Jul 27, 2023 - World

In photos: Hispanic farmers, ranchers 400-year history in northern New Mexico

A Northern New Mexico farmer holds some dry corn that is getting harder to grow in the region.

A northern New Mexico farmer holds some dry corn that is getting harder to grow in the region amid climate change and fights over water. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

War, land theft, court fights and water battles haven't deterred some northern New Mexico Hispanic ranchers from staying in their lands after 400 years.

Through the lens: Axios Latino spent time with ranchers and farmers in this part of the state as they talked about old conflicts over land rights — including the June 5, 1967, courthouse raid led by Reies López Tijerina — and climate change. They vowed to die on their families' land.

The 1960s-era "Tierra o Muerte" poster greets visitors coming into Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico.
The 1960s-era "Tierra o Muerte" (Land or Death) poster greets visitors coming into Tierra Amarilla, N.M.. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
Moises Morales Jr., a rancher in Canjilon, New Mexico, shows the etchings his grandfather made in a cabin he built in the 1930s in the Carson National Forest.
Moises Morales Jr., a rancher in Canjilon, N.M., shows the markings his grandfather made in a cabin he built in the 1930s in the Carson National Forest. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
Moises Morales Jr., a rancher in Canjilon, New Mexico, shows the markings his grandfather made in a cabin he built in the 1930s in the Carson National Forest. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
The markings in the Carson National Forest cabin made by the family of Moises Morales Jr. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
Manuel Trujillo shows the weeds that invasive Elk bring to his water sources.
Manuel Trujillo shows the weeds that invasive Elk bring to his water sources. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
Manuel Trujillo talks about the blessings of a good snow season to his farm in Ensenada, New Mexico, amid climate change and Elk pollution.
Manuel Trujillo talks about the blessings of a good snow season on his farm in Ensenada, N.M., amid climate change and Elk pollution. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
Moises Morales Jr., tries through the Carson National Forest where he and other militants fled in 1967 following a violent courthouse raid in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico.
Moises Morales Jr. drives through the Carson National Forest where he and other militants from the Alianza Federal de Mercedes group fled to in 1967 following a violent courthouse raid in Tierra Amarilla, N.M., over a land rights battle. The group had hoped to arrest then-District Attorney Alfonso Sanchez, but he wasn't there. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
An abandoned gas station in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, with graffitti telling everyone to remember the courthouse raid of 1967.
An abandoned gas station in Tierra Amarilla, N.M., with graffiti telling visitors to remember the courthouse raid of 1967. Led by Reies López Tijerina, members of the Alianza Federal de Mercedes who raided the courthouse had been peacefully protesting for land that was taken from them for months. During the raid, a group shot and wounded a state police officer and jailer, beat a deputy, and took the sheriff and a reporter hostage. A massive manhunt for Tijerina and his group ensued. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios
New Mexico rancher David Sanchez in Canjilon, New Mexico, in front of a tractor.
New Mexico rancher David Sanchez in Canjilon, N.M.. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

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