We Only Inherited the Wind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

For decades, if not generations, my mother’s family has attempted, without success, to regain ownership of lands originally granted to them by the Spanish King sometime during the late 1700s to early 1800s, through a land grant. The Mexican government also issued land grants in what is now known as the Rio Grande Valley, during the time it owned the land, and even for some time after the Republic of Texas came into existence.

WE ONLY INHERITED THE WIND

By Al Garcia

For decades, if not generations, my mother’s family has attempted, without success, to regain ownership of lands originally granted to them by the Spanish King sometime during the late 1700s to early 1800s, through a land grant.  The Mexican government also issued land grants in what is now known as the Rio Grande Valley, during the time it owned the land, and even for some time after the Republic of Texas came into existence. 

It was immigration from the United States into Mexico that began the eventual decline and fall of our Mexican heritage and lands bestowed by Spanish monarchs and Mexican Presidents as land grants and decrees.  For, as Americans began to immigrate into the northern territory owned by Mexico and by Mexicans, the area quickly ended up being dominated by the new American settlers, which led the settlers to eventually rise up and win their independence from Mexico.  And, this in turn, resulted in the settlers taking over lands once owned and settled by Mexican families who had rightful title to the lands through land grants issued long before the Americans ever set foot in Texas. 

The immigration problem, as history tells us, seems to have been turned upside down, inside out.  For it was American immigration into the Mexican state of Coahulia y Tejas (Texas) that began the fall of our ancestor’s prominence and status in the emerging Republic, and eventual State of Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.  It was Anglo immigrants, who settled on the banks of the Rio Grande, who arbitrarily took long-held Mexican lands and properties along the river bank, and inland to the rich fields and mineral rich hills and grasslands through the Tejas territory, once owned by Mexican families for decades and generations.  It was the Anglo immigrants, with their sense of entitlement and greed, who quickly sought and acquired these lands, took over the original settlers’ prominence and status, and eventually totally defeated and denigrated the Mexican culture and its people to strangers and outsiders in their own land. 

That is the simple story of how a once rich and cultured society of strong, decent, dedicated Mexicans quickly became a subservient and docile subculture in a valley once dominated, governed and controlled by Mexicans.  Everything was suddenly gone.  Decades of toiling and nurturing the land, harvesting the fields and tending to the creatures that roamed the prairies and grasslands, all now gone.  The new Anglo settlers brought with them new laws, enabling them to defeat the few Mexicans who contested the takeover of their lands along the Rio Grande and beyond.  And, like the Indians that had been defeated and denigrated by the white settlers when they decided to expand their settlements and territories, Mexicans were left with nothing but their broken pride and shattered spirit. 

My ancestors, however, survived.  Defeated and dejected.  They survived.  It was their engrained ability to look into the future, and somehow know or understand that this too shall pass.  They understood and believed that time was on their side, and that a heritage and legacy born centuries before, would somehow preserver and thrive again.  That was the character, strength and determination of a people that had settled a wilderness once, and that was the legacy that would someday recapture the essence of what they had began back in the 1800s, when Tejas was still just a dream. 

This is the stock I come from.  This is the history I have inherited.  This is the story that must be passed forward.  The dreams of some to regain our lands are long gone.  Time has made that impossible to obtain.  But what does remain is the dream of keeping our heritage and our legacy alive.  It is engrained in me and many of my kind and of my background, to remember our history, and to respect the sacrifices made, and the sorrows endured. 

Because, in the end, we are of Mexican descent.  Still proud.  Still strong.  Still dreaming.  Aware that we only inherited the wind – but like our ancestors, the wind is all we need to lead us to our destiny, and to where the grass grows green, and the river flows, and to where dreams continue to come true --- a place called home, along the Rio Grande.


Submitted: June 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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