New Mexico Women’s Historic Markers website showcases close to 100 markers now gracing the highways and small towns in every county and of the state. The stories of these women have left us a legacy of courage, vision and fortitude throughout time as they take their place in New Mexicos multicultural history. Our mission is to mark the courageous journeys of women who shaped New Mexico. Founded by International Women’s Forum – New Mexico
History as we know it is largely a story told by men about men. This was true of the marker program in New Mexico. In 1935, to encourage tourism, the state of New Mexico began erecting roadside markers—big, brown, log-hewn signs along New Mexico’s highways. The markers highlight the people, the geological features, and the historical events that make New Mexico unique. But for over 70 years, there was only one marker that even mentioned a woman. Recognizing this absence of representation from fully a half of our population, three members of the IWF-NM took action: Patricia French, Beverly Duran, and Alexis Girard. Beginning in 2005, they worked together with the Governor, the Legislature, and many others to create and to fund the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative. The group then worked with state agencies, specifically the Cultural Affairs Department and the Department of Transportation, as well as counties, municipalities, pueblos, the Navajo Nation, numerous private and public organizations, historians, researchers, and a diverse selection committee. They encouraged participation from the many New Mexicans who nominated women for the Initiative. Between 2006 and 2010, 64 markers were installed, many with formal dedications involving the families and communities of these women.
Because much of the work was done by Forum members and other volunteers, there were funds remaining at the conclusion of the initial phase of the Initiative. This funding, together with the provision of additional markers by the Department of Transportation allowed the Initiative to continue such that now there are almost 100 markers celebrating women’s contributions to our state’s history. They represent the diversity of New Mexico and include women from our Pueblos, tribes, and the Navajo Nation, and there are markers in every one of New Mexico’s 33 counties.
The Markers project has been a labor of love of the IWF-NM. Enjoy discovering the history of New Mexico through the lives of these amazing women.
“Into the Future – Legacy” by Natasha Lucero Rajaram
October 13, 2017
Watch the recorded speech
The Historic Women Marker Initiative is not just about the past. It has also inspired young people to think about their roles in history. As part of one of the Marker dedications, local school children had studied the woman honored and created posters and wrote short stories about her role in New Mexico history.
The following is a presentation that a young girl who was a fourth generation relative of the woman in the Marker reflected on the notion of Legacy and what it meant to her. Enjoy her words.
We want to encourage schools and teachers to explore the Historic Marker website and help introduce students to the wonderful women who have helped to shape New Mexico’s history.
“Some say that the meaning of legacy is what your relatives have done in the past. Others may claim that legacy is who they are meant to be. I believe it is more of a quest that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and your descendants have given to you to achieve.
This quest is a directive to be more than they were, to be who you want to be, and to be the best you can be. Think about it this way, your grandparents had your parents and gave them the gift of life and passed on their legacy.
The gift of life is an incredible phenomenon. It is gifting your child a chance to change the world, to be part of something bigger or, once again, to follow their dreams.
To quote my beloved grandma, “Legacy is the footprint you leave in life, not the shoes that were given to you.” What this means is that instead of doing something that someone else has done, create something new and enthralling. Do something big that has never been done before. And make sure that after all the years your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have devoted to you—you are proud of yourself. Make sure that you pass on YOUR legacy and make sure it sticks. Make sure your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren know your story and make sure that they make theirs, too.
Remarks made at the NM Historic Marker Dedication for Juliana Gutierrez Hubbell. Natasha is a descendent of Juliana and her great-great-grandmother, Josefa Baca. She is 11-years-old, attends the Harker School, writes for her school paper, won 1st place and $2,600 for an app developed to alert parents of fire in their home from the National Paradigm Challenge in 2016, and she is nationally ranked in tennis by USTA, winning 1st place in her age group at the Li’l Mo National Tennis Tournament.
“Kudos to you for spearheading this tremendous NM historic Women Marker Initiative. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I have been stopping at rest stops and markers whenever I can to see their condition and purpose. When stopping at La Bajada Rest Stop last week, I discovered the circle of markers commemorating NM women that had not previously been there (it’s been a while since I stopped there)! Totally inspiring!” Representative Joy Garratt