.S. Deputy Surveyors Daniel Sawyer and William H. McBroom, New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe. 

1807 Juan Bautista Baldez Land Grant (Petition)

1807 petition for Juan Bautista Valdez Grant, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 113. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.            

2022 Spanish Mexican Land Grants today

Today there are approximately 35 lands grants with active boards of trustees.  Collectively they manage approximately 250,000 acres of common land.  Approximately 25 land grants operate as political subdivisions of the State of New Mexico.  The twelve seals represent here were designed by each land grants to represent important aspects of their own unique history.

1909 MAP Town of Abiquiu Land Grant (Patent Map)

1909 patent map of Town of Abiquiú Land Grant Patent, Thomas B. Catron Collection, MSS 29, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

1840 Town of Cubero (petition)

1840 letter, detailing justice of the peace Clemente Sarracino attesting to lands of the Cubero Land Grant, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 151. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.  

1806 San Joaquín del Río de Chama (petition)

Original petition by Francisco Salazar, on behalf of twenty-eight other families, for the Cañón del Río Chama Grant, 1806, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 71. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.

1793 Ojo Caliente Land Grant (Plat Map)

1895 survey plat of the Ojo Caliente Grant (detail), Sherrard Coleman, U.S. Deputy Surveyor. Court of Private Land Claims, Report No. 94. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records.  

1751 Rio de las Trampas Land Grant (testimonio)

1751 testimonio, granting the Santo Tomás Apóstol del Río del Trampas Land Grant to petitioners, Surveyor General of New Mexico Records, Report No. 27. Spanish Archives of New Mexico Series I.  National Archives Record Group 49: General Land Office Records. 

1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo √ Easel

 

Culture Heritage & Values Display Case

From UNM Land Grant Studies Program
From Dr. Jacobo Baca, Land Grant Historian/Land Grant Studies Program

Top Shelf
  • Somos Indigena: Ethnic Politics and Land Tenure in New Mexico, 1694-1965” (Jacobo D. Baca)
  • Four Square Leagues: Pueblo Indian Land in New Mexico (Ebright, Hendricks, Hughes)
  • Pueblo Sovereignty: Indian Land and Water in New Mexico and Texas (Ebright, Hendricks)
  • Advocates for the Oppressed: Hispanos, Indians, Genizaros, and Their Land in New Mexico (Ebright)
  • The Tierra Amarilla Grant: A History of Chicanery (Malcom Ebright)
  • New Mexico A History (Sanchez, Spude, Gomez)
  • The Hispanics of New Mexico: Essays on History and Culture (Maurilo E. Vigil)
  • Pueblo Nations Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History (Joe S. Sando)
  • Hidden History of Spanish New Mexico (Ray John de Aragon)
  • Spanish and Mexican Land Grants and the Law (Malcom Ebright)
Bottom Shelf
  • A Century of State Hood (Jennie Lusk)
  • Selections from J.J. Bowden’s “Private Land Claims in the Southwest”
  • Basic Language and Vocabulary for the Bilingual Classroom (Ray Rodriguez)
  • NMLG Council Annual Report FY 2020
  • NMLG Council Annual Report FY 2021
  • The Land Grant Forum Monthly Newsletter May/June 2022
  • Adivinancero Cultural Aspectos Culturales (Roberto Mondragón)
  • DICHOS Cada Maestro con su Libro – Un Libro de Dichos (Roberto Mondragón)
  • The Spanish Land Grant Question Examined (Alianza Federal 1966)

 

Brief History of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848 and officially ended the Mexican-American War. The Treaty explicitly recognized the personal and property rights of New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians brought under U.S. sovereignty. The U.S. developed procedures to validate land grants in the New Mexico territory in order to implement the Treaty provisions. Whether the U.S. carried out the provisions of the treaty with regard to community land grants has been a controversial issue as many land grant heirs, scholars and legal experts believe the U.S. did not protect the common lands of community land grants. The treaty was incorporated into New Mexico’s State Constitution in 1912 and is part of the state’s legal and cultural heritage.

Spanish and Mexican land grant-mercedes were established by grants of land made to both communities and individuals by the Spanish Crown or Mexican Government to encourage settlements in New Mexico from 1600s to the 1800s. These communities have historically carried the responsibility of maintaining these lands for farming, ranching and other traditional uses necessary for their survival. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo required an adjudication process for Spanish and Mexican land titles; however, land ownership based on a rural, communal system contrasted with the United States legal system, and many land grants were lost or significantly reduced. The land grant-mercedes that were retained through the adjudication process remain an irreplaceable source of New Mexico’s traditional values and historic cultural roots.

Acequias in the State of New Mexico are some of the oldest water management institutions in the United States and are integral to the New Mexican environment. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo recognized the importance of acequias as a century old practice and in 1851 the territory of New Mexico passed its first water laws. These community ditches bring water to agricultural fields across Northern New Mexico, and centuries-old traditions of water sharing are important examples of sustainable water use. Local communities in Bernalillo, Río Arriba, Taos and other counties statewide still clean their ditches, irrigate and elect their mayordomo and commissioners.

Raul Torrez
Attorney General
Raúl Torrez

Resources

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