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Salineros in Estancia Valley


"Late in the fall when all the crops were in, her father and five or six, sometimes more, men in the neighborhood would go in their wagons to the salinas (salt lakes). . . ."


Chana does not know where these salinas were, but thinks somewhere in the south, probably the salt lakes east of Estancia Valley. Until about 1904 or 1905, these lakes were on government land, and a great deal of salt used to be hauled from there. The salt was free to all. After the above date, a man by the name of Julius Meyers, then sheriff of Torrence County, filed on these lakes under the Homestead Act, then charged the salt haulers, or salineros, as they were called, twenty-five cents a hundred pounds, weighing it at the lakes. This discouraged the poor Mexican people, who could not afford to pay. So the salt hauling and selling was discontinued. There used to be five lakes."

Annette Hesch Thorp
“Chana”
Women’s Tales from the New Mexico WPA: La Diabla a Pie
eds. Tey Diana Rebolledo and María Teresa Márquez
Arte Público Press, 2000