The National Land for People Movement and the Chicana/o Environmental Imaginary

Authors: Stevie Ruiz*, California State University - Northridge
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Ethnicity and Race, Social Geography
Keywords: Chicana/o Studies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper presentation will examine The National Land for People Movement (NLPM) from the years 1964 until 1983. In this paper, I will examine how pioneers of the movement expanded their vision of farm workers' rights to include land in their demands for justice and freedom. I argue that land was not only a political economic form of justice, but also, were formative in labor demands for environmental rights among Chicana/o communities. Under the leadership of George Ballis, NLPM included land redistribution in lawsuits that hoped to enforce the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902. I argue that these labor demands were part of long duree of environmental justice movements throughout the Southwest that linked labor and land, thus placing the question of Aztlan (the imagined homeland of Chicanismo), paralleled with environmental imaginaries pursuits for justice among campesino workers living in the United States. I argue that Chicanismo that developed out of the 1960s El Plan de Aztlan, influenced radical pursuits to restore land and water rights for Chicana/o workers.

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