I’ve thought about this for quite a while. The name of the 47th state of the union, New Mexico, needs to be changed. Why? First, it’s a little awkward…all those syllables. More, it encourages the on-going ignorance of people who think that New MEXICO isn’t a part of the United States. Even among people who know, sometimes the “new” isn’t given enough emphasis and simply isn’t heard. It’s confusing.
Keep in mind that I’m approaching this from the point of view of a person whose family has had a continued and large presence in this region since it was New Spain. I don’t take lightly the Spanish and Indian heritages of this area. They are literally in my blood. Even so, the name “New Mexico,” even though it is part of that legacy, is the wrong name for this state.
What else could it be called? While many would argue that it could acquire a Navajo/Apache/Cherokee/Zuni name, I feel that given the number of states with Indian-derived names makes that less desirous than having a name that represents its Spanish roots. I’m sort of partial to utilizing the state’s nickname: Land of Enchantment. Why not rename the state, Encantar (enchant)? It’s a hopeful name without being quite as schmaltzy as Esperanza (hope) — my second choice. I’m sure that others have better ideas, and some will lean to using something like Pueblo, or Anasazi, or something along similar lines. For me, I’m still hoping that someone in a position to do something about it will agree that Encantar is a good rename for this state.