Natural Resources Journal

2008 Symposium: New Mexico's Land Grants & the Law

NRJ SymposiumSpeakers Biographies

David Benavides is Director of the Land and Water Rights Project for New Mexico Legal Aid, a position he has held for seventeen years. He received both his B.S. and J.D. from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and, upon graduating from law school in 1990, was awarded a Skadden, Arps Public Interest Law Fellowship to begin his work on land and water rights in northern New Mexico. He has assisted land grants in retaining their common lands against various legal threats, and is currently preparing a legal history of New Mexico land grants for the New Mexico Attorney General. His work on water rights involves representing acequias in gaining legal recognition for their water rights and historic water-use customs and developing a greater voice in local water planning and water management decisions. He lives outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

David Correia is an Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Maine in Farmington. His research interests focus on the history and geography of Spanish and Mexican land grants and the social movements and contemporary resource conflicts linked to those histories. His Ph.D. dissertation detailed the dispossession of two Mexican-era land grants and the contemporary (mis)management of the Carson National Forest in the El Rito area. Beginning in the summer of 2008, he will be on leave from his current position to complete a book documenting the history of state formation and social movements in New Mexico tentatively titled, In a Violent State: Social Protest and Political Repression in New Mexico.

Dr. Manuel García y Griego is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute. The Institute is initiating a land grant studies program beginning next year, with support from the state legislature to provide student internship opportunities, support for land grant boards of trustees, and a fellowship and documentation program. Dr. García has published widely on topics relating to Latino history and politics, immigration, and U.S.-Mexican relations. Prior to coming to UNM, he held faculty positions at El Colegio de Mèxico, the Univesity of California, Irvine, and the University of Texas at Arlington. He is an heir of the Cañón de Carnué Land Grant, an interim member of its board of trustees, and an alternate representative to the New Mexico Land Grant Council/Consejo. He received his A.B. degree from Princeton University, Master´s from El Colegio de México, and Ph.D. from UCLA.

Ryan Golten is an attorney with the New Mexico Legal Aid’s Land and Water Rights Project, where she represents acequias and land grants on matters of internal governance, implementing and defending statutory powers, and asserting local decision-making authority over community resources. Ryan received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she served as co-editor of the Natural Resources Journal and authored Lobato v. Taylor: How the Villages of the Rio Culebra, the Colorado Supreme Court, and the Restatement of Servitudes Bailed Out the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, an article on the recent landmark decision vindicating the rights of the local community to the Sangre de Cristo land grant. Ryan clerked for Chief Justice Edward Chávez on the New Mexico Supreme Court in 2004-2005 before joining New Mexico Legal Aid.

Jeff Malcolm is an Assistant Director with GAO’s Natural Resources and Environment Team in Washington, D.C. He is GAO’s “Indian expert” and is responsible for coordinating Indian related reviews throughout GAO. Since starting with the GAO in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1988, Mr. Malcolm has worked on a wide range of assignments dealing with American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian issues. He has led reviews of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ tribal recognition process, irrigation projects, land into trust process, Native Hawaiian land claims, and land claims under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mr. Malcolm also worked with the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He received a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.

Alice McSweeney moved to her family’s guest ranch in northern New Mexico in 1965, developing an early interest in natural history and ranching. These interests eventually led to studies in range ecology, range grasses, and public land policy at the Range Science Department of New Mexico State University. As a work-study student with New Mexico Department of Agriculture, she developed an interest in the challenges facing permittee ranchers on public lands. In 1995 she completed a Master’s thesis, Views on Land and Nature: Conversations with Northern New Mexico Ranchers. Current work for Rocky Mountain Research Station continues her interest in studying the values and attitudes of ranchers in the rural communities of northern New Mexico and surrounding areas.

Carol Raish is employed as a Research Social Scientist at the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Albuquerque Lab. Her research interests include understanding the roots of land-use conflict on public lands and the role of traditional economic practices, such as ranching, in maintaining cultural identification and traditional life ways among American Indians, Hispanic Americans, and Anglo Americans in northern and central New Mexico. She is also conducting research on community beliefs and attitudes concerning both managed fire and wildfire among national forest users in the Southwest. She has a special interest in examining cultural/ethnic variations in fire use and management practices. Carol holds a B.A. degree in Spanish and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology/archeology.

Susan Sawtelle is Managing Associate General Counsel at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C. She oversees GAO’s legal advice and opinions provided to the Congress and the Comptroller General of the United States on issues including federal lands and natural resources, the environment, telecommunications, transportation, and the financial markets. She was previously a partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding in Washington, D.C., specializing in regulatory and litigation matters, and she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste. Ms. Sawtelle received her law degree from the University of Virginia, where she was a member of the Law Review, and earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Connecticut College.

Mark Schiller is co-editor of La Jicarita News, a community advocacy newspaper that focuses on social and environmental justices issues in northern New Mexico. He has worked with Malcolm Ebright on the New Mexico Land Grant History Project and with New Mexico Legal Aid on a response to the GAO report on community land grants. He is currently working on a book about the adjudication of New Mexico land grants.