My junior high New Mexico history teacher, Pat Thatcher, can attest to the fact that when it came to learning about the early days of the Land of Enchantment, I was a less-than-passionate student.
A few decades of perspective have changed that though, and books such as William Dunmire’s recently published “New Mexico’s Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land and People” (UNM Press 2013) confirm that, darn it, Mrs. Thatcher was right: History is worth studying.
Dunmire will be at the Portales Public Library at 5:30 p.m. today for a free one-hour presentation based on his book and sponsored by the New Mexico Humanities Council.
A retired National Park Service naturalist and former superintendent of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Dunmire is a meticulous researcher and engaging writer. His book is a fascinating overview of how cattle, horses, sheep and pigs were introduced to the New World, and the impact those animals have had, for better and for worse, for the past 400 years in New Mexico.
Four centuries of domestic livestock in New Mexico has affected every part of our lives, from what we eat to the landscape in which we live, and Dunmire is a captivating teller of the story.
I suspect his presentation will be an hour very well spent.
Betty Williamson is overwhelmingly grateful that she did not live in New Mexico 400 years ago. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.