Nuevomexicanos or Hispanos, sometimes referred to as the "politically correct" term Hispano-Americans or Hispanos of New Mexico, is used to describe the cultural and ethnic background of Americans with Hispanic ancestry from the U.S. States of New Mexico and Southern Colorado, particularly the descendants of the colonists of Santa Fe de Nuevo México. Many American conservatives believe that the use of terms such as "Hispanos of New Mexico" or "Hispano-Americans," collectively referred to as "delineated Americanism" and "hyphenated Americanism," make the mistake of removing cultural identity and "putting America second" to emphasize racial differences over common national identity.
In New Mexican Spanish the word Nuevomexicano is pronounced Neomexicano (na-yo-meh-hee-ca-no); the etymology of the word stems from a reference to the New Mexican Spanish language itself, which is referred to as "Español Neomexicano" in Spanish.
Prior to the 1950s, this group of Americans used the terms Nuevomexicano, Hispano, Hispanic, and Spanish to describe themselves. Nuevomexicano and Hispano was preferred among themselves as this provided adequate explanation of the uniqueness of their mixed culture of Pueblo and Spanish colonist within New Mexico. The term Hispano, American-Hispanic, and American-Spanish was used to emphasize this uniqueness to newcomers to the State, and in order to cultivate the concept that their American identity was understood to their fellow Americans. Many of their ancestors had fought in the American Civil War, and had continued to serve proudly in both World Wars.
Since the term initially tried to unify the group; liberals have begun to delineate and hyphenate the term, in order to divide the group from its true cultural identities of the United States and New Mexico.
The story surrounding this group was encapsulated in a song, by Cleofes Vigil, called "Himno del Pueblo de las Montañas de la Sangre de Cristo" (literally "Hymn of the Pueblo of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains"). This group is quick to embrace other cultures, and will incorporate other traditions with their own unique style.
A major part of the identity of this ethnic group is Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism (many being Evangelical Christians). The cities, towns, and Pueblos all often have a Roman Catholic church at their old town core, which is where many festivities center around. Several Hispano families descend from Crypto-Jews, and also have several Jewish traditions as well.
Santos, depictions of religious figures such as Saints, are common works of arts by Nuevomexicanos. They are intricate wood carvings and have significant religious significance, and are commonly found, in similar fashion Pueblo Kachina dolls.
The Santa Fe Fiesta and the San Felipe de Neri Fiestas in Albuquerque are some of the oldest continuously held festivals in the country. Two great examples of this group embracing other traditions can be found in local fiestas, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the addition of Zozobra to the Santa Fe Fiesta, are largely due to Anglo influences. In kind, other groups are quick to embrace the Hispano culture as their own, the Balloon Fiesta is a great example of other groups embracing the Nuevomexicano culture. Each of the New Mexico Pueblos hold annual Feast Days to celebrate this identity, as well as their own.
Another Hispano tradition is the "motanza," which are huge fiestas and barbecues. They roast pigs in a traditional New Mexican style, preparing chicharones, tacos, meat slices, alongside red and green chile.
A music genre, called New Mexico music, is very popular among Nuevomexicanos, it has been spearheaded by the likes of Al Hurricane, Antonia Apodaca, Roberto Griego, and others. The genre a fusion of traditional New Mexican folk music with American folk and pop music genres, particularly country music and rock music.
Hispanos have leaned both Democrat and Republican, in both local and national elections. There is a strong independent libertarian identity among the group, even when individuals have a declared political party stances on particular stances can vary.
- Nuevomexicano Cultural Legacy by Francisco A. Lomelí, Victor A. Sorell, Genaro M. Padilla
- liner notes from Music of New Mexico: Hispanic Traditions by Smithsonian Folkways
- World's Largest Matanza
- New Mexico music on the New Mexico Cultural Encyclopedia, Lexicon, and News