News, June 9:
I read your piece “Good Fire” with great interest. The piece oversimplifies history to make the point that Native people have always managed fire in New Mexico. Is that true?
The piece says “…Roosevelt’s administration took over enormous swaths of land in the Southwest through executive action, ousting Native communities from land they had managed for centuries.” This oversimplifies the complex history of northern New Mexico where Spanish colonialists drove Pueblo people off the land and relegated them to tiny land grants in the 1600s. (The American government greatly expanded the Pueblo land reservations centuries later.) Further, anthropologists who interviewed hundreds of Pueblo people over the last century found little evidence that the Pueblo people managed wildfire very much at all, probably because lightning fires were so widespread before 1903, that little fire management needed to be done.
Fire was on a natural cycle on almost all acres in the Southwest.
That said, I’m all for having the Pueblos expand their role in prescribed burning in New Mexico. I’ve worked with many of them on federal prescribed fires over the years.
TOM RIBE, SANTA FE
A&C, July 28:
Appreciate all his storytelling. Kids enjoyed listening to stories.
Pat Minjarez via Facebook
Santa Fe storytelling at its best...so many good memories.
Jean Ives via Facebook