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The State Constitutional of Texas

 File — Box: 46, Folder: 25

Scope and Content

From the Collection: The Reies Lopez Tijerina Papers document Tijerina's career as a Chicano activist in New Mexico with the bulk of the collection reflecting his activities from 1963-1978. Tijerina is most remembered for his June 5, 1967 raid on the Rio Arriba County Courthouse in Tierra Amarilla and the ensuing trial in which he defended himself to a 'not guilty' verdict.

The majority of the collection consists of the records of the land grant organization that he founded in 1963, the Alianza Federal de Mercedes (changed to Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres in 1967). A large portion of the Alianza series (Boxes 1-31, see below) consists of Tijerina's FBI files and the Alianza membership files. Other notable sections are the People's Constitutional Party, the Poor People's Campaign, a large section regarding legal proceedings, an extensive collection of personal correspondence, a daily diary section spanning over twenty years (1974-1997), and a extensive newspaper section comprised of both rare newspapers and newspaper clippings.

The Tijerina papers are divided into twelve series:

Alianza Federal de Mercedes (1963-1983, Box 1-31) includes: the Alianza Organizational Records; Press Releases and Publications; and the Individual Memberships for NM (1963-1969) and Texas (1977-1978). This series also includes the FBI Files (1964-1980) gathered on RLT and the Alianza.

Social Programs and Projects led or co-sponsored by the Alianza (1959-1984, Box 31-33). This series reflects RLT's contacts with Mexican individuals and organizations as well as the Alianza's projects and programs including: the Caravan to Mexico Projects (1964, 1976); Los Caballeros de Las Indias Fraternal Organization (1964-1982); and, the national Poor Peoples's Campaign/March on Washington (1968). It also tells of Tijerina's own NM political party (People's Constitutional Party, 1968-70); his campaign for the office of NM Governor (Tijerina for Governor Campaign, 1968); and, general community organizing efforts. Finally, it reflects his work and interests after his prison term and pardon including: the Institute for the Research and Study of Justice (IRSJ, 1971-1976); the Brotherhood Awareness Conferences (1972-1976; the Primer Congreso Nacional de Tierra y Cultura (1972); and, La Casa de Israel (1984).

Social Activism/Social Justice illustrates this aspect of growth within the Chicano Movement (1954-1993, Box 33-35). Correspondence with local and national social movement leaders (Chicano Movement, Poor People's Campaign, and Alianza members, staff, and affiliates). This series also covers issues and themes of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s including national topics, police brutality, migrant workers, minority issues in education, etc.

Social/Political Resistance as evidenced by the Tierra Amarilla Courthouse Raid and it's aftermath including: general files and clippings; witness statements; and, subsequent investigations (1967-1977, Box 35).

Legal Case Files of RLT and others (1960-1987, Box 35-41) including: NM State Cases, Federal Cases, and Miscellaneous Cases (pre-Alianza, local and appeal cases including some correspondence).

General Correspondence (1935-1993, Box 41-44) including Alianza general business correspondence, fan mail and request for public speaking engagements, etc. A significant percentage are in Spanish.

Land Grant Reference/Information files (1848-1990, Box 44-53) include: Land Grant Files and Documentary Evidence gathered; Information and Contact with VIPs and Thematic Files; Personal Reference Files; Federal Agencies/Legislation Files; State Agencies/Legislation Files; Essays, Papers, and miscellaneous publications on Tijerina, Land Grants, Chicano Movement, Civil Rights, etc. (For full size maps/plats see MSS 654, Box 75)

RLT's Personal Files (1888-1997, Box 53-57) including: Biographical and Family Information; Family Correspondence; RLT's Personal Writings (including prison correspondence); State and Federal Prison/Paroles/Pardons; Appointment Calendars (1964-1979); Daily Diary (Spanish 1974-1997); and, Corrido samples written about and for Reies Lopez Tijerina.

Financial Records for the organizations associated with RLT (1963-1993, Box 57-59) including: the Alianza Records (1963-1982); Los Caballeros de Las Indias (1964- 1983); COMPASS Community Association (1969-1972); Institute for the Research and Study of Justice (1971-1977); Campaign for Human Development (1971-72); Brotherhood Awareness Conferences (1974-1975); Casa de Israel (1980s,1990s), RLT Personal Records (1960-1989); and, misc.

Newspaper Collection (1963-2003, Boxes 59-74) contains appoximately 20,000 articles on RLT and his activities, as well as articles of interest to Tijerina including: indigenous land issues, millennialism, nuclear armament and weapons of mass destruction, the holocaust, Middle Eastern issues, and conspiracy theories. Ask at CSWR reference desk for information about specific newspapers in this archive.

Oversize and Memorabilia(1965-1999, Box 75-79) include: Maps/plats of NM land Grants; Alianza Informational Posters/Maps; Miscellaneous Posters; and Memorabilia.

Audio and Video (1969-2002) contains recordings about Reies López Tijerina, his life history, and la Alianza Federal de los Mercedes. Impassioned speeches and “dinner talks” by Tijerina offer insight to la Alianza’s goals and missions as well as Tijerina’s investment in land grants. There are also recordings of court proceedings of the Tierra Amarilla incident. Interviews and speeches by “Corky” Gonzalez, Patsy Tijerina, and Alianza Vice President Wilfredo Sedillo are included. Eleven videos in the collection are recordings of television specials covering Tijerina’s land grant struggle and the TA incident. Other videos consist of the 1976 Brotherhood Awareness Conference, and a corrido performance honoring Tijerina.


  • 1888-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1963-1978

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English, Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 76.5 cubic feet (78 Boxes)

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131