Emma Moya / Plaza Vieja, Albuquerque

My name is Emma Moya. Our Familia arrived in La Villa de Albuquerque (Arabic for white oak), 34 years after Gen. De Oñate in 1598.

The Trujillo’s – built a huge hacienda on the present day Manzano Day School across Central south of the Rio Grande in 1680 – the area was not attended. Instead one mile east, what is now Downtown Albuquerque, a part of Barelas – Don Luis Carbajal’s Hacienda and Land Grant was attacked. The area according to records Tugenho – for an Arabic castle in Spain. Francisco Trujillo the builder – the daughter Luisa was petitioned to re-populate the Villa area in 1703. The Villa’s original name was El Bosque Grande de Doña Luisa and San Francisco Xavier de Albuquerque (Church is also name after Xavier). Name changed to honor King Felipe II. Searching for family ‘s Indigenous roots, I wrote to 17 Pueblos Governors along with 4 document copies of our grandfather Andres Moya’s employment records with the All Pueblo Indian (Name the BITCI Council). Had no luck – I was called “light,” more Hispanic – so I dropped the search.

I am the second oldest of 16 children (9 younger ones). Dad Luis Moya was 1 of 5 sons and 3 daughters. From Mexico City, Antonio de Moya and his wife Maria Francisca de Guijasa brought up their family there. When Antonio de Guijasa petitioned the Governor for a grant he got it in Taos. The son Francisco cared for it till he died there. Later Guijasa sold the Grant for $50. Antonio’s mother was Maria Rivera de Moya. His dad was Juan Moreno.

I was 5 years old in 1936, vivíamos en la Plaza Vieja (we lived in the Old Plaza). In an old house, right across the street from a public school. En esos tiempos no avia pavon en las calles, cuando llovía, caía mucha agua (In those times there was no pavement in the streets, and when it rained there would be a lot of water). And we would say “esta calleando agua,” instead of “ta calleando agua.” When it rained it was about a foot or two. There was no pavement. Our houses were elevated.


Un día llego un señor del Pueblo de Isleta en carreta de caballo, en ese tiempo usaban las carretas de caballo, and they would bring in their atole (One day a man arrived from the Pueblo of Isleta in chariot drawn by horse because in those times they would use horse chariots and they would bring atole drink). And this man came up to me y me vio y me dijo, “Tu Me-xi-ca-no?” And he told me that, “Me-xi-ca-no,” I related to it… “Si yo – Me-xi-ca-no!” See what I mean? That’s when I heard the first word! But it was in a positive way! It was in a positive connotation. That’s why I feel comfortable with the word. But in later years the younger generation just… and the CIA infiltrated a lot of the organizations. I know because I belonged to some. We did some research on the big shots and we found out that many of them had Ph.D.’s and this other stuff… We were there and luego venieron los chotas and they arrested everyone saying it was a militant group. That was terrorist, but then it was militant, the language they would use if you were fighting for human rights for your people. So you couldn’t trust people… People came over from California and we would advise them. “This is what’s going on…” But we always warned each other, and you have to do that. It’s not that your paranoid but you have to be careful. And so that’s how I heard the word “Chicano.” It was said originally with a “x” not a “ch.”

There was hundreds that came with Coronado that stopped in Old Town in 1540. And then they took off… and that’s record it, it’s on record. And then when Oñate came in he also brought in Indigenos… and they had always been here, but the problem is that there was a lot of inter-fighting in the tribes. And they would steal people from each other. There’s a record in the Alcalde Capital, who was my ancestor, Martin Hurtado de la Villa. His sister was kidnapped by the Indians and he saved her, went and took her and saved her. That’s also in records. And then there’s this mixture… when I was researching my Indigenous roots, I ran into a lot of trouble. First of all I wrote to all the 17 Governors of all the tribes here in New Mexico as my grandfather worked for… it was called “The All Pueblo Council.” It’s now the BIA. I asked for the records and they didn’t have him here so I had to write to Missouri, gave them my birth certificate, my dad and grandfather’s death certificates. Finally… they sent me his records that he was employed by the government and they had him classified as one quarter Indian. Which means that he was probably Apache, Comanche… but he was a very gentle man. He taught in an Indian school in Oklahoma, which he was a disciplinarian and was also a musician. He met my grandmother in the St. Louis World Fair in 1905 or something like that and then he brought here y se casaron (married). And he was buried in the Indian school where he was teaching, but I was never able to find the records they were burnt them or something, you know how that goes. So he came over here and he re-married in the church and she became converted.

My grandmother had learned how to speak Spanish… when she came her she was outnumbered. We use to laugh because she would cuss all the time. She used to struggle to say, “cabron,” and she would say, “carbon-e.” (laughter). People think it’s a bad word and it’s not! It’s the scapegoat that the Jews use to send people to the dessert to carry people’s sins. De ahí es donde viene la palabra… “cabron!” And that’s why people think it’s bad, because they connect it with sin. And see people need to know the origin of words. When we were little we would use strange words… see we don’t speak Spanish, this is not Spanish. People come here from Mexico and they start talking or saying, “ustedes no están hablando correctamente.” Mira les dije, “aquí no hemos hablado Español le dije.” El idioma que tenemos esta mesclada con 5 o 6 lenguas.

In 1940 that’s when the word “marrano” (pig) to describe the police was coined. Alla en la Plaza Vieja la plebe would say, “cuidado ay viene un marrano!” (Over there in the Old Plaza the kids would say, “Be careful the pigs are coming!”) And people don’t know it comes from the Jewish word meaning “selling out.” Sometimes you are forced to sell out. For example my family was forced to turn Catholic. But I made it a point to study. I studied the scripture; the three scripture books: The Holy Quran, The Roman Catholic Bible, and the Holly Torah. And there you can make an analysis and you can make comparisons. It’s nice because one will tell you a lot and the other will tell you hardly anything (laughter). And then one will change the story. It was kind of nice though… I mean it’s just there you know. Just kind of like analyzing it.

La Iglesia también tenia mucho control en la política. Los Franceses, El Obispo que llego de Francia, primero fue para Roma para convencerlos que lo pusieran de Archbishop de aquí. Pero lo mandaron para Baltimore (The Church also had a lot of control in politics. The French, The Archbishop that came from France, first went to Rome to try to convince the church to send him here, but they actually sent him to Baltimore first). The stories that I have there would chuckle you. I haven’t given it to anybody, not the university or anybody. This lady se llama Margaret Garcia (Margarita Sanchez Garcia), and I interview her and have her picture. She said her mother was forced to give the Cathedral, the San Miguel Mission, and La Fonda hotel to the Bishop. Her uncle was a priest and he was medio “lambe” con el archbishop vez. And that’s what happened. Later on the Bishop excommunicated him. Excommunication means nothing but they don’t give you the sacraments. It doesn’t mean anything more then that. He also threw out two of my tios (uncles) that were sacerdotes (priests). Eran “C” “De Bacas.” They couldn’t work with him. Uno se fue para Arizona otro se fue para Las Cruces and he got involved with the Land Grants. I was looking at the records and this guy would charge $300 for a burial or $300 for wedding… silver, silver! I mean the guy was making money! They tore down the towers of San Felipe, they were Moorish towers, and they took them down and put up Gothic towers to make it look like “Little Francia.” But there’s a lot of French influence in New Mexico. También cuando estaban los soldados de México eran Franceses. Muchos se quedaron con las mujeres de ahí (Also when the soldiers from Mexico where here they were actually French soldiers. A lot of them took women from here). I did a little roster and about 20 names that are supposedly Spanish names are really French (laughter).


The bus would go… there were 2 bus services. Uno era de la ciudad (1 was from the city), 2 cents to ride it. El otro le llamaban “el brujito,” porque eran de Los Griegos (The other one we called it “the witch” because it was from Los Griegos) but he would take all 5 miles around, 5 cents to go all around (laughter). The movies were 5 cents for kids. We would go to a movie called “The Kid Show.” And before the Kid Show started they would have like a talent show for that. And I remember that my sister and I once played a role of the “sailor boy.” (Sings jingle) It was mixture of Hispanic kids… and naturally the Hispanic kids would clap for someone who has Hispanic, and the Anglo kids would clap for someone who was Anglo. That’s how it was!

My dad belonged to the painter’s union. I have a picture of him there. And in 1947 they were responsible for painting Kirkland Air force Base. I remember my dad; he stands out in the picture. Big and tall, very good-looking. Mi papa. Most of the men were from Old Town.

Growing up they had that W.P.A. Workers Parkers Administration. It was during the time of the depression and the president was very close to the Governor, Tingley. I was 11 or 10 years old, I was going to San Felipe School, and the Nun said could you go Downtown and buy me this thread. And you know you always walked, everybody walked, and the men’s would have their hats, and it was just such a wonderful time because hardly anybody ever took the bus unless you were a worker. So when I was going to 8th street, the area where they have all the stores, they had this big entourage with a convertible black car and this man waving. I thought it was Tingley. And then he turns around… I am the only child there, and he says “Hello boys and girls,” It was President Roosevelt. El Presidente! He was a favorite for Hispanics. Everybody said he was the best because they got work like you wouldn’t believe it! He had this worker’s progress administration. The men from Duranes started building this park around Old Town, in La Plaza. It was made out of stone.

The Church, it had a Jesuit priest there. They were the scholars. The cream of the crop. I remember Father Griego. There was no English mass, only Spanish. The Jesuits, they had a library and they had wonderful books. And when the secular priest came in, Father Luis Jaramillo, they dumped out 2 truckloads of those books that were from the 17 or 1800s in all languages. I caught the 3rd truck, and I made him stop. I told Father Baca, “What are you doing?! You are throwing away collectors items!” He stopped. And I was able to retrieve a few items. They were all in different languages… Greek, French, Italian, Spanish, English, and then there was some Hebrew also. It was just too bad that happened. Secular means they don’t belong to an order. So from one change of order to another it was very difficult. And Father Jaramillo got involved with the Chicano Movement, he got involved with all that, he got into trouble. The CIA would come in; the FBI would record his sermons! And I remember when Reis Tijerina was… oh when they murdered Martin Luther King, Reis Tijerina was asked if he would like to lead the Poor People’s Campaign and he accepted. So Father Jaramillo had me collecting in front of the church some money. And then this tall guy, about 6’4, black eyes, with his rich looking lady, all kinds of diamonds, came in to introduce himself. Reverend Abernathy, who took the place of Martin Luther King, they were staying around the corner of 8th and Central, in a hotel there. We had this Poor People’s Campaign, and the CIA infiltrated it. And I know that. I was involved in the logistics planning… like airplanes, police, and all that to make sure everybody is going to be safe. There were Black people coming in from El Paso and Los Angeles. Lot’s of buses of them. We made it a point to have food for police, and for the people, but mainly the police. There must have been hundreds of people. They just shut down the shops there in Old Town. We marched from Cesar Chavez all the way down, and when we got to 8th and Central, the Archbishop, James Peter Davis, who had been in Puerto Rico before, marched with us. When we got to 8th and Central.

So Abernathy had promised Reis Tijerina that he would give $2,000 for the buses and all that were suppose to take people to the Poor People’s March in Washington, well apparently he didn’t give him the money so Reis stopped the entourage in Las Vegas and said “you give me that money or we’re not going to go.” So finally at 2 in the morning he gave him the money. And that’s how it went. I didn’t end up going. About 100 people went from New Mexico. And I don’t know how it went over there. But I was very surprised and very appreciative of the Black women who were so involved in the community. And I remember Dr. Dorothy and Misses. Washington. And I met Rosa Parks. And I took my guitar and we were singing “We Shall Overcome.” They made a real concerned effort of what was going on with the Black community.



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