Descended from Spanish conquistadors, Adelina "Nina" Otero-Warren (1881-1965), was an educator, early feminist, public welfare director, politician, author and businesswoman.
Deborah Blanche, a Chautauqua performer for the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities who portrays Otero-Warren and other notable 19th and 20th century characters, believes the feminist's life story is still relevant today.
"I like her sassiness and smarts and commitment to equal rights," Blanche, 63, said. "Sixty-six percent of the population is female and we do not enjoy equal rights even now. La Nina is a reminder of how far we've come and how much farther we have to go."
Otero-Warren — or "La Nina," as she was known — worked with the New Mexico women's suffrage campaign as part of the Congressional Union (a forerunner of the Woman's Party). She was said to have rejected the national movement because of its limitations on drinking alcohol.
She also lobbied New Mexico congressmen to vote in favor of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. In the 1920s, she served as one of New Mexico's first female government officials, initially as Santa Fe Superintendent of Instruction and later as chair of the State Board of Health.
Otero-Warren later became Inspector of Indian Schools in Santa Fe County, fighting for Native American
Peggy Loyd, the library's new director, said the character-based performance should have an impact.
"I think it's important for the audience to see that there are dynamic people in New Mexico history, many of whom are women, who have greatly impacted this state," Loyd said. "The whole purpose of the Chautauqua program is to both engage and educate, so it will be interesting to see how Blanche portrays Otero-Warren."
Blanche's performance of "La Nina: The Story of Nina Otero-Warren" is tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the Bloomfield Public Library, 333 S. First St. For more information, call 505-632-8215.
James Fenton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.