One Book Filmmaker Night: Cheap Land with Kate Perdoni
- Library Hall
Throughout Colorado, an intense marketing campaign of cheap land and plentiful water has created 175 years of growth-oriented settlements. From lack of available resources to land and water rights, the arid, desert west is now atoning with reality. Systems clashes raged at once across what is now south-central Colorado and northern New Mexico as the area shifted to become part of the United States of America post-Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). Predominantly Anglo prospecting companies immediately worked to commodify the pre-existing, community-oriented land and water systems of thousands of first-wave Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and Genizaro settlers. Early estate managers were tasked with subdividing Mexico's Sangre de Cristo land grant into private estates. They moved to evict settlers and “squatters," careful not to remove so many that there would not be a labor force for the mines, fields, and railroads. Post-Treaty, an eastern influx brought new metrics: the Public Land Survey System grid, diversion of streams and waters, and construction of vast canal systems and reservoirs meant to store and utilize water at the scale of the dreams of man.
In Costilla County, real estate companies marketing the former Sangre de Cristo Land Grant still offer cheap land — now, without amenities. Though many attempt to homestead on the inexpensive plots, few are able to survive and thrive without ready access to water, electricity, and other services. Months of research and interviews unveil and link historic and modern-day findings in this Rocky Mountain PBS special, a perfect companion to reading Ted Conover's Cheap Land Colorado.
About Kate Perdoni
Kate Perdoni is an artist, musician, writer, and 7x Heartland Emmy-nominated journalist, host, and documentary filmmaker based in south-central Colorado. Since 2014, Kate has produced television and multimedia content for Rocky Mountain PBS. In 2022, Kate received recognition as a Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies Contingent and Community Scholar through Colorado College, studying the land and water systems of the Sangre de Cristo land grant. Kate is currently a RedLine Arts in Society grantee, in co-production of a youth media and digital arts program with the RISE Media Lab, teacher Helen Seay, and Principal Kimba Rael at Centennial High School in San Luis.
Find Kate at theunderbellyofthesun.com and on IG at @kateyslvls.