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Archives of DispossessionRecovering the Testimonios of Mexican American Herederas, 1848-1960$
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Karen R. Roybal

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633824

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633824.001.0001

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The Not So ”New” Mexico

The Not So ”New” Mexico

Struggle for Land, Identity, and Agency

(p.101) Four The Not So ”New” Mexico
Archives of Dispossession

Karen R. Roybal

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shifts the focus of Southwest history back to New Mexico as it analyses the memoir, We Fed Them Cactus, written by Nuevomexicana cultural broker, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca. The memoir allows Cabeza de Baca to (re)claim her herencia, or inheritance, as she documents the historical implications of U.S imperialism and the ways in which she suffers the impacts of physical and cultural displacement in the burgeoning U.S. Southwest. This chapter also argues that Cabeza de Baca employs a unique narrative style and voice that is androgynous – a tactic that allows her access to the masculine space of historical documentation and storytelling that was then dominated by men. Through her work, Cabeza de Baca preserves the stories of her Hispano New Mexican past, she attempts to maintain a social structure on the verge of loss, and she demonstrates her querencia, or deep abiding love for her homeland.

Keywords:   We Fed Them Cactus, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, New Mexico, androgynous, androgyny, masculine, herencia, inheritance, narrative style, Hispano, imperialism, U.S. Southwest

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