Expanding Our Understanding of How Women Shaped the Lands of Colorado
El Pueblo History Museum opens exhibition and host lecture on Women’s land rights in the Centennial State
PUEBLO— May 23, 2023 — Next month History Colorado’s El Pueblo History Museum focuses on expanding our understanding of the integral and often invisible role played by women in shaping the land of the Centennial State. This effort includes a lecture by influential borderlands historian Dr. Karen Roybal, and the opening of a traveling exhibition that illuminates women’s land rights in Colorado since the establishment of land grants by Mexico in the 19th century.
Luke Perkins, Manager of Communications and Public Relations
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On June 8 from 6 - 8 p.m. Dr. Karen Roybal, borderlands historian, author, and assistant professor of Southwest Studies at Colorado College, will share her groundbreaking scholarship on the impacts of colonization, Westward expansion, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on women’s rights. This free lecture is part of History Colorado’s ongoing Bold Women. Change History. Series and will explore how Dr. Roybal uses innovative research methods to recover women’s histories that have often been erased from the archives.
Research conducted by Dr. Roybal has been instrumental in History Colorado’s ongoing Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative which shares the sweeping saga of beauty and conflict steeped in cultural differences, colonizations, and clashing ideologies about land ownership before and after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
History Colorado’s Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibitions around the state incorporate Dr. Roybal’s scholarship on the disproportionate impacts on Hispano women who saw many of their rights under the Republic of Mexico revoked following the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. These impacts include:
- Erosion of civil rights for former Mexican nationals who faced dispossession of property in the face of changing laws, prejudice, and corruption
- Loss of women’s right to own land and property
- Displacement of Indigenous tribes
- Segregation and discrimination against Hispano and Indigenous inhabitants of the Southern borderlands
- Ambiguity in identity of borderland inhabitants and their descendants who to this day attest “I didn’t cross the border; the border crossed me.”
Dr. Roybal's lecture will coincide with the opening of More Than Place: Colorado, Women, and Land at El Pueblo History Museum on June 5, an exhibition which her scholarship helped create.
Originally on display at the Center for Colorado Women’s History, More Than Place: Colorado, Women, and Land examines the legacies of Western women; illuminates their role and place on the land; challenges perceptions of access; and centers diverse communities of Colorado women.
Covering 1832 to modern day, More Than Place: Colorado, Women, and Land recalls the histories of Indigenous keepers of the land, Mexican land grantees, homesteaders – including the Black homesteaders of Dearfield and The Dry – and first generation Japanese Americans who tended large gardens and worked in the agricultural fields of Otero County.
Through a series of panels visitors to El Pueblo History Museum can explore how land ownership gave some women social and economic power but often at the expense of Indigenous populations who were being dispossessed and pushed from their traditional homelands.
More Than Place: Colorado, Women, and Land will be on display at El Pueblo History Museum until December 30, 2023.
This combination of exhibition opening and lecture is one of many intersections in the ongoing work History Colorado is undertaking through its Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative.
“Since the opening of History Colorado’s first Borderlands exhibition here at El Pueblo, we have been elevating visitors' understanding of obscured histories,” said Dianne Archuleta, director of El Pueblo History Museum. “This is especially true in regards to our efforts to preserve and share the essential roles played by women in shaping the entirety of our state.“
About El Pueblo History Museum
History Colorado’s El Pueblo History Museum is located at 301 N. Union Avenue in the heart of the city of Pueblo, part of the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk District and the Pueblo Creative Corridor. The museum stands on the site of the original El Pueblo trading post, constructed in 1842. The museum site features beautiful galleries, a gift shop, bookstore, gardens, an active archaeological dig, and a recreation of the 1842 adobe trading post.
El Pueblo History Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.ElPuebloHistoryMuseum.org or call 719-583-0453.
Sobre El Pueblo History Museum
El Pueblo History Museum está en el centro histórico de Pueblo, en 301 N. Union Ave. El museo fue construido en el sitio original de El Pueblo, un puesto comercial del siglo XIX. El Pueblo es un museo de History Colorado.
El horario del museo es de 10 a.m. a 4 p.m., lunes a sábado. Para más información se puede visitar www.ElPuebloHistoryMuseum.org o llamar por 719-583-0453.
About Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative
History Colorado’s Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative shares the sweeping saga of beauty and conflict steeped in cultural differences, colonizations, and clashing ideologies about land ownership before and after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Through bi-lingual exhibitions, programs and experiences, the Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative showcases the human stories and the landscapes that define Colorado’s borderlands and are essential to knowing our roots as a state.
The first Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibition opened in 2018 at History Colorado’s El Pueblo History Museum. Since then it has become one in a series of exhibitions opened statewide as part of Borderlands of Southern Colorado Initiative. In addition to the display at El Pueblo History Museum, Borderlands of Southern Colorado exhibitions are also on view at the History Colorado Center, the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center, and the Trinidad History Museum.
About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to archaeology and historic preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and 10 other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information. #HistoryColorado