La Cordillera Newsletter, Issue #6

Report on 16th Annual Conference, 2011
By Joe Myers

La Jornada


Image Courtesy of New Mexico Hispanic Culture Preservation League


The hot weather is nearly over in Tucson so it is time to start thinking about the 17th annual international conference of the Anza Society.  March 8-11, 2012. The local committee has actually been active since the conference in Albuquerque last March and some activities are already in the works.  But first a little recap about the conference in Albuquerque.

For me, the talks are the heart of the conference and last March several people helped line up an excellent slate of speakers.  Conchita Lucero had an illness in the family so did not attend, but she stayed active with emails and speaker suggestions.  And Pauline Anaya and John did a super job with receptions, field trips, and organization in general so the conference went very smoothly. Many, many thanks to Pauline, John, and the New Mexican Hispanic Cultural Preservation League!

We had a bus trip to Santa Fe on Saturday which included a side trip to the National Historic Monument, Pecos, where Anza signed the peace agreement with the Comanche in 1786. Then in the afternoon we actually viewed the quarters of Anza in Santa Fe and had a delightful Mexican dinner before heading back to Albuquerque. It will be hard to improve on last year’s activities and speakers.  To refresh your memories, here is a brief bio and summary of each.

Phil Valdez Jr:  MBA, a former Professor of Financial Management and 8th generation descendent of Juan Bautista Valdez, soldado de cuera and courier extraordinaire.  Phil is the Vice President of the Anza Society.  He talked about the routes, campsites, and daily activities the twenty soldiers experienced, from el Real Presidio de San Carlos de Monterrey to the Tulares (East Bay), after having reconnoitered the San Francisco Peninsula, to see if in fact there was a Rio Grande de San Francisco.

Dr. Julianne Burton-Carvajal: Received her Ph.D. from Yale University and a member of the Literature faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz for 36 years. The author-editor of six books and 100+ articles on Latin American cinema. Julianne spoke about the Jesuit Father Eusebio Kino and Franciscan Friar Junípero Serra separated in time by 60-70 years.  In the mid-1770s she linked the two intrepid missionaries through Captain Juan Bautista de Anza’s overland journeys from Kino’s mission field in Pimería Alta to Serra’s in Alta California.

Dr. Peter L. Gough:  Bachelor’s degree at Ohio State; master’s at Cal State (Long Beach) and Doctor of Philosophy, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Currently he is history professor at UNLV. Peter’s topic was the role of women on the Anza expedition.  Anza’s instructions were to lead an expedition of troops and “bring their wives and children in order that they become better attached to their domicile.”  Peter rightfully suggested that in many respects the women of the Anza party bore hardships unequalled by their male counterparts.

Pauline Chavez: Born in Atarque, NM; she has always known that when legends die, dreams end and history passes to oblivion. She served as V P-membership of the Southern California Writers Assn, also as member of the Huntington Beach (Surf City) Historical Resources Board. Pauline spoke on New Mexico’s Pioneering Women; highlighting some cuentos (tales) of their strength, faith and courage.  Her book Atarque, Now All Is Silent…was published in 2007 and ranked 9th most popular SW History Book on Amazon .com.

Dolores Valdez de Pong: A native of the San Luis Valley in Colorado, an educator in the primary grades in Santa Fe Public Schools for 35 years and a writer and producer of numerous musical productions. Delores shared some of her children’s songs and excerpts from plays as well as a visual presentation showing students in various performances. She was named the first recipient of the Millie Santillanes Education Award, given by the New Mexican Hispanic Culture Preservation League for her work in promoting and preserving the Hispanic Culture in youth.

Rubén Sálaz M. (author, historian, lecturer, educator) is a 12th generation New Mexican of Hispanic ascendancy; his ancestors were in on the founding of Santa Fe and of Albuquerque. Ruben included in his talk a number of thought provoking items:  For example, we all know that Hispanos brought Western Civilization, Christianity, the horse, and foods like wheat to New Mexico and the Southwest. But did you know that Hispanic people created the horned saddle and the institution of ranching?  He presented a portion of his one hour long  “HIGHLIGHTS & SIDELIGHTS slide show on New Mexican History.”

Dr. Hal Jackson:  Professor emeritus of geography at Humboldt State University and part of the adjunct faculty of the University of New Mexico’s Department of Geography.  Author of “Following the Royal Road; A Guide to the Historic Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.” His presentation highlighted history of this Royal Road; emphasizing portions Anza would have been familiar with.  The northern section of the trail today is a National Historic Trail and has some 400 miles in the US.

Dr. Rick Hendricks: New Mexico State Historian;  B. A. in History; Ph.D. in Ibero American Studies at the University of New Mexico and attended the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain. Rick and John Kessell co-edited By Force of Arms, one of the classics in the six volume series on Vargas.  His most recent book, New Mexico in 1801: The Priests Report, was published in June 2008 by Rio Grande books. (Ranked 6th most popular NM History and 12th SW History Book on His presentation was on Church-State Relations in Anza’s New Mexico, 1777 to 1787.

Dr. Joseph Myers:  PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at University of Washington (Seattle).  Raised in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. His presentation highlighted Anza’s expedition against the Comanche from Santa Fe in August, 1779. Anza’s battle with the Comanche in Colorado took place at exactly the same time that one third of the continental army (some 5,000 troops under General Sullivan) were crushing the Iroquois in New York as ordered by General Washington.

Banquet speaker Dr. John Kessell:  Professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico; author of many books on the Southwest: His talk: “A Long Time Coming: The Pueblo Boomerang, 1680.”

All this was March, 2011.  What about 2012?

Mark your calendars for March 8-11, 2012.  The conference will be at the Wyndham Canoa Ranch Resort, about twenty five minutes south of the Tucson Airport, and ten minutes north of Tubac.  Accommodations are lovely.  The resort is right across the highway from the expedition campsite La Canoa, where Maria Ignacia Manuela Pinuelas Feliz died in childbirth during the first night after the expedition left Tubac, October 23, 1775.

Our traditional “board-hosted” reception will be Thursday evening and board member Suzanne Sparks-Chavez (Anza’s Colonizing Expedition descendant) has volunteered to play her flute as background music.

The conference talks will be at the resort on Friday, March 9.  There are a number of well known speakers in the Tucson region and invitations are being sent out daily. James Turner will be our banquet speaker.  Jim has a master’s degree in history from the University of Arizona and recently retired from the Arizona Historical Society.  He has a presentation on four presidios, but plans to narrow it down to two for our banquet, including Terrenate and San Bernardino and promised to come up with some little-known information to augment his talk.

Saturday morning we will visit two mission sites that are just “husks of their former selves.”  San Cayetano de Calabazas near Rio Rico was on a dry ridge above the Santa Cruz River; first mentioned in the records when Anza was about ten years old.  We are hoping to have the very talented Anita Badertscher recreate Rita Duran, resident at the time.

Then we will travel a short distance to Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi; first mentioned by Kino in 1691.  It was his plan to have it serve as the cabecera (headquarters) and Tumacacori as a rancheria or visita.  We don’t have Don Garate to tell the story, but Don wrote about Pedro de la Cruz Chihuahua, half O’odham and half Opata.  Pedro was tragically killed nearby during the Pima uprising in 1751.  Perhaps someone from Tumacacori National Historic Park will have a similar or better story for us.

Lunch and a history talk will be at the very beautiful Hacienda Corona del Guevavi; a favorite spot of Jesuit Kino and Juan (John) Wayne.  According to Don Garate, Anza owned several ranches in the area including the Guevavi and the San Mateo (vicinity of Calabazas).  Murals painted on the hacienda walls in the mid-1900s by bullfighter Salvador Corona are still in amazing condition.

Then in the afternoon we head back to Tubac Presidio State Park.  With any luck we’ll have a guest appearance of Anza himself, and some of his soldados.  Museum tours and other activities will occupy part of the group for a couple of hours, while the more adventurous can hike the 3-4 mile segment of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail to Mission San Jose de Tumacacori.

It will be late afternoon, about 3:30 pm when we arrive at the mission. Activities are still being pinned down; we are planning entertainment in the chapel by a local group – singing music from the 1700s – as well as a talk by Jesuit Francisco Xavier Pauer S.J. (portrayed by Dave Reiter). Dave said that the padre was born in what is now the Czech Republic (Brno) and went by the name Franz Bauer.  Bancroft said in 1750 Padre Garrucho was at Guevavi and Francisco Paver at San Javier. Garate noted that Pauer built the mission churches at Tumacacori, Calabazas, and Sonoitac between 1753-1759.

Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant, Wisdom’s Cafe, with their world famous fruit burro (hot, fruit filled burrito- rolled in cinnamon and sugar and served with ice cream).  It is only about a fifteen minute trip from the restaurant back to the resort.

We will hold our annual board meeting Sunday morning, and follow it by emulating the wonderful walking tour we had this past spring in Old Town, Albuquerque.  Next March (2012) the walking tour will be in Tubac, led by Nancy Valentine.  She has written a book on the history of Tubac, available in town and at the presidio. Lunch in any of the nearby café’s will be “on-your-own.”  Or if you prefer shopping, there are great stores and galleries there.

And for people with transportation and not having to rush back to the airport, visit the very first camp site of the expedition in the United States, called Las Lagunas.  A lot of work has been going on about twenty minutes south of Tubac, at the north end of Nogales.  Local volunteers have cut down the cat tails and built a real parking area so the expedition camp site can be appreciated much better now. The cienga (marsh) can be reached by taking exit 5 off of I-19 to Country Club Drive North and turning west.

Plan now to come to Arizona and help us celebrate the centennial of the state – exactly one hundred years old in 2012.  Seems odd the state is only celebrating the last hundred years, when there is so much more history to celebrate!

Don’t miss the 17th international conference; there should be plenty of activities for everyone.  And bring a friend!