A site for self-determination and against the enclosure of knowledge
Reviewed By KAY MATTHEWS
An alternate subtitle of Malcolm Ebright’s new book Advocates for the Oppressed could have been “The Vision of Governor Tomás Vélez Cachupín.” Vélez Cachupín was the Spanish governor of colonial New Mexico during two tenures from 1749 to 1767 and is obviously much admired by Ebright for his advocacy of both Hispano and native populations under Spanish rule: within the courts, in resettlement, and with the establishment of community land grants.
For Ebright, Vélez Cachupín is emblematic of those who advocated for the oppressed in their struggles for land and water rights. While the office of Protector de Indios was established in the mid-1600s, the office wasn’t filled during Vélez Cachupín’s tenure, but he and his alcaldes protected Pueblo Indian land rights by refining the methods of measuring their lands and assisting them in buying lands from the Spanish. He also oversaw the establishment of Hispano…
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