Three UNM students, including Jacobo Baca, Bryan Turo and Robin Walden, will present short lectures on the dynamics of political change in New Mexico during the tumultuous years leading up to statehood and into the Great Depression. The lectures, titled "Political Transitions in New Mexico - Three Looks at the Early 20th Century," will be held on Friday, June 11, beginning at 12 p.m. in the Frank Waters Room at Zimmerman Library. Each student received scholarships from the Office of the State Historian.

New Mexico on Display: Politics and Image at the Territorial Fairs, 1881-1912
by Bryan Turo, Ph.D. candidate

The New Mexico Territorial Fairs (1881-1912) hosted political discussion, social development, and a modernizing thread that attempted to place New Mexico as a modern American place, ready for equal recognition among the United States.  How organizers endeavored to display the territory to a local, regional, and national level is significant of the changing possibilities and realities of New Mexican life during this thirty year period.

Turo is currently a doctoral candidate with a concentration including U.S. History, the History of the American West, Southwestern History, and Borderland Studies.  Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, Bryan completed his Masters Degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University in New York.  His research interests include the territorial period (1850-1912) and state formation in the Southwest, including a focus on politics, culture, and identity.

The All Pueblo Council and Political Sovereignty in the 1920s
by Robin Walden, Masters candidate

Historians have subjected the Bursum Bill, the Pueblo Lands Board Act, and the political context of these measures of the 1920s to intense scrutiny, yet within their examination of the Pueblo land battle, historians have paid scant attention to the Pueblo people who helped determine their own futures. Instead, focus has centered upon, for example, Stella Atwood and the General Federation of Women's Clubs, or John Collier and the American Indian Defense Association.

Despite the tendency of historians to focus on the white men and women of outside organizations, the land struggle affected Pueblo communities. Within and between these communities, the Pueblos organized around the All Pueblo Council (APC), a body historians have typically mentioned only in passing, yet the APC and its leaders were crucially important to the result of the political process.

Walden examines how Pueblo leaders defended their land rights and traditions by negotiating with various bodies in a particular period of New Mexico Pueblo history.

Walden is studying the history of the U.S. West. His focus is Native American history in the 20th century. His thesis project concerns the All Indian Pueblo Council.

Indians on One Hand; Mexicans on the Other: Pueblos, Hispanos, and the Politics of Ethnicity in the Pueblo Lands Board Era, 1913-1933
by Jacobo Baca, Ph.D. candidate

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.

This presentation examines the politics of ethnicity in the Pueblo Lands Board Era (1913-1933), particularly how Indian reformers, advocates for the settlers, and government bureaucrats envisioned Pueblo Indians and Nuevo Mexicanos (Hispanic New Mexicans) as discrete groups, of separate cultures and opposite lineages.

Baca's dissertation, titled "Somos indigena: Ethnic Politics and Land Tenure in Modern New Mexico, 1904-2004," 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 Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico will host 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;