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Land grants of New Mexico and the United States Forest Service

Raish, Carol; McSweeney, Alice M. 2011. Land grants of New Mexico and the United States Forest Service. In: Feldman, Susana R.; Oliva, Gabriel E.; Sacido, Monica B., eds. IX International Rangeland Congress: Diverse Rangelands for a Sustainable Society; April 3-10, 2011; Rosario, Argentina. IRC2001 Congress. p. 775.

The U.S. Forest Service (FS) has a long, shared history with the Spanish and Mexican land grants of northern New Mexico. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war between the United States and Mexico, was supposed to recognize and respect the property rights of the resident Hispano population. In many cases the intent of the Treaty was not honored. During the land grant adjudication processes after U.S. conquest of the region in 1848, much community land from these grants was declared public domain, eventually becoming part of the northern New Mexico national forests. Other grant lands went into private ownership and were later sold to the government. While some fraudulent claims were rejected, many legitimate claims were also rejected. Claims from families who had farmed and ranched their land for generations were denied because of lost, incomplete, or inconsistent documents (Eastman, 1991). Some villagers lost confirmed land because they were unable to pay land taxes under the American system of monetary payments. Land grant loss remains an issue of bitter controversy.

Keywords: land grants, U.S. Forest Service, Hispanic ranching, land loss protest

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Land grants of New Mexico and the United States Forest Service
Electronic Publish Date: April 26, 2011
Last Update:
April 26, 2011

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