New Mexico's harsh terrain, countless wars and epidemics were a challenging and fascinating environment for the many cultures and peoples who settled there. When tragedy struck, their faith and religious rituals allowed them to mourn, celebrate and commemorate their dead. From Pueblo Indians and Spanish colonists to Jewish immigrants and American veterans, many old traditions have endured and blended into modern society. The area is also home to many unique death sites, including the graves of Smokey Bear and Billy the Kid, and the largest contemporary collection of human bones in the world. Author Ana Pacheco guides you through the history of Christmas death rituals, roadside descansos, communal smallpox graves, Civil War memorials and more.
Ana Pacheco is a former city historian of Santa Fe and the founding publisher of La Herencia, a magazine on New Mexico history. She previously authored a column for the Santa Fe New Mexican, documenting the histories of the elder community, and published the official magazine for Santa Fe's 400th anniversary. Pacheco has also served on the board of directors for the National Hispanic Cultural Center. This is her eighth book on the history of New Mexico.