"El Cerrito, New Mexico" captures the essence of a village that, despite cultural disintegration, sparks the passion of a small number of inhabitants who want to keep it alive. Richard L. Nostrand opens a window into the past of the upper Pecos Valley, revealing the daily life of this small, isolated Hispanic village whose population waxes and wanes in the face of family feuds, settlement struggles, and the ever-encroaching modern world.
Nostrand identifies the challenges facing eight generations of families. Utilizing primary sources from government, census, and church records, as well as from burials, homestead documents, and interviews with sixty Cerritenos, Nostrand details village life from its founding in 1824 to the opening years of the twenty-first century. The author weaves historical evidence with physical data from soil analyses, topology, and geology to explain how the land itself shaped life in El Cerrito.
Previous community studies have pinpointed a particular time to assess kinship and social organization, but "El Cerrito, New Mexico" examines change over two centuries to reveal a more complete picture of societal evolution. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and maps, El Cerrito, New Mexico explores how one village has preserved community traditions for more than a century."