Culture Series: Tortugas in 1919
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Enjoy learning what Tortugas was like a century ago through the examination of correspondence. Our speaker is Rick Hendricks, PhD, who is the New Mexico state records administrator and was the state historian for nine years. Admission is free.
In 1919 Rev. William H. Ketcham, director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, visited the Mesilla Valley, including the community of Tortugas. Following his return to the bureau's headquarters in Washington, D.C., there was an extensive exchange of correspondence between individuals in the Las Cruces area, prominent among them Eugene Van Patten and Father Vandermaesen of St. Genevieve's, and Father Ketcham regarding the nature of the people of Tortugas, the activities of Catholic clergy in the village, and other interesting aspects of the community. This talk on the Tortugas of a century ago is based on an examination of this correspondence.
Tortugas, in Las Cruces, is home to the Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic Church, and Los Indigenes de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.
Hendricks received his BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 and his PhD from the University of New Mexico in 1985. He is a former editor of the Vargas Project at the University of New Mexico. After the conclusion of the Vargas Project, he worked at New Mexico State University, most notably on the Durango Microfilming Project. At NMSU Rick also taught courses in colonial Latin America and Mexican history. He has written extensively on the history of the American Southwest and Mexico. Rick works in Santa Fe but calls Las Cruces home.