Out of this convention came the “Plan Espiritual de Aztlán,” which called for the liberation of the lands once hailed as Mexico in the Southwest and gave Vasquez a new way to look at life.
From an early age, Chicana activist and author Enriqueta Vasquez knew something was wrong about signs in front of businesses around her hometown in Colorado reading, “No Mexicans or Dogs allowed.” Vasquez also knew something was amiss in her fourth-grade classroom when the teacher said the Southwest belonged to the United States. As a matter of fact, that land was stolen from Mexico, she pointed out to the teacher, just as her mother had pointed it out to her.
The daughter of Mexican immigrants who settled in Southern Colorado, Vasquez was raised with an acute political conscience, a different way of thinking in a country that considered her as undesirable as a dog.
Vasquez moved from Denver, Colorado, to a little adobe home in San Cristobal, just north of Arroyo Hondo, with her young children in the summer of 1968 – a politically fervent time across the country. The civil rights movement had been rocked by the assassination of Martin Luther King by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier that year.
Vasquez came to Northern New Mexico already versed in the budding political and cultural revolution that would eventually call itself the Chicano movement. Her charge was to start a school in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where young Mexican-Americans could learn their history, language, music, mythologies and sense of national identity.