AG Guidance to Public Entities Regarding OMA and IPRA Compliance During COVID-19 State of Emergency - Click Here

     New Mexico is unique in its history and in the diversity of its people. New Mexico is unique in that it has not amended protections for traditional people out of its constitution. Our Hispanic and Native American traditional communities are the lifeblood of this state, and part of my job as attorney general is to keep them healthy through protecting the rights recognized in law more than a century ago.

People generally think of civil rights as protecting against discrimination in terms of voting, employment or housing. While these issues are very important, I have a special duty to protect the civil rights of traditional communities too. New Mexico’s constitution has specific protections for Hispanic and Native American populations in its bill of rights. It has been a priority for me to address situations that threaten our land-based, traditional and most vulnerable communities and their way of life.

Our state constitution protects inalienable rights, stating, “All persons are born equally free and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of seeking and obtaining safety and happiness.” (N.M. Const. Art. II, §4 Inalienable rights) In the next article, our constitution names additional rights – rights protecting New Mexico’s traditional Hispanics and Native American communities. “The rights, privileges and immunities, civil, political and religious guaranteed to the people of New Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall be preserved inviolate.” (N.M. Const. Art. II, 5, Treaty of Guadalupe rights).

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Division

The Treaty was incorporated into New Mexico’s State Constitution in 1912 and is part of the state’s legal and cultural heritage. The OAG Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Division, created in 2003, was established to review, oversee and address concerns relating to the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that have not been implemented or observed in the spirit of Article 2, Section 5 of the Constitution of New Mexico.

The Treaty Division provides legal representation to the New Mexico Land Grant Council and the New Mexico Acequia Association. The Division’s vision is to take a proactive approach to finding solutions and responding to the evolving needs of the Land Grant Community by providing legal support, policy development and outreach. The Division focuses on leveraging training and education by leveraging partnerships with the individual land grants, the New Mexico Land Grant Council, New Mexico Highlands University Southwest Studies program, the University of New Mexico’s Land Grant Studies program. The Division also provides Open Meetings Act training to members of community land grants.