THE HISPANO ROUND TABLE OF NEW MEXICO
HONORS HISPANAS DISTINGUIDAS DE NUEVO MEXICO
DISTINGUISHED HISPANAS OF NEW MEXICO
Compiled by Juan José Peña, Vice-Chairman Hispano Round Table of New Mexico State Commander, American GI Forum of New Mexico
HISPANO ROUND TABLE OF NEW MEXICO HISPANA HONOREES
Doña Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven
Hispana Legislative Member and Officer and Lifetime Achievement Award
Doña Concha Ortiz y Pino de Kleven was born the daughter of José Ortiz y Pino and Paula Ortiz in Galisteo on May 20, 1910. She grew up in large part under the tutelage of her grandmother Doña Josefina, who gave her a sense of humanitarian service by helping the poor, orphans, the sick and the elderly and to have little concern for material possessions. She was tutored at home and later moved to Santa Ft~ with her family to attend the Loretto Academy. She finished high school and returned to Galisteo to start a vocational school to teach arts and crafts and revive old New Mexican skills such tanning, woodworking and weaving. Her family had been active in New Mexico politics since the I 7th Century and participated in the resistance against the occupation of New Mexico by the United States. One of her ancestors, Nicolás Pino swore that a member of the family would stand for election in each generation. Doña Concha was selected to carry on the family tradition. In 193 7, she campaigned actively and became the sixth generation of her family to serve in the New, Mexico Legislature as the youngest member of the legislative body. She was re-elected twice in 1939 and 1941 and was elected as the first woman in the United States to serve as Majority Whip in a State Legislature. She presented legislation together with Dr. Jorge Isidoro Sánchez to equalize funding to all of the state's schools, a merit system, the School of Interamerican Affairs at the University of New Mexico and a bill to teach Spanish in the 7th and 8th grades of New Mexico's Public Schools. She served as Chairwoman of the Institutions for Higher Learning and later earned her degree from the University of New Mexico. Since that time, she has continued to be active in civic affairs by serving on numerous national, state, and local boards and commissions and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her service.
Doña Gloria Tristani
Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Highest New Mexican Hispana Federal Official
Doña Gloria Tristiani is the grand daughter of the famous United States Representative and United States Senator. She was the first women to be elected to the New Mexico State Corporation Commission and was appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Federal Communications Commission. She is the first Hispana to hold that position. Tristani was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended Bernard College of Columbia University and she received her law degree from the University of New Mexico and practiced law as a private attorney in Alburquerque, New Mexico. She is licensed to practice law both in New Mexico and Colorado. She was elected as the first woman commissioner of New Mexico State Corporation Commission in 1994 and served as its chairwoman until she was named to the FCC. She also served on the Communications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commission. She was named one of the 100 most influential Hispanos by Hispanic Business Magazine in 1996. She is a Board Member of the Dennis Chávez: Foundation.
Doña Rebecca Vigil Girón
Secretary of State KEYNOTE SPEAKER Highest Hispana Elected Official in New Mexico
Doña Rebecca Vigil-Girón is a nativa from Taos, New Mexico who studied at New Mexico Highlands University where she attained her BA Degree and was active in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1970's. She served as Chairwoman of the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women and served in the third highest office in the State of New Mexico as Secretary of State from 1987, until 1990 and was re-elected as Secretary of State in 1997and currently holds that position.
Doña Petra Jiménez Maes
New Mexico Supreme Court Justice First Hispana Elected to the New Mexico Supreme Court
Doña Petra Jiménez Maes is a native of the South Valley of Alburquerque who was active in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement as an undergraduate and graduate student and she worked to bring equity and parity to New Mexico's Hispanos at UNM, in Alburquerque and in New Mexico. She earned her undergraduate degree in 1970 was one of the first two Hispanas to graduate from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1973. In 1974, she was elected as the first Hispana District Judge in the First Judicial District in Santa Fé. She married Ismael "Sonny" Maes and moved to northern New Mexico and lost her husband in an accident in 1983. She has since raised 4 children and has served on the bench in the Civil Division, Criminal Division and Children's Court. In 1984 she established the first Family Court and helped establish a mediation division for child custody cases. She ran unsuccessfully for the State Supreme Court in 1988 and was elected to the New Mexico Supreme Court in 1997.
Doña Patricia Madrid
New Mexico Attorney General First Hispana Elected to the Office of the Attorney General in New Mexico
Doña Patricia Madrid, a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was the classmate of Doña Petra Jiménez and together with her was one of the first two Hispanas to graduate from the University of New Mexico Law School in 1973. She was elected as the first Hispana District Court Judge in the Second Judicial District in Alburquerque 1983 and was elected that same year as Chief Presiding Judge. She served on the bench for 6 years and in 1988 she ran for Congress in the Fist Congressional District, but was not elected. She maintained a private practice in Alburquerque and in 1993 she ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor on the Bruce King Ticket. She was elected as the First Hispana New Mexico Attorney in the history of New Mexico in 1997.
Doña.Mary Jane García
Majority Whip Senate of the State of New Mexico
Doña Mary Jane García was born on the New Mexico side of El Paso as a nativa and was raised in Las Cruces, where she graduated from Las Cruces High School and she has attained three degrees from New Mexico State University, a BIS, BA and an M.A. in Anthropology. In 1986, she authored and published An Ethnology of Doña Ana, which helped to get the village of Doña Ana nominated for the State and National Registries as a historic village. Senator García spent 6 years in Vietnam after having spent one year there as a Red Cross volunteer . Her family came with the first settlers in Doña Ana where they have been farmers in the valley for 150 years. She is a businesswoman in the small town of Doña Ana in Doña Ana County just north of Las Cruces and currently serves as the highest ranking Hispana in the New Mexico Senate. She was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1988 and appointed Majority Whip in 1997. She currently serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Human Services Committee, the Economic and Cultural Development Committee and was the Chair of the Tobacco Settlement Committee.
Doña Debbie A. Rodella
Senior Hispana Member House of Representatives of the State of New Mexico
Doña Debbie Rodella is a nativa Nuevo Mexicana married to Thomas R. Rodella. Her children are Thomas Jr. (11) and Kara (9). She lives in La Mesilla south of Española. She is a Materials Science Technician at Los Alamos National Laboratories and is in her 4th term in the House of Representatives. Sra. Rodella currently is a member of the Commerce, Business and Industry Committee, she is the Vice Chair of the Transportation Rules & Order Committee and of the Business Interim Revitalization and Stabilization Committee and of the Taxation, Policy Economic and of the Rural Development and Telecommunications Information Technology Oversight Committee and is member of the Legislative Council.
Executive Director Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Alburquerque
Doña Loretta Armenta is nativa of Santa Fé, born in 1944 and is Chartered Life Underwriter and has been a businesswoman, Director of the March of Dimes, First Director of the Hispanic Cultural Center and was Vice President and then President of the Board of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the President of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Alburquerque. She has been on numerous national boards and commissions and is now Presidential Appointee to the North American Development Bank which oversees border development between the United States and Mexico. She is one of the founders for the Medically Fragile Children's Program which provides in some nursing care for children who are suffering from slow death; This program has become a world model for children in a similar situation. She has been an advocate for children with disabilities and has been a civil rights advocate for the last 30 years.
Doña Verónica García
Superintendent of Schools Santa Fé Public Schools
Doña Verónica García is a nativa Nueva mexicana with roots in Alburquerque and New Mexico who received her BA Degree in Special Education at the University of New Mexico in 1973 and her Masters degree in Educational Diagnostics at UNM in 1978. She is currently working on her Ed.D. at UNM. Sra. García worked as a teacher in the Alburquerque Public Schools at New Futures School, at Madison Middle School, and at Manzano High School and was a Supervisor of Educational Diagnostic Interns for the University of New Mexico and was an Educational Diagnostician and Program Coordinator for APS. She served as Assistant Director of Special Education for APS and was also a negotiator for the teachers at APS for the AFT. She served as the Director and Principal of New Futures School at APS from 1989 until 1992. Sra. García served as Principal of Río Grande High School, then became the Superintendent for the APS Southwest Region. She then went on to become the Associate Superintendent for School effectiveness of the Santa Fé Public Schools and became the Superintendent of the Santa Fé Public Schools in 1999. 3
Doña Jeanne Gauna
Co-Director Southwest Organizing Project
Doña Jeanne Gauna was raised in Eastern New Mexico and worked in Alburquerque on community and civil rights issues for the last 25 years with organizations such as the Bobby García Memorial Clinic and has since worked in grassroots organizing with welfare recipients, the disabled, undocumented immigrants, farm workers, labor unions and against political repression and police brutality issues. She is one of the founding members of the Southwest Organizing project and is responsible for the overall coordination of the SWOP's projects such as organizing, fundraising and networking. She is a Community Developer with the United Methodist Church and serves on the Boards of National Religious Partnerships for the Environment and the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies.
Doña Teresa Sandoval
Mother/Storyteller/Sludent/Activist University of New Mexico
Doña Teresa Sandoval is a native of Santa Fé who has lived in Alburquerque for the last 11 years. She is a 43 year old nontraditional student who has been attending TVI and UNM part time while holding down a 40 hour a week job to support her family. Last year she took a leave of absence to attend the University of New Mexico full time to work on her degree in bilingual education, and she will begin her student teaching and attain her BA degree in May of 2001. She has taught culture and traditions in the Alburquerque Public Schools. She is also a storyteller who gives workshops on storytelling and teaches the children to become storytellers themselves. She teaches mathematics to students in a bilingual school and carries on many other volunteer services for children. She is the Secretary of MANA, a member of Sigma Delta Mu, a National Spanish Honor Society, a member of the SPURS National Honor Society, a member of UNM Hispano Honors and a member of the National Association of Bilingual Educators (NABE).
HISPANAS DISTINGUIDAS DE NUEVO MEXICO
I. Under Spain and Mexico
New Mexico's Hispanas have a distinguished history dating back to the Spanish/Mestizo/Indio settlement of New Mexico under the leadership of Don Juan de Oñate, who accepted to establish settlements and do exploring at his own expense in the northern reaches of the Provincias Internas of New Spain and in what became El Reina de la Nueva México. Hispanas made a name for themselves from the very beginning as we see in the following Vignettes of New Mexico's pioneering Hispanas, 41 wives and their children were among the settlers who came with Don Juan de Oñate on the journey. Of these, history records the names of 22 of them.
Casilda de Amaya accompanied her husband, Miguel Sánchez de Valenciano with her 3 sons, Lázaro, the oldest, Pedro, 3 1/2years old, and Juan, who was 20 months old, on the expedition of Antonio de Espejo in 1582. She became pregnant on the journey and returned to Mexico with a group led by Miguel Sánchez Valenciano and Padre Beltrán.
Doña Eufemia, wife of AlFérez Francisco Sosa de Peñalosa, was a stalwart in convincing the settlers and soldiers of San Juan de los Caballeros, Don Juan de Oñate's first settlement, not to desert. She, together with her daughter galvanized 22 women to assist in the defense of the settlement when it came under hostile attack. She is described by Gaspar Pérez de Villagrd as "a woman of singular courage, extremely beautiful, and of clear, fine and perfect understanding." As to the women's aid in defense of the poblado, Villagrd wrote, "Together the brave Amazons joyfully held their posts and walked up and down the rooftops with proud and martial step."
Doña Francisca Galindo, wife of Captain Antonio Conde de Herrera was among the above cited brave Hispanas. In 1600, they were joined by 8 Spanish women and 13 servants who came up from Mexico with the additional settlers for the poblado. Among them was Isabel de Olivera, a mulata, who was a free unmarried woman, the legitimate daughter of Hernando El Negro and La India Magdalena. It is said that a Spanish nun, María de la Concepción, who never physically set foot in the New World, appeared to the Xumana Indians in 1620, when she was 19 years old until 1630, when she was 29 years old and converted them to Christianity. It is said that she made numerous conversions dressed in blue dresses and that she came to be known as "The Lady in Blue." She was the author of The mystical City of God, which was condemned by the Catholic Church and by her confessor. The book was ordered to be burned along with her diaries of her bilocations to New Mexico. She was later ordered to re-write The Mystical City of God She became a fast friend and spiritual advisor to King Felipe I of Spain and corresponded with him for many years. Hermana María, "The Lady in Blue," has become a part of New Mexico's Hispano folk culture and literature.
During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, 400 of the 2,400 settlers were killed, and most of the survivors were women and children. Many women also died as a consequence of the Pueblo Revolt, including Doña Francisca Domínguez, who lived on an estancia near the Pueblo de Pojoaque; some of the omen were spared and taken captive as slaves or became wives of their Indian captors. One of these captives was Petronia Pacheco, who, with her 3 children, was reunited with her family in 1692.
With the reconquista of Don Pedro de Vargas, the Hispanas returned with their husbands, family members or on their own. There were many widows and single women heads of households who returned with Don Diego de Vargas or with the pobladores who came later on. Many of these pobladores were Hispanas and mixed blooded mestizas, lobas, coyotas and mulatas and New Mexican and Mexican Indian women who returned to make up the multiethnic mix of pobladores Hispanos who came to New Mexico to establish the roots of their descendants in these harsh lands. there were unmarried women, widowed mothers, maiden sisters, aunts, orphans and servants who joined their extended families here. Because of the scarcity of doctors, many of these women became yerberas, parteras and curanderas skilled in the use of medicinal herbs, folk healing and birthing. These midwife skills were particularly necessary because women commonly had as many as 13 or more children. Women under the Spanish and Mexican governments also had very definite legal rights, such as the right to own and inherit property in their own names, apart from their husbands, to make wills, and to litigate in court.
II. The Mexican Period
During the Mexican Period, Doña Gertrudis "La Tules" de Barcelo became one of the most prominent and famous (or infamous) Hispanas in New Mexico. She was born in 1800 in Sonora and married a man from Santa Fé in 1823 and came to Santa Fé to live. She owned a saloon and gambling house which became a gathering place for the Anglo traders who came to the Mexican province from Missouri and other parts of the United States. Doña "Tules" was very influential in the politics of New Mexico, but she was also active in doing charity work for the church and took in and raised orphans in her home. Doña "Tules" is considered to be one of the transitional figures, along with Padre Antonio José Martínez, Don Donaciano Vigil and others, in New Mexico's passing from being a territory of Mexico to being a territory of the United States on February 2, 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by our last President of Mexico, Don Manuel de la Peña y Peña. Doña Tules expressed her view of her life and her acquisition of her considerable wealth and property as being "accumulated by my own labor and exertions."
As Anglos came into the territory of New Mexico during the Spanish and Mexican territorial period, they generally came without wives and consorts, so they married into the native New Mexican Hispano families. One of these women was Doña María Gertrudis Valdez de Beremende, who married trader James Wiley McGoffin. Christopher "Kit" Carson and George Bent married Mexicana sisters and Charles Bent, the Governor of the US Military occupation was also married to a Mexicana. 1846 brought the invasion of the northern territories of Mexico by the United States forces under the command of Stephen Watts Kearney during the US/Mexico War. General Manuel Armijo was bribed not to put up a resistance and disbanded the Mexican military defense of New Mexico, however, the Lieutenant Governor later organized a plan to set up a resistance which was revealed and put down. Nevertheless, the military commanders of northern New Mexico managed to constitute a military column which established a rearguard Mexican defense of New Mexico and fought battles against the US Army in the canyons between San Juan and Taos and were defeated in a cannonade which felled the walls of the old San Ger6nimo de Taos Church on top of the defenders. Captain Manuel Cortez escaped with his troops and fought battles with armed US civilians at Taos and Wagon Mound and finally escaped from the US troops at Ant6n Chico and went south to join the forces of General Antonio López de Santa Ana. The resistance continued and many Neomexicanos in Las Vegas and other places were hanged for "treason" despite the fact that the war was still going on because of their resistance to the US occupation, and hostilities did not ceased until the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The change of government brought changes with regard to the freedom and rights that the Neomexicana women had experienced under Spain and Mexico, or, as Lecompte describes it, "the extraordinary independence of New Mexican women, in full flower during the republican period, came to an end in 1846 when New Mexico was invaded by the United States soldiers, convinced of their own superiority and disdainful of the natives. Only fifteen years after the American conquest, the New Mexican woman had all but abandoned her easy, graceful costume and was yielding to the fashionable tyranny of corsets, hoop-skirts and bonnets. Her fandangos were corrupted beyond recognition by strong American whiskey and rough American frontiersmen. Her legal rights upheld in alcalde courts were curtailed in American courts. Her Sunday merriment became a private thing, as foreign priests swept fandango music and gaiety out of the churches, and American officials banned other Sabbath activities. As years went by, ethnic discrimination denied her husband political power and jobs, her children were forbidden to speak Spanish in school, and her folk festivals and folk art were scorned."
III. New Mexico under the United States
The census data for 1870 and 1880 show that the majority of Anglo men were married to Mexicanas, although they made up less than 2% of the population at that time. Generally, the Anglo men adapted to Mexican customs rather than vice versa, but it took time for Hispanas to begin to again take an active role in the political, social, and cultural life of New Mexico, but partake they did, as we can see in the following. Doña Lola Chávez de Armijo (1858-1929) was the only woman buried in the National Cemetery beside her father, Colonel Jos6 Francisco Chávez, hero of the Civil War and the first Superintendent of Public Education of the Territory of New Mexico. In 1909, she was appointed State Librarian by Governor George Curry. Governor W.C. McDonald attempted to remove her, saying women were not qualified to hold appointive political office. Chávez won the lawsuit on a 2-1 vote of the New Mexico Supreme Court and remained as 5 the Librarian until 1917 as the first Hispana to hold statewide political office under the governance of the United States. She is highly I regarded as a model of the defense of civil, labor and political rights for Hispanas and for women in general in New Mexico. Because of her efforts, the New Mexico legislature opened the doors to women's participation in politics under House Bill 150 of March 15, 1913. which says, "Women may hold appointive office ... provisions of this act shall become effective at the earliest time."
Sister María Lucía Perea was the first native born Mother Superior of Sisters of Loretto Convent and she donated $254,000 to the Academy of Our Lady of Light and the Sisters of Loretto Schools, where many Hispanas were educated, by October of 1873. Sisters Angela and Rosalia Montoya, daughter of Juan and Petra Perea de Montoya contributed $18,000 to the Sisters of Loretto schools. Doña Carmen Gertrudis de Espinosa (1905-1987), New Mexican folklorist, a descendant of one of the Captains who accompanied Don Juan de Oñate, She was an extension agent in 1917 and worked in rural areas. She went to study and teach in Spain, and by 1930, she was recognized as an expert of Spanish Colonial fashions, which she wrote about in her book Shawls, Crinolines, Filigree. In 1985 her book The freeing of the Deer and Other Stories was published. At the time of her death, she willed her large collection of Spanish colonial clothing and jewelry to the Santa Fé Folklore Society.
Doña Aurora Lucero-White Lea was the daughter of Antonio Lucero and Julia Romero of Las Vegas born on February 8, 1894. Her father was the publisher of the Spanish language newspaper "La Voz del Pueblo" and New Mexico's first Secretary of State from 1912 until 1917. She was the Superintendent of Schools for San Miguel county, and as the second cousin to Nina Otero Warren, she was also a strong lobbyist for women's rights. She wrote about New Mexico folklore and collected early manuscripts and information on "Los Pastores," and "Los Matachines" and published Literary Folklore of the Southwest. She wrote a play entitled "Kearney Takes Las Vegas" in which she "details the ambivalence many Nuevo mexicanos felt about the Anglo takeover from Mexico." She retired from teaching in 1960 and died in 1965.
Doña Dora Ortiz Vásquez was born in 1905 and graduated from the Allyson James School in 1926. At 19 she served as an elementary school teacher at Loma Parda. in Mora County. She wrote The Enchanted Dialogue of Loma Parda and also wrote Cañada Bonita in 1990. She put on plays, wrote business letters for people and cared for the sick. She collected stories from the area such as the one on the murder mystery of Don Estanislado Mondragón which took place in La Cañada. In 1975, she wrote Enchanted Temples of Taos: My Story of Rosario, a story of Padre Antonio Jose Martínez, to whom she was related and who was one of the most prominent Neomexicanos of the early 1800's, intertwined with the story of Navajo slave Rosario. She lives in Chacón with her husband Eusebio. Doña Elba C' de Baca was born in Las Vegas in 1918 and was an early collector of Folklore who worked on the Federal Writers Project. She was a school teacher who taught in rural schools and collected stories in the Las Vegas area and wrote about "The Lady in Blue María de Agreda, witches, the Penitentes and the Hermit of El Cerro de El Porvenir. Doña Cleofas Martínez Jaramillo (1878-1956) was born in Arroyo Hondo in northern New Mexico to Julián Antonio Martínez and Martina Lucero, members of a politically influential family who owned a store in Arroyo Hondo. She attended the Loretto Convent School in Taos and later the Loretto Academy in Santa Fé. After her husband's death, she took over the family business and later wrote her autobiography, Romance of a Little Village Girl in 1955 and wrote about the loss of traditions and of the Hispano culture of New Mexico. The book documents her life, Spanish customs and rituals, holidays, courtship's, weddings and funerals. She also translated 25 of her mother's stories in Spanish Fairytales and founded the Sociedad Folklórica de Santa Fé. She wrote a cookbook on authentic New Mexican Hispano cooking The Genuine New Mexico Tasty Recipes in 1939 and presented vignettes on Hispano culture in written portraits on her family's women.
Doña María Adelina Isabel Emilio Otero was born in 1881 into a prominent New Mexico family dating back to the original settlers on one side to the Reconquista on the other. Her father was Manuel Otero and her mother was Eloisa Luna. She attended St. Vincent's Academy in Alburquerque and at the age of 11 attended Maryville College in Saint Louis, Missouri. Between 1914 and 1920, she worked to secure the vote for the women of New Mexico in a bill which lost by only 4 votes. She was elected Superintendent of Schools of Santa Fé County in 1918. She worked hard for New Mexico to ratify the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution and it was approved by the state in 1920. She worked hard as an educator to improve rural education in New Mexico and in 1923 she was appointed as Inspector of Indian Schools in Santa Fé County. She wrote Spain in Our Southwest which was published by Harcourt Brace and Company. Doña María Adelina and her friend Marnie Meadors established a homestead just outside of Santa Fé Called "Las Dos" and established a real estate company in the same name. She passed away in 1951 after a long and influential life in New Mexico culture and politics.
Doña Fabiola Cabeza de Baca was born near Las Vegas on May 16, 1894. She was raised on the family ranch at La Liendre by her grandmother Doña Estefanita Delgado Cabeza de Baca and her grandfather Graciano Cabeza de Baca. She attended the Loretto Academy for Girls in Las Vegas while her brother Luis attended the Christian Brothers school. Afterward, she became a school teacher in a rural school near her father's ranch and later wrote We Fed Them Cactus about her experiences in the rural schools. She received her BA Degree from New Mexico Normal University (now New Mexico Highlands University) in 192 1, and taught at Santa Rosa and El Rito. In 1926, she received her B.S. Degree in Home Economics from New Mexico State University and served in the Agricultural Extension Service for 30 years, mostly in northern New Mexico. She served in this capacity in Mexico in 1950 as a representative of the United Nations setting up demonstration projects among the Tarasca Indians and trained extension agents from Central and South America. She authored Historic Cookery (1942) and The Good Life (1949) and explored old and new ways to prepare and preserve the native foods. She wrote many articles for the Extension Service and studied the genealogy and folklore of New Mexico.
Doña Soledad Chávez Chacón, a descendant of the original settler in New Mexico, was born into a political family which was active in the Democrat Party politics. She attended Alburquerque High School and graduated with honors and attended a local business school to study finance. She married Irineo Chacón and later socialized with prominent and intellectual people and took part in the debate with regard to the women's suffrage movement. In 1920, she was nominated to be and became the first woman in New Mexico history to be elected to statewide office when she became Secretary of State after running on the ticket of Governor James F. Hinkle and Lieutenant Governor Jos6 Baca. She served 2 terms as Secretary of State. After the death of Lt. Governor Baca, she served in the stead of the Lieutenant Governor and as Secretary of State, relegating her to an even higher status as an Hispana elected official. She acted as Governor when Governor Hinkle attended the Democrat Convention in New York from June to July of 1924. She was recognized locally and nationally for becoming the first woman and Hispana Acting Governor in New Mexico, which also made her the first woman in the country to serve in this position, although both Texas and Wyoming elected women as governors in 1925. She also participated in the Electoral College which certified the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President of the United States, and she attended the inauguration of the President. She served in 1936 as the Representative from Bemalillo's 3rd District in the New Mexico House of Representatives and became the Chairwoman of the Committee on Rules and Order of Business. She died in 1936 of complications.
Doña María Gutiérrez Spencer was born December 17, 1919 in Las Cruces and graduated as Salutatorian at Las Cruces High School and studies at Riverside Junior College at Riverside, California and then at University of California at Berkeley where she studied Latin American and Spanish History and Literature. She served as a teacher of English as a Second Language at the University of Michigan. In 1946, she taught Spanish at the Riverside Polytechnic High School in California and worked with the Pachucos. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to return home to Las Cruces, where she taught at Las Cruces High School teaching Spanish for Native Speakers. While teaching there, she obtained her M.A. Degree from New Mexico State University. She married Lewis Spencer in 1955; he later was offered a professorship at Western New Mexico University, which together with New Mexico Highlands University had been founded by Don Félix Martínez when he served in the New Mexico Territorial Legislature in the 1890's, and they moved to Silver City. She was shocked at the racism she found against Mexicanos in Silver City and stated, "I had been exposed to unfairness and discrimination, but not raw hatred." She began a bilingual education program in the schools in 1967. She developed a teacher trainer center and won the National Pacesetter Award for Excellence and Innovation in Education, which was the first of many awards she would win in her lifetime. The minority children in her classes outperformed children for middle class and affluent backgrounds on national achievement tests, and instead of being praised, she was vilified by the Anglo community and was fired by the schools. This created the largest demonstration by Hispanos in Silver City since the Hispano Miners Strike of 1950 depicted in the documentary film Salt of the Earth The Bilingual Training Center was moved to Deming, and she was made the Training Director for the entire state. She resigned her duties as director in 1987 and became a consultant in bilingual education. She was active in the Democrat Party and used her influence to obtain bilingual teacher certification and training. Her cancer returned, and she died at her home in Silver City on August 12, 1992.
Doña Mari-Luci Jaramillo was born in Las Vegas to Maurilio Antuna and Ilvira Ruiz. She was class Valedictorian and received her BA Degree Magna Cum Laude and her M.A. Degree with honors from Highlands University. In 195 5, she began her teaching career as a teacher and consultant in language arts for the Las Vegas Schools while she worked on her M.A. Degree. In 1964, she went to the University of California to study Teaching of English as a Second Language, and in 1965 she was hired by the University of New Mexico as a lecturer. She earned her Ph..D. Degree from the University of New Mexico in 1970 in the field of Curriculum Development with a Minor in Latin American Studies. In 1977, she was appointed as Ambassador to Honduras and was Chief of Mission over 6 state agencies until 1980. In 1980, She was appointed to be Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs, and she was responsible for teacher training, school development, university lectures and educational workshops. In 1981, she accepted the position of Special Assistant to Bud Davis, President of the University of New Mexico. She was then named Associate Dean of the College of Education in 1982. In 1985, she served as Vice President for Student Affairs where she served until 1987. She then became the Assistant Vice President of the Bay Area Office Educational Testing Service in Emeryville, California. She is currently retired and lives in Alburquerque.
General Carmelita Vigil-Schimmenti was born in Alburquerque in 1936 to Francisco Vigil and Piedad Salas in a family which traces its roots in New Mexico back to 1695, and she lived at her family's ranch between Edgewood and Moriarty. She grew up in Alburquerque in the 1940s and 1950s when her family moved to Atrisco to work on the railroad. She also recalled the "Spanish-speaking people, Negroes and Indians need not apply ads and signs." She attended Atrisco Elementary School and Sacred Heart Catholic School in Barelas and graduated from Saint Mary's High School in 1954. She received her nursing diploma from Regina School of Nursing in Alburquerque. Because of her work on the base, she decided to join the military as a nurse. She joined the Air Force in 1958 and held clinical, teaching and administrative positions all over the world. She obtained a B.S. in Nursing in 1966 and an M.A. Degree in Public Health in 1974. She attended the prestigious Air Force Flight Nurse School, the Air War College and the Inter-Agency Institute. She began her military career as a hospital nurse at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and served in the Pacific Theater during the Vi6tnarn War and did'-) tours of duty in the Pacific. She has earned many military decorations such as the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. She was the first Hispana to attain the rank of General in 1985 and was the first female General from New Mexico.
Doña Jesusita Aragón, is a Partera or Midwife who began her career at the tender age of 14, she delivered her first baby for her aunt who had her child early., Her own mother died of childbirth with her eighth child when Doña Jesusita was 7 years old. She worked as a laborer in the fields after having a child out of wedlock and being ostracized by her family. Since then, she had helped birth thousands (,she says 45,000) of children and on May 15, 1987, she was honored by the Governor, who declared the day Jesusita Aragón Dav and Las Vegas held a benefit dance in her honor. There were children present whom she had birthed from 2 months old to 64 Years old. On Sunday, July 12, 1987, she was awarded the "Living Treasure Award in Santa Fé, and on October 23, 1987, she was given the Midwife of the Year Award by Midwife National Association at their Annual Convention in Denver.
Doña Erlinda Gonzales Berry was born in 1942 in Roy, the daughter of Canuto and Cariota Gonzales. Her mother was a rural school teacher, and she attended El Rito High School and the University of New Mexico, where she received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages. She was the first Hispana to be Chair of a Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico. She has been a literary critic and scholar and published a novel in Spanish, entitled Paretitas de Guayaba in 1991. She also published a novel called Rosebud in English about a young Chicana growing up in New Mexico. While she was Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, she applied for and was one of the finalist for the Deanship of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico, but was not selected.
Doña Isabel Blea Marnahua was born in the small eastern New Mexico plains town of Clayton and attended New Mexico Highlands University, then left to go to work in California. Several years later in 1973, she returned to New Mexico Highlands University as a divorced single mother to obtain her BA Degree which had been left unfinished. She was active in the Partido de la Raza Unida de San Miguel and the Partido de la Raza Unida de Nuevo México as well as the National Partido de la Raza Unida. She became the Editor of La MEChA, the Highlands University School Newspaper, and in 1975, she was elected as State Chairwoman of the Partido de la Raza Unida de Nuevo México, and her colleague María Elena Martínez was elected State Chairwoman of the Partido de la Raza Unida de Texas, making them the first Hispana Chairwomen of a state political party in the Partido de la Raza Unida, which until then had not had a Chicana Chairwoman. She is currently a teacher in the Alburquerque Public Schools. Doña Teresa McBride was born to a business and entrepreneurial family. When she was in second grade, she would help out in the family restaurant after school, and at the age of 12, she worked with her brother selling newspapers. To attract more customers to their restaurant, she and her father would put on skits and melodramas to attract customers. Her father died when she was 14 and the family business was sold. She started college as a divorced mother and had to leave college when the buyers of the family restaurant defaulted on their payments. She had to rebuild the business and obtained a computer to do it. She began "consulting" on the use of computers to her friends, and later sold the business to buy and resell computers. She expanded her business wider the name of McBride and Associates, Inc. a firm which specialized in computer hardware. The business grew to have over 32 million dollars in business and in 1991 it was ranked First Hispanic Business in the nation's 100 faster growing companies. Doña Teresa received the Administrators Excellence Award from the Small Business Administration in 1989, 1990 and 199 1. Se received the National Businesswoman of the Year Award from the United States Hispano Chamber of Commerce in 1992.
These are but a few of the many notable Hispanas New Mexico has produced, and we of the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico wish to apologize to those many distinguished Hispanas whom we have omitted due to the lack of space and time. However, if you wish to learn more about New Mexico's distinguished Hispanas, we recommend the books Nuestras Mujeres Edited by Tey Diana Rebolledo. Professor of Spanish at the University of New Mexico and Notable Hispanic Women edited by Diane Telgen and Jim Kamp.
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