Skip to main content

Tonantzin Land Institute Records

Identifier: MSS-666-BC

Scope and Content

The Tonantzin Land Institute records contain materials related to the administrative organization and the advocacy work of the Institute. Social and political issues relating to land, water, and community organizing in the United States and South America are documented in the collection. The records also reflect Tonantzin's close affiliation with groups such as the Indigenous Peoples Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Indigenous Women's Network, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, and the Coordinaci?n de Organizaciones y Naciones Indigenas del Continente (CONIC). Due to their location in the U.S. Southwest, much of the material relates to Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo Indians.

The collection contains six series, four subject series that are arranged alphabetically, and two series based on format of materials. Researchers should check the format-based series for material relating to the various subject series. The largest series in the records is Sovereignty and Community Organizing, which contains information on such topics as human rights, environmental projects, and indigenous legislation. The Administration series contains financial and organizational materials on Tonantzin reflecting its purpose as an advocacy organization. Some materials are in Spanish.

Series I: Water - Consists of materials related to court cases involving water rights and issues, along with records regarding hydrographic surveys and water management especially regarding New Mexico rivers and watersheds. Also contains a large amount of material about acequias.

Series II: Land - Contains records involving the U. S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Petroglyph National Monument, along with records regarding land grants and land use issues.

Series III: Sovereignty and Community Organizing - Is the largest series in the collection and consists of reports, articles, and notes from organizations and people closely connected to the cause of the Tonantzin. Contains a wide range of materials dealing with organizations and projects advocating environmental protection and human rights issues mainly relating to New Mexico and Arizona. This series contains a number of transcripts of oral histories from projects such as the Acequias y Sangrias project, and the Atrisco Oral History Project. Other transcripts are from testimonials at public hearings. Also contains materials relating to Indigenous Peoples alliances, congresses, and legislation, as well as information on projects and reports from the United Nations.

Series IV: Administration - Contains information regarding the goals and objectives of the Tonantzin Land Institute. Contains administrative correspondence including correspondence of director David Lujan, and information on financial backing for Tonantzin and the use of funds. This series also deals with Tonantzin's organizational involvement in rural development, community organization, and legislation.

Series V: Videos - Contains video recordings from the various subject series.

Series VI: Oversize - Consists of oversize materials from the various subject series.


  • 1911-2000
  • Majority of material found within 1981-1997


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Organizational History

The Tonantzin Land Institute was founded in 1982. Since its founding, Tonantzin has worked with over 65 communities focusing on land, water, and sovereignty rights of Indigenous Peoples. The name Tonantzin comes from the ancient Mexican-Indian word meaning "Our Most Beloved Earth Mother." The organization works to promote community advocacy and sustainable community development. Additionally, they provide training and technical assistance. As a regional organization, Tonantzin maintains primary offices in Albuquerque and works regularly out of its affiliates in Phoenix, Black Mesa, the Rio Mimbres Valley, the Rio Grande Corridor and other rural areas. Adhering to its mission to defend, protect, and preserve the sovereignty rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Tonantzin Land Institute seeks to empower communities to speak and advocate on their own behalf and to ensure that traditional groups stay on their native lands.


47 boxes (46.32 cu. ft.)


This collection contains records of the Tonantzin Land Institute, an indigenous peoples advocacy organization founded in 1982. The records deal with a number of social and political issues relating to land, water, and community organizing, as well as administrative aspects of the Institute.

Related Archival Material

Frank I. Sanchez Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. John Redhouse Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Eda Gordon Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to CSWR Pictorial Collections.

Codice Boturini. Inehnemi Aztekatin - Su Caminar de los Aztecas. Mexico, n.d. Cataloged for CSWR book collection.

Master video material stored in B3.

Archiva DVDs stored in B3.

Processing Information

VHS tapes transferred to DVD, May 2012. There are no dvds for box 44, videos 35-36 and box 44, videos 8, 20 since original tapes were blank..
Finding Aid of the Tonantzin Land Institute Records, 1911-2000 (bulk 1981-1997)
Edited Full Draft
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 666 BC::Tonantzin Land Institute Records)//EN" "nmu1mss666bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

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