Reprinted with permission from Los Alamos Reporter
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
“The bean plants were this high,” Ruben ‘Ruby’ Shirley said, holding her hands about a foot apart, “when the government came in their jeeps and ran all over the plants.” At 92 year old, Ruby explains that her parents, Jose Maria and Delfina Serna, were one of the Nuevomexicana/o families who lost their ranch atop the Pajarito Plateau during the period of eminent domain that led to the development of Site Y of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Before the atomic bomb, before Site Y and before Nuevomexicanas/os became alienated from the plateau in the name of science, Los Alamos had bean fields. During the 1920s and 1930s, New Mexico was the leading pinto bean producer in the country.” …. In 1943, with little warning, the federal government forced them to abandon their homestead, including their farm implements, and vacate the plateau.”
The above excerpt is from the book “Nuclear Nuevo Mexico” by Myrriah Gomez on colonialism and the effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos. The book is being read by book clubs in Los Alamos and is selling well at Samizdat Bookstore and Teashop at 173 Central Square where owner Jill Lang is gearing up for a special book signing event Tuesday evening at Fuller Lodge. Lang has copies of the book at Samizdat and is accepting preorders online for readers to pick up at the event.
Author Myrriah Gomez, who is a graduate of Pojoaque Valley High School and serves as a professor at the Honors College of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. which will include enchiladas from El Parasol. Gomez will speak about the book and answer questions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Then at 7 p.m. she will sign copies of her book while coffee and biscochitos are served.
For more information, contact Jill Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (505) 412-0238. Samizdat is located at 174 Central Park Square in Los Alamos.