Juan Valdez was forced to sneak his family’s cattle onto forest pastures that had for decades been land grant common lands because his family, like so many other land grant heirs, had been denied the use of the land.
Santa Fe, NM (PRWEB) January 17, 2012
Being forced to leave school after the third grade to help his father raise crops and tend livestock to support their family was just one of the hardships Juan Valdez's family experienced over the years. As a 9-year-old and for years thereafter, Juan was forced to sneak his family’s cattle onto forest pastures that had for decades been land grant common lands because his family, like so many other land grant heirs, had been denied the use of the land. On June 5, 1967, Reies Lopez Tijerina, a traveling preacher, lead Valdez and a group of followers into a courthouse in Northern New Mexico in an attempt to arrest the district attorney and bring national attention to the loss of decades-old land grants that had been denied protection under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This new book details the author’s view of how the United States unlawfully ended up with millions of acres of land grant acreage without even an offer of compensation or apologies for the taking.
Trespassers on Our Own Land, a comprehensive, comparative history of why and how the U.S. government suffered from its chronic affliction of Manifest Destiny, is structured as an oral history of the Valdez’ family and of the political history of the times. It flows from conversation to conversation as Valdez discusses his family’s history with a grandson –giving him lessons on survival, treaties and the government's establishment of a court to take millions of acres of ancestral lands. He also discusses his views on the U.S. Forest Service’s treatment of the grant lands as its own private domain–and how its actions after 1905 reduced hundreds of land grant heirs to trespassers on their own land as they attempted to survive the travesty.
Trespassers explains in detail why and how the U.S. government selfishly removed millions of acres from the decades-old Spanish, Mexicans and Pueblo Indian grants, all the while acting as though the taking was lawful and appropriate. Drawing on government documents, maps, legal cases, articles and correspondence, Trespassers focuses like a laser beam on this very dark period in U.S. history, the results of which continue to resonate to this day.
Author Mike Scarborough, who has lived in northern New Mexico most of his life, served in the Air Force for eight years before attending college and law school. He practiced law for 25 years before retiring in 1998.
For additional information, please visit http://www.trespassersonourownland.com.
Trespassers on Our Own Land
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-0584-3 312 pages $19.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
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