Letters: Missing Red Light Cameras, The Spiders In Burque And Woe Is The Land Grant

Where’d The Red Light Cameras Go?

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I wanted to mention our recent crazy and reckless driving.

The two 25-year-olds were having sex while drunk and ran a red light. They wrecked into another car.

Ms. Pacheco ran three red lights at 1 a.m. in the morning while drunk.

She killed a bicyclist last year and only did three months in jail.

Our New Mexico traffic fatality rate went up by six percent.

It has everything to do with the complete removal of our 14 red light cameras. As of now we have none, a big fat zero.

Thousands of us moved out of Albuquerque since the removal of our red light cameras. Who wants to live in a place where you can get killed while crossing an intersection?

Letters: When The Spiders Became Alice Cooper When The Spiders Became Alice Cooper

This is a true story—I swear on my Nanas’ grave.

I was 17 when I saw The Spiders play here in Albuquerque. They played on a flatbed truck at Johnson Field (no longer there) to promote their show that night in Tijeras Canyon.

Fast forward to June 1968. I was visiting a friend in L.A. We went to the Shrine to see The Who, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. When the house lights came on for intermission, standing in front of us were three band members of The Spiders. I asked them, “Aren’t you The Spiders?” They said yes and that actually they had changed their name to Alice Cooper. I asked, “Did you get a female singer?” They said no—Frank Zappa had re-named them. So I find it very amusing; all of these crazy-ass stories about the origin of the name Alice Cooper.

And by the way, they were very friendly and said they loved Albuquerque, also they were gonna be playing the next day at Dodger Stadium. They named a few famous bands of the day they were billed with. But I had to return to Albuquerque the next day.

And that’s the truth.

Letters: Woe Is The Land Grant Woe Is The Land Grant

Prof. Correia—’trapped in a legal system incapable of understanding common property’—this is perhaps the most salient point. As for the others, it is a bit disingenuous don’t you think for an Anglo assessment of land grant history to weep crocodile tears over treatment of the indigenous population? This is the pot calling the kettle black. Anglo rule was always more attentive to native (albeit pueblo) domains than it ever was to Hispanic ones, and you might even say it paid for its sins by becoming grudging heir both to grant properties and their attendant problems through the federal land swap system that continues to be abused by private individuals today. As for gender equality, the ’50s and ’60s were a bad time for women everywhere. While it would be fabulous to see some kind of public recognition of Hispanic women as the ‘foot soldiers’ of the land grant movement, it is no good trying to retrofit current feminist politics to a period a half-century gone.

On a personal note, I can remember hearing my dad (a Bureau of Reclamation drone) listening to the radio while he ate lunch at home and cursing at reports of the Tierra Amarilla raid. It was years before I understood what was at stake and why my father’s grumbling was so ill advised. It may be too late for land use reform (probably is). And all folk heroes in the end show their warts, it is true. But they serve their purpose as long as they remind people of a time when civil change actually appeared possible in the United States.

Letters: Re: Woe Is The Land Grant Re: Woe Is The Land Grant


To whom are you posing your question? If to me: No, I obviously don’t think it is disingenuous that I offer a critique of the land grant movement. Moreover, I find your logic regarding why it is disingenuous quite troubling. It seems you think, first, that an "Anglo" cannot have an informed opinion regarding a "Hispanic" movement. So, in your world I’m forever trapped by history and unable, by virtue of my Anglo-ness, to ever understand the history of violent colonialism beyond my own privilege. Your comment illustrates precisely what is wrong with a politics of identity that carves out limiting political spaces based on race and ethnicity. First it is offensive to me personally–and should be offensive to anyone who rejects the violent history of colonialism, regardless of race/ethnicity. Let’s examine your argument: crocodile tears?! Pot calling the kettle black?! This kind of remarkably myopic analysis passing itself off as historical analysis has to end (yours, in other words, is not an original argument). Part of what I try to do in my book is interrupt this kind of ridiculous thinking. It may be true, horrifically true, that Spain violently dispossessed Indian nations of land in northern New Mexico and beyond, but how it happened, whom it benefited and how it unfolded is a history of profound complexity and contradiction that escapes your easy simplification. Whenever a land grant heir stands up and makes a claim for land, similar taunts such as yours usually surface: "Y’all are the original conquerors and therefore your claims for the land are not legitimate." But such a complaint reflects a serious misunderstanding regarding the history of violent colonialism in N.M. The poor people who moved north and populated the colonial land grants in northern New Mexico were launched there by an elite desperate to buffer their valuable mining regions south of Santa Fe with a human shield of land grants–they (land grant society) were not colonizers but canon fodder, often dying by the dozens. Their choices were not the choices of power colonial agents: Should I starve to death in Santa Fe barrios or in Abiquiu, or move north into Ute lands and possibly die violently there? I write about this in my book. The desperately poor and landless people who accepted these land grants were subjects of Spanish colonialism in ways similar to the Utes, Apaches and other Indian tribes. Let’s condemn colonialism then and today, absolutely!–but let’s get it right when we point fingers, and let’s stop blaming the victims of colonialism. And the people who today claim heirship in Spanish and Mexican land grants are not "responsible" for colonial violence (just like I as an "Anglo" am not personally responsible).

I would also suggest that even if you’re directing that question to Tijerina, I’m guessing you’d find little agreement from him, too. Tijerina spent much of his adult life building coalitions and bridges among various factions of the civil rights movement. Note, please, that I’m not condemning him at all in this essay regarding his motives, but rather suggesting that hewing too closely to his version of land grant history has foreclosed other, perhaps more liberatory, futures.

Second, "retrofit feminist politics"? That’s a strange comment. To begin with I am always cautious around any argument that begins with something like "as for gender equality" in a paragraph designed to criticize someone else’s rejection of gender oppression. Aren’t we done finally with this "defense of oppression" argument: "Yes, yes, but times were different," you argue. The only thing that was different was that people deluded themselves with a racist and sexist model of the world. If we stop analyzing (and condemning) how those arguments were made, who made them and who benefited from them, we’ll surely see them reemerge–they’ve never left after all. So it’s clear that the passage of time does not resolve political and social oppression, people and movements do.

So kudos to you that you recognized back in the day that the fear you saw in your father was a fear of losing his privilege. I wrote this piece to suggest that the Alianza’s threat (its ability to put fear in the hearts of the privileged) has calcified in the years since the 1960s. But the land grant could once again offer a liberatory alternative to a world of class, racial and gender oppression. There are people who’ve done that and continue to do that, but the focus on Tijerina eclipses this more important history. That was the argument of the essay.

Letters: Re: Woe Is The Land Grant Re: Woe Is The Land Grant

Prof. Correia—Thank you for your prompt, reasoned and impassioned response. I actually did not know your ethnicity when commenting originally and so tried to word it so as to address white colonial governance (more specifically eastern U.S.) in the abstract rather than any particular representative. Speaking as a white (and male) colonial myself, I merely tire of hearing Spanish colonial violence cited as a kind of historical quid pro quo for the landless desperation you speak of that persists among rural Hispanic populations even today. I don’t doubt your book lays this situation out with all the ‘profound complexity and contradiction’ it deserves. My mistake was trying to hint at that complexity in a tiny box on a web page—a limitation no doubt similiar to that posed by the column inches of a weekly tabloid. I look forward to reading your book in expectation of finding more to agree with than to dispute. …

Letters: Re: Woe Is The Land Grant Re: Woe Is The Land Grant


Indeed, much was left out of my essay. I think my response to your post is longer than the Alibi essay. I appreciate your reply. I hope you enjoy the book.


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