William deBuys. Enchantment
and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of New Mexico Mountain Range.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1985, 1997.
Using the Sangre de
Cristo mountain range of northern New Mexico to illustrate how natural and human
history are inextricably bound together, William deBuys calls on a unique mix
of sources ranging from Forest Service records and private land claim grants
to obscure turn of the century journals and personal diaries. deBuys describes
a deeply seeded reciprocal relationship between humans and the landscape when
he states “...until I understood something of the influence of the land, I could
not begin to understand the people whose lives and history bound them to it.”
At the center of Enchantment and Exploitation is an enduring struggle
among Native Americans, Hispanos, and Anglos for the regions scarce natural
resources. deBuys argues that cultural forces determine which choices
are made when balancing the needs of humans and the non human environment.
In a part of the world where survival depends on conservative use of water,
timber, and grazing rights, excess on the part of one community often spells
disaster for their neighbors. By exploring issues of the past the author
hopes to contribute to debates surrounding land management and use of resources
in present day New Mexico. Specifically deBuys looks to the National Forest
Management Act planning process as a possible vehicle for addressing local and
federal concerns. Acknowledging the social and economic needs of the people
of northern New Mexico, deBuys argues that the NFMA views land management as
a tool capable of sustaining cultural diversity while supporting a rural economy.