Three History department graduate students present talks on tumultuous times in New Mexico history.  Listening to this streaming audio on your computer is an easy way to learn about interesting times as New Mexicans grappled with the issues of the day in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Their research is partially sponsored by the New Mexico Office of the State Historian.

Indians on One Hand; Mexicans on the Other: Pueblos, Hispanos, and the Politics of Ethnicity in the Pueblo Lands Board Era, 1913-1933

runs: 29:57

Jacobo Baca and daughter

Jacobo Baca is a Ph.D. candidate who grew up in Penasco, New Mexico, where decades old land disputes are still a topic of conversation.

In the 1920s, the U.S. Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment con­fronted a grow­ing prob­lem on New Mex­ico Pueblo Indian reser­va­tions: encroach­ments by sur­round­ing His­pano and white set­tlers.

Vio­la­tions of the Pueblo league were com­mon since the Span­ish Colo­nial era, but became more prob­lem­atic when the His­pano pop­u­la­tion boomed in the late 19th cen­tury and looked to Pueblo lands to relieve the loss of their lands at the hands of land spec­u­la­tors.

The 1922 ‘Bur­sum Bill' noto­ri­ously sought to rec­og­nize 1200 odd indi­vid­ual land claims with lit­tle inves­ti­ga­tion into their legit­i­macy and no rec­om­pense to Pueb­los for the expro­pri­a­tion of native lands and resources.  A tor­rent of nation­wide protest suc­cess­fully defeated the ‘Bur­sum Bill' and resulted in the 1924 Pueblo Lands Act, cre­at­ing a com­mis­sion to exam­ine the legit­i­macy of non-Indian title on Pueblo lands and rec­om­mend their con­fir­ma­tion or rejec­tion in dis­trict court.

Baca's dissertation is titled "Somos Indigena: Ethnic Politics and Land Tenure in Modern New Mexico, 1904-2004."  It explores eth­nic pol­i­tics in mod­ern land tenure, the effect of these pol­i­tics on Pueblo-Hispano rela­tions, and the role of the State in the com­plex rela­tion­ship that these com­mu­ni­ties that have neigh­bored one another for over two and a half cen­turies share.  A native New Mex­i­can, Baca received both his Bachelor's degree (2003) and Master's degree (2006) from the Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico.

The All Pueblo Council and Political Sovereignty in the 1920s

runs: 19:24

Robin Walden

Robin Walden, a master's candidate examines how pueblo leaders were able to defend their land rights and traditions while negotiating with various bodies set up by the U.S. government.

He takes a close look at the 'Bursum Bill', the Pueblo Lands Board Act, and the political context of these measures of the 1920s.  He says historians have traditionally paid little attention to the ways the Pueblo people helped determine their own futures.  The pueblos organized around the All Pueblo Council, and that council and its leaders proved to be of crucial importance as the pueblos worked to protect their lands from the political process.

Walden's thesis project concerns the All Indian Pueblo Council.  He is studying the history of the U.S. West, focusing on Native American history in the 20th century.

New Mexico on Display: Politics and Image at the Territorial Fairs, 1881-1912

runs: 20:06

Bryan Turo

Bryan Turo, a PhD. candidate, examines the New Mexico Territorial Fairs between 1881 and 1912 as they hosted political discussion, social development and brought an attempt at modernizing New Mexico.  The fairs tried to showcase the territory as a place ready for equal recognition among the United States.  His talk shows how organizers endeavored to display the territory to a local, regional and national audience and changed the political possibilities and reality during this uncertain period in New Mexico history.

Turo is studying U.S. history, the history of the American West, Southwestern History and Borderland Studies.  He completed his master's degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson and his Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University in New York.  His research interests include the territorial period and state formation in the Southwest, including a focus on politics, culture and identity.

The Cen­ter for South­west Research, Zim­mer­man Library, Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico hosted the lec­tures.  The schol­ars pro­gram in the Office of the State His­to­rian was estab­lished to pro­mote an under­stand­ing and appre­ci­a­tion of New Mex­ico His­tory by sup­port­ing schol­arly research in New Mex­ico archival repos­i­to­ries.  For infor­ma­tion about the schol­ars pro­gram, con­tact Den­nis Tru­jillo at (505) 476‑7998 or

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627;