The culture of New Mexico was shaped within a moderately isolated region, that has been shaped by multiple peoples and groups throughout its history. Each bringing with it its peoples and customs which, over time, blended into the current New Mexican culture. Its people were its’ natives; primarily the Native Americans, Nuevomexicanos, and people of the American frontier; and the several larger groups were the Native American settlements (Clovis, Pueblo, and Athabaskans-Apachean peoples of the Navajo and Apache), the Spanish colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, a Mexican territory, and an American territory and State. The state’s stable, yet diverse, culture stems its from its position as a trade-route alongside the descendants of longtime natives. This melting pot of Native American, Hispanic, Latino, American, and European culture, blends with other communities of African American, Asian, Middle Eastern peoples; which created the modern New Mexico culture.
To understand modern New Mexican culture, within the modern American culture, you must understand New Mexico’s two equally core cultures; the modern Native American culture and the Santa Fe de Nuevo México culture. Particularly the most prominent of those Native American cultures being the Pueblo modern culture, the Apache modern culture, and the Navajo modern culture. After those cultures, you can understand the New Mexican backdrop for the Mexican culture, Wild West culture, and the Science and Technology culture.
Various parts of New Mexico’s culture are emphasized in different parts of the state, such as extraterrestrial imagery in Roswell and science/technology around Los Alamos; but those aspects are reflected throughout the state. Politically, northern New Mexico is predominantly Democratic and the southern part of the state is Republican; but, much like the aspects of culture, aspects of both political ideologies are reflected across the state. However, issues in the state are much less divided along partisan lines, and much more divided between rural and city lifestyles; in fact both the city and rural parts of the state are known to swing between the two major American political parties.
New Mexican culture is not isolated to only New Mexico, aspects of New Mexican culture can be seen in particularly in West Texas and Southern Colorado, as well as throughout the American Southwest, the American West, and the Mexican states of Coahuila and Chihuahua. Furthermore, of course, New Mexico’s culture is a part of the larger world culture.
Core of the Culture
The core of New Mexico’s unique culture can be ultimately attributed to the following cultural melting pot: (with the first two, Native American and Spanish, being the primary core of the centuries old culture)
- Modern Puebloan culture
- Modern Apache culture
- Modern Navajo culture
- Territorial culture
- Modern Comanche culture
- Mexican culture
Distinctly New Mexican
New Mexico evolved its own distinct culture from that former melting pot, which is reflected in numerous distinct expressions.
- New Mexican cuisine
- New Mexico chile
- Blue corn
- New Mexican English
- New Mexican Spanish
- Navajo language
- Apache; Jicarilla language and Mescalero-Chiricahua language
- Pueblo; Jemez language, Keresan, Picuris, Taos, Tewa, Southern Tiwa, and Zuni language.
- New Mexicana
- Zia symbol