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François-Marie Patorni, a French American, is an independent scholar living in Santa Fe. He specializes in the history of the French-speaking people in New Mexico and the American Southwest.
Born and raised in Paris, he received various degrees in France (Master’s Degrees in Mathematics and in Physics, 1966; alumnus of the Institute for Political Studies, Paris, 1967/68; post-graduate degree from the National School for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry, 1968). He spent two years in rural Chad in the French equivalent of the Peace Corps, and some more time in Togo, Benin, and Algeria. Then he decided to try the American experience, earning an MBA from the Wharton School in Philadelphia (1972). There, he got involved in the Nixon-McGovern Presidential campaign, quite a ride for a Frenchman! He had a long career at the World Bank (Washington D.C.), with multi-years postings in India and Senegal, and otherwise working on agriculture, forestry, water, and the environment in many countries.
He came to New Mexico in 2004, and was an environmental advocate in the Santa Fe area, including being president of the Santa Fe Watershed Association for 7 years. Realizing the extraordinarily rich history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking people in New Mexico over the last four centuries, he embarked on a great chase for the French-speaking people in New Mexico, and recently published The French in New Mexico, Four Centuries of Exploration, Adventure, and Influence.
Title: The French in New Mexico
Published: French in America Press, 2020
In this first history of the French in New Mexico, the author chronicles the lives of French-speaking people who came mainly from France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands. The book traces their presence from the 1500s to present times. It tells stories of people from all walks of life, placing them in their historical and cultural context, pointing to more detailed readings and further research. What is now New Mexico was for centuries at the limit of the world known to Europeans. This book is offered as a contribution to the cultural resurrection of the French in New Mexico. It is for the thousands of New Mexicans who share a French ancestry. It is also for their distant cousins who remained in their original lands. And beyond direct family ties, it is for all those interested in the multicultural aspects of New Mexico’s history and society.