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Posted on: Jul 31, 2019


The following is a press release sent to the San Antonio Bar Association*



St. Mary’s Law Professor Pens Book on [Native American] Slavery

“Slavery in the Southwest: Genízaro Identity, Dignity and the Law”offers first comprehensive legal analysis of its kind



The brutal reality of the American Southwest included [Native Americans] captured by the Spanish or by other [Native Americans] and kept or sold as slaves. Along with providing historical context, the forthcoming book, “Slavery in the Southwest: Genízaro Identity, Dignity and the Law,” frames — for the first time — legal approaches to alleviate the badges of servitude that still linger among descendants of the slaves, known as “Genízaros.”


The book by St. Mary’s University School of Law Professor Robert William Piatt Jr., J.D., and University of New Mexico Associate Professor Moises Gonzales will be published in late July by Carolina Academic Press. The price of the 262-page book is $35.


“The book is the first time that anyone has prepared a comprehensive legal analysis of the rights of the Genízaros,” Piatt said. “The legal analyses, however, are only presented after we open the readers’ eyes to the extensive history and legacy of [Native American] slavery.”


“We also will help readers understand the deep cultural ties, which have been preserved among Genízaros over centuries,” he said. Piatt specializes in constitutional law, professional responsibility in the law and Catholic legal perspectives. He has published and been cited on a broad range of human rights subjects including gender, immigration, minority rights, human trafficking, legal education, Catholicism, constitutional law and equal protection.


Gonzales is an Associate Professor in Community and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico. As a Genízaro heir of two land grants in New Mexico, Gonzales has published articles and a book on the history and culture of Genízaro settlements. He is a danzante, or ritual dancer, of the Matachin and Genízaro Apache-Comanche traditions.


Piatt is available for interviews and can be reached at 210-436-3533 or For more information about the book, please visit Carolina Academic Press.


St. Mary’s University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,650 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.