PORTALES, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — The state of New Mexico has one million people who identify as Hispanic, according to a History Professor at Eastern New Mexico Donald Elder. He added that the state also has a large population of Native Americans. With both of these cultures being a huge part of New Mexico, Elder said that there is a blend of Native American and Mexican American cultures.
“At one time, it was anything but. The period right after the Mexican American war, when the United States was attempting to make New Mexico, an American territory. There were conflicts between the Hispanic between the Native Americans and between the Americans,” said Elder. “Since then, I’d really like to tell you that we have become a land of united cultures.”
Elder talked more about how a history that began with conflict has turned into a mutual blending of two cultures.
“So, there are a lot of families in New Mexico that are a blend between Native American and Hispanic,” said Elder. “I think with each succeeding generation here in New Mexico, that goes further into the distance, and more and more kids are living in the here and now.”
Elder said the blend of cultures can be seen through many aspects, one of them being food and animals. He added things like peaches and sheep were brought over by the Spanish in the 1800s allowing it to be incorporated into Native American culture in New Mexico.
“So even at a time of great conflict, there was also an exchange that went on and we see that in the music we see that in the food,” noted Edler. “We see that in architecture, we see that in art, so there are any number of ways that you could look at state in New Mexico today and recognize this is not just conflict, but there is cooperation that took place in micro cultures.”