This month we celebrate Women’s History Month, and last month it was Black History Month. Both have significance in New Mexico, since African Americans and women have played a key role in the historical landscape that is New Mexico today.
Indeed, “America’s first feminist,” as I call her, came with the Oñate colonists in 1598. Her full name was Isabela de Olvera. The following statement that she gave in 1598 is the reason I consider her America’s first feminist: “As I am going to New Mexico and have reason to fear that I may be annoyed by some individuals since I am a mulatto, and it is proper to protect my rights in such an eventuality by an affidavit showing that I am a free woman, unmarried and the legitimate daughter of Hernando, a negro, and an Indian, Magdalena.”