The presenter will be author William Dunmire, a professor at the University of New Mexico, who has written the book, “New Mexico’s Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land and People.”
Dunmire said his book, which was recently released by University of New Mexico Press, is the first book ever published on the history of livestock in New Mexico, which he said has the most fascinating livestock story of any state in the U.S.
Dunmire will talk about several species of domestic livestock that were brought to New Mexico from Spain, and will describe how the Puebloans and Navajos slowly adopted horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and chickens after their arrival with the Spanish colonists in 1598.
Dunmire will cover the spread of livestock during colonial times, and how the Plains Indians learned to steal and ride horses, and how horses became central to their economy.
The talk also will describe how sheep became New Mexico’s most important economic animal, growing to a population of five-million animals in the province by the end of the nineteenth century.
And he will talk about how the explosion of livestock numbers – particularly sheep – caused increasing environmental damage to the state’s grasslands, eventually resulting in the enactment of laws such as the Taylor Grazing Act, various state regulations, and the adoption of more progressive livestock management practices.
Dunmire’s talk, made possible by the New Mexico Humanities Council, is set to begin at 2 p.m. this Saturday, October 5th, at the museum, 301 South Silver Avenue.