Sunday, April 21, 2024

Wildfire Threatens to Destroy Indo-Hispano Culture in New Mexico

In the U.S., a wildfire in New Mexico and Colorado threatens to destroy villages in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Many of these villages can be traced back to European and Mexican settlers and Native Americans.

Miguel Gandert fears his family’s 19th-century log home has been destroyed by the New Mexico wildfire and will destroy an Indo-Hispano Mountain culture far older than the United States.

The fire has burned an unknown number of homes in the Mora Valley, and as of last week, violent winds threatened to destroy adobe mud-brick ranch houses, churches, and watermills that date back to the 19th century.

According to police reports, more than half of Mora County, a population of 45,000, has stayed to defend their homes.

“It’s almost a form of cultural genocide that’s going on, and the fire is the enemy,” stated Gandert, a retired University of New Mexico professor.

In the communities of Holman and Cleveland, working-class families are using their machinery to scrape fire breaks alongside firefighters, stated Gabriel Melendez, a native of Mora.

“You’re losing inheritance, you’re losing the value of these homes, people will rebuild, and they’ll work to retie the fabric of this torn culture, but it’s a big challenge” stated Melendez.

NBC News