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Lecture to reveal the color in New Mexico’s history

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By Kirsten Laskey

History is not written in stone. There are many different perspectives and views on the story of how we got to where we are today. And the more that is discovered about the past, the more elaborate the story becomes.

Take New Mexico’s history,  for instance; if you dig deep enough a multitude of colors begin to paint the picture of the state.

Alan Osborne, co-founder of Southwest Seminars, a nonprofit cultural education organization that offers public lectures covering many topics, will unveil some of the latest developments of the state’s history during the Los Alamos Historical Society’s lecture. The presentation, titled “Journey into the Mist of Time: New Mexico’s Colorful Past,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Pajarito Room in Fuller Lodge.

New Mexico’s history is so colorful that Osborne said he sees the major chapters of the Land of Enchantment’s past as acts in a play.

Act 1, he explained, deals with the period of time before Christopher Columbus landed on the continent.

Act II address the colonial period  and the Spanish and Indian relations, the concluding act, Act III, focuses on the Mexican and American takeovers before New Mexico is brought into statehood.

Osborne said he will give an overview of these three acts and the new findings current research has produced.

For example with  the oldest human site identified to be in Chile and even a paleo site, or oldest American site, in Santa Fe, it reorients the idea that people came over to the Western Hemisphere solely on foot.

Additionally, tradition history has celebrated Coronado but research done by Richard and Shirley Flint reveal a different story. In their book, “No Conquest, No Settlement,” Osborne said the Flints concluded Coronado came here to conquer, not to just explore; he came to an area unbeknownst to the Spanish crown and he mistakenly thought he was in Asia.

“New Mexico is full of surprises and Coronado is one of them,” Osborne said.

He also noted in Hampton Sides’ book, “Blood Thunder,”  it is argued that the takeover of New Mexico was an execution of manifest destiny.  The book also paints a different image of Kit Carson, who is often put in the role of history’s whipping boy.

These and other pieces of history have grown and evolved because more than one source, the Anglo version, has been addressed, Osborne said.

“Americans have come to realize … asking the minority their own versions of their stories is really important because it opens a lot of doors. It’s just an opportunity to look at new ways of seeing,” he said.

These new versions of the stories should be of interest to the community.

“I think inquiring minds want to know,” Osborne said.

He added everyone is usually interested in where they live.

It’s an honor to share stories about the state in Los Alamos, which is not only filled with inquiring minds but also with a colorful past all of its own, Osborne said.

“(I) appreciate what Los Alamos has done to preserve its past,” he said.