Dr. Rubén Martinez, who has directed the Institute for nearly 13 years, is on sabbatical leave from January through June 2020. Despite recurring opportunities to take sabbatical leave, he had not taken one since 1990.
During his leave he is focusing his attention on two areas: 1) the needs of Latino farmers, and 2) water issues facing Latino farmers in northern New Mexico. According to him, the displacement of Northern New Mexico Hispanos from their lands began shortly after the takeover of the region by the U.S. in 1848.
“First the land was taken,” he said, “and now water rights are being taken.” This is occuring through the separation of water rights and land, and by the takeover of water commissions by White newcomers. The separation of land and water is destructive to the agropastoral communities of the region. The clash of cultures continues as American newcomers to the region continue to impose their culture on locals.