Alianza Federal de Mercedes

Alianza Federal de Mercedes,[1] which in English translates to Federal Land Grant Alliance, was a group led by Reies Tijerina based in New Mexico in the 1960s that fought for the land rights of Chicano New Mexicans.[2][3]

Justice is Our Creed and the Land is Our Heritage. Alianza Federal de Mercedes's slogan[2]

The Alianza had affiliates in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico and San Luis, Colorado.

Chicano residents had settled in the areas of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado centuries before. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States Congress ostensibly guaranteed that current residents would retain their land rights after the New Mexico territory was transferred to U.S. ownership. However, by the 1960s, many traditional shepherds had lost their land to cattle ranchers and the U.S. Forestry Service.

The Tierra Amarilla incident

On June 5, 1967, in Tierra Amarilla, a small band of Chicanos affiliated with Alianza Federal de Mercedes attempted to arrest the County's district attorney and put him on trial.[4] There were shots fired and two men were wounded. The invaders held the courthouse for two hours, ransacking it, but the district attorney was out of town. The National Guard, equipped with armored tanks, was called in by Governor of New Mexico David Cargo. While the gunmen were in hiding, the National Guard held many of their family members captive. This incident received national publicity and brought the Alianza's cause to public attention.[4]


  1. Also referred to as: Alianza de Pueblos y Pobladores (The Alliance of Towns and Settlers) and Alianza de Pueblos Libres (The Alliance of Free Pueblos)
  2. 1 2 Richard M. Gardner, Grito! Reies Tijerina and the New Mexico Land Grant War of 1967, Bobbs-Merrill Co, 1970, trade paperback, 292 pages, ISBN 0-672-50946-6; Random House, ISBN 0-609-02477-9
  3. Tony Hillerman, The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other Indian Country Affairs, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1973, trade paperback, 147 pages, ISBN 0-8263-0530-X
  4. 1 2 Sabine R. Ulibarri, Tierra Amarilla; stories of New Mexico/Cuentos de Nuevo Mexico, University of New Mexico Press, 1971, trade hardback, 167 pages, in English and Spanish, ISBN 0-8263-0212-2
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