In about two weeks balloonists from all over the planet will descend upon our ciudad bonita for the big annual fiesta. That’s an impressive event, and I encourage people to check it out.


That’s just one way of experiencing Albuquerque. That's the Prom date way – you know, the guy with the flashy tux, the rented limo, and the aftershave you can smell from a mile away? 


Me? I prefer picnic dates with the guy next door. You know, the nice guy who scrapes together the money to buy a beater car, works two jobs to pay the rent (and helps out mom with her cell phone bill), who drives you to the foothills overlooking the city, spreads out a blanket on the dirt, and feeds you a feast he's put together himself.

That steals my heart like no prom date flash ever could.


This weekend you have a chance to attend the fiesta version of a picnic date: the Carnuel Road Parade and Fiesta on Saturday, September 22 from 11 am to 2 pm. It is an awesome home grown parade and fiesta celebrating two historic communities of Albuquerque: Sawmill and Wells Park. Just go!


Wait a minute… Carnuel Road, you say?


Yes, Carnuel Road. We know it as Mountain Road.


There’s an interesting history behind this.


Back in the day, loggers would bring their logs down from the mountains into the city. The road they used?


Carnuel Road.


It was a dirt road then, and travelling from Carnuel to Albuquerque was a full day’s journey, according to the late Tomas Herrera, a longtime East Mountain resident who made this trek on a horse-drawn wagon as a boy, delivering cut pinon and juniper to Old Town Albuquerque.


You might be wondering: Carnuel? Sounds familiar, but I can’t place it…


This might help. 


The Cañon de Carnuel Land Grant dates back to 1763. Unlike most of the other Spanish land grants, the community of Carnué was settled by genízaros – formerly enslaved non-Pueblo Indians who adopted Spanish lifestyles. 

The motivation behind this land grant wasn’t pure benevolence – a gesture of reparation to slaves – but an instrumental one. Carnué served as a buffer between the civilization (note the dripping sarcasm!) of Albuquerque and the roaming tribes of Indians (yup, I’m deferring to local preference with this term – I was once schooled by a Lagunan for using “Native American” in this town).  If you wanted to raid Albuquerque from the east, you had to go through Carnuel first.


I want you to note the date of the establishment of Carnuel – 1763 – and compare that with this date: 1862.  In 1862, Congress passed the Emancipation Act, which freed all slaves in the District of Columbia. Owners were paid for their slaves – the official title of the bill is the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. The Emancipation Proclamation came later – this was the first step toward freeing slaves for the United States of America). Connect the dots: in 1763 former slaves were given a home in Cañon de Carnuel, right there off I-40. One hundred years later, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order -- this means it was not passed by Congress. You know the rest...


Now, New Mexico didn’t enter the union until 1912 (you have been paying attending to the celebrations this year, sí?) and this talk of slavery in a far distant place and time may seem to have nothing to do with us today. 


But let me offer up a tenuous connection.


As regular readers of my blog know, I’m a philosopher by profession. I work in a niche area of philosophy called disability bioethics, which means the things I think about most are ethical questions related to people with disabilities. Topics like distributive justice, normalcy, and group rights occupy my thoughts most days.  The history of how disabled people have been treated in this country isn’t always pretty, but it isn’t the sordid history of slavery, either.


There’s one thing that does connect these histories, though, and that is dehumanization. Just as slaves were viewed as less than human, so were people with disabilities. On my bad days, I worry that the view that people with disabilities as subhuman still prevails behind closed doors, though people usually won’t admit to their prejudices in public.


The Carnuel Road Parade and Fiesta has a disability tie-in.  There’s a Buddy Walk happening on Saturday in conjunction with the parade! Buddy Walks were started by the National Down Syndrome Society to promote inclusion and Down Syndrome awareness. This Buddy Walk is sponsored by the Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network and goes from the Harwood Center to Tiguex Park, where the fiesta is happening from noon to 2 pm.


You can support a good cause by walking, but you can do something else at the Carnuel Parade and Fiesta. Show people that you care about inclusion by including them. Just as you might strike up a conversation with an apparently able-bodied person at the fiesta, do the same with people with disabilities. Don’t patronize – just talk!


Here’s the scratch on the parade and fiesta:

  • The Buddy Walk starts at 11 am at the Harwood Center on 7th and Mountain Road NW.
  • The Carnuel Road Parade also starts at 11 am at the Harwood Center.
  • The Carnuel Fiesta is at Tiguex Park (at Mountain and 19th Street NW) and runs from noon to 2 pm, with lots of cool music and fun activities. See here for more deets. 

Kudos to the Harwood Art Center, Wells Park, Downtown & Sawmill Neighborhood Associations, The Rio Grande Downs Syndrome Network and the Sawmill Community Land Trust for their support.








Views: 517

Comment by Clifton Chadwick on September 21, 2012 at 11:48am

My plans include unpacking and unpacking then unpacking and unpacking some more.  But this is my new hood so I hope I can sneak away for a few minutes and catch some of the excitement!

Comment by ramon t on September 21, 2012 at 12:40pm

I'll be there.

Comment by Adelita on September 21, 2012 at 1:24pm

I'll be there!  AND our own Johnny Mango will be driving the new Duke City Fix Smartcar in the parade!!  I'll be milling around the park as well as helping out at the Harwood Info Table, so please introduce yourself and say hi!

Comment by Krista on September 21, 2012 at 1:27pm

how you manage to blend together events, histories and insights into one blog, I'll never know.  You're a master (well, a doctora now), BB!  And thanks to everyone who is putting together such an amazing event!  

Comment by Phil_0 on September 21, 2012 at 2:40pm

There are actually lots of Genizaro towns in NM: Abiquiu, Tome, Las Huertas/Placitas, and more. As you note their alleged ferocity as Indian fighters made them appealing to the Spanish powers-that-be for buffer communities around the edges of the NM colony, so having some Genizaros among your group of petitioners was a good way to get a land grant in 18th century New Mexico. Also, Genizaro "slavery" was always viewed legally as a temporary state: captives "ransomed" (read: purchased) from the tribes who captured them could be made to serve as household servants for a set term. The idea was that this was a "payment" of sorts to their masters who were theoretically supposed to be schooling them in the ways of civilization. Once people finished their indentured servitude, they were free to petition the crown for a land grant...

Comment by Johnny_Mango on September 21, 2012 at 3:36pm

As Lita said I will be there slouching behind the wheel of DCF mini-limo!

Comment by PJ Reed on September 21, 2012 at 5:13pm

Hi. Your article about Carneul was forwarded to me by the friend of a friend. It is a great story, and I love the historical perspective, inc. the land grant details. I am a native New Mexican and spent part of my childhood in Taos county, amidst numerous grant related families and lands. But what really caught my attention is your work specific the medical ethics and disability. I am a dedicated advocate for the rights of long term hospitalized mental care patients, with an education and background in relation to health care ethics ('96 BA American Studies, UNM), and for a time, I worked closely with Joan McGiver-Gibson, former Director of the UNM Med School's health care ethics program. I also have an MA (UA '98 Tucson, American Indian Studies), and also went to full law school (UA '01-'03). But my legal career did not get far because of the growing effects of  mental illness, specifically, as a direct consequence of my increasing struggle with as of then undiagnosed major depressive disorder. More recently, I spent 21 full months hospitalized in relation to this, including 13 full months Jan. 2011-Feb. 2012) in Arizona's sole long term mental health facility, The Arizona State Hospital (ASH), in Phoenix. While at ASH, I witnessed and was subjected to ongoing, shocking occurrences of graphic patient abuse, much of it in gross violation of the ADA and other applicable standards of law and policy, and all of it far out of keeping with well established codes of health care ethics. I came to identify with being "labelled" mentally ill/disabled while hospitalized, and it was directly due to the horrifically discriminative practices of ASH clinicians, administrators, and even state officials assigned the responsibility of ensuring that ASH abide by bright line provisions of state and federal law. As my depression subsided and my interest in my environment revived, I increasingly became active in civilly advocating in defense of my own as well as my peers' fundamental rights, and for that, I was systematically retaliated against, in gross violation of the protections afforded me in the ADA, etc. This is just the surface of the story. I, too, have a blog: PJ Reed "The Arizona State Hospital and Patient Abuse" ( I have over 500k of compiled text in over 140 articles, and I have a healthy readership, but the issues that I am working to address are still far form resolved, so I need support of any kind. I invite and encourage anybody with an interest in and concern for the rights of seriously mentally ill/disabled persons to visit my site. I am dedicated to altering the paradigm that still, in this day in age, supports the graphic stigmatization and directly related shortcomings specific to the rights and care needs and mentally disabled persons at ASH, in Arizona, and beyond. Thanks much, and enjoy the chile harvest. 

Comment by Mr. Potato Head on September 21, 2012 at 7:58pm

Great post BB!  I want to learn more about this, what an incredible story.  Do they teach this in history class in NM??

Comment by hettie on September 21, 2012 at 9:15pm

When I was working on an MLA at UNM, I did a project involving the Wells Park and Sawmill neighborhoods; we read about the logs coming down the mountain, but it was also a route used the other direction by sheepherders, who took their animals up from the beginning of the summer til the fall for wild forage. Here's a link to a photo of Mountain about where 10th Street now is, taken ca. 1880. Things have changed a bit.

Comment by hettie on September 21, 2012 at 9:17pm

Ooh, another I had bookmarked showing the road through the canyon in the '30s.


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