Thursday, March 4, 2010
Searching through records in government files
and church archives, I came across a hand written account
describing my first grandmother, a Spanish colonist,
from Zacatecas, Mexico. A young mother,
spiritual in her ways and loyal to her husband,
a general in the Spanish Army. He was assigned
to accompany her father, the new Governor of New Mexico.
My early ancestors didn’t have the benefit of history
to tell them what they would find,
green fields and gold mines were the
dreams that made them pack up their homes
forsaking the familiar to travel to unknown lands.
Much to their disappointment the land was
foresaken and dry. Many died along the way
but they found a haven along the Rio Grande river
taking resources from the Tewa and Isleta people,
who lived and thrived, years before
this band of Spanish colonist arrived.
As was the custom in those times my first grandmother
had a large family, three girls and four boys.
Somewhere along the way she adopted two Zuni
orphans, it seemed like an act of kindness, but according
to oral traditions, this practice was in truth
a kidnapping and enslavement of these children
an act that went both ways.
The indigenous groups stole children from the colonist
keeping and mistreating them as servants until they escaped
or married a member of the household and in this way
the blood of the Spaniard was blended with the native.
Language and religious practices merged until a firmer
line was drawn after the Spanish American war
and the land was taken over by those pouring
in from the east coast of the United States of America.
A new language, a new point of view and
different set of rules and that is the way it went
until today, the immigrant condemns the intruder,
and tries to forestall their invasion but little by little
they merge and who was here first is long forgotten
as the majority assume all rights and privileges
in the acquired land.