Local news

New Mexico State historian talks suffrage in Taos

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 1/17/19

Taos County Democrats hosted a talk Monday (Jan. 14) by state historian Rick Hendricks focusing around the struggles for women and native voting rights in New …

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Local news

New Mexico State historian talks suffrage in Taos

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Taos County Democrats hosted a talk Monday (Jan. 14) by state historian Rick Hendricks focusing around the struggles for women and native voting rights in New Mexico.

Over 50 community members gathered in the Democrat headquarters on Paseo del Pueblo Sur to listen to suffrage history in New Mexico while Hendricks shared his knowledge. The conversation started with female suffrage and then transitioned into indigenous voting rights and the voter participation on New Mexico Pueblos over the years. Women were granted the right to vote in New Mexico in 1920, whereas native voters were not given suffrage until 1948.

"The anglos here were primarily democrats and they controlled the legislature," said Hendricks. "The men who drafted [the New Mexico constitution] felt they created a very perfect document."

According to Hendricks, women had been fighting for the right to vote in New Mexico but the state had to wait for the national 19th amendment to ratify the constitution. The year 2019 marks the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage and New Mexico was one of the original 36 states to allow women to vote.

Elite anglo women in New Mexico were the first to move the woman's suffrage movement across the state.

Native voting rights also faced an uphill battle, according to Hendricks. After World War II veteran Miguel Trujillo was denied registration for living on the Isleta reservation. "Indians not taxed" were not able to vote in New Mexico prior to 1948 when Trujillo's fight went from the small village in Isleta to Santa Fe where three judges sided with him. Despite the victory in the courts, the language in the laws was not changed until 1962.

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