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The Alianza Federal de Mercedes: Between Memory and History


In this lecture, Dr. Oropeza explicates two strategies that allow her to address the era of land-grant activism in general and the Alianza\'s Federal de Mercedes\' controversial founder in particular. Dr. Oropeza argues that Reies Lopez Tijerina\'s greatest significance was not as a gun-wielding revolutionary (as so often painted in celebratory accounts of the Tierra Amarilla Courthouse Raid) but as someone who popularized a long-suppressed version of the past, in this case, the memory of land loss among Spanish-speaking New Mexicans. Secondly she argues that Reies Lopez Tijerina was also a memory enforcer in terms of his own reputation. On the one hand, Tijerina challenged mythic narratives about the peaceful conquest of Native people by the Spanish and of harmonious race relations through time in New Mexico. On the other hand, Tijerina was very much involved in establishing and even enforcing an official story about himself and his role in the land-grant movement and beyond.

Dr. Lorena Oropeza: Associate Professor, History, University of California, Davis