In the early 1960s, Reies Lopez Tijerina began the Land-Grant movement in the state of New Mexico. In violation of the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the U.S. war with Mexico in 1848, the property of the Mexican inhabitants of what is now the Southwest U.S. was not respected. Reies López Tijerina investigated the original land-grant titles and exposed the processes by which they were stolen. Lopez Tijerina needed a better way to attract the attention of the public and of the government. His investigation was very serious and he needed a serious way to fight to get back the land lost by the Mexicans. He decided to create an organization that could attract possible followers and that way he could have a more solid base to work; Lopez Tijerina named his organization the Alianza Federal de Mercedez.
The Alianza Federal de Mercedes (Federal Alliance of Land Grants) was formed in the state of New Mexico during the year of 1962. The purpose of the creation of this organization was to publicize the claims of the Mexicans and some Mexican-Americans to the land now occupied by Anglos and by the National Forest Service. Unlike the rest of the social movements that were part of the Chicano movement, the Land Grant movement was marked as one of the violent social movements of 1960s. Unfortunately, the Alianza Federal de Mercedes was blamed for promoting the usage of violence.
A series of events beginning in 1966 brought the Alianza to public attention nationally. A march from Albuquerque to Santa Fe with petitions to the governor of New Mexico and the president of the United States was followed by attempts to occupy parts of National Forest lands in the fall of 1966 and the summer of 1967. This was answered by military force and frame-up charges against Alianza leaders. The most remarkable event was the raid over Tierra Amarilla held by Lopez Tijerina and La Alianza. On June 5 of 1967, Lopez Tijerina and La Alianza members gathered together and stormed the county courthouse of Tierra Amarilla to arrest civically one attorney they thought he was abusive. The police arrived at the place of the incident and immediately a gun battle was held between the police of Tierra Amarilla and La Alianza. Twenty shots were fired up that day and two people were wounded.
Lopez Tijerina and La Alianza planted the seeds for new groups focused on the Land Grant Movements could keep fighting for their beliefs. However, La Alianza was most in the times rejected by the Anglo society because it represented a threat for being a violent organization.