Los Argüellos – Connecting Migrations and Memories

Los Argüellos – Connecting Migrations and Memories

My interest about my family history began as a young child during our annual visits to my grandfather Jose Tiburcio Argüello and Antonia (Tonita) Cordova Argüello’s farm in Llano de San Juan Nepomuceno, now known as Llano, New Mexico. During our visits to my grand-parents farm my grandfather always reminded me of how our ancestors were the ones who settled all the villages in the surrounding area many years ago. In 1946 after my father Clarence Argüello completed his military…

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Rural Libraries and Cultural Equity

Rural Libraries and Cultural Equity

The Manitos Community Memory Project recognizes the important role of libraries in achieving cultural equity for rural communities in New Mexico. Often they are the only places in the community that provide Internet access and space for public gatherings. In addition to their traditional roles, they offer GED programs, after school programs, and programs to promote STEM learning and early childhood development. Libraries in Abiquiu, Dixon, and Questa are among our community-based partners for the Manitos Project. The concept of…

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Yearbooks- Reflections of a Community’s Youth

Yearbooks- Reflections of a Community’s Youth

There is something deeply intimate about yearbooks. Filled with professions of eternal love and friendship, inside jokes and the youthful signatures of our classmates, each copy is an intense snapshot of a very particular time and and a very particular place. But, what each year’s edition has in common, beneath the personalized messages from ones friends and classmates, is a record of community.

Reflections of Africa in New Mexico

Reflections of Africa in New Mexico

Every village has a remarkable story and Las Trampas, named for the River of Traps that flows through it, is no different. This village in northern New Mexico was settled in 1751 and holds the legacy of the remarkable families that gathered ground, tilled it and through the centuries made community. These families had come from Santa Fe, but at least one of their progenitors had himself carried an older origin story, one that reflected a journey of thousands of…

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Recovering Ancestral DNA in Abiquiú

Recovering Ancestral DNA in Abiquiú

As a genetic genealogist, much of my work is done behind a computer screen or amidst a stack of books. In the Fall of 2018, I was invited by Isabel W. Trujillo, the Pueblo de Abiquiú Library and Cultural Center Director, to assist her in conducting work related to a group of Abiquiú community members with long standing genealogical and historical ties to the Pueblo of Abiquiú who also identify as genízaro or genízaro descendants.

The Voices of Our Ancestors

The Voices of Our Ancestors

Recently, I have been thinking about the importance of the human voice, particularly as an instrument for storytelling. It is often said that when an elder passes, an entire archive passes with them. In this piece, I reflect about how important it is to gather these voices, to dedicate ourselves to recording the stories all around us, particularly of our elders. It is also possible that our ancestors were interviewed and that those interviews are held in reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes…

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Fermin Valdez: Memories of Costilla

Fermin Valdez: Memories of Costilla

On a hot summer day in 1962, my dad, Fermin Valdez, and I were hoeing our sweet corn field. With temperatures climbing over 90 degrees, my dad said, “Hijito vamos pal alamo a descansar y beber agua, esta muy caliente.” As we walked to the tall cottonwood, he said, “Let’s sit over here in the shade.” We sat on a bench, wiped the dripping sweat from our faces and necks, then he took a drink of water from his thermos…

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La Sala – A Center that Celebrated Community

La Sala – A Center that Celebrated Community

Some places only exist as memories and stories and this is certainly true of the Sala that belonged to my grandparents in Questa, New Mexico. As the youngest of all of the grandchildren of Jose Albino and Andrellita, I was one of the few who never experienced the business and building that our grandparents established to sustain both their family and their community. I did, however, inherit the stories. The Sala was located at the center of the village and…

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