Borderlands Lecture Series

“Telling Nothing but the Truth”: Testimonios of Land Loss and Reclamation

In 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mexican-American War came to a close and Mexicanas/os in California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico were thrust into U.S. citizenship without the full benefits afforded to Anglo Americans. Their citizenship status was better categorized as de jure, not de facto. This lecture focuses on the Nuevomexicanas/os who were subjected to a new U.S. legal system through which they had to reestablish their position as property owners and navigate a second-class citizenship shaped by a racial hierarchy. Karen Roybal describes how the testimonios taken by the U.S. Surveyor General during land grant adjudication proceedings in the late 19th century also demonstrate the gendered terrain of the property court cases as Nuevomexicanas/os responded to a new legal system and its laws and customs.